The image in the mirror haunts me more than anything. Its existence is enough to make me question why something like that deserves to live. Seeing it makes me nauseous, and it seems like I can feel my throat cave into itself. Oxygen becomes harder to breathe in, and the image in the mirror makes it harder to want to actually keep breathing.
I know the only reason for the hardship this image causes me is because that image in the mirror is me. And I will never like or want to see what is reflecting from the mirror. If anything, I wish the mirror myth about vampires were actually true.
"Hey, Nik. Are you almost ready? The guys should be here at any moment."
I let my eyes move down to my tie as I move it around to tighten it. My eyes can't help but to dart to the window and see the full moon high in the sky. For a moment, I feel like I should be out there; letting the beast within me free. Every full moon that passes and I don't choose to let him free, I feel like I've chosen wrong.
It's only the early evening, but the darkness has already taken over any light that was present during the day. For some reason, I'm already counting the moments until the light can show through the darkness once again.
"Yes, Rebekah. I'm almost ready for this lovely meal."
"Oh, quit with the dramatics!"
I turn toward her after her clipped tone registers with me completely. "Excuse me?"
"Nik, you're just pissed off because Caroline is bringing Tyler. Well guess what? That's her boyfriend. He was her boyfriend before you got here, and he'll most likely still be her boyfriend when we have to relocate in a few years. Hell, maybe he'll even be her husband, Nik!"
The doorbell rings, and Rebekah quickly brushes away the tears streaming down her face. She rushes out of the room in a blur without saying another word.
"Sorry about Tyler bailing at the last moment possible. He's just so frustrating sometimes!"
Matt puts his hand lightly on Caroline's shoulder, and she relaxes her grip on the fork in her hand. I decide to offer some comfort.
"It's okay, Caroline. Really. All we had to do was take away a place setting."
"Thanks for understanding, Mr. Mik-Klaus."
I smile in acceptance as Rebekah begins to speak from the other side of the table. I can tell she is a bit disappointed about not being able to sit beside her beloved Matt Donovan.
"I'm sure he had a good reason, Care."
"He said it was allergies."
I see Matt's face contort into confusion.
"Ty doesn't have allergies. I should know, he practically lives at my--"
Rebekah shoots Matt a look.
"Maybe he developed some type of seasonal allergy thing, Care. I did notice him sneezing a lot in the locker room during practice."
"You tried, Matt. You tried." Caroline smiles a little at Matt before her face drops again.
"Ever since he's come back from visiting his uncle in Colorado, he's been different. I'm hoping it's just him settling back into the swing of things."
"I'm sure that's it." Rebekah offers her friend a smile of hope; ending the conversation.
"That actually wasn't so bad."
I lean on the edge of my foot rest and start to loosen my tie. I see Rebekah appear in the door frame and lean into it.
"You're only saying that because Tyler couldn't make it."
I simply shrug and throw my tie over onto the top of my dresser.
"Well, little sister, I'm going to call it a night."
Rebekah is staring down at the floor with a sad face.
"Nik, you can't forget what I said earlier. I can't forget it. Tonight at dinner, seeing Matt comfort Caroline, it just proved my point."
"I'm not sure I understand, Rebekah."
"Me. Us! We aren't human, Nik! No matter how hard I try and try, I'll never be a Caroline, and I'll never have a Matt. Sure, in a few years I could just change him, but what's the point? He'd just live and watch all his friends die. He'd live in fear of being known as a vampire. He'd be a monster. I can't do that to him!"
"Is that what we are, Rebekah? Monsters?"
Rebekah swallows loudly as she keeps her eyes cast onto the floor. She answers without looking up.
"Officials say that the hikers reported missing this morning have been found dead. As of now, the death toll for hikers in this area are now up to seven in the last three months. If anyone has any information on--"
"Whatever this is, we have to catch it." Stefan Salvatore's eyes bore into the now silenced television.
"Catch it? I hope you meant kill it, little brother, because that's exactly what I'm going to do." Damon smirks as he takes a long drink of his glass of rum.
Stefan crosses his arms across his chest and leans back into his chair.
"We don't even know what it is, Damon. How the hell are we going to kill it? What if it's one of our kind?"
