"Why? Why are you running from me?"
Her tattered, white dress disappears behind the giant White Oak tree.
"You're a monster!" Her voice echoes throughout the empty field.
I run closer to her. I can feel the fear running off of her.
"Get away from me, Klaus! I will never want you! You're worse than the Devil himself. You're a murderer. A killer."
"Caroline, please. Don't leave me."
Caroline stops running, and turns around to face me. Her hands are behind her back. The tears falling down her face are made of blood.
"Look at me, Klaus. I could cry these bloody tears for the rest of my life, but it would never suffice the amount of blood you've shed for no reason at all during your lifetime!"
I grab her arm.
"Why are you doing this? To torture me further? Do you not think I've been tortured enough?"
With no hesitation, I see Caroline move abruptly. A sharp pain courses through my body as flames come into my view.
"What's happening? What the hell did you do?"
I can see Caroline smile as my body burns slowly from the inside out.
The scene before me starts to darken.
"Caroline, stop this!"
Darkness is everywhere now. Caroline's face is the only thing illuminated by the flames of my burning body and the bright moon above us.
"It's too late, Klaus. You're getting the one, single thing you deserve."
She pauses as she smiles brighter and walks closer to me. The flames don't seem to be affecting her. She leans over until I can feel her curls on my cheek. She whispers quietly into my ear.
I'm met with the bright, white ceiling above me as I stare upward. I do a mental check of my body's limbs. It is then I realize that I am gasping for air. My eyes flutter close as I take in deep breaths. I'm not dead. At least not completely. There is no stake in my heart. There is no empty field. Only my bedroom. There's no...there is no Caroline.
"Caroline." I let her name fall from my lips as I look over to the canvas where her painting sits. Why would she even want such a dark thing? I imagine her room is probably some white-yellow color with a large window and a light brown colored bedroom set. Her painting wouldn't fit in.
And yet I keep referring to the painting as hers.
Because it is. The moment she called it amazing, it was hers.
I know from the knock on my door that Rebekah is here to collect Caroline's gift.
"Come in, Rebekah."
The door swings open.
"Good morning, brother. How are you today?"
I sit up in my bed and swing my legs over the edge. I'm still mesmerized by the fact that I can feel everything. The dream was so real.
A tiny space in the back of my mind wishes it were.
"Oh, Nik. You look paler than usual. Are you sure you're okay?"
She moves over to the painting and begins to pick it up.
"Be careful with that, Rebekah! Caroline deserves it in one piece."
I look down as Rebekah twists her body around to stare daggers at me.
"I've got it, Nik! If you want to make sure it makes it to her in one piece, why not deliver it yourself?"
She rolls her eyes as she leaves the room at vampire speed. Not ten seconds later I hear the trunk of her car slam shut.
Before I know what's going through my mind, I'm outside.
"What's wrong with you, Rebekah?"
"Nothing's wrong with me."
She folds her arms in front of her as she leans against the car.
"She's good, Nik!"
"Caroline. She's one of the good ones. Life hasn't chewed her up and spit her out just yet!"
"And you're afraid I will?"
"It's not just you. Any one of us could! I've hung out with Elena Gilbert, Nik. Caroline Forbes should never be Elena Gilbert!"
"Rebekah, I'm not sure I follow you. I'm just giving her a painting she particularly liked."
"Yeah, right. Nik, I saw you seeing her the way you saw her last night!"
I feel myself staring at my sister. Was it possible for her to be under the weather?
"Okay, Rebekah. I've compelled some blood to be brought here. Real blood. You're getting the first drink of it because I believe you need it more than I."
"Ugh, whatever, Nik! I know what I mean! I'm going to Caroline's. See you later."
My phone starts to ring as Rebekah pulls out of the semi-circle driveway.
"Hey, pretty boy. What's up?"
"Damon Salvatore. How nice of you to call."
"Yeah I know. Anyway. All of us are hanging out at the boarding house. Not inviting you or anything, but if you happen to be in the neighborhood, well, door's open."
"Right." I respond.
I am face to face with a smiling Elena Gilbert no longer than a few moments after I knock on the cold, wooden door.
"Klaus! Come in."
She walks away; leaving me in the door way. I lean in and find with amusement that I can do so.
"Elena's the owner of the house. Come on in. Join the party." Damon lets a fake, annoyed smirk grace his features, but I can tell he truly loves being surrounded by everyone.
He waves me in just as Elena comes back.
"Oh. I thought Damon here tried to heed you away. Everyone just knows how much he loves company."
