I stare at the calendar on the far left side of the room. Caroline has not spoken to me in almost a month. It's been exactly twenty-four days. I can't help but be irritated at myself for counting.
But I can't help but count.
For fifteen days, she has wore her hair down in those playful curls. For the other nine, she has wore a simple ponytail, and I find myself basking in those days. Not because she looks beautiful with her hair pulled back, although she does, but because she doesn't have a curtain of hair to use to hide from me. On the fifth day of the ponytail, our eyes met. For her, it may have been for only a second, but for me, I would have given a thousand lifetimes just to meet her eyes with mine again.
I shift my eyes to the open door without moving my body.
"I knocked, but there was no answer."
Rebekah lightly sighs as she walks over to my footrest and perches her body on the edge.
"Nik, you have to let this go. Go out with the Salvatores. Get a fresh drink or something."
"I do not want to do either of those things."
Rebekah hops off of the footrest, then walks toward the curtain-drawn window.
"Well, why don't you do whatever it is you used to? Like paint, or read, or watch some documentary about King George VI." She smirks as she pulls the curtains apart.
"Why not, Nik? You act like Caroline not talking to you is the end of the world--"
I interrupt Rebekah without a second thought. I immediately regret it.
"Without Caroline, what do I have Rebekah? What do I have as an incentive to keep me human? To keep me from being the monster I really am?"
Rebekah's face visibly falls as she turns toward me.
"I thought you knew that you had me, Nik." She begins to walk to the doorway, then pauses. "I guess Always and Forever just isn't enough for you, is it?"
Before I can respond, I hear the sound of the front door closing behind her. I grab my sketchbook off of my night stand, and then sit back in my bed. My mind wanders as I begin to sketch freely.
I look over at the dim calendar hanging on the wall as the bartender pulls off yesterday's date; revealing today's. Another day lived. Another day gone. Although after a while, it all seems to run together. Birthdays are celebrated, anniversaries are acknowledged, ages are still recognized, but what about those who live forever?
As those celebratory things seem to fade into the darkness, you begin to realize just how supernatural you really are.
"Having a slow night?" I ask the female behind the counter.
She automatically smirks at me. Her lust is sickeningly tangible. For her to be lusting for someone like myself is unforgivable, but as the situation has it, she won't be around much longer to expect forgiveness.
"Yes. Very slow. But if having a slow night means you'll come here more often, I welcome more slow nights in the future." She smirks as she moves her auburn hair behind her right ear; unknowingly offering her neck to me.
I lean over my drink, and she leans toward me without any persuading.
"I can get off of my shift early for you tonight, honey. How about you wait for me? It'll only be about ten minutes. Then, we can go have some fun."
"I'd love to, but I'm afraid I have prior engagements."
She falsely pouts. "How about we reschedule?"
"That won't be necessary." I feel the absence of a human presence in the bar.
"Oh? Have you decided to give little me a chance, then?"
I motion for her to lean in closer as I move to whisper into her ear.
"Something like that."
Her scream is silenced before it starts as I feel the beast take over. I can feel her pulse slow down significantly as her breathing starts to shutter. As I continue to taste her blood flowing into my mouth, I can tell she is on the brink of death, and that fact does nothing but spur me on.
I look into the eyes of Caroline Forbes currently inhabiting my sketchbook. They do not compare to the real thing. Not even close.
Alaric's name starts to flash across my phone's screen. I hit ignore. I have nothing to say to anyone. What could they possibly have to say to me?
A second time. A fourth time. Finally, I answer.
"Well, hello to you, too. You are one busy man to try and get a hold of."
"Maybe I don't want to be contacted. What is it, Alaric?"
"I'll tell you when you open the door that I've been knocking on for twenty minutes."
The line goes silent, and I hear the doorbell's short, announcing ring. I use vampire speed to get me to the door, and I practically snatch it off of its hinges once I am in arms' reach of it.
"I ask again, and for the final time: What is it, Alaric?"
"Do you know what today is?"
