This is a (belated) birthday present for the absolutely beyond amazing Nicole, (nfinneman) who is talented and wonderful and is giving me the opportunity to explore my favourite crackship, so thank you so much and I hope you had an absolutely amazing day!
When Caroline finally manages to open her eyes, she’s sure that she’s dreaming. The bed is too big and too soft and the wallpaper is all wrong, so she’s fairly certain that the unfamiliar room is just a figment of her imagination. It’s not until she’s able to catalogue the ache in her bones and the weariness that keeps her from rising does she realize that this is entirely real and she’s woken up in a strange room with no idea how she got there. Trying to quell her panic, she rose up on her elbows and noted the bland furniture, quickly surmising that this was a hotel room-though where, she couldn’t tell you.
“Rise and shine darling, it’s a new day!”
She hears the British accent, but it’s not the one she’s used to, it different, younger, and more mocking. It’s…
“How long are you going to stay in bed?”
Shit. It’s Kol.
“What the hell did you do?!” she shrieks, pretty impressively for her current state. Her vision clears and she can see him leaning against the far wall, a smirk on his lips and a glint in his eyes that makes him look like a five year old in a candy store. Pushing off the wall, he sauntered closer until he was perched on the edge of her bed, grinning down at her.
“And so Sleeping Beauty awakens. And here I thought I might have to give you a kiss.”
“Oh my god, you freak, just tell me what the fuck is going on!” Caroline struggled to sit up and scramble back against the headboard, trying to stay focused despite his nearness and her vulnerable state. She had never really paid attention to Kol, not past being the youngest Original brother, but up close and personal she can smell his cologne and she wonders if it’s completely shallow of her to note that the guy who (almost certainly) kidnapped her is actually really hot.
“I decided to take a little trip,” said Kol airily, leaning back on the bed as if they were old friends chatting. “See, after the little stunt your friends pulled with the dagger yesterday, I thought it might be a good idea to get out of town until things blew over. Of course, I might’ve also told them to find some way to break my lovely mother’s plan to end my life. Just a bit of a project, I know how you lot love to be kept busy.”
Caroline’s eyes widened in horror as she realized that she has no recollection of any of this, which probably means only one thing. “Kol – why am I here?” she asks with growing dread.
His predatorial smile makes her skin crawl. “Glad you asked Sweets. You’re what I like to call ‘incentive’.”
She doesn’t even care that he’s like a billion years older than her, she reaches out her foot and kicks it into his side as hard as she can because dammit why does she always end up the kidnapped hostage?
“Go – to - hell!” she yelled, kicking him over and over until she finds herself suddenly flat on the bed with the Original pinning her down, laughing at her mockingly.
“Oh you’re a wild little bird aren’t you?” he asked, eyebrow rising. “But none of that, now,” he said lowly, his smile dropping into a hard look that belied a thousand years of killing and torturing and got the message to the young blonde loud and clear. Caroline stopped struggling and wanted to look away from him but the coldness in his eyes is suddenly making her realize just how useless her situation is.
“You can’t just keep me –“
“Oh but I can,” said Kol darkly. “Your friends have their work cut out for them, not even my family has the time to come looking for you. You’re all on your own in this one.”
Caroline fought to keep her gaze impassive, not willing to show him just how much he’s getting to her. “I’m going to find a way to escape.”
Kol laughed again, giving her an almost pitying look. “Oh pet, you don’t want that. After all, that would only mean I’d have to pick someone else to take on a trip. You’re my brother’s little project, what about my sister’s? The Quarterback who caused me so much trouble at the ball?”
The mention of Matt makes her blood run cold and she knows that there’s no arguing with Kol on this. He doesn’t have to chain her to the room, or even compel her to stay, he knows he’s found her Achilles heel. And Caroline knew that it wasn’t just Matt he’d stop at – her mom, Elena, Bonnie, Tyler…
“Could you at least get the fuck off me?” she asks through gritted teeth and just like that the boyish smile is back, the one that makes him look way too innocent. She decides right then and there that his smile is a dangerous thing.
At the very least, he backed off and got off the bed, heading towards the heavy curtains that were obscuring the outside world. “Where are we anyway?” she asked him warily.
Kol grinned and pulled the curtains open with a flourish. She’s met with the sight of old buildings interspersed with modern skyscrapers, the top half of what looks like a giant ferris wheel in the background and a very familiar clock tower.
“Oh my god…” she whispered, realizing just how far Kol had dragged her.
“Welcome to London,” he said cheerily. “I’m sure we’ll have a grand time.”
