Author's Note: Sorry about the long wait! Thank you all for your kind words, I really appreciate it! I love hearing from all of you, it really encourages me to continue onward. Thank you for your support! Let me know what you think! Enjoy!
Caroline got the joy of listening to her friends all to argue over who was going with her and why.
Stefan doesn't trust Klaus and thinks that he could use some backup. Damon doesn't trust Klaus and thinks that Stefan can't handle it alone. Bonnie doesn't trust Klaus and is the only one that can break the spell anyway. Elena doesn't trust Klaus and knows that Caroline is going to need a friend with some vampire strength. Liz doesn't trust Klaus and is Caroline's mother.
Needless to say, the key point all of them shared made Klaus roll his eyes every single time. It was honestly funny to hear each of them say almost the same thing. Klaus didn't appreciate everyone saying that but his annoyance seemed to wane a bit each time one of them said it and Caroline couldn't help the little giggle that escaped her. It sounds like to her that this is his fault that she's in this mess, the least he could do is accept this treatment with humility. And he does, which she appreciates.
"I'm going," Bonnie says, she holds her hands up. "Case closed."
"You and Klaus alone? Not going to happen," Elena says, her eyebrows pulled together tightly.
"I'll be fine," Bonnie says, not even bothering to look at the hybrid in question. Klaus raises his eyebrow, eyes flickering down to Caroline, who is now rolling her own with a smile on her lips. "I'm strong."
"And she's not alone," Caroline says. "Hello? Remember me? I'm going to be going too. How about we make this easy and Klaus and I just go? Save the debate."
"I'm impartial to that idea," Klaus says. She can see him smiling in his reflection of the window.
"Shut up," half the room chimes in. Klaus's smile doesn't fade. In fact, if anything, it widens and his eyebrows spring toward his hairline in his growing amusement. He's not dissuaded by their annoyance. He looks pleased and it is kind of funny to see. Okay, so maybe he didn't take it with all humility and grace. At least his revenge is PG. And she can get behind a bit of sass being thrown around.
That erupted into an argument between all of them. Caroline rolls her eyes again, leaning back into the couch again. This is going to be a long day. Especially when Liz stepped away to call into work saying that she wasn't going to make it in today. Caroline isn't sure how this is going to end, but all of them packing into her car and driving to New Orleans is going to be hellish.
This argument is unbelievable. So unbelievable, they had to take a two-hour recess in order to regain their strength and return to the ring. She grew so tired of it, she had to get up and walk away. Knowing it was inevitable, she sits down on her bed, pulling out her phone and doing a quick google search to see how long it would take to get from Virginia to New Orleans.
So that's two outfits. And they are probably going to be in New Orleans for a week or so. So there are another seven outfits plus stuff for the night and back up outfits. She rubs at her forehead before searching for her suitcases. She likes having something else to focus on. Organizing outfits and checking the weather in New Orleans helps to distract her from the fatigue of her body. From the worry that is settling over her shoulders.
Naturally, growing tired of the squabbling of her friends, Klaus finds his way into her room and after a few failed attempts to talk to her, he just sits on her bed, next to her suitcase and watches as she plans out her clothes for the week. She would hold up a few shirts, "Long sleeve, sheer or short sleeve?" and actually listens to his advice. He doesn't appear genuinely interested in her outfit choices but must have realized that she needed the distraction.
As soon as she figured out her outfits for the percieved time away she set out to clean. Klaus didn't say anything, just watched quietly as she walked around her room, scrubbing and cleaning every inch of it. She reorganized her shelves, refolded all her clothes, got a box to throw out the clothes that she knows that she's not going to wear again.
She scoots over to the bed, next to his legs. She nudges his legs until he pulls them up onto the bed and crosses them Indian style. She starts pulling stuff out from under the bed; boxes mostly of stuff like trophies and photo albums. She scoots them out of the way and twists around and lays down onto her stomach and crawls under her bed, pushing out anything and everything under there. She wiggles further under the bed to push out all of it. She knows that now really isn't the time for any of this but she feels like she has to. She can't just sit around doing nothing.