Alaric brushes passed me and heads into the living room. He pulls a small book out of his back pocket and begins to flip through it.
"Sure you can come in." I mumble as I close the door behind me.
"Do you know what today is, Klaus?"
"The day you die? Again?"
"Very funny, but no," He boldly points to a spot in the small book. I then realize the small book is a calendar. "Today marks a week from the full moon."
I lean against the mantle.
"And why does this concern me?" I nonchalantly ask.
"Well, I thought all of us had agreed upon the fact that, since there's an irresponsible werewolf running around every month killing the townspeople, we have to kill it. Or him. Whatever."
"Again. Why does this concern me?"
"Oh, I don't know, Klaus. Maybe because that same werewolf could kill an innocent person." Alaric's eyebrows raise in exasperation.
My face shows no emotion; which causes Alaric to add on to his previous statement.
"He could kill an innocent person named Caroline Forbes."
I feel my face finally shift out of its bored visage.
Alaric smirks a little. "No, Tyler himself wouldn't, but his wolf? That's a question all in itself."
I start to make my way to the coffee table that holds a fresh glass of blood. I pick it up slowly between my fingers, and look down as the blood moves lightly around the glass.
"I'm just her teacher, Alaric."
"I've already gotten too close to her. This isn't normal."
"Are we really about to bring normality into this situation? I'll put it in simple terms. Caroline needs saving, and you are her Savior. Whether any of us want to admit it or not, you have a soft spot for her. Not sure why, but you do."
"Oh, please. I've killed people. Hell, I've even killed you. If you think I'm capable of saving anyone, it ought to be myself."
Alaric is silent for a few moments, then he speaks slowly.
"Whether the saving is done by yourself, or by someone else, maybe it's just too late for you to be saved."
"You have to feel it. You have to dig deep within and pull forward what you have long held back."
"I'm trying, Klaus!"
"Well, try harder, Bonnie!" My voice echoes throughout the Salvatore's household. Damon steps between Bonnie and I at vampire speed. His arms are outstretched.
"Hey, Hybrid and BonBon. Go back to your designated corners and calm down."
I slam the glass down so hard onto the table, that it breaks in my hand. I flex my fingers free of the glass' shards and make my way into the kitchen. I can feel Rebekah's eyes on my back.
"Nik, you've told her what Tyler is. What she decides to do now, regardless of that fact, is on her. If she's that stupid--"
Before I know what I am doing, I have Rebekah pinned up by her throat against the wall.
"If you're going to make such idiotic comments, I suggest you go join Elena and help her finish setting up Caroline's party decorations. You are not needed here anyway."
I stare her straight in the eyes as I apply more pressure to my hand wrapped around her throat. I hear her breathing stop, then I let go of her all at once. She exits the room in a blur, and I hear the front door close behind her.
I take a deep breath and make my way back into the living room.
"Before you say anything else, Klaus, I think even you know deep down inside I'm just not strong enough yet for a protection spell," I open my mouth to interrupt her, but she keeps going."But Elena and I have both agreed to try our best to keep her from getting too close to Tyler for the next few days."
I feel my features soften a little.
"Thank you." I find myself saying.
Bonnie gives me a warm smile that I don't think I deserve.
As I stand over in the far corner beside of Alaric, I can't help but decide that blue is definitely Caroline's color. She looks stunning in her strapless ball gown as she makes her way up the stairs to join Elena, Bonnie, and Liz Forbes on the stairs. They all hug, and I try to imagine what it would be like to have my arms wrapped Caroline's soft, slender, frame.
I hear a throat clear, and the audience quickly quiets down.
"Hi, everyone. I'm sure you all know who I am, but if you don't, I'm Sheriff Forbes. Now before you all start to panic, I'm leaving." Liz pauses to chuckle. "But I just wanted to wish my beautiful daughter a Happy Birthday. It seems like just yesterday I was holding her in my arms at the hospital; wondering how something so small, yet so full of life could exist."