Elena's smile is filled with love as she playfully slaps Damon on the back and walks away again. His eyes seem to soften whenever shes around. I step into the house, and Damon and I begin to walk toward the kitchen where Elena has disappeared into.
"Misery loves company."
Damon and I glance at each other as the expression leaves our lips at the same time, but continue walking. I think it's safe to think neither he nor I wants to acknowledge any second where our thoughts are more than on the same track.
As soon as we are in the kitchen, Elena approaches me with a glass of wine.
"I actually had no idea you were one until Ric told me." She whispers to me. I take the glass from her hands and take a drink. It has some blood in it. I'm then reminded that Jeremy doesn't know about the other life his sister is living. I smile at Elena in silent thanks. She smiles back as she wraps her arms around Damon and rests her head on his bicep. The gesture seems so foreign to me. So loving.
I avert my eyes from the scene; sweeping them around the kitchen instead. A familiar face and two unfamiliar ones come into my vision. The last person I expect to speak to me speaks from their spot on the counter.
He hops down off of the counter, and we shake hands; effectively putting the past behind us. For now.
"Klaus, this is Jeremy, Elena's brother."
Jeremy holds up his hand in a lazy wave.
"Yeah. You probably haven't seen me around much. I'm a junior."
The light caramel colored girl sitting across from him stands up and walks over to me.
"You probably haven't seen me because unlike my over-achieving friends, I took a normal English class. But excuse Jere's lack of manners. I'm Bonnie Bennett." She holds her hand out confidently. I take it into mine.
A shock runs through my cold veins. I pay it no mind, and she doesn't seem to either as she lets go of my hand and starts to talk.
"So, Caroline tells me you're actually a pretty good teacher. I kind of regret getting Ms. Winston now."
The mention of Caroline brings on an unexplainable feeling. Like I am in water; my nose above the surface, but my mouth just below it.
"Yes, well, I've been an avid learner of English for many years now, so I have a lot to pass on. But enough about me. How long have you been practicing, Bonnie?" Bonnie tilts her head a little as confusion is written all over her face. I glance around the room and notice confusion is written on everyone's faces.
"Practicing what?" Bonnie asks.
From the looks of it, no one seems to know. Does that mean she's like Jeremy and knows nothing of vampires or even what she is?
"Did I say practicing? I meant cheering. I saw you at the football game Friday, and I was just wondering how long you and your friends had been cheering."
"Well, Elena, Caroline, and I have been cheering together since we were, what, six maybe, Elena?"
As Elena responds, she walks toward Bonnie and drapes her arm around her best friend as she smiles.
"Yep! Those were the days. Me in the middle of the squad line-up trying to show off with cheers I never actually learned, Caroline being the boss of everyone, and you somehow managing to do everything perfectly."
Elena's eyes are far away; remembering. She snaps back into the present and looks at Bonnie. "I guess some things never change, huh Bonnie?" Bonnie smiles back in the affirmative, and I start to feel envy wash over me.
These girls are not even related by blood, yet they share more memories and love than my siblings and I ever did. Not even Rebekah and I can compare to this.
"Enough with all the mushy love crap. Let's get down to business." Damon's remark makes both girls roll their eyes in faux annoyance. They go and sit beside Jeremy just as Stefan sits a manila folder down on the table. I become curious.
"What business, Damon?" I ask.
"Blondie's birthday." He raises his eyebrows up and down as he joins the rest at the table. I move to join them, also.
"Damon, her name's Caroline." Elena rolls her eyes as her boyfriend shrugs.
"Blondie's easier to remember than Caroline."
I glance over Jeremy's shoulder. "A Renaissance Ball, huh?"
"Either that, or a 1920's theme." Elena looks up at me.
"Why such a contrast in themes?" I ask.
"Caroline loves both time periods." Elena shrugs.
My phone rings, and I excuse myself from the room.
"Hey, Klaus. It's Alaric. Listen, I'm on the other side of town at my apartment with some stale beer and even more stale popcorn. Lasagna's in the oven, and football's on, too."
I almost find myself amused at Alaric's subtlety.
After escaping the party planning, I knock twice on the door and Alaric finally answers. He shoves a beer into my hand and hurries into the kitchen.
"Hope you like very browned cheese on your lasagna. Hey, could you check that closet to your left, and see if I put an extra oven mitt in there? I don't know where the hell I put the one I was using."
I sigh a little, but more out of contentment, as I open the closet door.
What I see stops me in my tracks, but only for a second. I pick up one of the objects, and go to join Alaric in the kitchen. I know only one of us will be coming out.