Author: tmbreck / eclectic_tongue / eclectic / Lilbreck
Characters: Anna Zhu, Bonnie Bennett, Caroline Forbes, Elena Gilbert, Elijah Mikaelson, Elizabeth Forbes, Finn Mikaelson, Jeremy Gilbert, Klaus Mikaelson, Kol Mikaelson, Mason Lockwood, Pearl Zhu, Rebekah Mikaelson, Sheila Bennett, Stefan Salvatore
Word Count: 4,250
A/N: A huge thanks, as always, goes to my wonderful beta velvetwhip. This time more so than others, since she's being forced to read fanfic for a show she has no interest in watching. Though I list a lot of characters, and some of them actually do get dialog, some of them just pass through.
Caroline had no time to rest after she, Klaus, and Sheila got back to Mystic Falls. They had made it back to the Mikaelson's home –she couldn't help but refer to it as a mansion in her mind—and she had her hand on the driver side door handle when suddenly there was a vampire beside her where there hadn't been one before. She allowed herself to take a deep breath and tried to ignore how ragged it sounded before she turned and looked at Kol.
"I take it you've waited long enough for your explanation?"
His smile was almost friendly, but with too much… chaos in it. He wasn't someone that Caroline would normally trust, but she really didn't have a choice. She had made a promise, after all. She waved off Sheila's concerned look and got into the car. Hopefully, Kol was a bit more stable than he first appeared.
Twenty minutes later they sat in Caroline's car across from the Grill as she made the burger she had ordered quickly disappear. At Kol's impatient sigh –his third in as many minutes, and she honestly hadn't expected him to be this patient—Caroline stopped chewing and looked at him. She swallowed her bite and did the best she could to defend herself.
"I was stuck in a car for eight hours with Bonnie's Grams and your brother Klaus. There was no stopping for food. And, yes, I know I technically don't need to eat, but I'm still trying to figure out how to say what I need to without sounding totally insane. Please just give me a minute, here!"
One of these days, Caroline figured her lack of brain to mouth filter in stressful situations would get her hurt, if not killed. Kol was looking at her like he was thinking of ripping out her heart, so she gave him her best puppy dog eyes and hoped for the best. Apparently, there was something in the Mikaelson gene pool that had a fondness for cute little blonde baby vampires, because he soon relaxed against the back of his seat and waited.
Finally, the burger was finished, her hands thoroughly wiped with a paper napkin, and she couldn't put it off any longer. This could go so very, very wrong. Taking a deep breath, Caroline jumped right into the deep end.
"A large group of dead witches sent me back in time about two years to stop Silas from waking up and potentially raining down supernatural hell on the world as well as killing my best friend."
Taking a moment, Caroline decided to be totally honest and went with, "Okay, I came back just to save my friend, they sent me back to stop Silas."
Looking over at Kol, she could see he was nearly ready to laugh and didn't believe her. However, he apparently decided to humor her a bit.
"And these witches just decided that sending back a baby vampire was the best shot they had?"
While she knew he was nowhere close to believing her, she kept going, hoping that she could convince him.
"Well, they weren't going to send me at first. I did… kind of kill twelve of them which helped Silas get that much closer to dropping the veil between worlds," When she saw that he was slowly going from amused to not amused, she held up a finger, silently begging for a moment and rushed on, "which I did to save my friend who they were about to kill. Those witches were going to actually stop the spell that was sending me back, but you convinced them that I wouldn't fuck up."
His voice was cold when he asked, "And why would I do that, darling?"
And here was where she started to tread on really dangerous ground.
"We had a deal. You would convince the witches to help my friend send me back, and I'd let you in on all our plans to stop Silas, deliver a message to you, as well as stop you from…" Looking straight ahead, she took a deep breath and finished, "You didn't want to die."
At this Kol finally laughed.
"I'm an original, Caroline. Immortal."
A spark of anger made Caroline a bit reckless and she turned and looked at Kol, barely keeping her fangs in check as she spat out, "Unless a hunter drives a white oak stake through your heart. Then you end up a crispy critter in someone's kitchen while your brother watches, unable to even get in the house."