Grand, in this case, meant two weeks in the hotel room.
Well, she stayed in the hotel room. She was his hostage, but at the same time, she realized the incredible amount of freedom she had. He hadn’t compelled her. He hadn’t locked her up or taken her ring. She could still contact people, talk to people, but damn that sonofabitch because he knew that with the threat of him going after her other loved ones hanging in the air, she’s not going to be making much of a run for it.
Still, this whole situation is weirding the fuck out of her so she decides she’s going to makes this as difficult for him as possible and be the most unpleasant bitch on the planet. For two weeks she’s sullen, uncooperative, and barely even looks him in the eye. She stays in the room, and gives him the dirtiest looks she can muster whenever he offers her the arm of whatever poor maid he’s selected for lunch that day. At least she can comfort herself with the thought that without her to heal and compel the pain away, those poor girls’ bodies would probably be piling up in the alleyway outside, so there’s that small victory.
But, no matter what she does, the cocky douchebag (one of the many flattering epithets she’s bestowed upon him in their short time together) just seems to find the whole damn thing hilarious. He offered to take her out into the city, but she was not about to let her first taste of travel be tainted with him there. When she mutters one word answers, he cheerily goes on about how invigorating the modern world is. When she stares him down with a withering glare, he pouts in mock hurt and reminds her that Rebekah is his sister, she’ll have to do so much better than that.
The only time this changes is when she heals his victims, pulls back before the bloodlust takes her over. Then Kol stares at her like she’s a puzzle, something strange and foreign. He never asks her about it until one night two weeks in when she’s curled up in her bed watching reruns of ‘Doctor Who’ on the small television.
“A young vampire shouldn’t have that much self-control,” he remarks casually from the bed next to hers, not even looking her way.
“What can I say, I’m a goody-two shoes,” she says snarkily, expecting a mocking reply, but there’s only silence. When she turns to face him, she finds the odd look on his face again.
“You’re stronger than you look Forbes,” he says finally, turning his full attention to the television and leaving Caroline with an unsettled feeling in her stomach. None of this was working. He thought she was some weird kind of science experiment while she had cabin fever, and she was just miserable. The realization hits her later that night as she lies awake – she needs to change tactics.
“I want to see Big Ben.” Her announcement the next morning causes him to jerk his head up from where he had been fiddling with his phone to stare at her in surprise. His shock doesn’t last for long however, his lips are twisting into that dangerous smile of his and he simply rises, pulls on his jacket and holds out his hand, a silent dare hanging in the air between them. Caroline stands, lifts her chin up and strides out past him, ignoring his outstretched hand, but that doesn’t stop his laughter.
Twenty minutes later they’re on alongside the Thames River and Caroline has to fight the urge to gawk because for a long time she thought she’d never step foot outside Mystic Falls and the city around her is buzzing with life. She can see Kol’s smug grin out of the corner of the corner of her eyes but not even that jackass was going to ruin this for her.
“Alright, you’ve seen the bloody clock, satisfied?”
“Bored already?” asked Caroline, a little hopeful that he was quick to bore and would realize that sending her back to the States was the best idea possible.
Kol raised a challenging eyebrow. “Darling, I’ve been alive for a thousand years, I’ve seen the world thrice over, so forgive me if staring at a particularly boring timepiece is not up to my standards.”
Caroline huffed dramatically, flipping her hair. “Well, sorry, but you had to kidnap a small town girl, so now I want to play tourist.” She shot him a sickly sweet smile, one she hoped grated on his nerves. “I don’t suppose you have a camera?”
She immediately regrets that line when he flashes away and comes back just as quickly with an expensive camera dangling from his wrist that she knows he stolen even though he’s probably got five fortunes somewhere, because he just has to be an asshat like that. Still, it’s not like he was going to give it back so she takes as many pictures as she can. With any luck, she’d be able to admire them when she got home. Providing, of course, she lived that long.
In her quest to annoy her captor as much as possible, the Millennium Eye follows Big Ben. After that it’s the Tower of London, then a walking tour of Hyde Park, not to mention an excursion to Buckingham Palace just to gawk outside the gates with the rest of the crowds. It’s everything off a tourist’s checklist and she smiles wider every time Kol grimaces, delighting in driving him up the wall. By the end of the day she’s practically bouncing and though he’s wearing a sour look, he drops it when he sees how smug she is.
