After Caroline hears about Klaus and the were-slut, she books a plane ticket. It's cowardly, and so pre-vampire Caroline that she almost wants to scream, but she just has to get out.
Damon comes to see her while she's frantically packing her entire closet into the biggest suitcase she can find. He sits on her bed, observing her with a quiet indifference that tells her Stefan was the one who convinced him to come try and stop her.
Caroline can't help but remember the last time he was in her room, back when she had been a weak, dependent human. She shudders and increases her packing speed.
"Come on, Blondie. You can't just leave. What about graduation? College? Elena?" Damon said, lounging against her pillows.
"None of that matters anymore. I need to get out of here."
"You'll regret it."
She stiffened, holding her favorite pair of jeans in one hand and the entire contents of her t-shirt drawer in the other.
"Just try and make me stay, Damon. Give it your best shot. Try and convince me that it's best for me to stay here and be constantly beaten down and disappointed. Tyler is gone. My best friend is practically inhumane, and my other best friend is planning the mass murder of 12 people. I'm done with this town. There's nothing left for me here anymore."
Damon looked at her, and she knew that somewhere in the deep recesses of his mind, he was remembering her as the girl he had met three years ago.
He got up and slowly walked to where she stood. He looked into her eyes, and Caroline knew that he was either going to snap her neck or stab her in the back with a syringe filled with vervain.
"That's your problem, Blondie. You think it's that easy. To just leave your home, to leave behind the people who helped shape you into who you are. Yeah, you'll leave for a few years. Maybe even a decade or two. But after a while, you're going to want to come home. And if you leave now, by the time you feel that way, there won't be a home to come back too."
It was then that Caroline realized that Mystic Falls was not just her home, but Damon's as well. Hell, even Klaus had been born here. And they all came back, just a little too late to be saved.
She looked him straight in the eye and said, with as much indifference and courage as she could muster, "That's a risk I'm willing to take."
Damon just sighed, and dropped his gaze. He surveyed her room, then looked back at her.
"Good luck, Caroline. I don't know what you're doing. I don't even get why you're leaving. But if there's anyone who deserves to get out of this shit hole, it's you."
He walks out after that. Damon never was one for unnecessary goodbyes or emotions. It was all superfluous to him.
But as she's frantically looking around her room trying to find the stuffed bear her dad got her for her tenth birthday, Caroline realizes that's probably the nicest thing Damon Salvatore has ever said to her.
Before Caroline can finish the Mystic Falls chapter of her infinite life, there was one more thing she had to do.
She knew it wouldn't be easy, most likely the hardest thing she ever had to do. But it had to be done.
And when she walked into the Mystic Grill and locked eyes with Matt, he knows too.
They go into the alley behind the Grill, a place where she used to meet him after his shifts were over during those few, blissful months they were together. She hopes he remembers that too.
She also hopes he won't hate her forever for what she's about to do.
"What are you doing, Care?" Matt asks, in that sweet, bewildered way only he can pull off. She's been staring at the same chip in the brick wall for almost a full minute. She shakes herself, and squares her shoulders.
Caroline knows that he hasn't ingested vervain in almost a full week. What was the point anymore? If a vampire truly wanted to get information from you, they would just threaten your loved ones or torture you until they got what they wanted.
It was ironic how the one thing that could weaken a vampire could also be used against their prey.
Caroline looks deep into the blue eyes of her first true love, and tries to save him like no one ever tried to save her.
"Matt… I want you to forget everything about this town. You were born in Denver. You're a high school quarter back, whose life has been pretty good for the past 18 years. Your name is Alex Young, and you're going to be attending college in the fall. You're so excited, but also a little scared. It's your first time ever being away from home."
She stops to take a breath and collect her thoughts. Or maybe to swallow the sudden lump in her throat.
"You've never heard of Mystic Falls. I want you to go home and pack all of your things, and get as far away from here as possible. You're to take a road trip across the United States, as a graduation present from your parents. I never want you to come within 50 miles of this place ever again. No matter who tries to stop you before you leave, I want you to run like hell, and get our of here. And most of all, I want you to forget this conversation, and the love you once held for this town and the people in it."
A few seconds later, the one time love of Caroline Forbes blinks and shook his head, as if trying to remember something very important.