Kol was speechless in his shock, and Caroline took the opportunity to continue on with her one ace in the hole.
"Bonnie was dead when she came up with the idea for the spell to send me back. You were already dead, too. There was a spell or something that made it easy for her to pop into my dreams and you just kind of showed up uninvited somehow, and that's when we made our deal. You figured it would be a bit difficult to convince you that my story was true, so you sent me back with a message. Something supposedly only you would know."
Taking a deep breath, Caroline reached forward and gripped the steering wheel to prepare herself.
"When your family was still human, you had a younger brother named Henrik. He came to you one day wanting to see the wolves change. You were afraid, of course, but you didn't want him to know it. You told him to stop bugging you and go ask Klaus. You knew that, even though it was dangerous, Klaus wouldn't be able to refuse him."
She could feel him go still with the first mention of Henrik's name and knew she was dangerously close to pushing him over the edge. However, even this he could potentially say she got from someone else. Taking another shaky breath, Caroline continued on and hoped he'd be understanding.
"You felt guilty right after, of course. You blamed yourself for his death almost as much as Klaus did. You didn't tell anyone, though. When you were turned into a vampire, the guilt only intensified. In fact, in the thousand years since, it's the only thing you've ever felt guilty about. It got so bad that you couldn't be around Klaus, because that only brought the guilt to the front of your mind. It made you hate him more than a bit, even as you loved him, probably more than all the others."
As she was speaking, Caroline could feel what Kol had felt, at least to some degree. She had gotten a touch of that sensation when "remembering" the things Bonnie had left in her memories, but Kol's feelings were so strong, that Caroline was having trouble remember that they weren't hers. So much trouble, in fact, that she could feel tears rolling down her face. The words seemed to flow out of her and she couldn't stop them.
"It churns in your gut like acid. Makes you want to throw up if you look at him too long. If you drown yourself in the killing, even if he's right there beside you, it's possible to ignore it for a while. But it never lasts, and you're right back to feeling guilty. So guilty that you act up in ways you know will get you daggered because part of you wants to be punished. Maybe the next time you wake up the guilt will be gone."
A sob worked its way out of her as Caroline fought to continue even though everything in her was screaming to stop.
"But it's never gone because you're not paying for what you did. You killed… Oh, God, Kol, you put this in my head! Please, just tell him. Just make it stop. Please."
There were no words left, only the tears and seemingly endless amounts of guilt and self-hatred. It took her a few minutes to calm herself enough to realize that she was actually being held awkwardly across the console by Kol. Almost as soon as she became aware of this, he quickly let her go, almost plastering himself against the passenger's side door.
"If you ever tell anyone I did that they won't believe you and I'll kill you very painfully. You know I won't feel guilty about it, either."
With a laugh, Caroline replied, "Okay. I won't tell anyone."
After taking a few moments to calm herself, she once again looked ahead through the windshield. It was easier than trying to look at Kol while reliving his memories.
"He loves you, you know." At his silence, Caroline continued on, "You didn't realize how much until you were dead and listening to him talk to your burned corpse. You watched part of him break as he called you an idiot for believing he'd ever set you up to be killed."
Caroline fought off the tears as she told Kol things he'd learned in the other time that she had only suspected.
"He told you that he would rather have all of you daggered and hating him then to have you leave him. He would never kill you, because then you would never come back to him. Even when Klaus found out Elijah betrayed him and told Mikael where he was, he couldn't bring himself to kill Elijah. He could only punish him by saying that he'd thrown you, Rebekah, and Finn into the ocean and that you were lost."
Suddenly, Caroline had another memory of Kol's pop to the front of her mind. Looking at him, she half told, have questioned, "You didn't believe Elijah sold him out. You thought there was something more to the story, that Klaus was wrong somehow."
Shaking her head slightly, trying to shake off the revelation, Caroline got back on track.
"You didn't realize how much he thought you hated him. All those times you couldn't face him because of the guilt, all those times you ran off, he thought it was because you hated him."