“This isn’t going to work pet,” he says in a singsong voice as they walk into their hotel room. “You’re not going to be leaving anytime soon, but keep up the act and I just might massacre the next crowd we end up in.” His words are light but the threat is real and Caroline’s little victory seems so hollow that she grits her teeth and grips a chair, seriously contemplating throwing it at his head.
“Relax Sweets!” he says, pulling off his jacket, and noticing her anger. “For what it’s worth, it wasn’t completely terrible. I’m sure tomorrow will be more bearable.”
Now that throws her and Caroline eyes him, wondering what he was playing at. “Tomorrow?”
“You’ve barely scratched the surface Forbes, don’t you want to see the rest?” he asks cheekily.
She nods mutely, definitely not anticipating this turn of events. Clearly she had underestimated how far he’d go along with her.
“Of course, now that we’ve done things your way for the day, I certainly wouldn’t mind suggesting a little spot I’m familiar with, a certain ‘gentleman’s club’ which holds some good memories. And if you ask the owner nicely, he’ll let you have a turn on stage if you feel like putting on a show?”
It’s a good thing Kol’s an Original vampire. Anybody slower wouldn’t have been able to dodge the flying chair.
She says no to burlesque and he adamantly refuses to go Royal family spotting so they compromise and decide to spend the day in Westminster Abbey, which is somber but Kol stays close to her side and tells her stories of the dead, all these people who lived so long ago but that he remembers, the constant thread throughout their lives, as old as the stones of the church itself.
Somewhere between hearing about a drinking game with Shakespeare and learning that Elizabeth I was decidedly not a virgin, Caroline forgets that’s she’s supposed to be making his life difficult and hangs onto his every word.
Once they exit out into the bright afternoon, they wander around the city, walking the pavement with fish and chips in hand, and it’s so easy to forget the circumstances that brought her here that she even laughs at a joke Kol makes and even though she feels a pang of guilt about it immediately, that’s nothing compared to the odd look she gets from Kol, that one that makes her think he’s scrutinizing her, trying to figure her out.
Why he’s even trying, she has no clue.
Days turn into weeks, which slip by with neither vampire caring. Museums blur together until Kol finally puts his foot down and forbids them. Instead he drags her over to the places that the tourist guides forgot, and they spend their time popping into old pubs and running down hidden alleyways, Caroline finds she has to keep telling herself that the man she’s with is a psychopath, and it’s not like he hides his taste for blood and mayhem, but it’s the unfortunate truth that the more time she spends with Kol, the more she feels the thrill of being a teenager forever and she’s not sure she wants the good feeling to stop.
“It’s shameful how little you let yourself live,” he says to her one night under the cover of darkness as they creep through the field and come to stand in the middle of the famous stone circle that is otherwise blocked to the public. For them of course, rules are no problem and Kol has sent all security on its way so the place is theirs as they want it.
“Why was this place even built?” Caroline asked, running her hand over one of the pillars, wondering what the big secret was.
Kol shrugged, stretching his arms towards the sky. “For faith, for fun, who really cares?”
“Then why are we here?”
He smirks at her and comes forward to catch her hand, dragging her into the center of the circle and twirling her under his arm as fast as he can, as if they were children. “You’ve got to stop asking questions darling,” he calls out as she laughs loudling, the sound echoing off the stone. “Learn to live in the moment!”
He stops her spinning then but (vampire balance be damned) she felt the ground pitch forward underneath her feet and it’s only grabbing onto the thing closet to her that keeps her upright. The thing closest, in this case, being Kol’s jacket and she uses him for leverage she realizes how close they were.
Neither says a word though Kol’s got that weird look on his face – except this time it breaks. Now it’s replaced with a gaze of understanding as if he’s finally found the answer he’s been looking for and his grin is nothing short of triumphant. “Careful there darling,” he says smoothly as he rights her. “Now that we’ve had our fun here…what say we go for a drink?”
Something’s changed, she realizes. There’s something….different, about the way he walks next to her. There’s nothing casual about the way his shoulder curves into hers, his hand is just a hair’s breadth away and he takes hers after a while, swinging it merrily and Caroline lets him, all the while wondering just what the hell is going on.
But maybe, this is just her thinking too much. This was just what he had cautioned her against, this constant barrage of questions and judgments, and so what if Kol’s stare is starting to burn a hole in the side of her head, who cares that she could swear there’s just the faintest glimmer of affection in his smile when she laughs, that doesn’t have to really mean anything – right?
As it turns out, it means more than she knows. And she only realized how much it meant after six shots of whiskey have burned their way down their throats, the warm liquid courage loosening their tongues until Caroline laughs just a little too loudly and Kol decides to shut her up with a kiss.