I can see moisture forming in Liz's eyes as she reaches out for her daughter who already has tears falling down her own cheeks. They hug, then let go. I can see that Liz's arm is still around Caroline's body as she continues.
"Today is the day I say a silent good bye to that small, vivacious baby in my arms, and say a hello to the gorgeous, perfect young woman she is today. I thank you all for joining us on this special day. Thank you."
Liz kisses Caroline on her forehead as she lets go of her. Elena and Bonnie move from their positions behind the mother-daughter duo, and hug Liz before she moves down the steps and slowly disappears out of the door. Attention is turned back on Caroline.
"Now since that half of my party is over, let's get the real party started! Drinks are at the bar, and please, the DJ is taking requests! Also, don't be afraid to thank the hosts of this party personally; Stefan and Damon Salvatore!"
"Please don't." Damon's loud voice echoes throughout the room and causes the audience to laugh.
I can tell the party has officially started as everyone starts to make their way over to the bar that is near the corner I have taken habitat in. I decide to make my way to the balcony, and I am soon leaning over the dark, wooden railing.
"Thanks for showing up to my party. I wasn't sure if you were coming or not."
I turn around and see Caroline standing in the wide doorway. She looks as stunning as ever.
"Caroline, you're welcome. It's my pleasure to be here."
I hear Caroline's heels slowly clicking as she walks toward me, and I turn back toward the railing. I see her in my peripheral vision as she leans over the railing; mimicking me.
Caroline and I speak at the same time. I motion for her to go ahead.
"I'm sorry about what I said, Klaus. I was just so upset that you were badmouthing Tyler."
"I was not badmouthing him, Caroline. I was telling you what you needed to know."
"And what exactly is that?"
"He's dangerous. More than dangerous-"
"Just like you, right? He could hurt me, kill me, just like you could."
I turn to face her.
"I would never do anything to hurt you--"
"Oh, but Tyler would?
Caroline's eyes search mine for answers. I look down as I respond.
"He has before."
"That was one mistake. Just one."
"One mistake is all it takes, Caroline!"
"Well you know what? Any mistake that happens in Tyler and I's relationship is our mistake, and our business. Not yours!"
"Is there something going on out here, Care?"
Caroline and I turn to see Tyler Lockwood standing in the doorway with his arms crossed. Caroline steps toward Tyler, and softly touches his bicep.
"No. Nothing's wrong, Ty. Just thanking Mr. Mikaelson for attending."
Tyler smirks as he leans down and talks into Caroline's ear. Of course I can hear every word.
"Oh, alright. How about you go grab your stuff from upstairs and we be on our way?"
Caroline shortly nods as she lets go of Tyler and walks back inside.
"See you around, Mr. M."
He does a lazy wave and I'm left alone again.
"Let me get this straight, we're going to kill off an innocent--"
"Now, little brother, don't start with that humanity bull. All of us standing here in this room know that Tyler Lockwood is far from being an innocent human."
"But he has a family and a life, Damon!"
I look over at Alaric as he sighs loudly while staring down at a book he is currently studying.
"Oh, come on, Stefan. Sure, we're dangerous, but Tyler is murderous. There's a difference. Especially since tonight is the night he's killing off more of the townspeople."
Stefan sighs. "How much time do we have, Alaric?"
"Not that much longer, Stefan. From what I've researched, Tyler's transitions are becoming more out of control. Soon, his turn will occur as soon as the full moon appears, and it won't be over until the sun is rising."
"The transitions will get longer." I state.
"Exactly. He'll be out of control for a longer period of time. Which means--"
"Which means he'll have a longer space of time to kill more people." Damon adds.
"So Alaric, if we don't kill him tonight, when will his transitions be at their full span?" I ask.
"Counting this full moon? Next full moon."
I look at Alaric for longer than usual. Caroline's face flashes in my mind.
"We kill him tonight." I snap.
Damon and Stefan quickly respond. Damon stares down at his brother.
