“Quite the party, isn't it, Niklaus?”
I look to my right and see my older brother, Elijah. He's dressed in a fine man's rags, and holds two small glasses that are partially filled with a dark, brown liquid. He inclines one of the glasses toward me.
“Quite.” I simple respond. I take the glass into my hand, and bring it up to my mouth. The liquid no longer burns my throat as I swallow it. I barely feel the warmth in the pit of my stomach as it rests there.
“Oh, come on, brother. Mother went out of her way to throw this party in honor of our only sister's birthday.”
“I remember the last time mother chose to celebrate Rebekah's birth. It ended in, well, the murder of her children and husband.”
“Ah, Niklaus. Let the past be the past. That was merely one step back that led to two steps forward.”
“Are you really referring to what we are as two steps forward? We're dead, Elijah.” I nod my head in the direction of a woman who has her head thrown back in laughter while she speaks with her party guests on the other side of the make-shift dance floor. “Because that woman acted like she was protecting us, we're cursed for eternity. She took away everything, brother. None of us will ever have an heir. Rebekah, unlike the women around her, will never grow round with our nieces or nephews, and true love will always evade her as she is stuck infinitely at the age of eighteen. She deserves the life she will never get to have.”
I see Elijah's mouth form a smirk as he takes a drink from his glass.
“And when did Niklaus Mikaelson start to be an advocate for true love?”
“Easy.” I drink the rest of the amber liquid from my glass in one deep swallow before I choose to continue answering Elijah. “When he realized that he would never experience it himself.”
Air fills my lungs in a manner more quickly than I can expel it. I've always hated the first few moments of waking up after being killed. Even with that first rush of breath, there's still that small belief, that small piece of hope, that somehow you didn't make it.
As flames rake my throat, and I feel the restraint of a locked door, I know that I have made it. I know that this is not Hell. Hell for me would be much worse.
“Is it true?”
The beautiful voice I've become accustomed to makes me sit up. Or at least try to. I end up leaning into the corner of the stone wall.
“Don't move. It'll just make what you're feeling worse.” I hear the heavy door creak open, and footsteps finally stop at the right of me. Caroline gracefully sits down beside of me, and I slowly bring my face up to lean my head against the wall behind me. She is as beautiful as ever.
“Is it true?” She interrupts me. I know what she is referring to.
“Yes.” I feel my gaze hardened as I find the cement ground interesting.
“Were you thirsty? Angry? I don't understand why.” I make eye contact with Caroline, and carefully bring my hand up to stroke her cheek.
“She threatened you.”
Caroline's eyes almost turn into slits as she forcefully knocks my hand away from her face.
“Alyssa was just a human, nothing more than a catty cheerleader, and you what? Ripped her throat out because you felt that I was in danger because of her? The only person that has ever posed a danger to me, to any of us, was you. Is you! Damon finally killed Alaric, but not before he told us the truth. All of it.”
I don't even flinch as Caroline removes a stake from inside of her jacket. The white wood taunts me.
“You have killed so many innocent people, Klaus. You've made my mom live in regret all these years for something that was an accident, and not her fault at all! You killed Elena's parents. Not her! You killed her Aunt Jenna, Hell, you even killed my dad! I'm sorry I let this go on. The moment I found out you were my dad's murderer, I should've tried to kill you myself, but I didn't because I saw the good in you. As it turns out, there's really no good in you at all.” She brings the stake up and firmly holds the tip into my side.
“You're right, Caroline, and the truth about my family is that I murdered them all except for Rebekah. Most days, I can hear their pleas for me to stop; see their faces in my head as they die. I've hated myself for a long time. When I met you, it was like I had found the light that I had needed to rid me of my dark being, but now I'm starting to believe that the darkness will always over-power that light.” Caroline has yet to look up at me, but I can see the tears falling down her face. “Please, look at me, Caroline.”
She tilts her head back up and looks me straight in the eyes.
“You're a monster, Klaus, and that's all you'll ever be.” I bring my hand up and wipe at the tears on her cheek just as she places the tip of the stake over my heart.
“Yes. I'm a monster, and no matter how much I try to change that fact, I never will be able to.” I feel a foreign moistness start to form in my eyes, and begin to roll down my cheeks. “But I'm convinced that after existing all these years, my one reason for that existence was to find you. Whether finding you saved me or not, it was a pleasure to love you; to at least pretend that my demons don't exist, and that I really do deserve you.”
I feel her grip on the stake loosen as her steady hand almost begins to tremble. Her next words echo throughout my entire being.
“Anyone capable of love, is capable of being saved.”
Caroline becomes a blur of blue eyes and blonde hair as tears fill my eyes again.
