Character: Caroline Forbes
Pairings Included in the Manifesto: Caroline Forbes/Matt Donavon, Caroline Forbes/Stefan Salvatore, Caroline Forbes/Damon Salvatore, Caroline Forbes/Tyler Lockwood.
The Vampire Diaries and I have had a very… up and down relationship. Over the past two seasons I have continuously fell in and out of love with characters, storylines, and even the show itself at times. One of the only constants that I have sought solace in is the remarkable, beautiful, and kickass Caroline Forbes.
I fell in love with Caroline during that very first episode. You know the scene I am talking about. The one where she and Bonnie are at The Grill and Caroline is wallowing in self pity because Elena always gets the boys. Bonnie tells her it isn’t a competition. Caroline proclaims honestly that it very much is. Up until that point I had found the pilot dull, cheesy, and, well, to put it politely – shitastic. It had way too many clichés and teenage angst and I hadn’t fully fallen in love with the BAMF that would become Elena Gilbert yet. Up until this point I wasn’t even sure if I was going to tune into 1x02. Then it happened – Caroline sat there looking utterly destroyed and pathetic and honest and I just… sort of fell in love with this girl I could relate with. While Elena is noble and Bonnie is loyal, Caroline is real. In the first season Caroline is your run-of-the-mill, average teenage girl. As a viewer you can’t help but root for her and want her to win one every once in a while.
Season one follows her from this seemingly insecure teenager who is shallow, vapid, and bitter over her parent’s divorce (and a unreasonable bitch to her mother because of it) to a wiser, somewhat more mature young adult.
Season two, as we all well know, is a different story altogether. While some would probably argue that the vampire arc spawned in 2x01 was the worst thing the writers ever could have done to my girl, Caroline, I will vehemently argue otherwise. Not only was it absolutely brilliant from a writing standpoint, it transformed this girl into a legend. Stefan says that when you are turned into a vampire all of your human traits become amplified in the transition and remain heightened after. If so, that means that Caroline has always been confident and kickass – it was just lurking under the surface somewhere. I hate that it took turning into a vampire to bring it to the surface, but by becoming a vampire she has the ability to become the woman she always was deep down – strong, confident, brave… a BAMF in her on way, giving Elena a run for her money every once in a while.
2x07 is the perfect example (as if you needed further proof). The scene where Caroline goes toe to toe with Katherine, promptly tricks her, and laughs in her face is splendid. She is so capable, so strong, so confident. She faces Katherine with a smugness I both envy and admire. The rest of the season will see her fighting evil forces, saving her friends’ butts more than once, rescuing a werewolf from himself, and just generally being awesome. Her moment in Masquerade, however, stands alone as the epitome of why Caroline Forbes is so damn awesome.
While this show is ultimately about Elena’s story, it has been a joy (and at sometimes a godsend) to watch Caroline’s unfold.
Now, for the recs. I wholeheartedly endorse every single one of these stories. They are each beautiful, original, and well-written. Characterizations are always flawless. They all have very different styles, but every single one will leave a lasting impression.
Fic Rec #1: Shortfalls and Little Sins
Pairing: Caroline Forbes/Tyler Lockwood
Rating/Warning(s): R (for language)
Why This Must Be Read: She smiles at him across the courtyard, waves a little, and all he can do is purse his lips and nod at her. He doesn't really get how she can just act so normal. Nothing is normal. Life isn't normal. This whole town is so far from normal. He's a werewolf and she's a vampire and how the fuck can she just smile and hug Bonnie and act like she's still just the ditzy cheerleader (well, former cheerleader now) who organizes every social function the school has? Everyone loves her, practically, which is fucked, because no one even knows her. He knows her. Or at least he's starting to.
Absolutely spot-on characterizations.
Fic Rec #2 Crooked Spin Can’t Come to Rest
Pairing: Caroline Forbes/Tyler Lockwood
Rating/Warning(s): NC-17 (bloodplay, sexual situations, slight dub-con)
Why This Must Be Read: Sometimes, she imagines how it could have been. If she’d done something—anything but lock the door and go back to hide under her covers (his too-strong heartbeat still echoing her own as he stands on her porch, as he turns and walks away).
Caroline’s trying to be a strong icon of womanhood and all, but she’d be a liar if she said her favorite fantasy didn’t involve Tyler breaking into her house again, finding him hiding in her bedroom.
This fic is both sexy and sad – it almost makes you ache for what could have been.
Fic Rec #3: And Now, Night
Pairing: Slight Caroline Forbes/Damon Salvatore
Why This Must Be Read: Her fingers are in her mouth. She can feel the syllables that make up his name pushing past them as they tumble from her lips. She inches towards him. Two steps. Then five. Halts to frozen in her tracks as his head twists in her direction. As she catches his gaze, terrified and confused, and discovers she can no longer look away.
Faintly, over the monstrous roar that still circles them, she registers the sound of her own name being called. Manages, just, to tear her eyes from his and spin wildly, searching.
The author’s style is haunting, practically lyrical. The way she weaves the words together will stick with you long after you’ve finished reading.