"What the hell is wrong with you, Stefan? We've already established that Lockwood is a menace to society. That's two out of four. Alaric, what's your vote?"
"I'm just going to say Tyler would be very dangerous if he were left alive, so--"
"Great. So, it looks like we're going on a wolf hunt tonight, boys." Damon smirks as he pats Stefan on the back.
"So, what exactly are we doing?"
"Well, I don't know, Damon. Maybe waiting on Tyler to turn so we can kill him?" Stefan responds.
"I know that. I was referring to what tactics we're using to off him."
I decided to chime in.
"Damon, if you were listening on the way over here, you'd know that we don't have a set tactic because when Tyler changes, he isn't very predictable in his actions. In other words, we go with the flow."
I peer in between the hedges as I see a light in Tyler's house flick on. Everything is still silent except for the sound of the low voices coming from the television.
"So, Klaus." Damon begins. "Is being a vampire and a werewolf the reason why you don't change like Lockwood and the other wolves?"
"Yes. It is. A werewolf is a slave to the moon, and a vampire is a slave to the sun. I was told by many witches, in many different lifetimes, that this is like a cancellation of sorts. Of course when there is a full moon, if I want to transition, I can. Actually, I can turn whenever I want."
I see Alaric's eyes light up in the darkness.
"Really? I didn't know that. That's amazing."
"So, how does it work? You just...don't change?"
I can feel myself almost smile at Alaric's curiosity.
"Werewolves almost have this pull to the moon. Sort of like the tide at the beach. Unlike me, the choice isn't ours to change or not. It's almost like the wolf is exploding from our bodies, and if we don't accept that explosion from within, we are accepting our own deaths."
"So, if wolves don't change, they die?"
"The few that I have seen try to fight the change have either changed anyway, or died from the internal injuries sustained from fighting the wolf."
I see Alaric begin to ask another question just as Tyler starts to dial a number on his cell phone. It rings twice before someone answers.
"Mason. It's Tyler."
"I take it since you're on the phone with me, you haven't done the deed yet?"
"You're not having second thoughts are you, Nephew?"
"No. It's just--"
"Her mother killed my brother, Ty. Your father!"
"Yeah. So, why are we going after her instead of her mother?"
"Because, Ty. An eye for an eye. An apple for an apple. You lost a parent, so Liz should lose a child."
As Sheriff Forbes' name is spoken, all of us look around at each other silently. They are talking about killing Caroline. My Caroline.
As if on queue, the sound of tires on the cobblestone driveway fills my ears.
"Hey. I have to go. Caroline's here."
"Remember the plan, Tyler. Quick and easy."
"Yeah. Quick and easy."
I can hear Tyler sit his cell phone down as he goes to answer the door. Damon is already one step ahead of me as he scales a small tree to see what's happening. I almost yank him down just to take his place.
"What's happening, Damon?" I ask.
"Calm down, eager beaver. They're just greeting each other. You know, Lockwood really could have put on a shirt. Could he be any more suggestive?"
"Damon." Stefan states.
"Oh, lighten up, Stefan. Okay, they're going into the house."
Damon swiftly jumps down from the tree.
"Alaric, since you're the Captain of this ship, what's our next move?"
"What the hell? When did I take on that title, Damon?"
"Just now." He smirks.
I see Alaric's eyes dart around just for a moment; almost as if he's contemplating something.
"Damon, Stefan, and I will go into the house once the transformation has started and make sure Caroline gets out."
"What am I going to be doing during this time, then?" I ask bitterly.
"Klaus, since you're the indestructible hybrid, you'll make sure to keep an eye on all the exits to see which one we get Caroline out of. Once Caroline is out safely, you vampire-speed her out of proximity of Tyler, then come back to help us finish the job."
I curtly nod the affirmative as Stefan begins to speak.
"So when exactly do we know when to--"
A piercing scream fills the air followed by a low groan.
"Tyler! Are you okay?"
"I'm just peachy, Care."
Stefan and I make eye contact.