Seeing from the expression on his face that he believed her, Caroline decided they'd taken a far enough trip down memory lane for one night.
"So, I gave you the proof and delivered your message. That's half my end of the bargain. Sometime during the next week, I can show you all my notes and go over all our plans. Then you can decide how much you're going to help."
Caroline expected Kol to either leave then or demand a ride back home. Instead, he just sat there staring ahead silently for a few minutes. Finally, he turned to look at her.
"How many people know everything about your time travel adventures and your plans?"
Apparently, he wasn't willing to wait for the details. At this point, Caroline saw no reason to lie. And, much like with Katherine, she could feel relief at the thought of sharing her burdens with someone who she wasn't afraid would hold back if they thought she wasn't thinking clearly or that she had taken her eye off the big picture.
"My mom, Bonnie, and Sheila know everything about my time travel and my plans. If it concerns bringing down Silas, then they know."
Kol's eyebrows lifted at the last?
"Well, darling, I want to know everything. Every change you made, even down to deciding not to cut your hair."
Caroline couldn't help but bristle at that. With heavy sarcasm she asked, "So you want to know which boys I did and didn't date, if I decided against that last piece of cheesecake this time around, or if I decided to give the last season of Friday Night Lights a miss this time around?"
With an unrepentant grin, Kol leaned in and tapped her nose with his forefinger.
"For the next week, consider me your new best girlfriend and therapist all rolled into one. I want to know everything."
With a sigh, Caroline resigned herself to exposing her every secret to Kol. Part of her contemplated holding back, but a part of her was almost eager to tell him. To be able to spill every personal change she'd made and possibly even talk about how hard it was but how easy at the same time.
Three days later, as Caroline was down in the tomb they were keeping Katherine in talking to the older vampire, Bonnie sat outside on the hood of her friend's car. She had been there multiple times to help Caroline deliver blood and other supposedly necessary things. This time, however, she was asked to wait outside and she had company. Elijah had invited himself along; neither protested. However, when he had started to follow her down the stairs, she had asked him to stay out and he hadn't put up a fight. That told Bonnie that he was easily listening in on whatever conversation Caroline and Katherine were having from right where he was.
Since he wasn't sharing with her, Bonnie was left to her own devices. She found herself contemplating the change in both Caroline and Klaus since he had killed Mikael. Caroline seemed more relaxed and sure of her plans, while Klaus seemed calmer. Also, Caroline had taken to spending a large amount of time with Kol. When she asked her why, Caroline told her that he was digging deep into their plans. While both she and her Grams hadn't been comfortable in Kol knowing so much, they both understood that Caroline had made a deal and didn't plan on going back on it, even if Kol would never have known.
Of course, after every conversation with Kol, Caroline would come venting to her. Not because Kol had been too demanding or… evil or anything. According to Caroline, he was oddly patient and kind. Not two words either of them would have previously thought of in relation to Kol. Klaus, however, appeared far less patient and tolerant than his brother. Nearly every meeting between Caroline and Kol was cut short by Klaus. A situation that, while Caroline obviously found it frustrating, Kol seemed to find highly amusing.
Bonnie was distracted from her memories by Caroline emerging up the stairs. Elijah wasted no time in confronting her, while Bonnie silently took the front passenger's seat. He could tag along uninvited all he wanted, but she sure as hell wouldn't be giving up her seat for him again.
"Whatever it is you're trusting Katherine to do, I urge you to reconsider. You don't know her. She will betray you."
Caroline barely spared him a glance, and Bonnie almost couldn't stop herself from snorting at his tone. Like Caroline would let anyone influence her when she had already made up her mind.
"I am well aware what Katherine is capable of. With all due respect, it's my call to make."
Caroline sent him a pointed look with that last statement and Bonnie could see the muscle in Elijah's jaw ticking and his nostrils flaring. She remembered clearly how pissed Caroline had been when she had recounted finding out that Pearl had let Elijah know Caroline was going to be the sacrifice. What had made her friend even more angry was that he'd decided to intervene. Apparently, she still wasn't over it. It didn't look like Elijah saw anything wrong with what he'd done. Elijah and Caroline didn't speak as Caroline started the car and drove off. Bonnie found the silence uncomfortably tense.
