It happens at the turn of the twenty-first century.
Klaus finally snaps, fed up with Finn’s insistence that they stop killing or turning innocents. When he should be thankful that Finn has backed down from ‘stop feeding period’, Klaus is instead angry. His anger leads him to the thing that Caroline has forbidden him from doing -- daggering his siblings. Though he’s had the weapons for almost as long as they’ve been alive, he’s never used them.
They’re quite easy to use, he finds, and almost...fun. Just stab, and your annoying prat of a brother is silent. Good think he has more than one.
Caroline does not share his sentiments. No, instead she is angry. Her anger leads her to the thing that Klaus has insisted will not happen, now or ever -- an ultimatum saying that, if he wants to sleep in the same bed as her, he’ll not only wake Finn up, apologize, and vow to never do it again, he’ll also feed on animals or bags to prove his sincerity.
“Absolutely not,” he growls, not caring about the audience. He and his siblings live in each other’s pockets, anyway, so what does it matter if they see?
Caroline puts her hands on her hips and gives him The Look -- the one that’s always meant he’ll back down, right now, or suffer grave consequences. He shuts himself up tight to ward it off, even though it’s never worked before. “If you don't, then….” She trails off, grasping for a threat. He knows she won’t find one that won’t also hurt her -- he has the same problem. Sleep on the couch? Then they don’t get to cuddle. Eat or feed alone? Then there’s no banter. Life is boring without his wife, even when he’s mad at her.
He taunts, “then what?”
He wishes he didn’t, in retrospect.
She steels herself, ignores Kol’s cackling, and says, “then I’ll leave.”
Kol cuts off with a choke, and all eyes are on them, even Elijah’s. He barely notices, though, too caught up with Caroline to worry about what his siblings are doing.
At first, he doesn’t believe her. Every other time she’s said that, it was a joke. He wasn’t painting her enough, she wasn’t getting enough loving in bed, he’d argued with his siblings again, etc. He’s even said it to her -- when she spends more time with his younger siblings than she does with him, or when their banter moves in that direction. But it’s never been something serious.
“I don’t believe you,” he says simply. He’s found over the years that she’ll back down if he’s cold enough. Then again, she’s found it to be true the other way around.
Her eyes narrow dangerously, and for a moment, he’s worried. Maybe he needs to shut up, unstab Finn, and do whatever she says. But then her face smoothes out, and all she says is, “you’re right, I’m not leaving. But you’re still sleeping on the couch.” Then she flounces off, Kol at her heels.
It’s a win but not a victory, because that night, he can’t sleep without her by his side. He falls asleep so late he can see the sun rising through the windows. He’ll paint it for her, is his last thought before he finally sleeps.
When he wakes up, he has all kinds of plans to make sure she lets him keep Finn comatose. There’s no chance she’ll just let Finn rot, not unless Klaus coaxes her. He’s thinking Paris, a bottle of champagne, and hours spent with his head between her lovely thighs. He’s done that many times, but it's always worked like a charm.
There’s one problem, though, one thing stopping that from becoming reality again.
She’s nowhere to be found. Not in bed, not in the kitchen, or the studio, or in town. She’s gone.
Ten years later, Caroline is really starting to regret going home.
She’d chosen Mystic Falls as a way to be someone else, while still being the girl she once was. She saw it as a way to be new and old at the same time.
Well, she’s gotten over that.
Being human again was nice, even though she’d never truly been one. She’s happy being a vampire in the eyes of her companions, because every single one is surprised at the tricks she knows. Even Damon Salvatore, whose eyes stay firmly on two parts of her body and who believes himself to be the better vampire, is in awe when she does things not even he knows.
She’s sorely tempted to tell him that Stefan is the older vampire in their case, and she’s roughly five times their age. Knocking him down a peg is so very nice. (The face makes when he’s baffled makes her inner blood-thirsty self want to pounce.)
He reminds her of her husband in those thoughts. Klaus is always on his high horse; seeing him fall off can be quite enjoyable.
“Caroline!” A voice calls from the living room. It’s Elena and the Salvatores, by the sound of their feet. She sits up in bed, makes sure nothing is spilling out of her tank top, and doesn’t have to wait very long before the doppelganger and the brothers are in her room.
Tangent time: the doppelganger. It was a happy accident that she lived in the town Caroline picked. What isn’t a happy accident is Caroline keeping her existence a secret from Klaus. She has no idea how she’ll justify it to him but for now, she isn’t worrying about it. Much.