As she's pushing things out she can hear Klaus digging around in her stuff.
"Stop touching, none of that is for you!" She yells half-heartedly, which no doubt sounds weak while she's on her stomach and chest and out of breath. That and if his girlish giggling is anything to go by.
"I'm not touching anything, love," Klaus lies easily as he continues to ruffle through her boxes. Caroline rolls her eyes and continues pushing out the last of the items collected beneath her bed before awkwardly wiggling back out, only to run her butt into Klaus's back.
"Are you kidding me? Move!"
"Alright, give me just a moment, love," Klaus says, sounding amused. She rolls her eyes again, turning around onto her back, bringing her leg up and nudging him in the center of his back, pushing into it hard.
"Klaus, move," Caroline snaps playfully, feeling a smile crossing her lips despite it all. She hates that he can make her smile, especially now when she's wound up like a coil. She knows he's trying to make her smile and that it's working. She scared and worried, but he's forcing levity on her to get her mind off of the scary situation that they are in. At least it's scary to her. This is probably just another walk in the park for Klaus.
She alternates feet pushing into his back. "Klaus, move or pull me out from under here. I'm not claustrophobic, but I will become such if I'm forced to stay under here." For a moment, Klaus doesn't move, then the next moment, he's spun around, hands wrapped around her ankles. "No, Klaus!" Caroline gasps, eyes wide. "Don't!"
He sends her a wicked smile before pulling her out, not seeming to care that he gave her rug burn on her back. She covers her mouth to stop herself from laughing out loud. She can't make too much noise or people will come to investigate and if anyone sees her smiling at Klaus, then they are going to start asking questions she doesn't want them to ask, and that she doesn't want to answer.
He leans over her, one hand on either side of her head, his necklaces dangling between them with a sultry smile on his lips. He stares down at her for a long moment as the smile slowly fades from his full lips and he whispers so softly that no one but she could hear him, "Those that dare threaten you will pay dearly, Caroline. I won't let anyone harm you. You have my word."
Caroline doesn't respond, waiting a moment to listen to his heart beating steadily in tandem with the pulsing in his neck. Beyond that, she can still hear her mother and her friends talking in the other room. She stares at him for a second, listening to both of them breathe in sync with one another. Fear spikes in her chest and she stomps it down even though all she wants to do is cry. She's scared. She's so scared.
"Klaus," Caroline whispers, "I'm so scared my hands are shaking. I don't feel well and everything hurts. I just want to go to New Orleans, get rid of these witches and then come back here." She feels a tear slide out from the corner of her eye and slides into her hair. "I haven't been feeling the best for a while now and this is just one more thing that I don't want to worry about. I just want this to be over. I want to feel normal again."
Klaus opens his mouth, looking like he wants to say something, but then decides against it for now. "I will keep you safe, love."
Vulnerable and scared, she whispers, "You promise?"
He puts a hand on her forehead and helps her sit up before scooting back to what he's looking at. Caroline moves so that her back is against the frame of her bed, rubbing her face and thanking God that Klaus didn't point out her tears. He was content to pretend it didn't happen like she was. She swiped away the tears before setting to organize the stuff she pulled out from under the bed.
She scoots stuff around and pushes things into piles to be put back under the bed and thrown away and set aside for her mom to look through to see if they still wanted any of that. She can hear herself sign about a hundred times as she tries to drown out the discussion that they were sweet lord still having in the other room, holy cow, by sighing multiple times a second.
Caroline jumps when she feels Klaus's hand grab onto the chain around her neck, pulling the necklace out from beneath her shirt. "You scared me," Caroline says, eyebrows pulling together. "What?"
She stares at him as he pulls the cursed pendant out of her shirt to really look at it for a moment. He studies it closely before pulling up a family photo album to look at the picture in it. Caroline leans in close to look at it before realizing he was looking at a picture of her great grandmother on her father's side wearing the same necklace that she is. She jerks back a bit, looking over at Klaus.