In the four days after and even up to the time of the ritual, as far as Bonnie knew, they still hadn't spoken. However, the silence didn't stop Elijah from laying a comforting hand on Caroline's shoulder as he led her past where Stefan, Pearl, Anna, and his family were gathered. He continued to lead her to the altar where Mason and Elena already stood. All three looked nervous yet determined as they each drank from the small vials Grams had given them; all the while, Klaus looked on intently.
Oddly enough, he wasn't the only one keeping a close eye on everything. Perched on a low-hanging branch near the altar was Eric. Bonnie only knew it was him because the crow had cawed incessantly at Caroline until the vampire turned to look at him and gave him a small wave.
Unable to focus on anything save Caroline when the ritual began, Bonnie forgot all about Eric. She was sure that Mason and Elena could be recovered after the ritual. Caroline, however… She wasn't sure if she envied Caroline's mother for being forced to stay home or not. Yes, she was worrying at home, but at least she wouldn't have to witness her daughter's death. Her worry over Caroline eclipsed everything else and she only vaguely registered what was happening as Klaus ripped out Mason's heart and then fed the blood from it into the stone cauldron.
Her attention came into sharp focus as he approached Caroline. While she couldn't hear what was said, she could see the determination in her friend's face as she lifted Klaus' hand, along with the stake held in it, to her heart. She refused to contemplate what was behind the kiss he placed to Caroline's forehead as he drove the stake in. After, he took a moment to stare at Eric who was cawing in what she could only guess was grief. He then turned toward the third sacrifice.
While she cared deeply for Elena, she couldn't honestly say she even remembered how her friend died. After Caroline's death, her whole world went sort of fuzzy and out of focus. In fact, she couldn't remember much of anything until she saw Elijah pick up Caroline's body and head toward the vehicle he had come in.
"We'll take her, Elijah. There's no need to trouble yourself."
Pearl's voice was calm, but Bonnie could tell by her expression that she, like Bonnie herself, sensed something was wrong. That feeling only increased as she saw Mason and Elena being carried by two of Klaus' vampire minions.
Elijah's voice brooked no argument as he replied, "We have a room prepared at our home for Caroline and the others to recover in. You are, of course, welcome to wait there for them to awaken."
It was clear that Elijah had every intention of taking Caroline away, with or without their cooperation. It didn't seem right to Bonnie to just let it happen, and Pearl seemed to agree. However, even as she made to protest, Bonnie could hear the sound of bones cracking. She quickly turned and saw Klaus doubled over as if in pain.
"My brother is shifting even now. We should hurry unless you want to risk you and your friends becoming his next meal."
Over the next three days, Bonnie began to wish she had somehow gotten the three to Pearl's like they originally intended. It's not that Klaus' home wasn't beautiful, because it was, even with the continuing renovations. However, there had been some uncomfortable talks with Kol and Rebekah. Apparently, Caroline actually hadn't gotten a chance to talk to him about Silas or her exact plan to kill him. She also hadn't gotten a chance to tell Rebekah what exactly it was she needed from her.
She, Liz, and Sheila had refused to answer their questions, however. It wasn't until Rebekah had said something about them never waking up and then spent five minutes writhing on the floor in agony from magic Bonnie had barely remembered casting while all the other vampires were magically held out of the room by Bonnie's grandmother that they said anything. They informed Klaus' siblings that the sacrifices couldn't wake up until Klaus transformed back. It was the price they paid for using the excess magic given off by both the ritual and his transformations in order to power the restoration spell. It was also a part of the spell that they had made sure Klaus' witches hadn't seen just in case he tried to take advantage of it.
They had informed Stefan, Jeremy, and Mason's pack of the delay in Elena and Mason waking up after Klaus had agreed to the deal, however. It was why a rotation of pack members silently stood vigil along with Stefan, Jeremy, and a very silent crow waiting for them to wake up without questioning what was going on.
