A/n: Hello everyone! I know it’s Klaroweek and I’m not sure what the prompts are for today but I got this idea today and It just kind of came out. Anyway. Let me know if you guys like it. Or yeah…
*FIVE YEARS OLD*
“It’s easy see I’ll show you. You take your laces like this, and you loop the one like that…”
Liz Forbes peeked around the corner of her daughter’s room, curiosity piking inside of her as she listened to the five year olds angelic voice. The tiny girl sat in the middle of her floor, surrounded by an array of dozens of dolls and stuffed animals. Sun filtered through the open window lighting where her daughter sat as if she were sitting under a spotlight. Dust danced through the rays, heat simmered across the pavement outside. The scene was set as if someone had meticulously crafted it, the only discrepancy was that where someone should have sat, patiently watching as Caroline explained how to tie a shoe, there was only emptiness. The tinkling bells of Caroline’s voice continued as she spoke to the room around her.
“It kind of looks like a bunny. See?”
Liz let her eyes survey the other corners of the room on instinct. Her police training coupled with the level of protectiveness she felt for her daughter causing her to make sure there wasn’t someone secretly there. There was nothing. Of course there was nothing.
“Caroline honey, who are you talking to?”
Caroline’s large blue eyes jumped to her mother in surprise, her hands suspended above the white fabric of her sneakers.
“My friend Mommy.” Before turning her attention back to the task at hand and continued to narrate the correct way to tie a shoe.
Liz let a smile tug on her lips as her daughter tittered on. She turned back towards the kitchen, there was always dishes to be done. Oh to be young again.
“I think Caroline has a new friend.” Liz said later that evening as she sat across the dinner table from her husband. He had been late getting home again and she had long since put Caroline to sleep.
Bill wasn’t phased by Liz’s admission. His hand made a sawing motion as he cut his steak into pieces. “Oh yeah?” He murmured through the mouth full of food.
Liz wrinkled her nose as she laced her fingers together on the table top.
“One of the neighbor kids?” Bill continued, picking up his beer bottle and taking a drugging swig.
When she didn’t reply he finally stopped enough to give her a questioning glance.
“An imaginary one.”
Bill gave a little laugh, before spearing a forkful of potatoes and shoveling it into her mouth.
“Yeah? What’s her name then?”
“She calls him Klaus.”
*SEVEN YEARS OLD*
They were screaming again.
Their voices echoed off the walls of the house, into the deepest corners. There was no escaping it inside. Caroline’s mother’s voice was so shrill that it pierced through the skin straight to the bone. It was all they did anymore. Yelled, fought, screamed. He didn’t even know what they were fighting about anymore. They fought simply to fight. They fought so they could revel in their own misery. With no remorse for dragging them into it.
Caroline sat crossed legged on her bed with her blanket wrapped around her and her bear in her arms
The night was warm, summer was still in full swing, but she still wrapped her blanket tighter around herself as she attempted to hold herself together. The light was off in her room, but she couldn’t sleep, who could sleep with all of that yelling.
Klaus watched her. Watched as the tears spilled over onto her pale cheeks. Every time the fight would reach an elevated pitch she would flinch as if it was a physical blow.
“It’s okay Caroline. They’ll stop soon.”
She didn’t answer him. He’d do anything to take her away. From them.
She pushed a fistful of hair out of her eyes as she looked at him, his legs crossed mirroring her own.
The screaming grew louder. “WELL MAYBE WE WEREN’T MEANT TO BE TOGETHER BILL.”
The sobs of her mother coming in between the piercing shrieks.
She buried her face into the white fur of her bear. Tears coming faster now as her body began to rock back and forth.
“Someday.” He promised hers. “Someday, all of this is going to be over.
Someday, we’re going to go somewhere that they couldn’t get us.”
Her tiny voice whispered into the air. Unheard by all except the crickets chirping incredulously in the black night and him. A sad melody mixed with the cracking tears in her voice.
“Do you promise?”
*NINE YEARS OLD*
She sat on the swing, her pigtails bouncing behind her as she pumped her legs back and forth trying her best to get higher.
“They think something’s wrong with me.” She said as she continued to push the ropes harder.
Klaus’s heart clenched a little as he watched her. He worried, she was brash sometimes. Reckless. It was easy to get caught up with her enthusiasm. At nine years old, it was easy for him to get caught in his friend’s mischief. He was only a boy after all.
“Why on earth would they think that?”
