I cannot with my life choices right now, okay. I decided yesterday I am going to slow the fuck down, prompt table or no prompt table, BUT INSTEAD, now I have 4000 words of Klaus/Caroline COLLEGE FIC on my hands. But it's for the wonderful florencia7 for a stunning prompt from an equally stunning poem (which i so totally did not live up to at all, um?) so I'm not too sorry about it. Except for the general awfulness, which, you know, I am overwriting myself, if that is a thing. Also this again gets non-comment-fic status, because it's too long. AGAIN. But hey, I'm actually trying to fill the prompts because I like you, flist :D
so you didn't grow up to be brigitte bardot
tvd | caroline; klaus/caroline | future-fic | pg-13 | 4000 | oneshot
“Your boyfriend,” he calmly turns a page, “is trying to impress you, but I’m not sure he’s quite right with his interpretation of what Nietzsche or Dostoyevsky were trying to say with the Übermensch.”
[He wants to say I love you, nothing can hurt you
but he thinks
this is a lie, so he says in the end
you're dead, nothing can hurt you
which seems to him
a more promising beginning, more true.]
In her second semester in college, Caroline decides she’d rather not be Caroline Forbes for a while.
Elena is silent for a moment, “I’m not sure how that works.” Her voice sound tinny and far away across the line, but Caroline can’t find her mobile and her crappily connected princess phone will have to do here.
She tucks a strand of hair behind her head, almost embarrassed and unable to understand why. It’s not like Elena’s going to judge her or anything, that’s ridiculous— but they both know that all Caroline’s ever wanted to be was Elena.
Had wanted, she amends in her head. Not anymore. Not after everything.
“I throw out my clothes,” Caroline explains. They’re neatly piled and categorized according to colors and material and patterns, and god, she’s going to throw this stuff out, it’s doesn’t need to be categorized for that, but it’s like she can’t help being a neurotic freak, she doesn’t know if she can throw that out along with the pink and glitter. You’d have thought being dead would change that, or something, “and buy, I don’t know, something not-me.”
“And then…you won’t be you?” Elena guesses. She sounds a little charmed by the idea, but mostly just worried, and Caroline wants to reassure her, it’s not like she’s in the Insecure! Abort Operation Life! stage of being a seventeen-year-old, it’s just, if she’s going to be freaking seventeen forever, she wants to be lots of different seventeen-year-olds. She wants to major in history, and go to feminist rallies, and parade across a ramp and just, do everything ever. But it’s kind of hard to explain, so she doesn’t say anything.
“That’s the plan,” she forces a smile on her face, so it’ll sound in her voice.
“You can always come back, you know,” Elena says softly, just like she always does. Sometimes, and it probably makes her an awful person, she can’t help hearing Elena’s voice saying all those things about her being clingy and how nobody wants to be around her. Which is crazy, because Elena wasn’t Elena at the time and it wasn’t her fault, but it was still Elena’s face and Elena’s voice and it’s kind of hard to remember the rest, sometimes.
“I know,” Caroline half-repeats, as she always does.
They both know she won’t.
She stares at the receiver in her hand for a beat, then keeps it down, picking up the bundle of clothes instead.
She’s surprised to find she’s not particularly surprised to see him leaning against the lecture hall of her Political Bonds in Late Medieval & Renaissance Italy seminar late August. Of everyone she knows, he’s the one she would have expected to come find her, no matter where she is. Which is kind of sad, if she thinks too long about it. So she doesn’t.
She’s wearing a shirt two sizes two big and an asymmetrical skirt and for a moment she feel self-conscious because she knows she doesn’t look half as pretty as that gorgeous red-head in her class, who just walked in before. But that is ridiculous, that is not who she is anymore, and she won’t allow him to make her that girl again.
“Caroline,” he acknowledges, and for a moment hearing his voice startles her because she’d almost forgotten the way her syllables fall off his foreign tongue.
She nods briefly, thinks of saying his name in reply, then decides against it. A group of her classmates going in, turn back to look at him, once, and then straighten their postures, and she wants to laugh for some reason. Wonders how it’d go down if she told them yeah, I know he’s the hot, older guy type, but a) you have no idea how old, okay and b) he’s also an unrepentant mass-murdering vampire in his spare time, so I'd re-evaluate those life choices, if I were you, and not expose more skin than absolutely necessary. Not very well, she'd imagine. They'd probably try to straightjacket her, but she could always eat them, so.