“I don't deserve to be saved, but I do deserve to do the saving. You need to live the life you deserve, not the life you think you'll fit into. You're bigger than life itself, Caroline. A light of blonde curls, and a heart of gold. I'm saving you...” Before she can stop me, I use my last few bursts of energy to wrap my hand around the spot on the stake right under where Caroline's hand is lightly settled.
“From me.” I push the stake forcefully into my chest.
Flames flicker and burn around my body. Pain invades my every being, but this is what I deserve.
“I will always love you, Caroline. You are the light of my dark life.”
The stone wall is now fully supporting my burning body, and as Caroline's frantic sobs fill the room, I allow my eyes to close one final time.
I take one last glance at the oil painting that I've just finished, and take a seat on my foot rest that is directly in front of it. The moonlit night's rays find their way down toward the female's silhouette. The moon seems to illuminate her far more than necessary. It's as if the rays are drawn to her, and only her. Her head is turned upward; like she is enjoying the light that has ridden her of her darkness.
“That's beautiful, Klaus.” I turn toward my doorway and see Caroline standing there with a small smile on her face. I incline my eyebrow toward her, and open my arms while holding a small smirk on my face. She takes my invitation without a second thought, and her body is quickly pressed against mine as she gingerly sits on one of my legs and leans into my body. She lets her head lull over onto my shoulder as she studies the painting. “Of course, everything you've painted has been perfect, so that's nothing new.”
I quickly turn my head and give Caroline a peck on the lips, then look back at the painting.
“Yes, well, this specific piece is based off of a very beautiful woman. So, I would say it's particularly more perfect than the rest.”
Caroline gently uses her hand to turn my head so her lips hungrily meet mine. I can feel her tongue begging for entrance--
“Are you two going to suck face all day, or are we going to actually make it to Elena's birthday party on time?”
Caroline and I laugh as Rebekah leans against the door frame and smirks. As we get up, she dashes away using her vampire speed.
“I think she's more worried about keeping Matt waiting.” I roll my eyes at my own statement.
“They make such a cute couple, though! Let's go.” Caroline leaves the room in the same vampire fashion as my sister; leaving me to my thoughts. I inconspicuously feel for the velvet box in my pant pocket, then quickly follow after Caroline and Rebekah.
Fifteen minutes later, I watch as Rebekah and Caroline quickly make their way over to Elena Gilbert and hug her with a bit too much enthusiasm, considering Elena's age was frozen in time two years ago. I stretch my vampire hearing toward them just to make sure Elena doesn't spoil the surprise. I don't relax my hearing until the three ladies go their separate ways.
“You ready for this?” Damon appears by my side and gives me one of his classic smirks.
“Ready as I'll ever be.” As I make eye contact with her from across the room, Rebekah gives me a bright smile as she leans into Matt Donovan; who holds his glass up in acknowledgment. I notice Stefan and Alaric as they do the same.
I walk over to where Caroline is chatting happily with a few of her old classmates, and the music immediately cuts.
“Klaus? What's wrong?”
I get down on one knee and pop open the velvet box before holding it out in front of myself. Everyone in the room seems to gasp.
“Caroline Beula Forbes,” Caroline makes a disgruntled sound at the mention of her middle name, but giggles as her blue eyes seem to absorb every light within the room. “I love you. You have made a long, unbearable existence worth it. There's no doubt in my mind that I have spent all these years unconsciously making my way toward you. You saw the good in me when no one else did. You helped me become the man I am today, and I can't thank you enough for that. I guess what I'm trying to say is: Will you do me the honor of being my wife? Until death do us part?”
Caroline bites her lip as teas run down her cheeks. “Well, that's a quite a long time,” Our friends laugh at her attempt at a joke about immortality. “But yes. I'd be honored to be your wife for as long as you want me.”
I quickly slide the ring onto Caroline's finger, and she tugs me up and into a bone crushing hug.
“I love you so much, Klaus.” She speaks into my ear.
“I feel the same way, love. You are the light that I needed in my life. Without you, I don't know who I'd be.”
“You'd still be you, silly!” Caroline pecks my lips before adding more. “You'd just be you with your darkness a little less...dissipated.”
I raise my eyebrows at her as I rest my hands on her hips.
“What? I may or may not be trying to incorporate the Word of the Day on your calendar into my everyday speech. Sue me!” I laugh as Caroline shrugs her shoulders before hugging me again.
She finally pulls away from me only to run toward Elena and Bonnie while holding her ring out for their viewing pleasure, and practically yelling about how our wedding cake icing must accentuate the wedding cake itself. My mind tries not to think about the monster I have created, and the Hell she is going to put us through in the upcoming months.
Instead, I can't help but think about how happy and thankful I am for Caroline Forbes; the light of blonde curls that has dissipated my darkness.
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