Okay, this was so incredibly unfair there weren't even words for it.
"Mom. It was an accident."
"Caroline Forbes, I know exactly how hard you have to hit someone to knock them out. It was not an accident."
"He was going to steal my wallet!"
"What if you hadn't hit him hard enough? What then?" Mom glared at her. "I've told you before, if someone's coming at you, run. Worry about your ego later."
Most of the time Mom being mind-wiped was super sad and like, enough to give her a mini-crisis if she thought about it long enough. Right now it was just annoying. "Okay, Mom. I'm sorry. I just, you know, reacted. It was instinct!"
"It was crazy," Mom muttered, and hauled the guy to his feet. Caroline had to look away; his neck was right there, and according to Stefan, she wasn't going to get over this whole cravings thing for ages.
"I said I was sorry. What more do you want?"
"Well, for starters, you to not use that tone with me. Go home; I have to book him and follow up on a case. It's going to be a long night for me."
And just like that, she was dismissed. No "I'm glad you're not dead or at least traumatically mugged" or anything. Caroline sighed, tried to get a hold on her seriously ridiculous emotions, and got into her car. It wasn't until later that she'd think about just how cool it was that she could stop someone from doing something bad. Because really, it wasn't like she was going to get spandex and go patrol the unruly streets of Mystic Falls, or something. Caroline had way too much self-respect for that.
The thing about Mystic Falls was that people were constantly in mortal danger. Like, it was worse than usual with the Salvatores sticking around, but even without them the likelihood of getting eaten by a vampire was way higher than normal. So really, Caroline shouldn't have been surprised to see Matt walking away from Katherine with a creepy zoned-out look on his face.
She hid, of course. She had more self-preservation than most people would give her credit for. But when Katherine left, she grabbed Matt.
"Yeah, it's nice to see you, too." She looked into his eyes, pressing forward with the compulsion. "Whatever Katherine told you to do - don't."
Matt frowned. "I have to go, Caroline."
Of course Katherine's compulsion was stronger than hers. God, Caroline couldn't wait until she was like five hundred years old and could crush the skulls of people who got in her way.
Except then everyone she knew would be dead, with the possible exception of the Salvatores. Oh, God.
"I have to go," Matt said again, and she realized she was clutching his shoulders and almost crying.
She pushed everything down and said, "Yeah, no, I don't think so."
Matt frowned and tried to wiggle away. When he couldn't move, he frowned harder. "Caroline. I have to go."
"Over my extremely staked body," Caroline said, and threw him over her shoulder.
She sped home. She didn't know if Matt would remember anything, but the only thing worse than Matt knowing what she was was half the town seeing her carrying him like he didn't weigh anything. When she got them to her room, though, Matt tried to move towards the door - and then the window, when she blocked the door.
"Um," Caroline said, and grabbed his wrist. "Follow me."
"I have to go, Care. This isn't funny anymore."
"Believe me, I know. Just follow me, okay? You can go in a little while."
Matt's perma-frown didn't go away, but he did follow her downstairs. He started struggling when he saw her retrieve the rope from the garage, but when he said, "What is your damage? This is sick, Caroline. Let me go!", she just rolled her eyes and said, "Okay, you can follow me, or I can drag you. Capiche?"
Which was maybe overdoing it a little, but Matt followed her, so whatever.
She tied him up. It was kind of tragically hilarious, when she remembered all the things she'd daydreamed about doing before everything fell apart.
"I'm going to kill her," she muttered, yanking the ropes tight.
"No one." Caroline sighed. "We need...okay, hang on." She pulled out her phone and called Stefan.
"What's wrong?" Stefan said when he picked up.
"I have Matt tied up in my room. In the non-sexy, Katherine compelled him to do something probably evil and deadly way."
"You need vervain."
"That's what I was thinking. But I don't want to leave him until some is in his system."
"I'll send Elena over with some," he said. "Caroline - are you okay?"
"Of course not. I'm so sad I think my eyeballs are going to fall out." She sighed. "Just tell Elena to hurry, okay? This sucks."
"She'll be right over," Stefan said, and hung up. She could practically feel his brooding worry. Weirdo.
