Dissipating Darkness

Chapter Nine

The week passes quickly, and part of me likes that it does, but another part of me wants it to slow down. I have no idea why that is. Whenever I try to picture what has happened during the week, all I can see is the way Caroline's pen moves as she dives into her assignment before anyone else even looks at the board. I notice the way she quirks up her left eyebrow whenever something complexes her. She seems to do that a lot; especially when our eyes meet during class. It's only for a second, and even though I should, I can't find it in me to regret the looks. The small looks are all I can do to make sure that she's still there; that the one good thing going for me hasn't disappeared overnight.

"I still can't believe you're going to the party solo, Nik. That's not very sophisticated of you."

"Since when did sophistication rely on if someone interests me enough to be asked to this 'party', Rebekah? Be glad I'm even going."

Rebekah rolls her eyes as she adjusts the sides of her strapless, dark brown dress in my mirror.

"You know what I mean by sophistication. Brother, you and I both know you don't have a date on purpose."

"That's not true-"

"You don't have a date because you plan on creeping around in the corners, pining over Caroline Forbes, and probably staring daggers into her boyfriend Tyler."

"That is ridiculous! I just couldn't find anyone suitable to court. I was only given a week's notice."

Rebekah doesn't respond as she waltzes out of my room. I can hear her mumble something about how I've compelled hundreds in less than twenty-four hours, so it couldn't be that hard to compel one person in seven days.

I sigh out loud as I tighten my tie. Why didn't I compel someone? It's so unlike me to not blend in with others around me. It would be only common sense for me to compel a normal, human woman to attend the party with me. I can only think of one reason why I did not: I didn't want to, and for me, that just doesn't seem like reason enough.

Even after centuries on this earth, there isn't a time most discerning than when the time comes to be invited into someone's home. It never fails to amaze me that although I am the world's most indestructible supernatural being, I can't even walk through a doorway on my own accord.

Yet, this time always seems to intrigue me. The act of trusting an individual to come into your home is so elementary with humans. It's such a normal thing to do. Friends, family, coworkers, significant others, they're all invited in and welcomed. Humans never seem to think that what they are inviting into their most personal sanctuaries can dissipate that sanctity with things they have never imagined. Things most probably couldn't imagine. This thought seems to somehow become a lot more personal when I realize that Caroline is one of these clueless humans.

"Hello. You must be Niklaus. I'm Carol Lockwood. Come on in. Champagne and appetizers are out back. Please, make yourself comfortable." As fast as she arrives in front of me, she's strutting away.

I make my way through the grand doors and stand on the stone pathway leading to the expansive lawn. My eyes automatically dart over to the large group of people standing in their own little corner of the yard; oblivious to everyone else around them.

Elena Gilbert is talking animatedly to Bonnie as Jeremy and Damon are talking to a man with his back turned to my vision. I start to wonder where Stefan is just as Jeremy says something that makes the man clutch his side from laughter. This makes his body angle just enough for me to see who it is.

Alaric Saltzman.

"Nice party, huh?"

The hand of Stefan Salvatore clasps my shoulder as he moves to stand beside me.

"I've seen better. The twenties were roaring. If only you could've been there, mate."

"I'll take your word for it." He smirks for a second, then his face sobers up."So are we not going to talk about your reason behind staking Alaric?"

"Sure we will. As soon as my reasoning becomes your business, Stefan."

"Listen, Klaus. When you mess with Alaric, you're messing with Elena. That makes this my business. Now, I've compelled Alaric to for--"

I feel my look intensify.

"Oh is that what this comes down to, then? Elena, the girl who doesn't even want you because she's too busy having her deepest fantasies and desires filled by your older brother, that's who you're trying to protect? Well, ask yourself, Stefan. Would she do the same for you? Risk her life to protect you? Because that's exactly what you're doing right now. You're risking your life for that little human bitch. If I were to try to kill you right here, right now, you think she could stop me?"

I see Stefan's jaw clench as he looks away purposefully.

"That's exactly what I thought.” I smirk. “Enjoy the rest of the party, Stefan."

I turn to walk back into the house, and immediately I'm bumping into someone.

"Oh my gosh! I'm so sorry, Mr. Mikaelson!"

An uncontrollable smile makes itself apparent on my face as I take in Caroline dressed in a silver dress. It intrigues me how she can pull off such a simple, modest clothing item while everyone else around us is purely wearing their clothes to show off.

But then again, it is Caroline.

"Caroline. That's quite all right."

