Pairing: Caroline Forbes/Klaus Mikaelson
Fic Title: for here live none but the sly
Rating/Warning(s): T / violence, mentions of past abuse
Why This Must Be Read: This was the pairing and the story that instantly jumped into my head when I saw what the first theme was going to be. I've been reading Klaus/Caroline almost non-stop for the past few months and in that time I've read a lot of good stories, but what sets this one apart from the bunch is how this author writes Klaus. It's so easy for writers to give into the impulse to soften Klaus's edges, but there is a darkness in this author's Klaus that never goes away, and Caroline is all too aware of it. The ending of this piece is just perfect, and one of my all time favorites in fandom.
Klaus stands in the light of her porch like a boy would.
She's surprised, she hadn't expected him to come and confront her. She'd honestly expected to be murdered in her sleep the very night she pulled that stunt of hers Damon had demanded of her. Caroline had been waiting nervously for a week, expecting him and lecturing herself that she was stupid to even expect him because if he hadn't murdered her by now he'd probably chosen to leave her alone forever. She's Caroline Forbes, she doesn't get to occupy someone's head for long enough to matter.
It's naive and so so Caroline of her to think because since when do things work out that way for her?
Klaus doesn't just walk away from a fight. Agitation seeps low and cold in his eyes, like waters churning underneath the claw of a storm. Klaus hands slipped into pockets, standing at ease when she comes down the stairs with her bathrobe drawn around her shoulders, wet hair sticking against the curve where her jaw slopes against her throat.
Klaus watches her warily through the mosquito net of her door, she's not sure what to make of him. He has an invitation, he could have come in anytime, upended her world, killed her against her carpeted bedroom floor and snarl about her stupid trinkets and baubles and all her vanity laid against the dresser drawers. Even if he hates her, he's been taught his manners.
It's laughable, that murderers can remember their courtesies.
Caroline remembers summer nights and Matt who was hers, Matt climbing in through her window like her small town prince charming with the small town smile that Caroline had been perfectly content and happy with - Matt who was right for her.
And now Klaus stands on her porch, and it's too much. Boys stand on her porch, monsters don't get the honor of being drawn in the watery light thrown there, with the swinging porch chair her dad built rocking and creaking in the breeze to blanket over the sound of his breathing. He's not allowed to stand sinister and brimming with murder in the place where all the normal good boys of her life have stood, yet there he is, tainting the world she knows, blotting the edges black like ink spilled across her life's manuscript. And just about as impossible to get rid of.
It's a biting cold outside, she tucks her sleeves over her wrists, holds them down tightly with nails cutting against her palms and arms closed snug around her. She doesn't want to let him in, she doesn't want to open the door. If she does, she knows, there's no way he'll be walking out of her life anytime soon.
He takes in the sight of her, her face cleansed for bed, hair loose around her shoulders, skin flushed red from the hot water, soft smelling and blue eyes both fierce and yet vulnerable, very aware of the situation. Nervous.
She thinks about Tyler a thousand miles away, probably in Canada or something. It's a full moon, and she almost winces imagining the shift he's going through, the painful reconstruction of bone, the resetting of his whole structure that had so chilled her the first time and never ceased to frighten her after. He's out there, for her. He's her boyfriend. He wouldn't have needed to have gone away if it wasn't for Klaus.
But it's late, and her anger doesn't stand a chance right now.
Caroline makes no move to open the door. There's a sullen sort of despair in her eyes, staring back at him and waiting.
"I imagine you think yourself quite the clever one." He says.
She almost looses the words over the hush of the cold outside. He sounds so very grave, moonlight etches the shoulders of his jacket silver, places a cold hand against the stubble of his cheek - he's not here for her so much as see her as to remind her of him. Remind her how he could snuff her out like a match and that he's the gale to freeze her down if he ever desired to.
He smiles a small depreciating thing. It cuts across his cheeks, dimples and twists her insides up. She doesn't know if that smile's directed at her or at himself, who exactly he's more disappointing in, him or her? Because if Klaus can feel disappointment, she knows that there's nothing more potent to come after than his fury.
Klaus looks up finally, and his eyes hold none of that warmth, that young almost endearing want of her. They're cold and precisely unforgivable. Nik never does forgive people who end up disappointing him.
Caroline holds her arms around herself tighter, feels vulnerable, naked.
Her mother is sleeping upstairs. Klaus looks up, a single glance above that tells her he's aware as well. She doesn't know what he intends, but his eyes come back to her, and it's too much like a promise to sit easy with her. It's too Klaus to ever sit easy with her.
"What do you want?" She asks in a low hush. She's frightened of what he can do, who he can hurt. She understands, God, Caroline understands - but she can't be sorry. She will never be sorry. She hopes he doesn't notice the tremble in her voice, the emptiness that accompanies the gesture of raising her chin. She doesn't have enough of a tough front now to be any use.
"Only to make things clear, Caroline." Klaus's jaw tightens, there's a low dark look in his eyes that reminds her of something especially mean. "Are you listening?"
This is not Klaus the artist with his bright eyes asking, courting her. This is Niklaus, the Original, the man whose brother she just almost killed - well, had a hand in trying to kill anyway and would have succeeded if things didn't get spectacularly fudged up in typical Salvatore fashion.
Caroline doesn't feel all too well about her part in the plan. A blonde distraction, Damon had called it. She had hated it, but it had been so long since she'd been included in the daily save-Mystic-Falls meetings and plans that she'd taken it, taken what she could get. Caroline wanted to help protect Elena too. Honestly, because Damon and Stefan were just bound to mess everything up because of the dramatic machinations of their weird love triangle and Bonnie couldn't hope to do everything herself, especially now with the situation with Abby...- so she'd done it, Caroline had used him.