He raises his eyebrow as she turns back to him, and he probably caught her entire inner monologue and inexplicable jealousy somehow, because he looks a little amused.
She flushes, just the slightest bit, and ignores him after, wrapping her arms tighter around her books before going in, without looking back. That she can still feel his gaze on her back, kind of ruins the whole exit.
He’s standing there, in the exact same spot, a week later, when she’s coming out of a lecture that she didn’t quite catch because the droning of the professor put her to sleep, and she’s a vampire for chrissake, there should be some sort of an award.
“Í don’t want you here,” she says bluntly. God, people are going to begin to think he’s her boyfriend or something and no, just, no. For a moment the Caroline Forbes inside her brain tosses her blonde head and says something stupid about how there are worse things in the world than having her college not-girlfriends think she’s dating a hot, British guy, but she is not that Caroline Forbes. Not anymore.
He tsks in mock-disapproval. “Is that any way to treat a friend?”
She laughs outright at that, “we are not friends . We were never friends . Occasionally flirting with someone to try and execute plans to murder them does not a friendship make.”
If she’d expected him to be wounded by that, she would have been sorely disappointed, because his face shows no readable markers, apart from a quirking of his lips, which is definitely not the appropriate reaction here. “Really? I had no idea that’s what those disappointingly occasional, delightfully basic talks about my paintings were.”
“I don’t even know anything about paintings,” she mutters, because this is not going the way she'd imagined this. She hadn’t imagined this at all, but if she had, this isn’t the way she'd have imagined this; her clutching her books, and him leaning against the wall, in some ridiculous parody of an ordinary Lifetime TV Movie couple— except if they were a Lifetime movie she’d probably end up dead somewhere with her throat slashed and her mom hunting desperately for the killer, in a race against time. God, those movies are depressing, why does she even bother. It's so close to what could potentially happen in her life at any point in time, she cannot even with that.
“I could show you,” he says, in that intense brooding way that Stefan probably stole from him in their rip-roaring '20's days of magical pony friendship and debauchery. And apparently he still hasn’t given up on the whole showing her the world shtick. Joy.
“I'd take you up on that but, you know, your idea of painting just looks like you rolled around in the paint and then the canvas.” okay, so apparently her Goals For The Day include being killed by the guy who thinks she’s Beautiful, Strong, and Full Of Light. And potentially the most dangerous guy on the planet, no matter what the wounded, all-he-needs-is-love theatrics may suggest. Actually it would probably be kind of cool to be killed by the most powerful guy on the planet. Give a death some meaning, unlike-
She won't think about it. She won't.
He laughs outright, and what is happening. Isn’t Klaus the Drama Queen Extraordinaire who should be teary-eyed and quivering lipped by now, threatening to kill her or love her forever or something? Wasn’t that, like, his modus operandi? “I’ve missed you.”
“I’m sure,” she scoffs, “how comes along the pregnancy?”
For a moment something flashes across his face, before he schools it into blankness, and she’s pleased. It’s the first time he’s reacted the way she’d expected him to, “what?”
“Oh, you know,” she’s kind of enjoying this, “your Evil Wolf-Bitch begotten hybridized spawn of Satan?” Damn, she's been practicing that for a while for the eventuality that he might show up, but that she actually did get to say it is totally awesome.
“You heard about that,” he states, and for a moment he seems at a loss for words, and she thinks she may actually have missed this, just being a bitch to someone, because she’s trying to keep a low profile in college and that involves, well, not being a bitch. And she’s always particularly enjoyed being a bitch to him. She thinks he might enjoy it too, which is so fucked up, she can’t even.
“Yep,” she pops the 'p', doesn’t elaborate.
He appears to pull himself together, and turns on the charm like a faucet, like she can’t tell, which she obviously can, oh please, “So, Miss Forbes—”
“Look,” she interrupts, “I know the whole Twilight phenomenon and your overinflated ego may have given you the wrong impression as to how teenage girls react to being stalked by vampires, but I’m pretty sure it’s still illegal in all fifty states, so.”
