Fandom: The Vampire Diaries
Word Count: 1233
Summary: Fifteen years in the future, Elijah runs into Caroline and cannot help but stop to speak to her.
A/N: For a Comment Fic Party prompt by mistress_britt.
Years after Klaus is dead, Elijah runs into Caroline in a small diner in South Carolina. Her hair is pulled up in a messy ponytail, and a few blonde strands are framing her face. She’s wearing a white and blue uniform and talking with another waitress. They’re laughing, but Elijah can see that her smile doesn’t quite reach her eyes.
He debates whether to go inside and make his presence known or leave unnoticed. He hardly knew her back when they both resided in Mystic Falls; he has no right to interfere in her life now. Yet, there’s something about her that appeals to him. His decision made, he opens the door to the diner, hears the chime, and seats himself at a table he’s certain is in his section. Now he has to wait for her to notice him.
He hears the exact moment her breathing stops, the exact second she stops talking, and, were she still human, he’d hear the moment her heart skips a beat. Elijah looks around and notices for the first time how empty the place is. Only three other tables are occupied, and he’s certain they’re all in the other waitress’s section.
“Go,” he hears the brunette waitress say to Caroline. “He’s kind of—” she starts, but Caroline quickly hushes her. Elijah patiently looks out the window, deliberately avoiding making eye contact with either girl.
“Amy, he’ll hear you!” she insists pleadingly, sounding much like he remembers, the only difference is she seems a little more humble and a little less confident in herself.
“No he won’t,” the brunette insists, “look; he’s not even paying attention.”
He knows she knows better, but she doesn’t argue, just takes a deep breath and slowly makes her way over to him.
“Hello, Caroline,” he says when she gets to the table.
“What would you like to order?” she asks loudly enough for Amy to hear, although the look she’s giving him clearly says something slightly different. To him, it looks like more of a “What the hell do you want?” but he’s willing to overlook it.
“You know what I would like, Caroline, but I’m not so sure it’s on the menu…” he implies with a not-so-subtle glance over at the brunette.
Instantly, she’s at attention. Her fangs are out and she’s leaning close to him as she hisses, “Don’t you dare hurt Amy!” She forces her fangs back in, but the spark in her eyes remains.
Again, he chooses to ignore her blatant display of disrespect. “Protective of a human?” he taunts with a quirked lip. “My, doesn’t this sound familiar.”
“Why are you here, Elijah?” she asks almost sounding desperate, obviously trying to keep herself calm.
“I was passing through and saw you through the window,” he says honestly, “thought I’d say hello.”
“Well, you have,” she replies coldly, “now you may go.”
His irritation with her attitude comes through and he reaches out quickly and twists her wrist. Were she human, it would have broken instantly. Luckily, she’s not, and it only hurts her. He watches her bite down on her lower lip to keep from crying out. “I’ve let alone your poor attitude thus far, Caroline, but I will not continue to do so. You will be a little more respectful to me—after all, I did keep all of your friends safe all those years ago.” He jerks on her wrist and she winces. “Now take a seat,” he says. His tone is polite and pleasant again, like a light switch turned back on.
“I’m working,” she objects, touching her now healed wrist. “I can’t just sit down and shoot the breeze with customers.”
“No one’s around, and if someone happens to notice, I’ll compel them afterward,” he offers, trying to be courteous, hoping she’ll repay the favor. “Now sit down.” He watches raptly as she hesitantly obeys. She doesn’t look at him, however, choosing to stare at the table instead.
“Now,” he starts, folding his hands in front of him, “I’ve told you why I’m here, why don’t you do the same, and explain why you’re here.” He says the word with a little more disgust than necessary.
“I couldn’t very well stay in Mystic Falls forever,” she says, talking to him as if he asked an idiotic question. “Eventually, my mother would have found out—again—and she’d hate me. I didn’t have anything tying me to the town, so I left, traveled a bit. The cash ran out eventually and I ended up here.”
“You had the entire town behind you back then,” Elijah says, noting her wince at the reminder. “You expect me to believe you didn’t have anyone; that you still don’t have anyone in your life—besides Amy?”
She looks at him for only a few seconds before staring back at the table, but he is able to read the sadness in her eyes. “Matt died in a car accident his second year of college, Tyler found some girl a year later who knew about werewolves, someone who has never lied to him. Stefan left with Katherine not long after Klaus, and Damon took Elena to France to get away from the pain of losing Stefan. Bonnie, well, she’s trying to make a fresh start without magic and the supernatural, so she wants nothing to do with me. I haven’t set foot in Mystic Falls in eleven years.”
Understanding now exactly why she looked so sad—even while laughing—when he first saw her, he almost regrets hurting her earlier. He doesn’t apologize, in any case, just hands her his menu and says, “I suppose I’ll have the Daryl Lee Special; it’s not like it can kill me.”
She almost smiles at this, and it takes her over a minuet to realize he just ordered food and remember what her occupation is. But when she does, she wipes the frown from her face and puts on a smile. “I’ll put that in right away,” she chirps as she stands up, going right back into waitress mode.
She doesn’t come back to talk to him while his food is cooking. She takes two orders and then stands quietly in a corner, watching Amy in her section. The smile is still in place, but it still doesn’t reach her eyes.
She hasn’t really changed in the fifteen years since he left Mystic Falls. She’s still new to the world of vampires—at least by his standards—and she still has no clue what she wants in life. She’s just a vulnerable, little, blonde vampire without anyone to guide her. The thought comes to him just as she’s bringing his food, and he asks her to sit again, promising her that she can ask the questions this time. She smiles—the closest thing to a real smile since he arrived—and sits down.
He stays until closing time, and Amy shoots her a look when she leaves, leaving Caroline alone in the empty diner with Elijah. And when he finally leaves, he asks her to come with him.
She glances back at the diner and then to Elijah and then smiles—a real smile. “What the hell?” she says. “It’s not like I’ve any ties here either.” She writes a note for Amy and puts it in the office, leaving her everything she has and walks back out to join Elijah.