"Then we definitely kill it. Hey, I love some blood straight from the human vein just like the next vampire, but this sucker has come in here guns blazing. I showed up and didn't even do that!"
"No, you just killed one of Elena's best friend's sisters."
I feel my eyes widen in surprise.
"Damon, you killed Vicki Donovan?"
"She was a drug fiend before I turned her. Didn't know that meant she'd be a blood fiend once she transitioned. Anyway, Klaus, since Stefan here is blinded by his love for all things representing humanity, do you see where I'm coming from?"
"Killing that which causes a problem for us seems like the thing to do. With Rebekah and I being Originals, we don't need any extra attention being thrown our way."
"Two against one, Stefan. I'll get my special stake from out of the basement, and then we'll be on our way out for a little vamp hunting."
I see Alaric appear in the doorway holding an old, time-worn book in his hand.
"You might want to wait on that trip to the basement, Damon. We aren't dealing with a vampire here."
Alaric shuts the book and throws it onto the couch as he walks over to the large calendar hanging near the bay window. He flips back three pages.
"The first three victims. Killed on this day. Know what significance this date had, guys?"
None of us make the move to answer. Alaric flips the page.
"How about this date?" He flips the page again. "Or this one?"
"Is there a point to this, Ric?" Damon asks.
"All of these dates were dates of full moons."
Damon looks on at the calendar in confusion.
It finally clicks in my head.
"So, there's a werewolf in Mystic Falls."
I try to train my eyes on the illiterate words of my students. It seems impossible not to let them move around the empty den.
After telling Rebekah that I was going out with the guys tonight, she said she would spend the night over Elena Gilbert's house since she knew Damon would be coming with us anyway. What Rebekah doesn't know is that the guys' night out is really our way of not telling her or Elena about hunting down a werewolf. Tonight's another full moon, but there won't be another murder.
With Rebekah gone for the night, the ringing doorbell filling my ears seems strange. The frantic knocking that follows seems even more out of character. I sigh as the knocking only gets louder.
Finally, I swing the door open.
My eyes meet a frightened Caroline's sad countenance. She's covering half of it with the sleeve of her dark grey hoodie. It's then that I notice tears are streaming down her face and her shoulders are trembling with silent sobs.
"Caroline, come in. Please."
She walks into the house and flinches as I reach behind her to shut the door. It finally occurs to me that her shoulders aren't trembling because of sobs, but that they are shaking because of fear.
I gently reach between us and take the hand she isn't shielding her face with into my own two hands. She jumps.
"Caroline, sweetheart, you're safe here. Please, come with me. You need to sit down and relax."
She slowly nods her head, and as I move toward the couch, she reluctantly follows. I help lower her trembling form onto the sofa. She seems to cave into herself as I rush into the kitchen and put on some tea to warm over the stove. I seem to lose myself as I walk back into the living room and hear Caroline's quiet sobs. It's like they are echoing in my head; getting louder as the seconds tick by. I hate it. Not out of annoyance. I hate it out of anger, but I also hate it out of sadness. I'm angry because I wasn't there to prevent what it is that happened to her, and I'm sad because it happened. A distinct feeling tells me that I feel this way simply because it's Caroline. If it were not her, I wouldn't be batting an eyelash.
And that thought scares me.
At the time being, I could not care less if Caroline feels my eyes on her or not. I can't force them to leave her trembling figure.
"Caroline, I nee-"
The smell of the tea drifts over my nose, and I know it's ready.
"I'll be back in a moment." Something pulls violently in me by the way she flinches when I stand. I try to shake it off as I walk toward the kitchen and prepare her tea.
I quickly make my way back into the living room and offer Caroline the soothing drink. She doesn't even move to take it from me. I tiredly sit down as close as I can to her without startling her. I keep the tea in my hand in hopes that she will eventually reach for it.
"Look, Caroline. I'm not sure what's wrong but unfortunately, Rebekah isn't here. If you want, I can call--"
"No." Her soft voice interrupts me. It's almost foreign to hear her speak.
I see her turn her head away from me. Her shimmering, blonde curls fall over her sleeved arm that's covering one side of her face. Curiosity gets the best of me.