"That's the necklace!" She digs around in her pocket and pulls out her phone quickly taking a picture of the photo and then sending it to her grandmother, asking about the necklace. She sets her phone on her lap so she can feel it when it vibrates, scooting over a bit so Klaus can lean against her bed next to her. She grabs a different photo album and starts looking for her great grandmother.
"It's my great grandmother Angelica Forbes, My grandfather Joseph Forbes's mom and my dad's great grandmother. I can't believe that she had this necklace. Does that make it a family heirloom?" She looks over at Klaus, her shoulder pressed against his.
"Perhaps," Klaus says, distracted, staring at another picture of her great grandmother. It's a better one. She's in a nice, long sleeve white turtle neck in her fifties, making the red jewel stand out against it. He looks at it closely before looking over at Caroline, holding out the necklace to inspect again.
Caroline's phone vibrates. She digs under the photo album to grab her phone and see it's a response from her grandmother.
"What does it say?" Klaus asks.
"She said, it was grandma's necklace she got from grandpa as an engagement necklace when they originally got married in the twenties. It's something that was passed through the Forbes family for generations but went missing after Grandma Angelica died like ten years ago." Caroline messages her back, asking where she passed and what happened before looking over at Klaus. "Do you think this has anything to do with what's going on? I mean, it's odd that my grandmother's necklace would just reappear as the tool for some witch's spell, right? That can't be a coincidence."
"No, I doubt it was a coincidence, love," Klaus says. "Now I'm curious to see how it ended up in the hands of witches in New Orleans."
Caroline's phone buzzes. She looks down at it, reading the message before she turns it toward Klaus to read, "Well, it just so happens my grandmother Angelica died in New Orleans. She had a family home out there."
They both stare at each other.
"I'm going to grab Bonnie," Caroline says, eyebrows pulled together. "We'll stop by her house, grab whatever she needs and yours if you need anything and then we are going to get out of here. I'm tired and nauseous and want to get this over with."
Klaus nods, closing the photo album while Caroline closes hers, placing it on the floor next to her. She goes to stand up and literally doesn't have the strength and just falls back onto her bottom. She blinks a few times, looking up at Klaus, who was frowning down at her. He steps over her, holding out his hands for her to take. She reaches out and takes them, letting him help her to her feet. She falls into him, her head spinning.
"Caroline?" He whispers into her ear.
"Klaus," Caroline whispers back, placing her cheek against his. "I feel so weak. I hardly have any energy. I hate feeling like this. I hate that if I take this stupid necklace off I'm going to be even weaker. I haven't felt like this... since I got the flu when I was nine."
Klaus's expression darkens, but his voice is even as he says, "No doubt a perk of the spell cast on you, love."
"Bonnie said the necklace was sapping my energy. Why? Because I'm a vampire and the closer I edge toward desiccation, the more riled you'll become?" She makes a face at him. "Desiccation won't kill me."
"No," Klaus agrees, "but it will make me mad."
Caroline rolls her eyes, finally pulling back slowly. She feels like his arms are the only thing that is supporting her right now. "Jane-Anne said that I would... die by the end of the week? Is this how it's going to happen? It's just going to keep absorbing the magic from me until I die? Is that how it is?" She stares into his eyes. As soon as the questions left her lips, she realized that she didn't want the answer to that. "Never mind. It's a fourteen-hour drive. We should get going."
Klaus presses his lips tightly together. He nods, holding her steady for a moment before finally letting her go. He starts grabbing her bags and heads for the door. Caroline follows after, placing her hand against the wall to help keep her steady. Keeping this necklace on isn't helping her a whole lot. Her headache isn't as bad as it was last night, but she's feeling more and more exhausted as time goes on.
Caroline makes it down the stairs and into the living room, looking around at her friends. "Klaus and I are leaving."
All heads turn toward her and immediately everyone starts talking. Well, more like yelling. Each one of them trying to talk over the other.
"I'm going," Bonnie says, waving around to make the room to make them quiet. "I am the only one that can break the spell."
Caroline nods, pretending that she's convinced. "Okay, Bonnie's in. Everyone else, stay here."
"Caroline," Liz says, walking over to her. She looks her up and down, noting how the wall is barely holding her up as it was. "I'm coming with you. I'm your mother, I can't just ignore someone coming after your life."
