July 2017



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[info]eclectic wrote
on March 21st, 2016 at 08:34 am

[TVD] Leave a Light On 18/?: Visionary Flood of Alcohol

Title: Leave a Light On: Visionary Flood of Alcohol
Author[personal profile] tmbreck / eclectic_tongue / [info]eclectic / [archiveofourown.org profile] Lilbreck
Characters: Bonnie Bennett, Brady, Caroline Forbes, Elijah Mikaelson, Greta Martin, Jonas Martin, Jules, Klaus Mikaelson, Luka Martin, Maddox, Mason Lockwood, Pearl Zhu, Sheila Bennett
Rating: FRT
Word Count: 5,422
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. Some of them aren't even conscious. There is hinted sexual situations, but it's blink and you miss it.

When Bonnie had invited her over to her Grams' newly privacy-spelled workroom, — "Seriously, this needs to be a permanent fixture." — Caroline hadn't been expecting to talk about her friend's dreams. Yes, they were less 'random images her mind created to process the day' and more 'message from the other side', but it still was a bit odd.

"I was walking in the woods near the Lockwood cellar, following Damon's crow," At this, Caroline interrupted to say it wasn't Damon's crow. "When I came across Elijah and another man standing in front of three open caskets. Elijah was holding the dagger you gave him last weekend, and the people in the caskets all had matching daggers in their chests.

While part of Caroline already knew the answer, she just had to make sure.

"This other man, did he happen to have dirty blond hair, possibly a lot of necklaces, and dimples?"

At Bonnie's nod, Caroline gave a deep sigh and said, almost to herself, "And playing the part of our unwitting hybrid hero, Klaus Mikaelson."

Taking a moment, possibly to let the knowledge of who it was she had seen sink in, Bonnie then continued, "The crow started flying between the people in the casket, grabbing at the daggers with his beak. Suddenly, there was a woman behind me. She pointed at the other man, Klaus, and said that we'd need to get the daggers from him if we really wanted to help her complete her revenge."

There was no doubt in Caroline's mind when, in a resigned voice, she said "Qetsiyah."

Both Sheila and Bonnie seemed to agree. With a small nod, Bonnie concluded by saying that, when she woke up, Damon's crow – "Again, not Damon's!"—was perched at the end of her bed, staring at her.

After a moment, something struck Caroline.

"So, if she's sending us messages, apparently through the crow, to help us because she knows we're 'completing her revenge'… Just how much does she know?"

A soft huff from Bonnie followed by a sardonic, "That's a good question," gave Caroline the impression that it was something her friend had also been wondering about since her dream.

Caroline decided to let go of that train of thought for the time being and move onto figuring out a way to get the daggers from Klaus. She pulled a pen and small notepad from her purse –always a must-have when you had to make complicated plans at the drop of a hat – and began to write as she talked over a new plan with Sheila and Bonnie.

"So, we use the fact that he needs Elena to live in order to make hybrids and that she won't agree if everyone else doesn't live as well to get him agree to our spell,"

She was surprised by Sheila's monotone voice. "And the second spell?"

No, the elder Bennett was still not happy about the spell, but she was obviously resigned to it. In short, the less said about it the better was Caroline's opinion, so she answered with a simple, "I've got plans for that if and when we get it finished."

Devoid of all pride or joy, Sheila responded, "It's finished."

Going back to her paper with a little less weight on her shoulders, she quickly wrote down 'everyone lives' and drew an arrow to the left. After the arrow, she wrote 'secondary curse and Elena will only agree if others live'. Moving on, she continued to talk over her plan, hoping Bonnie and Sheila would let her know if they saw something wrong with it.

"I'll then get the daggers in exchange for Mikael's location and his disturbingly well carved stake."

At this Caroline paused, thinking. Almost as if she could read her mind, Bonnie asked, "And Katherine?"

At a loss, Caroline could only come up with "I'll… make it up as I go along."

Given Bonnie's expression, that came off only slightly less sure than it sounded in her head.

Before any of them could come up with a better idea, Caroline heard three people approaching. Taking a deep breath, she quickly caught the scent of wolves. She recognized Mason's scent right away, but wasn't too sure who the others were. Or, more accurately, she didn't want to believe who the other two were.

"We've got company. And I really want to make a cheesy joke about wolves at the door, but I'm trying to grow as a person."