"Why have you kept your face covered since you arrived?"
I can see her looking at me from the side of her eye. She's silent for a few moments.
"I--I know Rebekah's not here."
I feel my eyes soften in an unspoken question.
"I knew if she were here, she'd make a big deal out of it. Elena and Bonnie would, too."
"A big deal out of what Caroline?"
She turns her head back toward me.
"Elena and Bonnie will just tell me that he's no good. Like they always do."
"Please, Caroline. Tell me what you're talking about."
She holds my stare as she slowly lowers her left arm. Her eye is blackened, and the running mascara makes it look even worse. If it could look worse.
It couldn't. Nothing could ever look worse than this. This beautiful woman's porcelain face destroyed by the black marring over her left eye.
Then it clicks.
Caroline was not a woman. She was a seventeen year old girl. With a boyfriend.
Fury begins to encase my every being. He did this. He put his hands on this now broken angel in front of me.
"Tyler Lockwood did this to you, didn't he?" I spit out the question like venom. I don't mean to, but I can't control myself. It isn't until I see Caroline cower further down into herself that I realize something is wrong.
"You--you're face. It's--"
My heart jumps as I realize that I've let the beast win. I didn't even feel my fangs release themselves from their concealment in my gums, or my eyes burning with fury as my veins darken around their sockets. I force the beast back down from where he came.
"Caroline, take a few sips of this tea. It'll calm you down. You're hurting immensely right now, and not thinking clearly."
Her hand shakes as she reaches out and takes the tea. Something within me flutters as her fingers brush against mine. She shakily takes a long, cleansing sip.
"This is really good, Klaus."
Her change of subject infuriates me. I have to do something to keep my hands busy.
"A teaspoon of brown sugar, a teaspoon of white sugar, and a tablespoon of honey. I'm going to get you a bag of ice."
I don't mean to speak to her in a clipped tone, but I can't regret it as I stand up and fluidly move into the kitchen. My phone is quickly in my hands, and I am automatically calling Stefan's number.
"Stefan. It's Klaus."
"I would've called Damon, but this situation just seems more up your alley."
I pace my bedroom back and forth as I try not to listen in on Stefan and Caroline's conversation. I don't try hard enough.
"Caroline, tell me what happened. You know you can trust me."
"I just--I just annoyed him is all. He said he couldn't hang out tonight, and I just kept asking."
"That's no reason for him to hit you, Caroline."
"He just got so angry, Stefan. So angry..."
I hear sniffles coming from the living room. At the same time, a low knock makes me look toward my window.
"Hey, Klaus! How about opening the window? It's getting a little chilly out here."
I unlatch the window, and see a smirking Damon Salvatore waving from the ground below. Alaric is standing next to him, and I see him roll his eyes slightly at his friend.
"Damon, can you just hurry up and do the jump thing while I'm open to it? You know it gives me--"
I watch as Damon grabs on to Alaric's waist, and in moments, they are both standing in my bedroom.
I watch as Alaric takes a seat quickly on my foot rest while Damon rolls his eyes.
"Suck it up, Ric. Anyway, I hear Blondie's going through a hard time with Lockwood."
"Try being the victim to Lockwood." Stefan enters the room while running a hand over his face.
I look curiously at Stefan as his words seem to have a double meaning.
"What's going on, Stefan?" I ask.
"Caroline excused herself to the restroom. But, it's simple really. Simple but complicated."
"I take it you mean our type of complicated, little brother." Damon smirks.
"What else type of complicated is there these days? Tyler Lockwood is our wild werewolf. Caroline Forbes is just another victim in his wake."
My eyes widen in surprise.
"Are you sure, Stefan?"
"Seven victims in three months; starting the month Tyler returns from Colorado visiting his estranged uncle. Add in his personality changes all his friends have noticed, plus his anger management issues this close to the full moon that's happening tonight, and it's looking like a lot more than just some odd coincidence."
Damon claps his hands together triumphantly.
"Well, boys, looks like we've found our big, bad, out of control werewolf."
All three pairs of eyes in the room dart toward the door frame where a broken Caroline Forbes is standing.