(and he still does those horrible things to her)



He does meet her in person one day.

It’s been decades, not that their faces show it. But there’s contentment in her eyes, a sense of purpose, the light that he admired for the first time all those years ago still there, still shining. Once he’d thought that it would dull with time, sharpen into something vicious if she truly embraced her inner monster.

Klaus finds he’s actually quite pleased to be proven wrong.

Not that she is still the same girl though, the girl who would let others take and take and take from her until she had no more tears to give them. No, this Caroline standing on his doorstep has a spine of steel and will not bend for anyone so unworthy.

“Are you going to stare at me or invite me in?”

Klaus smirks (the same arrogant smirk), she smiles (that same radiant smile), and he steps back to allow her through. The compound is quiet that night, his family left to their own pursuits, some very far away indeed. He’s absurdly grateful for that at the moment.

“What brings you to New Orleans, love?” he asks casually, too casually for the way his mind races with possibilities. But he’s never been one to lose his upper hand, though she might be the rare exception.

“I received the cheque you sent last month.”

“I’ve donated generously to your school for years Caroline, I don’t recall this being the standard thank-you protocol.” Anyone else and it might be a rebuke but there’s a twinkle in his eye and he’s all mirth. He’d never sent the money as a bribe to bring her here, even if he had allowed himself to hope that this might one day happen.

Looks like one day had arrived.

Caroline matches his casualness, admiring the art on the walls, looking over the decorating with a critical eye, though she’s unable to fully hide her admiration. “You’re our biggest benefactor. Thought it was time to say thank you in person.”

Klaus raises an eyebrow and strolls closer, clasping his hands behind his back because it’s all he can do not to reach for her waist and pull her close, see if the taste of her matches his memory. Instead he stops a hair’s breadth away from her back, letting his breath wash over the shell of her ear. “If I remember correctly sweetheart, I was the one who promised to thank you.

Caroline turns, and for the first time one of them breaks. Her breath stutters from how close he is and in a moment she’s seventeen again and they’re standing on a field before he says goodbye.

But that was then and this is now, and Caroline does not intend to say goodbye to him tonight.

There’s no point in playing with pretense, they’ve had decades of coy flirtations through handwritten notes, the barest of communications still managing to covey a wealth of possibilities for a future that would only come if one of them took the first step. Klaus had promised her that she would be the one on his doorstep and it’s nearly been a century since that dance…Caroline finds she’s actually quite willing to compromise her pride, just a little, if it means they can finally see if long-ago promises are capable of becoming something real.

“I had to come here,” Caroline explains, and she lets the neutral façade slip and forces herself to look him in the eye with the bravery he’s always admired in her. “You kept your promise to never come back.”

“I regretted making that promise several times.”

“But I’m glad you did. Things happened…maybe they had to happen the way they did.”

Klaus very much disagrees, but she’s here now and that’s what matters in the end. But now they were inches apart and the possibility of a beautiful future is right there in front of them – only neither knows what to do with it.

“What now?”

Caroline smiles and raises herself just a bit, enough to brush her lips against his. She does taste the same, and then some, sweeter and richer and nothing his memory could possibly do justice. She doesn’t press further though, and it’s not a kiss, not really. It’s a promise. A possibility.

“Champagne,” she whispers against him, so softly he barely catches it. “It’s our thing.”

Klaus pulls away, staring into those eyes he’s painted a hundred times over. “And then?”

“And then…Rome. I need a vacation.”


“My French is perfect.”


She laughs, and Klaus swears this is the heaven he never thought a bastard would find.

“Pour that drink first. We’ve got time.”