While they both seemed to get that there were werewolves approaching, neither of the Bennett ladies seemed particularly amused by her joke. She decided it was best to just let it go as they left the room.

Given how often destiny, fate, or whatever it was that chose to replay the last timeline in this one, Caroline shouldn't have pretended it could be anyone at the door with Mason except Jules and Brady. She was surprised, however, at the quick jolt of dread that ran through her at the sight of Brady. It was similar to the feeling that she had gotten when she first saw Alaric again. The memories of torture were, apparently, not always suppressible.

Jules wasted no time with pleasantries. "We're here to talk to the vampire."

Caroline tried really hard not to take it personally. After all, werewolves did have a good reason to be less than friendly towards vampires. That didn't stop it from getting on her last nerve to have them look at her like that when she knew damn well they weren't above getting sick kicks out of torturing vampires. Remembering just how much Brady had enjoyed torturing her, Caroline decided not to play nice.

"The vampire has a name, Jules."

Caroline ignored the part of her that told her enjoying Jules' startled look was being petty. She needed these wolves to know that she was calling the shots, not them. Granted, looking to Bonnie's Grams to let them in might have undercut that slightly, but it wasn't like she was going to risk Sheila's wrath just to win a pissing contest.

It didn't take long after they were settled stiffly on the couch –no offer of tea from Sheila—for them to cut right to the chase. Jules was, predictably, the one who did most of the talking.

"You've managed to convince Mason that some big bad vampire is on his way here to perform some ritual. You've also found a way to convince him to go along with whatever plan you have concocted. The problem I have with this is that we have no proof that there's even an 'original vampire' or that you're in contact with him."

At the last bit, Caroline felt a frisson of irritation. Not because Jules didn't trust her –she'd be a fool to trust a vampire she had never met on Mason's word alone—but because she hadn't actually heard from Klaus directly in two days. It had been strictly texts, and those were infrequent at best. While that wouldn't normally seem like a big deal, it was two days after her 'punishment'. Refusing to let the wolves see her distress, however, Caroline decided to play it off.

"More like he's in contact with me. He's big into texting, likes to use a lot of fancy words, not so much with the emojis."

Brady bared his teeth as if he'd like to transform and take a bite of her right then and there. Caroline continued on as if she hadn't noticed.

"I understand why you don't trust me. But from where I'm sitting, Mason has two choices. He can cooperate and be able to bitch about the pain after the ritual, or he can try and escape and end up dead with his brother or his nephew taking his place."

All three stiffened and seemed ready to attack, but Caroline couldn't seem to find it in her to dial it back.

"It won't be me that kills him. Klaus will probably snatch him up as soon as he gets near the town's border. Now that you, and I'm assuming the rest of your pack, are here, he'd probably snatch you up as well. That way he'll have a back-up in case one of you has a little… accident."

Apparently, Brady only had so much patience. Even as she was finishing up the last of her sentence, he was halfway across the coffee table. Before he could reach Caroline, however, he collapsed on the coffee table, holding his head in pain. A quick look from the corner of her eye confirmed that it was Sheila who had come to her rescue.

"The thing you need to realize, Brady, is that you are not the most powerful creature in the room right now. I'm extending Mason the courtesy of a chance to cooperate and make it through this relatively unscathed when I could just as easily lock him up someplace to ensure I have a werewolf for Klaus. If your pack cooperates, they may even have the chance to become something far more powerful than they are, something no vampire will be able to threaten."

By the time she finished, Sheila had lifted whatever whammy she had laid on Brady and he, Jules, and Mason were all looking at Caroline in curiosity. It was only then that she realized what she had just let slip. Thinking fast on her feet, she tried to do some damage control.

"I can't give you details until after I talk to Klaus and, well, we move on his timetable. But, I'm asking you to take a chance."

While they didn't agree to cooperate, by the time the three werewolves left, Caroline was feeling hopeful that they wouldn't mess up her plans.

After four days, that hope began to wear thin. The pack was everywhere. There was even a werewolf standing across from the school when she got out and one walking into the Grill shortly after she took a seat. She could have handled all of this if it weren't for the added stress of Klaus' continued insistence on contacting her only through texts. Something kept niggling in the back of her mind but she just couldn't figure out what she was missing. So, instead of frustrating herself more and more, she decided to try something else.