He’s doesn’t say anything, and it automatically makes her go into word-vomit mode, “I just want to be…ordinary for a while, okay. I don’t want all the doom and gloom and deaths by the dozen and high melodrama and inevitable betrayal and high-speed car chases or what have you. I want to drink lots of filter coffee and read intellectual books, the kind that people say you should read, and watch movies in French without subtitles. So please, just go away.”
For a moment she expects him to say something dramatic, something like I love you, nothing can hurt you anymore, I swear.
Instead he says, “you’re already dead, what are you afraid of now, Caroline?”
She doesn’t answer. She leaves him standing again, as she walks to her off-the-campus apartment. It's a thing with them apparently.
She doesn’t see him around for a month, which probably means he’s gone. That somehow, for once he actually listened to her.
“Good,” she says out loud, and firmly shuts the voices in her head that seek to dissent. Her head is a dictatorship; there is no room for dissent. And anyway, hello, she’s not that Caroline Forbes.
And then he’s right there, in the corner table of the only halfway decent coffee place around campus and of course he didn’t leave. Fuck him.
She’s on a normal college date with a normal college boy who seems to have Nietzsche memorized by heart (— she doesn’t know if that’s normal, but it’s kind of hot anyway), and she leaves him mid-sentence with a hurried excuse to go over.
“What are you doing here,” she hisses.
He raises his eyes from his book, and gives her this politely confused look, because yeah, that’s fooling her. “I thought it obvious?” He raises his book, as if she’s half brain-dead and it may not be obvious to her.
“This is my campus,” she says, possessively, like she’s personally staked it out. Stakes. Dammit. It’s like his being here just won’t let her forget even for a second.
“Maybe I’m thinking of applying for a teaching job,” he shrugs, his shoulders moving beneath the expensively cut suit, and the idea is so ridiculous it makes her pause for a full thirty seconds.
“You can’t teach,” she says blankly, because Klaus, teaching . Klaus getting paid for talking about high art and culture and showing people the world, standing on a platform in a tweed coat being mentally undressed by the co-eds. Jesus.
“Au contraire, I can and I have.” he nods his head, as if to give himself more credence. “Several times in fact. A thousand years is a very long time.”
“Don’t play stupid,” and she’s angry right now, that is what this is, she's furious, “I thought I told you to leave.”
“Caroline,” he says, evenly, “I wasn’t aware my presence was such a nuisance that you can’t stand my drinking coffee and reading a book from halfway across the room.”
There’s no adequate reply to that, so she settles for a passive-aggressive, “as long as you stay within twenty feet of me at all times,” before attempting to stalk off.
“He’s wrong, you know?”
She turns around, his head is bent over his book, and it’s so…normal, it makes something in her ache, just a little. “Excuse me.” She can’t even tell if he actually spoke at all.
“Your boyfriend,” he calmly turns a page, “is trying to impress you, but I’m not sure he’s quite right with his interpretation of what Nietzsche or Dostoyevsky were trying to say with the Übermensch.”
That’s just— “are you listening in?”
He looks up then, in this mock-tired way that sets her teeth on the edge, “Not deliberately. Hybrid hearing, you know, it’s a curse, really.”
She wants to say something cutting to that, but she’d been listening to him breathe for five solid minutes before coming over, because it was impossible to tune out, so she’s not sure how much of a high-ground she has here. She could pretend anyway, but she’s tired too. “How would you know anyway, you don’t know everything there is to know about everything, okay.”
“Not everything there is to know about everything,” he repeats agreeably, in a tone that suggests he knows most things about most things, and he probably needs a goddamn planning order to fit that ego in when he buys houses, “but that’s not exactly how Friedrich put it.”
“And you know this because you were BFFs with Friedrich, I’m guessing?”
She stops and stares at his expression for a second, because oh god, apparently he was. “Shut up , you were so not ? ” She cringes at the teenage-ness of the statement, and how exactly is he managing to do this every single time.
“Not BFFs, precisely,” she can see the laughter in his eyes, “just the occasional dinner guest.”