That made her sick, made her skin crawl.
But it had to be done.
Next time Damon asks something so stupidly cliché of her, Caroline vows, she's going to tell him to suck balls, because fuck it, she wasn't going to be that girl again. She wasn't that girl and she wasn't like Damon who had used her body and fucked with her mind and made her go around the whole of fucking Mystic Falls with a Gilbert compass to scope out blood sucking bat shit crazy motherfucking vampires gone wild like a mindless love slave.
Next time if anyone was going to be seducing Klaus they could send Alaric. Because Klaus sure as hell wasn't going to fall for Caroline's swishy walk again after that night.
He hates me. Caroline thinks, internally flinching before remembering that she's stupid for being a neurotic bitch for still caring about what people think about her. Even evil hybrids like Klaus.
She feels like shit, she's been waiting for the backlash for days now. Now that it's come she doesn't know whether to be relieved or afraid, she's actually more of the latter than the former but - here he is and it's all here and now and she'd rather just get it all out in the open. Heart tremulous and beating on reflexive memory. It's about time he ended this tango. She wants to steel herself against him, but she's not sure she can, she's not exactly feeling very pro-Caroline herself these days.
Beautiful, strong, full of light.
That's an ideal, she wants to say, and now I've taken it from you.
Caroline sighs instead, shoulders slumping. "The floor's all yours."
Klaus cuts a look behind her shoulder, Caroline doesn't dare ask him in, even though he has an invite. He stares with jaw tight at the spot near her head, as if the very look of her makes him sick with disdain. "You made your decision that night you sought to fool me, and I have made mine."
Caroline can't meet his eyes, she's not sure how she'll react if she looks up. How her face might betray her. So she sort of just stares at her feet, waits for him to be done so he can go away and her chest can stop clamping around her lungs so much.
"You touch my family again, any of you - and it will be the end."
What a fucking hypocrite, she can feel the heat climb into her face, and she exhales through her nose. Tries not to fume and fails phenomenally. "God, you are full of it."
"You're as dumb as a board if you're thinking of talking down to me now, girl." Klaus bites back, harsh as a cut of tequila, a frothing anger burning his insides, held back by a bare strain. "I admit, I found that riveting before, but in light of recent events it's no longer as amusing."
She feels like she's been slapped, stares at him completelely dumbstruck with fury. "I was protecting my friends!"
"Of course. Performing your duty as a distraction." He replies coldly, sarcasm lacing his voice. Even more arsenic than Damon ever was. "Is that what you allow yourself to be reduced to? Bait? A pretty shiny thing to catch my eye so I can give my back to their knives?"
He has a lot of nerve saying that to her. Caroline is not a distraction, and sure the group leaves her out of the loop a lot and even if she's been delegated to distraction mission slut duty, his saying it out loud, putting it in words makes it even harder to stomach. Her heart is beating, hot and heavy, it feels like a stone about to burst through her throat.
"Yes!" She throws out, her life-preservation skills abandoning her in one wildly lucid moment of rage. Rage unlike any she has ever felt before. "If that's what it takes! This is war, this was war the day you decided to bring your hybrid shit all up in this town, the day you decided to mess around with my friends and make my best friend your personal hybrid spawning blood bag. Long before you sired my boyfriend into your little puppy slave, and long before the thought of possibly even making me not hate you down to your very fucking socks dared cross your mind. So yes, you self-righteous bastard," There's a burning in her cheeks, and her throat is so so raw. She could cut him open and not hesitate to murder him if she could, right here, right about fucking now. "I'd do it a thousand times over. Even if I have to resort to underhanded means, even if it meant dragging myself through fire and back, even if the greatest of fucking indignities were linked in with the scheme I would do it! I would do it! They're my family and I'd do it a thousand times over. How dare you pretend like you're the only one who has a right to protect your family! Fuck you!"
For a moment he's astonished by how much she's said, but if she's a storm, he's the slaughter. And he doesn't have to raise his voice to make that come across.
"You know nothing," Klaus hisses, murderous. "You're an only child, a mere babe barely born yesterday. Do you know how long I've lived? How long I've fed on fools like you? What I do to those who even think they can deceive me?"
Still fooled you, didn't I. She wants to heave back. But she's not sure where a confession like that could lead.
Caroline wets her lips, tries to talk a little more calmly. But only manages to be quieter, the scorching heat of her anger still burrows under her words. "You're angry, and you're hurt - but if you're expecting me to go to my knees and beg forgiveness then you've got another thing coming, mister."
"If you expect me to just overlook this, then you're as big a fool as they make you out to be."
"I'm not sorry." Caroline breathes, the hurricane spinning in her chest. She feels light headed, too angry to be wise, too angry to be afraid. "I'm not sorry."
Klaus presses his hand sharply against the door, as if he means to throw it down. Crash through the pine wood, and break the door frame into a splintering mess to fall through to the floor boards on her house. Taught as a bowstring, drawn like a killer - she can make out every calloused fingertip, the veins pulsing inside of them. Feels her heart climb into her throat, placed for tearing out.
He leans in and it's like there's nothing in the world separating them, the door is too flimsy to be a barrier, that even a million miles of distance would be too tame to keep him away.
"Take," Klaus says, menace made in a whisper, speaks words like steel cloaked in silk. "a second shot at what you did that night and I assure you, Caroline. You won't be as lucky."
Caroline bares her teeth and leans in. Her whisper fogging through the mosquito net, hot on his frost cold lips. "Bite me."
She thinks she sees him smile.