Alaric's surprised face greeted her insistent knocking. Holding two bottles of what she could only guess was expensive alcohol she had stolen from Stefan's stash, she gave a winning smile.

"I need to get drunk and drinking alone is so very tacky."

With eyebrows raised, he let her in without a word.

While he did ask what the occasion was after the door had closed, when she had told him not to ask, that had been the end of it. It hadn't taken long for them to finish off the two bottles and yet, thanks in no small part to Caroline's vampire metabolism, they were not nearly drunk enough. But eventually, halfway through the second bottle of bourbon that Alaric had produced from his own stash, he passed out, shortly followed by Caroline.

Part of her knew it was a dream when she found herself following the crow down the road that led to the Wickery Bridge. As she turned the bend and could see where the bridge started, she made out three figures –one standing and two lying on the ground at the feet of the first. Caroline had just realized that it was Esther standing over the fallen bodies of her sons Finn and Kol when the stakes –obviously white oak—buried in their chests burst into flame.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw someone step up beside her. It only took a moment to recognize that the red-haired woman crying silently and stoically beside her was Sage.

After a moment the woman turned to her and said "Either it burns, or we all burn."

Caroline awoke, still slightly drunk, and stared at the crow perched above her on the kitchen island. With a groan, she ungracefully clambered into a standing position.

"I am such an idiot."

Looking around, she spotted Alaric passed out just short of his bed. Even as she stumbled toward him, she pulled her phone out of her pocket and started dialing the number that Jonas Martin had given her –and, honestly, she should not have had to nag him that much to get it! —so that she could have him and his son meet her at the bridge. As she was trying to explain to him that there was, in fact, only one bridge in the town, she heard Elijah in the background saying he would give him directions.

Watching as Alaric looked around very confused, Caroline came to the realization that she might still be a bit too drunk to drive them both to the bridge herself. Without bothering to ask Jonas to hand the phone over to Elijah, she began addressing the vampire.

"Elijah, I'm just this side of too tipsy. Be a good daddy vampire and drive me and Alaric, would ya?"

She could hear Jonas try to stifle a laugh just before she realized what she'd said.

"Daddy vampire?"

She could hear the amusement in Elijah's voice and Alaric, still half-reclined on the floor, was staring at her with raised eyebrows. Refusing to even acknowledge what she had done, Caroline simply asked if he was going to pick her up or not. After he said that he was, she quickly called Bonnie and Maddox to tell them to meet everyone at the bridge as well, making sure to ask Bonnie to call her Grams.

Throughout everything, the crow had remained –silently watching Caroline make her calls. When Alaric asked why they were going to the bridge, the crow cawed before she could answer. Turning to the bird with narrowed eyes and a knowing smile, Caroline pointed at it and said, "You already know, don't you?"

The bird preened and gave a soft caw that sounded almost like a coo. Turning back to Alaric, Caroline gave a megawatt smile and said "We're going to burn the bridge!"

As they climbed into Elijah's car –Alaric in the back with Jonas and Luka, Caroline in the front with Elijah—the crow quickly flew through the still open passenger door and landed on Caroline's lap. When Elijah threw her a questioning look, Caroline said "I'm practicing to be Snow White."

Yeah, she could definitely still feel a decent buzz from the alcohol. She really needed to watch her tongue. Turning to the bird in her lap who, oddly enough, looked very impatient to get going, she gave a sigh and said, "I'm going to have to give you a name. How about Eric?"

The crow, now Eric, gave another soft caw and sidled closer to her torso.

"Eric?" came Elijah's questioning voice.

Giving him a look that let him know just how dense he was being, Caroline answered "You know, Eric, the guy from The Crow?"

While he didn't look as if he had seen the movie, Elijah simply started the car and drove. When they neared the bridge and Caroline unexpectedly told him to stop, he did so with little more than an indulgent sigh. However, he couldn't seem to stop himself from questioning her when she had him open the trunk so that she could stow the sign she had just torn less than gracefully from its posts.

"We're gonna need it when we get to the bridge," was her probably less than helpful answer.

As they finally arrived at said bridge, they found the five witches –sorry, three witches and two warlocks—already there and waiting. Bonnie barely took her mistrustful gaze off Maddox as Caroline asked Elijah nicely to get the sign and then walked up to her.