A slow smile spreads over his face as he walks down the sidewalk, heading home to get ready for his road trip. He was due to leave in a few hours, after all.
"Hey Matt," a voice yells. He looks startled as a young boy approaches him, and glances around trying to find this Matt.
"Sorry man, I think you've got the wrong guy," he says to the boy. "My name is Alex. I'll catch you later though."
Alex walked away, already forgetting about the incident. He's too excited, looking forward to the changes that are about to take place in his life.
Man, he thought to himself, as he walked, this is gonna be the best year of my life.
Caroline is at the airport waiting for her flight to board when she sees him.
She's always gotten to the airport obscenely early, a habit ingrained upon her from her mother, whose worst fear was missing a flight. So that's why she's sitting in gate 87B, 2 hours early with only last months Vogue and her iPhone for company.
After playing all the new levels in Angry Birds and thumbing through the magazine a few times, she's sufficiently bored. She's just toying around with getting a quick bite to eat when she feels it.
Something in the air shifts imperceptibly, but to Caroline, it feels as if her entire axis of being has been thrown off kilter.
She stiffens in her seat, and furtively begins scanning the surrounding area. He couldn't possibly be here, right? Sure, she hadn't exactly kept her departure a secret, but she assumed he would be too busy with that were-slut to hear that she was leaving.
He's in the airport bar. It's not a surprise; Klaus has always struck her as a day drinker.
When they lock eyes, he makes his intentions perfectly clear. She can see by the way he throws back his bourbon, and by the way his jaw sets when he glances up to find her looking at him. He knows he screwed up.
Caroline stays seated, even after he beckons her with two fingers. She reminded herself about the future, and of all the beautiful things she has yet to see.
Because if Caroline is being honest with herself, she knows that if she goes and talks to him, she would abandon all of those dreams just to follow him.
Klaus sighs when he realizes Caroline isn't going to come to him. He throws down a few bills on the bar, and makes his way over to her.
She doesn't even look at him when he sits down. That's okay.
He's not sure if he wants to look into her eyes and see how much he truly hurt her.
"You compelled Matt." He states, staring straight ahead.
Caroline sighed, deflating a bit. The little fight that had remained within her was gone, leaving behind a twinge of regret and the strong urge to rip out someone's jugular.
"He deserves more than that town," She says. "He was always better than the rest of us. I didn't want him to continue to be caught up in the problems of vampires and werewolves. I want him to have the chance at a happy life."
Klaus doesn't say anything to that, just shakes his head in amazement. This girl was always going to be too good for him, he knew that. He just hadn't realized the level of love she had for her old life.
"Caroline…" He said, finally turning his head to look at her. He knew nothing he could say would make up for the hurt he had inflicted upon her. But he wanted to try and make her see that he felt some amount of remorse.
"But love, I have too-"
"Don't, Klaus." she stated more clearly, through her teeth. She's sure if she had been human, she would have broken her jaw with the force she grit her teeth. "I don't have it in me too hear your excuses."
She's not looking at him. But through the corner of her eye, she can see him let out a defeated breath.
"I don't have any excuses, Caroline. What happened with Hayley... I don't feel bad about it."
Caroline finally looks at him, shock evident in her eyes.
"Excuse me?" she practically snarled.
"I have no reason too. It was the scratching of an itch, purely primal instinct. I feel nothing for her, nor will I ever."
She's still glaring at him, with the most hate she can muster.
"It's always been you, Caroline. It will always be you, even when girls are at my disposal and completely willing. No matter who I fuck or show compassion too, no one will ever compare to you. You're my light, Caroline."
She's still silent. Klaus sighs, and finally says what he came to say.
"I'm always going to be there for you. I'll always be waiting for you. You go do what you have to do, and come back to me when you're ready. Be it a year, or a century, I won't forget."
Klaus gets up to leave, having said his piece. He shoots her a lingering look, then turns to leave. He's walking away when he hears the last words he will hear her utter for a long time.
"You're going to be waiting for a long time then."
He turns to face her, dimples and cocky smirk in place.
"Well love, that's a risk I'm willing to take."
It's only when she's boarding her flight to Barcelona an hour later that she realizes he quoted her conversation with Damon back to her.
She forces him from her mind, and tries to think things not involving Klaus, Mystic Falls, vampirism, or the life she left behind.
After all, there's a whole world out there for her to explore now.