Caroline shakes her head. "Mom, they need you here. Who is going to keep the peace around here if you don't? Besides, we're dealing with witches. I think they are a little bit beyond your paygrade." Caroline smiles lightly at her mother. "I know that you're worried about me, but I'm going to be okay. Bonnie is the strongest witch in the world, she's going to keep me safe, and Klaus... well, nothing has ever kept him down for long. I'll be okay, I promise. And I'll call you every day."
Liz looks ready to refuse again but then seems to see the rational part of her argument. Relenting, she says, "Call me, every day. And if something goes wrong, you are coming home immediately, do you understand?"
"Yes, ma'am," Caroline says, saluting with two fingers to her mom before accepting the hug that Liz offers. "I'm going to be okay, mom," she whispers in Liz's ear, hugging her close.
"I'm coming too," Stefan says, pushing away from the wall with his arms crossed over his chest. "It's only logical. Bonnie and I should go. Bonnie with the magic and me with the muscle. We can't have everyone there. It's not smart. If we are dealing with psycho witches that are using Caroline to get to Klaus, we need to have some power in our back pocket."
Caroline wasn't against the idea of Stefan coming along. He was her best guy friend and they're pretty close. She wouldn't mind having him along for backup. And he would be a good reminder not to get too close to Klaus. Despite what happened earlier between the two of them, and the night of the Mikaelson Gala, she's going to keep a safe distance from Klaus. They are going to be, at most, friends.
"Just abandon Caroline when she needs me?" Elena says, walking up to Stefan, brown eyes wide. "No! That's not going to happen. I'm not going to abandon her."
"You're aren't abandoning me," Caroline says, pulling away from Liz to look at her friend. "You're just... waiting for my signal." She smiles between her mother and her friend. "If we need someone to sneak up on these witches, we'll have you and Damon, Elena."
"No..." Elena's eyebrows pull together tightly, shaking her head.
"I'll be okay, Elena, I promise. With Bonnie and Stefan there, I'll be great."
Caroline packed like she was going to be gone for a month, as opposed to a little over a week, so it only made sense that they would drive in two cars. Caroline didn't have the strength to argue so she just said that she and Klaus would drive together and Bonnie and Stefan would drive together. Caroline didn't even slightly help pack up her stuff in the car, having lost all strength.
They swung by Klaus's house to get his stuff and everything in order while she lay, basically comatose in the car while he did. She managed to build up enough strength while dozing in the car to get out of the passenger side and go lay down on the couch while Klaus walks around the house gathering things that he needed and just stared over the arm of the couch as he walked in and out of the house.
She hadn't realized that she fell asleep until she felt Klaus's hand on her head, petting her hair down.
"It's time to go now, love."
Caroline had to force herself to open her eyes and stand up, using the couch, and then Klaus for support. In hindsight, it was probably silly of her to come inside when she was so tired. She just forced Klaus to help her back out into the car. After that, she got to have acid dreams of Klaus, Stefan, and Bonnie talking while she slipped in and out of slumber.
She thought it was dumb that she ended up insisting on bringing her nice jell pillow. Now she's happy that she did. The jell was staying nice and cool against her head, which has since started to hurt. Occasionally she would open her eyes, move around or wake up enough to just stare vacantly out the windshield or side window. Klaus would speak softly to her, sometimes gently touching her forehead or hand, whenever she moved. At some point, she blasted the air conditioning to hopefully help ease her headache seeing as medicine wasn't going to help her.
After some time, Caroline felt Bonnie's hand on her head. Her other hand has turned off the air conditioning as the car is now an icebox, but at least Caroline's head is starting to feel better. Then again, that might have been because she was able to get a bit of sleep.
"Hey, Care? Are you hungry? We're at a gas station. Do you want anything to eat?"
"No," Caroline says, adjusting where her head rests on her pillow. "Thanks, though."
Bonnie tucks some hair behind Caroline's ear. "How about blood? Stefan brought some and I'm sure that Klaus probably did too."