“Because of you.” She had reached the top of the swings allowance and finally she let go. He watched her, he watched her fly through the air in slow motion. Panic lacing through him as she hit the ground and rolled.
He was scrambling after her before she had completely stopped. “Caroline!”
She propped herself on her elbows, rolling her eyes. “I’m fine you big baby.”
“You need to be more careful. You are acting foolish.”
She scoffed before flopping back down on the grass staring up at the brilliant blue of the sky. He followed her lead, laying so that his head rested next to hers, his hands folded over his chest.
“It’s because of you.”
Confusion spiked through him. “What is?”
“That they think something’s wrong with me. I overheard Mom talking to Dad on the phone yesterday. I’m too old to still have an imaginary friend, they want to go get me checked out.”
She sat up. “I know you’re real. I just don’t understand why I’m the only one who can see you?”
“Because that’s just the way it works.” He hadn’t been giving much information the day he was brought to Caroline. Being five years old he had remembered very little of what the primly dressed woman had tried to explain to him. He was to be Caroline’s friend and constant companion, only Caroline’s. No one else would see him. Over the four years that he had been with her he had learned only a little bit more. He couldn’t move anything. He couldn’t touch anyone. And when she wasn’t thinking about him, she couldn’t see him. But he was there. He was always there.
“The other kids at school call me crazy.”
She looked hesitant. “Maybe I should stop talking about you. I can tell them I don’t see you anymore. It’ll be our secret.
Another wave of panic clawed at him. He didn’t like this idea. He didn’t like this idea at all. He didn’t know why. But it was what Caroline wanted. Then he’d go along with it.
“Sure. Sounds okay to me.”
*THIRTEEN YEARS OLD*
Time seemed to go slower after that. With each year that passed Caroline’s time with him grew more and more scarce. It was always precious when she’d look over her shoulder and give him that smile that could rival the sun.
She had turned 13 without thinking about him. He watched as she unwrapped her presents, squealing over a new pair of shoes. He looked on in contentment. Watching each day pass where she became more confident. More beautiful. As a 13 year old boy, he’d be blind not to notice.
Caroline had always been his best friend.
Caroline had always been his.
As the party began to wind down, the two other girls left for home. He followed Caroline as she carried the large armful of her presents into her room. Scattering them on the bed without a care for their state. He resisted the urge to roll his eyes as she unscrewed an atrocious shade of nail polish and began painting her toes.
He moved his hand to scratch his face and staggered back in horror.
It was faint. Minute. Barely. But he could see through his hand.
He shook his head. Then his hand. He grabbed it. Fear racing through him as he stared at Caroline. Blissfully oblivious to his presence.
He was disappearing.
*SIXTEEN YEARS OLD**
It had been 3 years, 9 months, and 16 days since Caroline had last seen him. Had last thought of him. Had last wanted him to be around.
He looked on helpless. Each year that passed made less and less of him visible. He was fading away.
He was fading away because she was forgetting him and he was powerless to stop it.
He looked on in agony. Agony. He could not think of a better word.
Caroline had grown more and more beautiful. Each morning without fail she would emerge from the bathroom and his chest would ignite. She was stunning, the most beautiful creature he had ever seen and somehow, in the course of his 16 years he had fallen in love with her.
Perhaps he had always loved her.
With 16 came new firsts. She got her first car, her first cell phone, and much to Klaus’s disdain, her first boyfriend.
Needless to say Klaus hated him.
He was the most pompous, arrogant, smarmy bloke Klaus had ever seen.
He didn’t deserve Caroline. Not even in a thousand years would he come close to deserving her.
It had been three months since Tyler and Caroline had become official when it happened. She came home later than usual. He didn’t follow her anymore when she went out with him. He couldn’t stomach it. She flew through her bedroom door, flinging herself onto her bed, tears wracking her body. He stood immediately.
She cried, and he felt every heavy sob.
Her pain was his pain. It had always been.
He sat on the floor. Head in his hands. Trying to will some of his strength to her. Trying to send everything he had to comfort her. He pressed the palms of his fading hands into his eyes and he listened to her sob in her pillow.
It happened like lightening. Like the hottest spikes of electricity igniting like fire over his skin.
All at once he knew.
It had been so long that he had forgotten what it felt like.
He was stumbling to his feet in a second.
She lifted her head from her pillow, her eyes meeting his. The sweetest taste of relief he had ever felt raged through him. Like he had finally come home. He looked at his hands to find them solid.
After all of this time.
He spoke again. His voice cracking. “Caroline.”