Fic Rec #4: Life in Plastic
Pairing: Caroline Forbes/Tyler Lockwood, slight Caroline Forbes/Stefan Salvatore
Why This Must Be Read: She knows she's supposed to be able to flip some switch, just turn all her emotions off, but she doesn't know how and she's never tried. Caroline doesn't know what she'd be without feelings. She thinks there'd be nothing left.
Fic Rec #5: A House Unbuilt
Pairing:Caroline Forbes/Stefan Salvatore
Why This Must Be Read:
It seems they're always moving in some sort of twisted dance. One of them lays a brick, the other one kicks it down. A house goes unbuilt.
Caroline circles him.
Stefan takes a step back, drawing her hand and heart with him as he goes.
This author is probably the best Caroline/Stefan writer around. I tried to only rec an author only once, but her stuff is so good you will see it on this list again.
Fic Rec #6: The Young Ones
Pairing: Caroline Forbes/Stefan Salvatore
Why This Must Be Read: Katherine sits and stares. The slight curl of her mouth makes her seem so severe, and tirelessly so. Her lips part and the pause is with purpose. Her eyes are sharp as she leans forward:
“Your insides to don’t have to hurt, you know. Nor do you have to give into this silly, silly thing, this silly, silly game where you pretend to be such a good, little human when obviously, there’s so much fun and an entire world that’s become less dull.”
Caroline doesn’t answer then. Her feet are bare.
Everything this author produces is high quality. This is no exception. Excellent writing.
Fic Rec #7: No Claim On You
Pairing: Caroline Forbes/Matt Donovan
Why This Must Be Read: Maybe it's a good thing she's not dating Matt anymore. Like, of course it's a good thing for him, and she cared enough about that to go through with it, so you could argue it was for her own good, too. But, like, if she has to—if she had to keep it, keep this from him while dating him, that would—he'd notice earlier, that she's not aging, and she'd have to break up with him again, and it would hurt even more. Plus, if she were to tell Matt, she'd have to tell him his sister was turned and staked, not the victim of a drug overdose, and she'd inevitably blurt out how awesome it was to become friends with him after Damon did everything he did to her, even though she didn't remember all of it at the time, and—he'd freak out. She couldn't ask him not to. Even Elena freaked out when she found out about Stefan, from what Caroline's heard, and she's like, Saint Elena, Listener and Understander of Pain.
The likeness between this author’s Caroline characterization and that on the show is uncanny. This fic is probably the best Caroline/Matt fic around.
Fic Rec #8: We’ll Leave Our Scar
Pairing: Caroline Forbes/Stefan Salvatore
Why This Must Be Read: The animals in them are not always so well-hidden, and Stefan remembers thinking that maybe they should just live like this forever, out in the wild.
"I'm lonely, Stefan," she says with a kind of half sigh which causes him to look over at her, her eyes still fixed on the sky above. "Aren't you lonely?" she asks, turning to face him.
Fic Rec #9: Steady as it Goes
Pairing: Slight Caroline Forbes/Stefan Salvatore and Caroline Forbes/Damon Salvatore
Why This Must Be Read: Something like 2,300 Americans are reported missing each day (she read it somewhere, or heard it from them, her strange brothers, those fountains of detailed, useless knowledge). Now Caroline is one of them.
Wonderful future fic about Caroline and the Salvatore brothers on the run. One of the very first fics I ever read (both in this fandom and for Caroline). It is still one of my favorites.
Fic Rec #10: someday this’ll be a story
Pairing: Caroline Forbes/Damon Salvatore, implied Caroline/Stefan and Caroline/Tyler
Why This Must Be Read: She leaves when the bodies aren't quite cold on the ground. The war with Klaus is over and Elijah has kept his word and Elena is still alive by the end of it so probably they've won. But her mom will never refuse to let her stay out late again and she'll never be jealous of Matt looking at another girl and she'll never really get to know whether her what if with Tyler could have been a story someday.
She doesn't understand what the big deal about being on the winning side is when it feels so much like losing anyway.
Everything youcallitwinter writes is fabulous and provactive, but this is my favorite. Caroline’s inner thoughts throughout the story as she tries to adjust in the aftermath are both painful to read and beautifully written.
Fic Rec #11: Good For Her
Pairing: Caroline Forbes/Damon Salvatore
Why This Must Be Read: “You know, this town is probably the closest thing to Sunnydale that we have in reality,” she starts off with a brittle laugh. “We’ve got vampires, witches, werewolves, immortal history teachers, a shady vampire-fighting Council, and a magic rock that is centuries ago-all that, even her,” and now Caroline finally acknowledges Katherine, pointing at her while a disgusted scowl curled her lips. Katherine blows the young vampire a kiss in response and Caroline shudders before turning back to Damon. “Even with her running around, the only real monster in this town? It’s you.”
Fic Rec #12: not your Rosalie Hale
Pairing: Slight Caroline Forbes/Stefan Salvatore
Why This Must Be Read: Caroline Forbes is 16.Ten years from now, Caroline Forbes will be 26, but she'll still look 16.She'll look 16 when she turns fifty, and a hundred, and every year after. She's always going to have trouble buying alcohol, and getting people to hear her out. That part's more okay; she's used to people underestimating her.