"Okay," Caroline muttered. "Okay." She sat down and folded her arms over her chest, looking at anyone but Matt. She really wanted to eat him. And have sex with him. Saving lives was so completely overrated.
Elena actually did arrive with the vervain after about twenty minutes, and then they could feed it to Matt and hang it around his neck, and about two hours after that the compulsion had faded and Caroline could compel him again and send him home. The second she did, she burst into tears. Elena, thank God, didn't say anything. She just hugged her and patted her back.
"Being a good person sucks," Caroline said.
"You did the right thing. I know that doesn't help, but - you did."
"You should go." Because Caroline could feel her anger and hatred building up and she liked Elena, okay, she wanted to keep her as a friend.
Elena apparently wanted to keep Caroline as a friend, too, because she got the message and stood up. "I'll be around if you need me. Just call, okay?"
Caroline sniffled and nodded.
"See you," Elena said, and left.
Two days later, she was passing the liquor store and Damon was coming out with two handles of vodka. The owner, Caroline would bet all of her money, was compelled.
"Oh my god," Caroline said. "That is so incredibly sketchy. Like - how? How are you so sketchy?"
"What? Liquor stores make a killing, it's not like I'm robbing an orphanage." Damon cocked his head. "This time."
"Give it up. You'd never rob an orphanage, they don't have any money or blood bags or anything."
"I didn't used to drink from blood bags, Caroline."
"Oh, so you ate a bunch of babies? Because heads up, that so does not count as robbery." Caroline crossed her arms. "Give them back."
"Why? I'll just go back and steal them later."
Totally valid point, but Caroline was still feeling totally crappy about Matt and she just didn't want to watch Damon Salvatore whistle his way back to the boarding house with stolen goods. "Just do it, okay?"
Damon did that weird bug-eyed/smirk combination. "Make me."
"You know I can't." Caroline narrowed her eyes. "But I totally can follow you around and annoy you until you give them back, and don't think I won't, mister. It's Sunday night, I have nothing better to do."
"You are very probably the worst baby vampire I have ever known."
"How hard for you."
"Oh, fine," Damon said. "God, you're annoying." He went back inside, put the bottles on the counter, and sped away.
Caroline knew he'd just come back, but she kind of felt better anyway. She was so neurotic these days, what the hell. She scowled at herself and kept walking.
It was a set in stone fact that Caroline hated Amy more than she hated most people, but even Amy didn't deserve to be bullied by Patricia Johnson. "Back off," Caroline said, getting in her face.
"Who's going to make me?"
"Um, hello? You are on like three committees I head. Are you hearing yourself? Do you really want to get on my bad side?"
So Patricia fled, and Amy was all grateful and saying how great Caroline was. Which was totally true, but also sort of annoying. "Okay, I get it," she said when Amy started comparing her to Eleanor Roosevelt, who she was writing her report on. "Run along."
To her surprise, Amy did. That was way too easy, Caroline thought, and went back to her table. Bonnie and Elena hadn't even noticed. Stefan gave her kind of a weird look, but Stefan was always giving her kind of weird looks. She didn't let it bother her. Water off a duck's back, she told herself, and stabbed her totally unappetizing salad.
She stopped muggers sometimes, and if she heard someone scream then she'd at least check it out. It wasn't tiring because realistically speaking, nothing could tire her out. Well, except Katherine and her machinations, but that was a whole other league of stuff.
Bonnie was the one who called her on it, of course. "Are you - "
"Before you say anything, remember that our friendship is on seriously thin ice, and I know I'm neurotic and crazy and just a total freak right now. Okay?"
Bonnie blinked. "I was just going to ask if you're okay. You seem kind of...intense lately. With all the crime-fighting."
"It's not crime-fighting," Caroline said. "I'm not Batman."
"Okay, yeah, sure," Bonnie said. "But you are going out of your way to save, you know. Everyone."
"I'm bored," Caroline said defensively. "Besides, Mystic Falls is my home."
"It's mine too. And Stefan's, and Elena's. But we're not -"
"Well, maybe you should."
"It's mostly a time thing."
"And I have tons of time, so I'm using it for the betterment of my fellow man or whatever. Can we be done talking about this?"