Just when Bonnie began to wonder if Klaus planned to spend the rest of eternity as a wolf, she felt Caroline's hand began to twitch in hers. Even as Sheila and Liz rushed to the waking vampire's bedside, Bonnie heard Mason begin moaning. Her eyes widened as her gaze shot to Sheila's. Quickly, they moved everyone out save the wolves.
While they had already warned the pack that Mason's waking would be extremely painful –he did, after all, have to regrow a heart which was too unnatural to not hurt like hell— Sheila and Liz had decided that knowing would only cause the others to worry about what Elena would go through. Knowing how worked up his pain might get the others, they had also decided beforehand that it would be best to leave comforting him to his fellow werewolves. Besides, they had Caroline to take care of.
They had nearly all made it down the stairs accompanied by the sound of flapping wings and with Bonnie and a worryingly unstable Caroline bringing up the rear when Klaus and Elijah walked in the door. While Elijah looked as put together as always, Klaus looked like he had rolled around in the mud and dirt. Just as Klaus appeared ready to say something, Mason let out a tremendous scream. Even knowing what was going on, Bonnie couldn't stop herself from turning her head along with everyone else at the sound.
"Mason's heart. Damon ripped it out."
Caroline's voice was disturbingly soft and confused, as was her expression when Bonnie turned to look at her. It was as if she were trying to remember something important, but didn't know why it was so important. For a moment, no one said anything until Klaus let out a small huff of amusement.
"No, love, it was me that ripped the werewolf's heart out. Remember, you were there?"
Only her mother, Bonnie, Sheila, and possibly Kol knew that she was simply remembering another time. Caroline's expression went from confused to happy, though she looked as if she were only half aware of what was going in. She didn't even seem to react as Klaus suddenly went from being at the door to being on the step right below her.
"How did you get here so fast?"
Her question gave Klaus pause, and Bonnie watched as the pleasant confusion in his face was replaced by anger and something close to revulsion.
"How are you human?"
At this, Caroline seem to crumble. Gone was the self-assured person Bonnie was used to seeing. In her place was the painfully insecure and hurting girl she had only seen when Caroline was far too drunk to maintain her mask. It was so easy to forget that this was a part of her friend as well.
"God, how can you hate who I am so much?"
Klaus seemed to be at a loss on how to deal with this version of Caroline. Kol, having moved up to stand beside Klaus, looked just as confused. Caroline turned to Bonnie and continued on, looking ready to break down in tears.
"I'm inappropriate. I always say the wrong thing. And…"
Bonnie knew immediately that, mentally, Caroline was far from in the present. Bonnie grabbed hold of her, trying to maneuver her past Klaus who, in turn, grabbed Caroline by the arms, stopping their progress.
Before he could continue whatever he had planned to say, Caroline's eyes rolled back and her limbs began jerking. Klaus pulled her close and moved to lay her down on the floor, Kol moving to her side just behind Klaus, and Caroline's mother rushed to her other side. The entire time Bonnie, who had been effectively cut off from her friend, was franticly looking to her Grams, hoping the woman had some clue as to what to do next. They had known Caroline would be human when she first woke. They also knew they would have to give her vampire blood, or else the potion would permanently kill her. Elijah taking the sacrifices to the Mikaelson's home had worried them a bit, Bonnie had thought they would have more time.
She was too panicked by Caroline's impending death to fear for herself as Klaus bared his very much inhuman teeth at her and demanded furiously, "What is going on, witch?"
Thankfully Grams answered for her because she couldn't seem to find her voice or even string two words together.
"The spell is trying to return her to the way she was before you killed her. The problem is, it's trying to do so without any vampire blood in her system. We knew it would happen fast, but she said she had a plan."
Even as Grams, Klaus, and Elijah tried to figure out how to save Caroline, Bonnie watched her friend's mother hold her and sob out her name. Even as she felt hot tears spill down her cheeks and heard the frantic cawing from Eric, Bonnie began to feel herself detach. Was this how her friend would die; convulsing and foaming at the mouth as everyone around her panicked?
No! This wasn't how it was supposed to be.