“Did you compel him to be friends with you?” she demands, “because that’s cheating.” It’s just, sometimes she forgets that being a thousand-year-old vampire involves being a thousand years old and he’s probably lived through all that stuff she’s watching slides on in her seminar, and damn, that is so weird. And kind of cool. She's going to live to see the history that goes into books two centuries later. Sometimes, she just forgets.
“I know the concept is foreign to you, since you're so delightfully immune to my charms, but they actually do work on the few odd people.” He smiles in this totally semi-flirty way at the waitress, who blushes in the process of replacing his coffee cup, probably to give her a firsthand demonstration of the working of his charms. And so, he’s hot, big deal. Caroline is hot too. It means nothing.
“It doesn’t matter what they meant,” she says defiantly, “the author is dead.” Okay, so that was kind of lame, but that’s pretty much all she remembers from the Barthes seminar from the day before; the title of the seminar. "You're so vain, you probably think you're the original model for the Nietzschean overman." God, she's not even sure she's pronouncing the name right, because Klaus is saying it in this posh way that she just can't copy. Why don't these thinkers or philosophers or whatever ever have simple names like Fredrick Smith? Did their parents know people like her would be forced to spell them out centuries later and name them in a misanthropic fit?
"I probably do," he agrees, pleasantly.
“You’re trying to impress me too,” she continues, when his only other response is to toast her silently with his new cup of coffee and go back to his stupid book. And why is she continuing anyway, this is so stupid, “with the Nietzsche thing.”
He keeps the book down and grins at her. Like, actually grins. “Kind of, yes.”
She can’t— there’s no— so she turns to go back, but when she looks at her table, her date is gone and her watch tells her it’s been thirty five minutes and that’s impossible . She couldn’t have stood and talked to Klaus of her own free volition for thirty-five minutes. It must have been five, and her stupid watch is wrong, and her stupid date is a moron and this is so, so—
“He was not my boyfriend,” she says unnecessarily, and she’s pretty sure that was the non-sequitur to end all non-sequiturs.
“Will you have dinner with me?” he says, smoothly.
“No,” she says, and slings her bag more firmly over her shoulder. It’s getting to be kind of a habit, she thinks, as she walks away. Again. She could almost get used to this.
“I thought I told you no,” she says, then handle still in her hand to slam the door on his face. Although she can't if he won't let her, because Super Creepily Fast Hybrid Guy or whatever, but she likes to pretend sometimes anyway.
He raises that stupid eyebrow again, and what is that, like a medical condition or something where he just can’t help being a monumentally annoying jackass? “So I dreamed that phone-call to the contrary, then?”
“I was drunk.” She says, because it’s the whole truth and nothing but. This getting-drunk-alone is a new “college thing” and she’s not sure she likes it very much. But she's turning into a misanthrope, just like Nietzsche's parents, which interferes with the being-with-people thing a lot. People just plain suck.
He looks closely at her, “you look like you’re pretty flammable still.”
“Want to light me on fire and see?” she suggests, and dammit, that sounds like she’s flirting, which she is so not, so she adds, “so yeah, all clarified, you can run along now and chase your tail or whatever it is you hybrid folk do.”
“But I bought Chinese take-out,” he raises his hand and what is this bizarre-land anyway. Klaus is at her apartment, in clothes so casual, he could be a model for Gap, and he has Chinese take-out? Did she get drunk, fall over, hit her head and wake-up in the darkest timeline where this sort of stuff regularly happens?
But, then again, Chinese take-out is Chinese take-out.
She opens the door, silently, and lets him enter. He doesn’t even need an invitation, because hey, it’s in her name, and she’s dead. So that’s that.
“You’ve changed your style a bit,” he’s glancing down at her loose pants and her paint splattered I'm-An-Artist-Okay shirt. What, like he has the monopoly on the bad painting market. Please.
“You’re such a girl,” she mutters. “So what, I’m no longer pretty and you’re not in love with me anymore? Can we say kiddie pool?”
She hates the way he says it, without any inflections whatsoever, like it’s so obvious . La-di-dah. Give the girl a few compliments, and watch her melt. Well, she’s not the old Caroline anymore. So, nice try there, buster, but the house always wins.