Second tangent: does anyone in this little gang have any idea what boundaries are? Honestly, they barge into her room whenever they want. Bonnie has gotten quite a show several times. Regrettably, so has Stefan. And Matt….and Elena. Maybe she can get Liz to invest in a lock for her room. Asking Liz for things is easy, even without Maddox and Greta helping her maintain the spell on Mystic Falls. She doesn’t have to strengthen it around her supposed mother, mostly because of bloodlines but also because Liz was so lonely her mind has embraced the idea of a daughter completely.
Enough of that, though. Caroline has been forcing herself to stop thinking so much, lately. It was almost affecting the spell -- her anxiety and unease can cause ripples, apparently. If she were anymore like her husband, then Greta and Maddox would certainly be dead by now. Good thing she’s much kinder, then, and can deal with small problems like normal people.
But seriously. Back to real life, now.
Elena’s said something. Caroline’s heard nothing, though it’s not uncommon for her to ignore the garbage the girl spews. There’s a moment they just stare at each other, ending with Elena caving and looking away. It’s hard not to let a smug smile show; after years of winning against Klaus and being insufferable afterwards, it’s become a habit.
Caroline blinks at Elena, making herself look stupid, and asks, “come again?”
Damon instantly gets a sour look on his face, like he can’t stand her. She can’t help but think that if he pulled that face around Klaus, he would die instantly. The thought makes her smile.
“Have you ever heard of Elijah?” Elena says again, waving her hands.
Caroline’s blood turns to ice. “Elijah? Why do you ask?”
“You don’t know?” Damon asks snidely. Caroline ignores him so hard it must permanently dent his ego.
“When I woke up, there were these two vampires there, Rose and Trevor. Some stuff happened, mostly talking, then a vampire named Elijah came, apparently to take me to a guy named Klaus. He got staked, and we left his body there. We just got back.” She pulls a confused face. “I told Matt to tell you what happened.”
Caroline’s first thought is ‘oh shit’. Her second is ‘why does the guy on the fringes of the drama know these things before me?’. Her third is ‘oh shit ’.
Because not only will Elijah, who is definitely not dead, be pissed, he’ll bring Klaus with him, and Klaus will also be pissed.
She figures she has two options here: tell the babies about the Originals (maybe even being one of them) or tell her family where to find a doppelganger, vampire, and werewolf. The first option is stupid but loyal; she wants to keep some friends, mainly Bonnie, and that’s the best way to do so. Option two is difficult but right; she’ll have to talk to the family she walked away from, but considering she spent a thousand years with them, it should be fine. She hopes.
In the end, Caroline picks the third option: wait it out. She knows what she wants to do, what she should do, and what is right, but...she just can’t decide. It’s probably too much to hope it doesn’t come back to bite her in the ass.
It should be painfully obvious. Klaus enjoys attention like Caroline enjoys being loved. And what better way to get that attention than to be as dramatic as possible?
She knows this as an essential part of her husband. She’s never known him without his need of attention being center stage. So why on Earth does she not expect it? How could she have not guessed it?
When their eyes meet, it’s like he’s asking her the same thing.
He’s standing at the end of the table in The Grill, ignoring everyone sitting with her, and looking all kinds of delicious. Hair a little shorter than the last time they saw each other, clothes casual but fitted, his devil-may-care expression firmly in place….
She shifts obviously, and his smirk speaks volumes. His eyes have a spark of confusion behind them, but the way his lips are twisted up are reassured, no questions there.
Elena speaks, breaking them from the gaze. The words don’t compute, and Caroline doesn’t even try to understand.
When Caroline left, she thought she would just be waiting until Klaus undaggered Finn, but then he didn’t, and she met Greta, who, along with Maddox, gave her this charmed little life. All these years, she’s kept Klaus mostly out of her thoughts. It’s easier to ignore his existence than it is to remember their centuries together. But seeing him has shattered her life here -- she can’t go so long without him. Not again.
“I’m Klaus,” he says to Elena, voice light and friendly. He slides into the booth next to her, ending up pressed against her side when she doesn’t move to make room. Instead of touching her or even looking at her, he pays her no mind. All he does is say, “I’m sure you know why I’m here.”