"Is there a reason he's here?"

Caroline could understand her dislike of Maddox. For her, there was no good reason to happily work for a creature like Klaus. Bodily turning Bonnie to face the bridge, she answered.

"I wanted all the magical mojo I could get for this."

She then took the Wickery Bridge sign and gave it a light toss, relatively speaking, so that it landed about in the middle of the bridge. She then went and stood behind Bonnie, placing her hands on her friend's arms and her chin on her shoulder.

"You remember when Tiki made you mad at the car wash? I want you to do to the bridge what you almost did to her."

With only a small hesitation, Bonnie seemed to strain to light the wood on fire. However, nothing happened. While she could have easily asked one of the other witches –warlocks, whatever—to do it, Bonnie was the one who needed to be reminded that she was a very powerful witch. Seeing no other choice, Caroline took a deep breath and moved around to stand in front of Bonnie.

"Bonnie, do you remember Ms. Cuddles and how she disappeared right after one of our big fights? Yeah, she didn't just disappear. I stole her, took her out to the middle of the woods, and buried her in a shallow grave."

She finished this off with a remorseless grin and waited. Within seconds, Caroline began to feel heat on her face. Quickly moving back behind Bonnie, she watched as flames quickly consumed the bridge.

"Okay, we're going to need to both contain this and speed it up. I don't want to set the woods on fire, but I would also really rather not spend all night out here making sure this whole thing goes up completely."

With hardly even a sideways glance, the others moved in better position to contain and speed up the fire. Taking a break from having just expended a large amount of magic, Bonnie stood back with Caroline and watched as the bridge was rapidly consumed.

After it was clear that nothing was left of the bridge by the metal understructure, Bonnie moved closer and began to ask, "Caroline, why…"

Before she could complete her sentence, however, her nose wrinkled up before her eyes got wide. Obviously, the smell of all the booze she drank was still strong enough for even Bonnie's human senses to pick up.

"Are you drunk?"

She had no time to answer before Sheila's voice cut through the night.

"Tell me that we did not just burn a bridge on a drunken whim!"

Grateful that she could honestly tell Sheila that it wasn't the case, Caroline rushed to explain.

"The bridge was made of the one wood that can kill Klaus."

At this Elijah interrupted. "Nonsense, we burned that tree a thousand years ago."

Caroline really wanted to roll her eyes at his smug tone. She just barely managed not to.

"Yeah, and Katherine had no children, right?" Maybe she didn't entirely stop herself from reacting to his tone. "Nature hates anything that can't be killed, and the witch who made you wasn't strong enough to overcome that. Roughly a century after you burned the original tree, a doppelgänger popped up in its place."

Perhaps, if she had been slightly less tipsy, she would have expected the anger from Jonas. However, as it was, the pain in her head caught her completely by surprise.

"Why would you have us destroy the only thing that could kill Klaus?"

The pain in her head was too great to answer, but it was gone almost as soon as Jonas had finished speaking. Taking a second to recover, Caroline looked up to find Maddox, in obvious pain, pinning Jonas against a car while Luka was apparently laying some sort of magical hurt on him.

Rushing over, she smacked Luka in the back of the head, just hard enough to distract him, and pulled Maddox off of Jonas.

"Enough! Luka, Maddox isn't going to attack your father anymore. Back off. Maddox… no more."

She looked at both in turn to make sure they were going to play nice. She then faced Jonas who, while he didn't look any less angry, did appear ready to listen.

"I get that you're angry we just destroyed any chance of killing Klaus, but we need him alive. There is something coming that's more dangerous than him and if my plans fall through, it could be the end of us. Not just of vampires and werewolves, but of witches, warlocks, doppelgängers, and whatever other supernatural creatures are out there."

Taking a deep breath, she turned and leaned against the car next to him.

"I'm not sure why you personally want Klaus dead…"

"He has my daughter. He's forcing her to help him."

Given everything Katherine had said about Klaus, her memories of what Bonnie had said about Greta in the other timeline, and what she knew of Klaus, she doubted there was much in the way of force going on. However, she didn't think any father would want to think his daughter willingly ran off with a creature like Klaus. She didn't know what she could say to get him to work with her, and it suddenly just seemed like too much. She couldn't stop the tears from pooling in her eyes as she pleaded with him.