His hands are warm where they grip her arms and his mouth slants against hers roughly, tongue moving expertly and giving no quarter, this kiss is drugging, and every single question that Caroline has just floats away as she closes her eyes and lets herself sink in for more. Her fingers curl around the lapels of his jacket and she’s so blissfully lost in what’s happening that she actually (shamefully) whimpers a little when he pulls away.
Once they’re able to look each other in the eye, the weight of what’s been done falls on their shoulders and the questions are back, the questions that sound insanely critical and all in the voice of her best friends. What the fuck was she doing?
Kol’s eyes flicker down to her lips and she doesn’t miss the movement, knows that he wants more but she’s not sure if she can give it to him so she backs away ever so slightly, wishing she didn’t see the split second of hurt in his eyes before he’s covered it up with his usual brashness.
“Not bad Sweets. I always said you were a tasty little thing.”
His quick words make it easy to sneer, to toss her hair and stride out of the bar and onto the almost deserted streets. It’s incredibly late but she wanders them, hands wrapped tightly around her torso as she tries desperately to ignore the memory of warm hands and a warm body so close to hers.
She can’t do this. Not with Kol-fucking-Mikaelson of all the people in the world. It was wrong, it was twisted…
His kiss had felt amazing.
Caroline groaned and leant against the railing of the South Bank, dropping her head into her hands. She thought about running. She thought about the hundreds of opportunities she had had to run back home for so long now and she wonders why she never took a single one. She wonders why she let herself laugh with Kol, become so comfortable around him that he would get so close as to kiss her…
But it was a sham, she reminds herself. He was her evil kidnapper, and she was just a hapless victim in all of this. She’d go back to the hotel and resume the prisoner routine because at the end of the day, that’s what she was.
Maybe if she repeated that lie enough times, she’d actually start to believe it.
The hotel room door shuts softly behind her as Caroline walked into the room, trying to see the two beds in the dim light of early dawn. Kol’s on his, hanging up his phone and looking over at her, his expression purely bored.
“Happy news Sweets, you’re free to go,” he said with a dismissive wave of his hand.
“I’m – what?” she stuttered.
“That was the elder Salvatore calling to inform that your merry little band kept up their end of the bargain and you are therefore no longer needed as collateral. So congratulations, off you go!”
He drops his gaze and reclines back, looking up at the ceiling and Caroline knows she can walk out that door and all will be forgotten. This entire experience can be put behind her and she can go back to being Miss Mystic Falls, Vampire Barbie, right back on Team Good Guys, putting her life on the line for Elena Gilbert day in and day out with no end to any of it in sight. Same people in the same town, nothing would change.
She turned but can’t force herself to take the step towards the door. Fists clenched, she looks over her shoulder at the Original, and she can barely see his face but his silhouette is sharp in the dim blue light and all those lies she kept telling herself about being a prisoner shatter at her feet.
It was stupid. It was selfish. But it was what she wanted.
Let it be known that Caroline Forbes, baby vampire, managed to take a bona fide Original by surprise because once her decision’s made she flashed across the room and straddles Kol on the bed, her hands pushing down his shoulders as she grins happily, watching him look up at her with shock, confusion and…hope?
“Caroline, what the bloody hell – ?”
She laughs, feeling lighter than she has in years and leans down, capturing his lips and silencing him, enjoying those warm hands of his seeking the skin between her jeans and tank top, reveling in the feeling of his fingers dancing over her. Once she finally pulls back, he’s back to being all smug and self-assured, though the wonder in his eyes is hard to ignore.
“Are you going to explain yourself darling?” he asks smoothly, pushing his hands up her torso and taking her shirt with it. Caroline just laughs and lifts her arms to help him along.
“You’ve got to stop asking questions,” she says with mocking affection, “just live in the moment.”
“So where to next?” asks Caroline as they lie together hours later, entangled in the sheets, limbs intertwined. Looking up from where she had her head rested on his chest, she’s met with a lazy grin.
“The world’s at your feet, Sweets,” he said, tugging on one of her curls.
“Well then…have you ever been to Amsterdam?” she asks brightly and his eyes light up with so much mischief that she knows she’s going to regret this.
“Oh, now that’s got some good memories,” he says fondly, “The drugs are good but the blood’s better, you’ll enjoy yourself.”
Caroline just rolls her eyes and settled back against his chest. “Whatever you say,” she says drily, “I’m sure we’ll have a grand time.”