My eyes move to the left of her as I take in an average-looking, tan-skinned male with his arm possessively tossed over her shoulder. He reminds me of a poster boy for a high school level sports team. Just his presence is obnoxious enough, but then he speaks.

"Geez, Care. Watch where you're going next time." He chuckles annoyingly as he sticks out his hand; crafted into fist form. "I'm Tyler Lockwood. You probably haven't seen me around. I've been out west in Colorado with my uncle for a little while."

After a few seconds of me not moving to bump his fist with my own, he retracts it.

"So, Caroline tells me you replaced Mrs. Powell. Can't say I'm saddened by the fact. Powell was a giant bitch. Isn't that right, Care?"

I look over at Caroline who looks a little bit flustered.


"What? You said he was cool."

Tyler sighs as he makes eye contact with me again.

"Sorry, man. I just never--"

"Tyler! Ty- Oh, there you are." Tyler's mom shows up at his side. I don't miss the speculative look she throws Caroline. "Ty, Aunt Marie is here and wants to see how much you've grown. Come with me."

She takes Tyler's wrist into her hands as she leads him away. I don't miss him throwing an apologetic glance at Caroline who looks undeniably embarrassed.

"I take it that happens a lot, then?"

Caroline looks down at her feet as she plays with the stones on the path with the tip of her strappy, black heels.

"A little more than I care to admit, yes. Ms. Lockwood loves my mother, but me? Not a fat chance."

She nervously flips her hair as she moves a strand of it away from her face. Our eyes finally meet. Tears are forming in hers. The sight makes me want to rip Carol Lockwood's heart out through her spine. Her screams would be music to my ears. She'd probably plead for the help that would never come. She would--

"Care, are you okay?"

Caroline's group of friends appear beside me. Rebekah and Matt are now with them. Damon is the first to speak.

"Gentleman, how about we leave the ladies here to handle this? I need a drink."

Damon invades my personal space by throwing his arm over my shoulder and leads me away as Jeremy, Matt, Alaric, and Stefan follow. We end up at two outdoor tables away from the crowd of people. Matt and Jeremy sit at one table, while Damon, Stefan, Alaric, and myself sit at one not too far way, but far away enough as to not be heard in case anything of the supernatural subject pops up in our conversation.

"So, Matt doesn't know either, then?" I inquire. Damon automatically clicks his tongue at the question.

"Oh, of course not. Bonnie doesn't either. Thanks for almost blowing it by the way."

Confusion inhabits my features as Stefan further explains his brother's statement.

"What Damon means is we're the only ones that know about Bonnie. Not even Elena knows yet. It's not that we hadn't planned on telling her, it's just that it hasn't been too long since Elena has found out that we even exist."

Damon continues for his brother.

"And Stefan and Ric here think that one day, out of the blue I might add, that the reality of the situation will creep up on Elena and she'll finally have a complete breakdown. So having us, plus the witch, would just be a recipe for disaster. I, myself, believe that Elena can handle it. Heck, if I were human and cool with vampires and a witch, I'd think I was the absolute King."

Stefan quirks his eyebrow. "And that's exactly why the world doesn't need to see a human Damon again. Twenty-four years of you were enough."

Alaric chuckles and the sound makes my eyes dart over to him. Unless Stefan was lying about getting him to forget, Alaric seems to have no idea what I've done to him.

"You know, I would pay money to see a human Damon." Alaric nudges his shoulder against Stefan.

"Yeah. Maybe I'll tell you about him later on. I'll have to be very intoxicated, though."

Damon rolls his eyes, but then smirks as the two men laugh together. I can see the genuine friendship in their eyes. It's sickening.

"So, Klaus," Damon starts. " What were you and Blondie talking about?"

For some reason, I don't want to tell them the truth. I feel like if I do, I'm deceiving Caroline's trust.

"It was just small talk."

"Oh. Okay." Damon's voice is calm and even, but he's smirking.

"Hey, Klaus." Alaric breaks my curiosity about Damon. "Let's go get a round of drinks."

I nod the affirmative and soon we are walking towards the bar inside. Alaric starts a conversation as the bartender is getting our drinks together.

"You know even I can't believe someone could be so remorseless."

My eyes open a little further at the clipped tone in his voice.

"Excuse me?" I ask.

"You know, Klaus, if I had just killed two people I wouldn't be as cool, calm, and collected as you are."

Alaric's head seems to turn too quickly as he meets my gaze.

"Especially if one of those people I had killed were talking to me right now."

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