"I will do everything I can to get your daughter back, but this is bigger than you, me, or even her. There is so much that I need to do to keep everyone safe, and I need you to not fight me. I need all the help I can get. I just… I need you to have patience and trust that you will have the chance to get your daughter back again."

Caroline wasn't sure what it was that convinced Jonas to listen to her, or if he was just playing along, but she was willing to go with it for now. Suddenly, she was just so very tired.

"Soon enough, we'll have the chance to see about your daughter. We have a werewolf, a vampire, the doppelgänger, and we've just recently located the moonstone."

Standing up, she looked at Elijah and then Alaric and said she was ready to go home. The others seemed to understand that she wasn't in the mood to answer any questions and quickly dispersed. Alaric, however, didn't seem to get the message that she wasn't in the mood for conversation; he questioned her from the backseat.

"I'm assuming that, now that you've located the moonstone, you have also planned for where all the sacrifices are going to recover after the ritual?"

With a sigh, Caroline resigned herself to the discussion.

"We've got that all covered. The only thing we have to do is to set up a time and a place to meet with Klaus and hope that the negotiations go well."

At this, she could hear a small huff of laughter from him.

"You took a bit of a risk relying on Maddox to pass on information about the moonstone. Last time, he left out a few key details and Ben got roughed up."

While Caroline gave a noncommittal hum, inside everything seized up and then went into overdrive. Alaric could have just assumed she hadn't told Klaus about the moonstone herself. The bit about Ben and Maddox, however… only she, Bonnie, and Ben knew about that. Yet again, Caroline was left feeling like an idiot. She had forgotten all about Klaus' body-jacking tricks. She was so wrapped up in what was going on with her dad, making sure all the spells were in place, and worrying about whether John would make another move that she hadn't even really thought hard on why Klaus might have switched to text-only communication.

As Elijah drove off, Caroline took a deep breath and started to speak.

"I lied when I told everyone we had just gotten rid of the last way to kill off an original vampire. I actually have a white oak stake. We also have access to spells that can put them out of commission without having to use the daggers dipped in white oak ash."

Turning to Alaric, no, Klaus, she didn't even try and put on a tough front.

"I'm telling you this so that you'll take me seriously when I say that, if Alaric isn't wearing that ring when you go back into your body and he dies, you will die. They can all forgive what you did to Ben, and they can forgive you killing off Isobel. They weren't really close to Elena, and she seems to be the center of the universe in this town. However, they wouldn't forgive you for killing Alaric."

Without waiting for an answer, she turned to go. Klaus, it seemed, wasn't done with the conversation. His tone, rather than angry, however, was amused.

"What gave it away, sweetheart?"

Stopping, but not looking back at him, she replied, "It's probably been a while since you've been drunk in a human body. Alcohol seems to have loosened your tongue."

His laughter followed her, but she really couldn't find it in her to join in. She had slipped up and nearly missed that Alaric was even in danger. The next day she was at Pearl's, after having made the rounds to let everyone know about the Alaric situation, discussing the entire mess with her and Elijah. Right as she was about to explain to Pearl, who was slightly angry at this point, why she hadn't told her Maddox was Klaus' witch, Klaus himself made a call. And, this time, in his own body.

"I've just come from dropping off Alaric with Jenna. He looked a bit woozy from the spell and I had to remove the compulsion I had on her that made her think everything was just as normal in their relationship. I was thinking we should meet up, talk about breaking curses and such. How does Friday sound? Gives us enough time to get all our ducks in a row."

Almost on autopilot, Caroline agreed. She then left, saying goodbye to Pearl and Elijah, calling Bonnie even before she cleared the door.

Elijah watched her leave, still not over the slight bit of almost longing hearing his brother's voice over the phone brought him. Looking over, he noticed that Pearl's anger seemed to have transformed into worry.

"Are you concerned about what my brother will do to Ms. Forbes?"

With a quick blink, Pearl seemed to pull herself out of her thoughts.

"Strangely, I have complete faith that Caroline will find a way to convince Klaus to go along with her plan. The problem is, Caroline plans on being one of the sacrifices and I'm not sure I have the faith in her witches that she does."

The news came as a shock to Elijah. Though, even knowing Caroline for as short of a time as he had, he should have seen this coming. She was a good leader from what he had seen, and one who didn't seem willing to ask others to do what she refused to do.