He sat on the bed next to her. Memorizing every plane of her face, every dance in her eyes, the way her lips parted ever so slightly as she looked at him. He wanted to remember every moment of this, every moment of what it felt like when she looked at him.
“I fell asleep.” She shook her head.
“No. You aren’t asleep it’s me. You finally remembered.”
She wiped the backs of her hands over her eyes, but they did not stop falling.
“I forgot about you. I haven’t thought about you in…”
He didn’t answer, he couldn’t. His throat swelled heavy. Finally he spoke.
“It’s been a long time.” He said carefully.
She sniffed, but didn’t say a word.
“What happened?” He said softly.
A fresh wave of tears spilled over. “I thought he loved me.” She broke. She told him everything, how Tyler had cheated on her, how he had humiliated her. She cried, her face pressed into her pillow, her blanket tugged tightly around her just like when she was a little girl. How anyone could think to want another person after having Caroline baffled him. She was iridescent. She was perfect in all the ways she wasn’t perfect.
Klaus had always known that he loved her.
But until this moment, he never knew how much.
He soothed her the best he could, with his words and his voice. “If I were out there Caroline. He never would have hurt you. I wouldn’t of let him. He’s just a boy. A smalltime boy with a small town life ahead of him. He won’t be enough for you anyway love. You deserve more. You deserve everything.”
“I wish you were real. You would be the perfect guy. I love you Klaus.” She whispered behind closed eyelids.
“I love you too Caroline.” He had never meant words more.
He spoke to her until she dozed, her breathe coming even, her eyes still swollen from her tears.
He reached out, his hand hovering over her cheek. He slowly lowered it, praying to feel something, anything.
He felt nothing but air.
He never hated his plight quite so much in his entire life.
*EIGHTEEN YEARS OLD*
She had done it.
He had known she would do it. Always did. Top of her class, valedictorian, head cheerleader, chair of the mystic falls beautification committee. Caroline Forbes was the whole package.
That’s my girl. He thought as with a beaming smile he watched her walk across the stage to accept her diploma.
He had began to fade again the next day after that night two years prior when she had remembered him. Maybe she didn’t recollect it, maybe she thought she had dreamed it.
He had prayed, prayed every night since she had told him she loved him, that she’d remember, that she’d see him. But she didn’t. He continued to fade, and she continued to thrive.
Caroline took center stage, giving a little wave to the photographer and the place that her mother sat teary eyed.
A crack jolted up his spine and his eyes snapped to hers.
She blinked a few times, as if she didn’t really understand what she was seeing. And then all at once she understood and gave him the smallest of smiles. A smile that was meant for him alone. She knew he was there for her.
He’d always be there for her.
The grin that split his face was all consuming. But it was short-lived.
Everything became too intense, too loud, the ground became to shake and Caroline walked away. Didn’t she feel it? It was like an apocalypse, like the end of the world. He screamed, but knew that no one heard him but he screamed none the less.
And then there was nothing but white
He blinked against the light. It was too bright. Too much. He blinked, his head pounding as the world began to once again get focus.
His eyes met a familiar face. A primly be speculated woman that he had not seen in 13 years.
She sat behind a neatly organized desk. He sat across from her. Other than that the room as empty.
“Well done Mr. Mikealson. You’ve completed your assignment wonderfully.”
He stared. Trying to grasp some semblance of his sanity. “My assignment?”
“Yes. You’ve stayed with Caroline until she’s forgotten you. You’ve done your job as her companion. You’re fully dissolved now.”
Caroline. Where was Caroline?
“What? No. She hasn’t forgotten me. We just saw each other? She saw me a moment ago.”
“I assure you Mr. Mikealson, that isn’t true.”
Fury rose within him.
“This is ridiculous how do I get out of here?”
“And go where?” the woman said sharply.
She gave him a tight smile, her fingers folding together in her lap.
“There is no going back Mr. Mikealson.”
“What are you talking about?”
“From now on you will reside here, with the rest of the forgotten.”
She motioned for him to stand, and stared at her expectantly waiting for her answer.
“You didn’t think you were the only one did you?”
She motioned again and he stood.
He couldn’t shake the feeling roiling within him. Something wasn’t right here.
Something was very seriously wrong.
Whatever this place was, it was endless. The forgotten consisted of mostly children, but there were a few older companions closer to Klaus’s age. It was one in particular Klaus was keen on finding at the moment.
He turned a corner, leaving a gaggle of guards behind him, banking over into the laundry facilities.
A pillar of smoke rose from the person standing in the shadows, and Klaus walked forward slowly to make sure they were alone.