Bonnie sighed. "It's okay to want to defend Mystic Falls, you know."
"That makes me sound like I should have a sword and armor."
"We're going to have to fight Katherine soon. You know that's what it's building up to."
Caroline wanted to say something like 'you guys can fight, I'll run'. Instead, she said, "So?"
"I just think it's nice, okay? That you're doing this. I think it's good."
Caroline thought of Matt and felt a dull ache start in her stomach. "Yeah. Me too. Thanks."
Luckily, Bonnie let the subject drop.
They totally did have to do a final battle, and it sucked harder than Caroline had known things could suck. "Oh my God. I am covered in goo."
"For what it's worth, it looks good on you," Matt said. "Also - you're a vampire?"
"Yes." Caroline frowned at him. "Why do you care?"
"Because I care about things that happen to you, Care. We broke up, fine, that doesn't mean I don't care about you."
"You broke up with me," Caroline reminded him. "And I care about you, too, which is why I made you do it."
Total silence. Oops.
"Nothing. Forget I said anything." Caroline knew how sketchy it was, but the goo was seriously disgusting, so she just took her shirt off. When she looked up again, Matt was bright red.
Sadly, he wasn't also sufficiently distracted. "Why?"
Since there was pretty obviously no way she was getting out of this conversation, she bit the bullet and said, "Because I'm dangerous to be around, okay? I'm totally psychotic, and all vampire attract trouble like freaky magnets, and I might flip out and try to eat you again. It's just - it's horrible, okay? And you shouldn't have to be part of that."
"It was in the papers, the crime rate going down, you know. And you broke up with me to protect me."
It was a really good thing Caroline couldn't blush. "Is it non sequitur time?"
"You broke up with me to protect me and started fighting crime. And Katherine, who's an...evil vampire."
"No, I didn't."
"I think you kind of did, Care."
She crossed her arms and glared. "You don't have any proof."
"Stefan and Damon wouldn't do that. And you...you're that type."
"No I'm not!"
Matt bit his lip. "You are. And I know now, so -"
"Uh-uh." She held up a hand. "No. Absolutely not. I am not, under any circumstances, going to date you again, Matt Donovan, because then you'll die and that would suck so much I can't even think about it. So you're not allowed. Got it?"
"Sure," Matt said, and took a step forward.
Caroline couldn't seem to stop babbling. "And anyway, what did you mean, I'm that type? I keep telling people, I'm not Batman. It's not my fault I'm always around when people do dumb things, and anyway, Tyler's an asshole but he didn't exactly deserve to get eaten by some weird magic zombie, and robbing the hospital when it's not for blood is just low, and i had to break up with you, I had to, because things sucked and I was too nuts from vamping and I'm still nuts from it, and I don't want to hurt you or eat you, and - Matt!" Because now he was just a couple inches from her, and he was so warm and she could hear his blood rushing and she wanted him so badly and - "Are you even listening to me?"
"You're not Batman. Got it," Matt said, and kissed her.
There was no way this could work out. No way. But she'd missed him, and Katherine was dead, and also she was only in her bra and some really tight pants and he was warm and still alive.
And she loved him, and he was hers.
When they broke apart, she said, "We're going out to dinner tomorrow. And then we're going to have so much sex the bed breaks."
"Would that take a lot, with you?" Matt said.
He was smiling a little when he said it, like Caroline being an unstable vampire was awesome, or at least a little funny. So she had to kiss him again, just because.
Maybe this whole crazy protector thing would work out. If it got hard again, she was pretty sure she could guilt Stefan into helping. He was easy like that. And in the meantime, her newly minted boyfriend was lowering her onto the bed and she had superstrength, so she stopped thinking about Stefan Salvatore and flipped them over, straddling Matt and looking down at him.
He looked kind of hilarious, his face all scrunched up. "What?"
"Nothing. I'm glad you're alive and here and everything."
"Me, too," Matt said. He still looked a little confused, so Caroline leaned down to kiss him.
She wasn't nuts enough to be all, "Also, you're mine," but she thought maybe he got it anyway. And if he didn't, they had time for Caroline to find a non-creepy way to say it. In between fighting Mystic Falls' crime and school stuff - because hey, everybody needed a hobby.