As he drove back toward the lovely bed and breakfast he had been staying in, it occurred to him that he could stop this. Logically, there was no reason to stop it. After all, as amusing and beautiful as he found both the Forbes women, they were ultimately nothing to him. However, he couldn't forget the look on Elizabeth's face as she confessed that she might not be able to protect her daughter. Perhaps he was a sentimental old fool, but what could it hurt to intervene? Quickly deciding that appealing to Elizabeth would do no good, as she probably couldn't change her daughter's mind, he headed toward the house Maddox had bought. If he knew his brother, that's where he would be found.

Once he neared the door of the witch's home, he could hear the sounds of sex and his brother's unmistakable voice giving instructions. Rolling his eyes –of course his brother would celebrate the return to his own body with sex—Elijah gave three solid knocks and waited. It didn't take long for Maddox to open the door wearing nothing but a pair of unbuttoned slacks and smelling of his brother and an unidentified female.

"Do let Klaus know his brother is here to see him."

A quick order from wherever Klaus was and Maddox invited him in. He was just coming up to the kitchen island when Klaus came out of a back room dressed in nothing more than his necklaces and unbuttoned jeans. Nearing Maddox, Klaus grabbed the witch by the back of his neck and pulled him in for a kiss. Pulling back, he pushed the other man in the direction he had just come from.

"Go finish Greta up for me, mate."

Turning toward Elijah, he gave a mischievous grin and continued, "Best not to leave a powerful lady wanting."

Unless Klaus had been dealing with two women named Greta, he could only assume that he was referring to Jonas' daughter. That would be no on the kidnapping theory, then.

Elijah waited patiently as Klaus retrieved two tumblers and a decanter of what smelled like bourbon and joined him at the island. After he poured both glasses, he handed one to Elijah and remained almost uncomfortably close. The smell of sex and the two witches coming off him strongly.

"Now what brings you here, brother? Have you missed me so much?"

It was the same teasing voice he had always used. The one that had led to far too many evenings involving the kind of behavior even Kol and Rebekah would have found depraved. After all, they were family, and some taboos never left them. Something must have shown on his face, because Klaus tilted his head, staring intently.

"Why so glum, brother? I'm about to have everything I want, and you'll be reunited with our siblings? Of course, I'll have to be careful when dealing with Caroline. She's already informed me that they have a white oak stake still in their possession and the witches have a way of taking me down even without it."

Here, Elijah saw an opportunity. Perhaps his brother wouldn't want to risk having to deal with the witches without the buffer of Caroline there for him.

"That is, of course, assuming she survives the ritual. The witches' spell to bring back the sacrifices may not work, after all."

Klaus froze. Elijah highly doubted that he had not taken into consideration that the spell might not work, so it was obvious that his brother had been unaware of Caroline's plan to play the part of vampire sacrifice. Setting down his glass, Klaus took out his phone even as he yelled out to Maddox.

"Maddox, head to the Salvatore's boarding house. Bring Damon Salvatore's desiccated body here. I have plans for it."

Taking a deep breath, his expression going from determined to smiling in the blink of an eye, Klaus brought his phone up to his ear, and waited as it rang. Elijah could clearly hear Caroline answer the phone, any traces of her earlier frustration with herself no longer discernable in her voice.

"Hello, love. Slight change of plans. How about you give me half an hour, and then head over to Maddox's. There's no time like the present for negotiations, right?"

Elijah heard her agree before his brother said his goodbyes and turned a grin on his brother.

"Luckily, I had a back-up in mind in case things went south. Now, dear brother, are you going to stand by my side during this meeting, where you always should have been?"

It was so easy to fall back into the role of his brother's right hand. So many centuries spent chasing after a way to break Klaus' curse, it was almost like second nature to him. He didn't even hesitate to follow Klaus back into his room and pick out clothes for him, not even pretending to be annoyed by the indulgent grin his brother gave him. It felt like home.

Perhaps, after so long, Klaus had somehow marked him so that everyone who saw him knew, at least in the back of their mind, that he belonged with his brother. That would explain why, when he opened the door to let Caroline in, she barely even batted an eye.

"Ah, Caroline. So good to finally see you in person. Well, with my own eyes, that is."

And, just like that, all of her attention was on Klaus. This, too, felt like home.

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