Caroline shakes her head slightly, opening her eyes to see Bonnie sitting on the driver's side where Klaus was the last time she opened her eyes. She blinks a few times, trying to correct the confusion in her brain for Klaus turning into Bonnie. She rubs at her forehead a few times before pulling away from the window to look over at her friend.
"No, I'm not hungry. Or thirsty. How long have we been on the road?" She rolls her stiff shoulders back and then her neck around to relieve some of the stress building up in both spots.
"Five hours," Bonnie says, staring at her, worriedly. "Klaus says that you've been sleeping the whole time. How do you feel?"
"Tired," Caroline admits, twisting the seatbelt a bit from where it was digging into her neck. "God it's like this link is draining the energy right out of me." Bonnie opens her mouth and Caroline holds up her hand to stop her. "No, I know that it is. I'm just saying it to be dramatic."
Bonnie presses her lips together tightly, nodding. "Are you sure you don't want anything? I can grab you whatever you want. How about water? Or chips of some sort?" She looks desperate for Caroline to just ask for something but all Caroline wanted was the close her eyes and the next time she opened them, they would be in New Orleans and she could figure out what the hell was going on.
She shakes her head. "I just want to lay down." She lets out a sigh, feeling her headache get worse. "And I want all of this to be over."
Bonnie looks at her, worriedly. "I know." She reaches out and caresses her shoulder. "I'll grab you a variety of stuff for you to snack on, okay? Go to the bathroom or something. Get out of this car, you're going to have plenty of time to be in it on the road. And Klaus probably won't stop again until I'm dying behind the wheel on the road, but Stefan needs a break, he didn't get enough sleep these last few nights."
Caroline frowns, that has been the first that she's heard of it. She nods at Bonnie. "Okay. Just grab some stuff I'll munch on whatever. Is Stefan inside?"
Bonnie nods. "Do you need help?"
Caroline shakes her head, pulling her pillow from where she pinned it with her body to the window and throws it into the backseat before pulling herself out of the car with Bonnie climbing out the other side after pulling out the keys to Klaus's car and handing them off to the tall blond. Caroline feels like she's walking in slow motion past the gas station parking lot. She waves Bonnie off when the shorter girl tries to help her.
She makes her way to the bathroom, realizing that Bonnie was probably right about not getting another chance with Klaus at the helm of their "adventure" there probably wasn't another break in the near future. And this was actually a nice, clean gas station, Better utilize it while she can. She washes her hands and splashes water onto her face to hopefully wake herself up a bit.
She walks out of the bathroom and spots Stefan right away. He's disinterestedly looking around the shelves of junk food and soda. She slow-motion walks over to him. "Have you heard from Damon and Elena?"
Stefan looks over at her, offering a thin smile. "Hey, Care. How are you feeling?"
"Exhausted, you?" Caroline says, leaning back against one of the racks, being careful not to put too much weight on it, seeing as it probably isn't super steady.
"I'm okay," he says and Caroline doesn't believe him or the dark circles under his eyes for a second. "As for Damon and Elena, yes. I've heard from them. Elena is worried about you. I'll spare you the details and the numerous calls." The smile becomes a bit more genuine.
"Sorry," Caroline says, letting out a long sigh. "I'm sure my phone is on the floor of Klaus's car. I'll dig it out and text her while we're on the road." Caroline stares at him as he looks around at the stacks of chips. "Bonnie told me that you haven't been sleeping well. Does this have anything to do with Elena?" He gives her a sideways look. "Okay, so it has everything to do with Elena. Got it."
"Caroline, it's fine, I'm fine." Stefan turns to face her, putting a hand on her shoulder. "Don't worry about any of that. You look terrible. Get some rest and once we get to New Orleans, we'll figure out how to undo this curse or unlink you or whatever, and we'll be well on our way back to Mystic Falls where the center of the galaxy is the Salvatores and Elena."
Caroline laughs, shaking her head. "It kind of feels like that sometimes, doesn't it?"
Stefan's smile is more genuine. "I swear, it does."
Caroline touches his shoulder. "I'm going to go wait in the car. I am exhausted. I guess I'll see you next pit stop?"