Caroline’s face turns hard, for appearance’s sake. On the inside, though, she’s practically purring. He used his danger voice, the one he always uses before a massacre. While she finds violence abhorrent, he’s always looked good blood splattered and wild. It’s so easy to just like the flecks off his chest --
His eyes slide over to her, smug as ever. His eyebrow quirks, no words needed for him to communicate. She rolls her eyes, both for her friends and also because of course he knows what she’s thinking. Somehow, he always does.
Elena watches their interaction like a hawk, probably so she can report it back to the Salvatores. She doesn’t comment on it, though, instead saying, “you won’t get away with it. Rose told me why you’re doing this.” Trying to make her voice sound big and tough is not small and gentle Elena’s forte, and it’s painfully obvious. “There’s no reason to kill me so all the vampires on the planet can get some sunlight.”
Klaus tilts his head, attention back on the doppelganger. Caroline slinks an inch away, but he scoots again so the space is gone. With a laugh in his voice, he says, “is that what you think this is?”
That throws the girls on the other side for a loop. They’re thinking, do we really know what Klaus wants?
The answer is clearly no, and Caroline feels extremely grateful in that moment. If they find out what he really wants, they will never forgive her.
Half an hour later, Caroline is pressed up against a brick wall not far from The Grill. Bonnie and Elena are...somewhere, she doesn’t really care. All she cares about is getting her explanation out.
“I was angry with you for daggering Finn, and I thought it would do you well to have some consequences to your actions,” at this he scoffs, but she continues without rising to the bait, “so I left. I thought you’d wake him up and then I would return, but after a week without Finn walking around, I left the city. I kept tabs for the first six months, but you weren’t budging, so I stopped.”
She pauses, taking him in. With his jaw clenched and blank face, he seems irritated. When he talks, though, he sounds the kind of calm that doesn’t mean he’s enraged. “I wasn’t worried about him, I was worried about you . You were gone, no trace of you anywhere, and...I wasn’t sure I’d be able to find you.” He grits it out, even though the words hold meaning. He never cares when Kol runs away, not seriously, at least.
Her demeanor softens, and she pulls him closer. They’ve gone much more than ten years apart before, but never because one of them ran away. Each time, they end up back in bed (or a bathtub, a couch, a hallway, once) very quickly after. She hopes it can be the same way this time, after they talk, of course.
“I hid from you,” she says simply. “I did it because I was still mad at you, and then, after a while, I’d been gone too long to just come back. It sounds stupid, I know, but,” she sighs, not finishing her sentence. “I travelled for about six years, then I moved to Richmond. I met a witch there named Greta, who eventually told me she owed you a favor. And what’s yours is mine, right, so I asked her to help me settle down somewhere. She knows this spell that can charm a whole town, makes them think you’ve always been there. And I chose Mystic Falls.”
“And you chose this wretched town because…?”
Looking him right in the eye, she answers, “not because of the doppelganger. I didn’t even know she was here. I chose here because it’s home.” Because it’s nice to reminisce about our marriage , she doesn’t say, but like always, he hears.
“Home? This bit of land isn’t home, we are. You should have stayed.”
“You should have done as I said,” she counters, because this isn’t all her fault and no way is he going to blame it on her. “I told you, use those daggers and there’d be consequences. This isn’t the eleventh century, and you aren’t the boss of the family anymore. You don’t get to lay on the blame on my shoulders.”
With so little space between them, she can feel the way he relaxes against her. “I love your fire,” he says, flashing a wicked smile. “Even when it leads to...all this. We’re both to blame,” not me , he doesn’t say, but she hears and she’s not cool with it, don’t be fooled, “and we both have some apologizing to do. I say we get started now, hmm?”
He quirks his eyebrow again, cajoling, but she has no time for that. As cute as it is, her husband is good at convincing her to distract her, especially when she won’t stand to be distracted.
With a stony face, she demands, “is Finn still daggered? Are any of them daggered?”
“No and no, love.” He seems sincere, but he seemed sincere when he said he liked her poor attempt at calligraphy back in the sixteen hundreds, and he was lying then.
Caroline gives him her bitch-please face, to which he gives her his I’m-an-angel face. There’s a momentary stand off, with her standing on her tiptoes to be eye-to-eye.
It’s not long before they’re in her bed, reconnecting. He’s got her moaning again in no time, and vice versa.
It’s really too bad that Elena barges in and gets an even bigger show than last time.