"Go. Now." I say. "I'll be waiting. If I have to wait more than five minutes, I'm coming in."
I watch as Alaric, Stefan, and Damon make their way toward the front door. The groaning gets louder, and it starts to resemble a growl.
"Stop, Ty! You're scaring me!"
Stefan breaks the lock off of the door and the men rush in as soon as a more menacing growl is heard; followed by a shrill scream.
I can't stand by outside. I have to do something.
I quickly run into the house behind them.
"Stop right there, Klaus."
I come to face to face in the living room with Alaric in the corner; Caroline pinned in his arms. Not even twenty feet away, Tyler is transitioning.
"What the hell are you doing, Alaric?" Damon asks.
"Doing what's right!" He yells back.
Stefan quickly moves over to where Tyler is turning.
"I wouldn't get to close if I were you, Stefan. Killing Tyler might mean sending little Caroline here on a long, one way trip." Alaric moves one hand up Caroline's body and wraps it around her neck.
"Why are you doing this, Alaric?" I find myself asking him the question almost out of exasperation. I've already deduced that it wouldn't be wise to move, so what else can I do?
"Klaus, you wouldn't understand. Liz Forbes ruined this town. She kills the wrong people, and lets the guilty ones run free day after day. She killed the people that had loved ones and thriving lives. You will never understand how it feels to lose someone because of someone else's ignorance. You are one of them. A cold, heartless demon who thinks higher of himself because he can't die. You are a waste of the fake life that has been given to you. You've been around so long, that you probably don't understand what it's like to lose someone you truly love."
I watch as Alaric sees my eyes automatically land on Caroline. She is scared and shaken deeply. In her mind, I'm sure she's already decided that she's ready to die if it means getting away from this new world she knows nothing about. I can see Alaric smirk.
"Well actually, you will understand what it's like."
As the end of Alaric's sentence hangs in the air, everything seems to move in slow motion.
Before I can take a single step, I see Alaric's hands violently twist Caroline's neck in an unnatural way. She falls limply to the ground, and the sound of tearing skin is almost immediate. I already know Tyler has changed without looking behind me, but I can't seem to care.
"Klaus!" Damon yells. I don't respond.
"Klaus," Damon repeats. "Go take care of Tyler. I have Alaric. It has to be me."
The anguish in Damon's voice is actually enough to relent me to take my eyes off of Caroline's soulless eyes as she is slumped against the wall.
"Go!" Damon screams. I jerk my eyes away from Alaric and Caroline just as Damon rushes forward. I see a spray of blood coat the walls in my peripheral vision; followed by a muffled gargle.
"Stefan, quickly break his neck to make him fall unconscious. I'll do the dirty work." I talk quickly as Stefan and I are in a competitive stance with Tyler Lockwood's wolf.
Stefan moves before Tyler can see him coming. I can hear the clean break in Tyler's neck and I quickly begin to let the beast take over. I can feel my skin stretching over my hands as my blood-soaked claws break through. My face is tense as I feel my veins harden and my fangs protrude from my gums.
I determinedly walk over to the wooden coffee table in the middle of the room. I can feel Damon and Stefan's eyes on me as I break off the table's leg and walk back to where Tyler is still unconscious.
Lifting him up and dragging him to the wall, I use my claws to pierce his neck and pin him into place. I can feel my veins surging with the beast as I draw back the table leg, then quickly strike it into Tyler's neck. I feel his warm blood hit my face as his heart stutters, then stops. Tyler Lockwood is dead.
And so is Caroline Forbes.
I can feel the beast retracting as I turn around toward where Caroline is still slumped over with wide eyes. I get over to her, then drop to my knees; taking her into my arms. I look down into her blue eyes. The light in them is missing. The light is gone. The only thing left is a lifeless sea of blue.
I can feel foreign tears start to run down my cheeks as I bring my hand up to close her eyes.
Just as I am about to press her lids downward, I swear I can see her eyes trying to focus on mine for just a second.
Then, Caroline takes in a sharp intake of breath.