“I’m going for ordinary actually,” she glares, as he sits down on her couch, which basically just offends her sensibilities, because it’s Klaus, sitting down on her couch, and no vacuum is strong enough for this. And he’s the only person she’s known from... before who's sat on this couch at all.
It makes her sad. That’s what it makes her, she decides. It makes her sad. She’s too drunk for this right now. She has to be a whole new level of pathetic for a vampire in the history of ever.
“I don’t know why,” he picks up the glass curio from her table and turns it in his hands. She resists the urge to snatch it from his hands, because that is supremely childish. And she? She’s not girly, little Caroline. Not anymore.
“What does that mean.” that was just setting herself up for going there. Why is she so stupid always.
He shrugs, and then he’s looking straight at her, and she didn’t even realize she was avoiding his gaze till she wasn’t anymore. “You wouldn’t have been ordinary if you’d remained human, Caroline. I don’t see why you have to start because you’re a vampire.”
It makes her pause, that. For a moment.
“Bonnie is dead,” she says, finally. And she’s not even angry or hurt or lost or grief stricken, she’s mostly just tired; “Tyler is dead.”
Caroline Forbes doesn't deserve to be happy ever again because half the people she's ever loved are dead, and not the undead kind of dead, but the dead kind of dead and if she can still laugh or smile or love after that, then that makes her an awful, terrible, no-good person, who deserves to be staked for being such an awful, terrible, no-good person, who apparently can so easily get over people dying. People she'd loved. People who'd loved her. It's just- hard- to be Caroline Forbes; she'd basically just rather... not. Be Caroline Forbes.
He doesn’t say anything for a while, and she’s glad, because if he’s told her it was going to be okay, she’d have screamed. Considering he threatened Tyler’s life for, like a year, himself. And that is never ever going to be okay with her. He is never going to be okay with her.
“You’re not,” he points out, eventually. And she has a feeling he wanted to add something there about protecting her always, and she’s so glad he doesn’t, it’s almost a physical relief. "You're not dead."
“No,” she says, because very fucking much alive here, ain’t that the truth, “no.”
The silence lasts so long, it's almost like being alone again, before he walks over, and busies himself with forks and spoons in her kitchen and then it’s suddenly all so terribly domestic, she doesn’t even know what is happening anymore.
She picks up her third Bourbon shot, Damon would be so proud. “Do you think I’ll ever have one?”
“One what?” he asks, absently. He’s discovered her corn stripper, and he doesn’t seem to know what to do with it, and it makes her want to laugh and it makes her want to cry, and god, she’s such a mess right now.
“A child,” she vaguely watches, as his hand stills, “I mean you did. And it can't just be that your child is the reincarnation of someone paying really heavily for their past sins... and, well, you’re part vampire.” She doesn't tell him that she'd lay awake all night when she'd first heard, and thought something stupid and hopeful and old-Caroline-esque like- maybe- because, well, because it's none of his business.
“I think” he says, slowly, “it might have been more to do with the werewolf gene and not—”
She nods, because of course it was, “so I’ll never.”
“I don’t know,” could he not be so…gentle right now, because it’s freaking her out.
“Thought you knew everything about everything,” she mumbles.
“Not,” he stops, but doesn’t laugh this time, “everything about everything.”
And god, it hits her so suddenly, she doesn’t even know how she missed it. She knows what he’s doing here with the clothes and the take-out and this nearly-date-night-Friday thing. And the lack of emo paintings depicting his inner tortured soul. And not a single mention of showing her the world or his usual Browning-esque Dramatic Monologues of Doom.
He’s doing ordinary.
Fuck. He’s actually in love with her.
“You wait here,” she says, and her voice sounds scratchy, like it hasn’t been used in very long, which, considering she hasn’t stopped talking at all even, is definitely not true, “I’m going to change. And if you mess with anything that you don’t absolutely have to touch, I will personally make sure I break your heart in the most painful, devastating, excruciating way possible, and I can, because you’re ridiculously much in love with me.”
She can see him trying to hide a smile, so he’s obviously not trying very hard. But, whatever, Caroline Forbes does not entertain a hot mass-murdering hyrbid in her house without looking her sexiest best.
And she should know; she’s Caroline Forbes.