"Yeah..." Stefan says slowly. Caroline turns and walks away, only making it a few steps before he says, "Are you okay? With Klaus, I mean. I can ride with him for a while and you and Bonnie can drive my car if you need to."
Caroline turns to her friend, shaking her head. "I'm okay. Besides, I've been sleeping the whole time. I'm not bothered. Keep Bonnie company for me, okay? I'm not the best at that right now." She waves her hand and heads out. She looks out over the setting sun, wondering if they were going to drive through the night or if they were going to find a hotel or something to sleep in, but Caroline's starting to doubt that they will. Especially the way all of them - Bonnie and Stefan in the store, while Klaus is standing by his car, filling it with gas and talking on his phone - watch her walk agonizingly slow to the car, climb into the back and barely manage to put on her seatbelt before laying down on the seat with her pillow and falling asleep.
She woke up to Klaus climbing into the car and remembered to dig around in her pocket for his keys before holding them out for him to take. "I could drive for a bit if you wanted."
He takes them from her. "Unfortunately, love, I would like for my car to actually make it to New Orleans. So, next time, perhaps."
Good, she wasn't even really willing to wake up anyway. And he probably figured that she wouldn't be able to stay awake anyway so perhaps it was all for the best. She is content to closing her eyes once more and falling asleep.
The trip is a painful blur. Every time they stopped, Caroline was bothered into eating or drinking something, but she couldn't. She was so nauseous that she could eat anything - including blood, which she just threw up all over Stefan and Klaus's shoes once they finally managed to guilt her into drinking some. Just to regain some of her strength and to help slow down the onset of desiccation that will arrive within the next few days but she couldn't keep it down.
Needless to say, Klaus looked absolutely murderous. And their breaks became far more scarce.
Caroline just laid in the backseat feeling the pins and needles in her throat creep up bit by bit as the sun came back up and rose high into the sky. She's pretty sure that at some point Bonnie let Stefan take over driving and both boys drove so fast, breaking every speed limit law all the way to New Orleans. She's pretty sure they made really good time and somehow managed to make it without getting caught by the police. But once they got close to New Orleans, Caroline finally started to feel better.
She still slept until they were inside the city and had to abandon the cars. Caroline, Stefan, and Bonnie stayed behind while Klaus went into New Orleans to figure out who Jane-Anne Deveraux and where to find her. Caroline was finally able to keep a bit of blood down - not nearly as much as she needed, but enough to give her a touch of strength.
They were waiting on the outskirts when Caroline decided to stop going all James Bond about this and pulls up her recent calls on her phone and calls back Jane-Anne, realizing she didn't want to wait for Klaus to figure it out.
"Jane-Anne Deveraux?" Caroline says, looking between Bonnie and Stefan. "This is Caroline Forbes. Well, I'm here. Where should we meet?"
Stefan pulls out his phone to call Klaus.
There is a silence before she says, "I'll text you the location. You got the Hybrid?"
Caroline's eyebrows pull together slightly but don't question it. Although, Jane-Anne's voice sounds a little bit different than she remembers. But then again, Caroline wasn't exactly in the best situation the last time. Maybe it's just her. "Yeah. I got him." She looks up to see Stefan nodding her head.
Caroline hangs up and looks between Stefan and Bonnie. "I'll go. Stay here. We'll scope out the situation. Just... keep your phones on you."
"Are you sure that you're going to be okay?" Bonnie asks, her eyebrows pulling together tightly. "You're exhausted."
Caroline nods, swallowing the pins and needles. "I'll be okay. Klaus will be with me."
Caroline's phone goes off, a text message with a location on it. Caroline forwards it to Klaus. She lets out a long drawn out sigh, hoping that this wasn't too far away before Stefan stuffs his phone into his pocket.
"I'll lead the way," he says, looking at the location. "Lafayette cemetery. I think I know where that is. I'll lay low. I just need to make sure you and Klaus meet up again, then I'll come back. Will you be alright for a bit, Bonnie?" The witch nods. "Alright," he turns to Caroline. "Let's go."