They didn’t speak for a long time.
“What did you mean?”
The man stepped forward, his hair mussed, his brooding features tight. “About what?”
“About what you said. About a way back?”
The ripper smiled, an amused, volatile smile. “I knew you’d be interested.”
“Is it real?”
The Ripper laughed this time.
“Now that depends.”
Klaus could feel his ire rise as every moment passed. At any moment they could be discovered. At every moment they could be removed from the Forgotten and put into solitary with no way out.
“On what?” He bit out glaring hard at the young man in front of him.
“On whether you are willing to go to hell to get back to her.”
Caroline’s face swam through his mind. It ripped at his heart. Caroline. His Caroline.
“I’d die for her.”
The Ripper smiled that unfeeling smile. “You might just get your wish.”
They had to go together. Stefan, that was the Ripper’s real name had explained everything. They lived in alternate planes of existence. Where they were now was called ‘the other side’. There was only one way to get back through to where both Caroline, and Stefan’s companion existed. It was through a place no sane person would ever dare to set foot.
Hell. They had to make it through hell.
Stefan’s story was similar to Klaus’s. The only difference was that while Klaus had faded, Stefan had not. Elena had spoken and interacted with him till the end. When they had finally cut Stefan there was no doubt in his mind what had happened.
They. Whoever they were. Whoever controlled them. Whoever controlled this place needed to be stopped.
They had taken nothing when they had left their rooms and met in an electrical closet. Stefan had been cultivating the plan to get out from the moment he had arrived. Had even attempted it a few times. There was only one problem.
There had to be two people to make the escape.
He described the process in explicit detail. That the very last room. The entrance to hell there were two sacrifices needed. Two blood offerings from two people on other sides of a room. They had battled through all of it. Every challenge, every room, every facet until he stood face to face with his urn, knife in hand.
Stefan gave him the nod, and without another thought he pressed the knife into the flesh of his arm. Blood welled over, splattering against the urn with thick droplets.
The room began to shake. He could barely make out Stefan from a few feet away.
Flames suddenly consumed him.
His flesh melted from his body.
He screamed at the agonizing pain wracking him.
He screamed until he could no longer scream any more.
And then there was nothing.
Nothing but black.
The sun was shining brightly as Caroline bounced her leg sharply against the grass. She had two term papers that needed to be done. TWO. And she was not even close to be being a tiny bit prepared.
Like not even a little bit.
If she thought that college was going to be as much of a breeze as high school had been. Well… wrong. She was just ridiculously wrong.
Other than the fact that she didn’t have to worry about curfew anymore, College was nowhere near what it was cracked up to be.
Crazy Caroline was going out of her mind.
She might as well just go to her dorm, the birds were too damn distracting out here anyways.
She flipped her book shut with a loud thump. Huffing as she stood. She spun on her heel, shoving her book into her bag. Her eyes moving towards where her dorms were located.
She stopped as her eyes met the most hauntingly familiar blue ones.
“No.” She whispered.
“Hello Caroline.” He said, his hands in his pocket, his eyes shining brightly as they always did when he looked at her.
She pressed her eyes shut as hard as she could. Hoping that when she opened them he would be gone. She was too old to still see him. To still have an imaginary friend. She didn’t want to be different anymore. She wanted to be Caroline and live her life, not spend it pining over someone who did not exist.
She opened them and he still stood before her. Handsome. So handsome and so safe.
“This isn’t real.” She said, before turning as hard as she could and walking away from him.
She made it three steps before a hand stopped her.
The level of shock she felt at the electricity of his touch stopped her in her tracks.
She stood staring at everything and nothing before her as she focused on the feeling of the hand wrapped around her wrist.
It couldn’t be his.
She turned. Slowly. Disbelievingly. Her eyes fixed to where they touched. Finally they made it back to his.
“Caroline.” It was soft, tender, the words dripping from his mouth like the silkiest of caresses.
“Is this real?” She asked, trying to grasp for reality.
He moved a step closer, his hand releasing hers and moving up to cup her cheek. The touch scorched her, it was too hot, too much. His forehead dipped to rest against hers.
“It’s real. It’s me.”
She wasn’t sure what she was supposed to be thinking, or feeling, or doing.
The only thing she could think to do was to pull him closer. And without another thought she kissed him. The world around them stopped, suspended in time as her mouth moved with his.
She pulled away, put left her hands cupping his neck. She didn’t want to let him go.
She didn’t want him to disappear again.
Not for the rest of her life.