Fandom: The Vampire Diaries
Word Count: 1010
Summary: In his bed at night, they talk. Caroline wants to know about his past and Klaus wants to know why she stays.
Caroline’s fingers trace the scars on his back absently while he sleeps. It’s one of the few peaceful moments she has with him, because when he’s awake and cognizant, he’s very antagonistic and patronizing. Or, at least, he likes to appear that way.
She sees through the dismissive remarks and hurtful phrases and forgives him easily, but she tries not to be too obvious. He wouldn’t want her to know she’s got him figured out.
Maybe if she wasn’t so lost in thought, she’d of realized that he was still awake.
“What are you doing, little one?” he asks gruffly, exhaustion evident in his tone; but she notes quickly that he doesn’t stop her movements.
“Your scars,” she starts curiously, “how did you get them?”
At first he tenses up and remains so quiet that Caroline assumes he’s not going to answer her. “My father—the man I was raised to think was my father—did not let me get away with the same things my siblings were allowed to get away with.”
She notices that he avoids the details and a part of her wonders why. Does he not want her to know about that part of his life? Are they too painful—did they play a part in him becoming the sadistic vampire she heard he was capable of being? She rarely sees that side of him because he’s very deliberate in keeping her out of anything that would color her perception of him. It’s really too bad for him that she is a lot more perceptive than he gives her credit for.
Caroline doesn’t say anything more on the subject. She knows only too well what parental baggage feels like on one’s shoulders. Between a mother who disapproved of all her choices for all of her human life and the beginning of her vampire one as well and a father who, upon discovering what became of her, tried to force her to change through means of torture then rejected what she was even as he became one as well; she understands that some things are better left unexamined. Instead, she just presses her lips to one of the larger scars and exhales against his skin.
He sighs then, which is rare for him, because for the most part, he chooses not to partake in the very human act of breathing—or, rather, he is so quiet about it is impossible to distinguish whether he is or isn’t actually breathing. He pulls away, however, when she moves her lips to a second scar. “You shouldn’t even be here with me, Caroline,” he says, his voice devoid of all emotion.
She hates it when he gets like this. It doesn’t happen all that often because he likes to come off as if he doesn’t care that he’s a heartless bastard. But every so often, she’ll do something so innocent that it’ll shock him into believing she’s too good for him. Usually, when she’s not half-asleep, she’ll laugh at the ridiculous notion.
“Where else would I be?” she whispers quietly.
“At your mother’s. In your bed. Safe and sound and far away from monster’s like me.”
She stares at the faint white scars that pepper his back and realizes a truth he would never say aloud. Not all his scars are visible to prying eyes. Some are invisible, rooted in disappointment and loneliness and the daunting prospect of living out forever alone.
The truth is, sometimes she thinks he’s right. Her life would certainly be less complicated if she just walked from his bedroom and never looked back; but the idea of it makes her heart ache painfully. He’ll never admit it, and she will never tell him so, but he needs her—she can see that now.
She can’t, however, counter his words by telling him that he isn’t a monster, for they’re both realistic enough to admit the truth of his statement. “Some would say that I’m a monster too, you know,” she murmurs instead, kissing his shoulder.
“There is a myriad of differences between the two, love,” he chastises lightly.
The argument is starting to become familiar, and she can hear the beginning of a smirk in his voice. Her fingers run along his back, up to his arms and she pulls herself closer to his body as she traces her way to his own hand. She grasps it firmly. “I’m here because I want to be, Klaus, and I’m not leaving unless I choose to. You should know by now that you can’t control me.”
Klaus guides their now entwined hands to his lips and places a light kiss to hers. She feels his smirk this time. “You don’t have to remind me of that, love. Your continued defiance of me is proof enough of that. What I do not understand is why you are choosing to stay with me.”
Caroline shakes her head, and sighs. She pulls ineffectually at his hand in an effort to make him turn around and face her. Klaus complies without complaint, a glimmer evident in his eyes.
“You told me that I was beautiful,” she starts with a small smile. Klaus studies her carefully before he laughs softly and she can tell the precise moment he remembers his words from the ball his family threw five weeks before. “You let me make all the choices. You showed me that I was beautiful,” she continues, referencing his sketch of her. “And you didn’t give up even when I asked you to—which I feel the need to add that ignoring my wishes is not always a good thing.”
Klaus is eying her critically now, taking her words to heart as he so often does with her.
She holds tight to both of his hands and stares right into his eyes as she finishes, “In the end, you made me believe that I was beautiful.”
He doesn’t respond to her words with any of his own, but the way he kisses her says all that his voice holds back.
He finally understands.