Author's Note: Alrighty, loves! It has been absolutely forever since I've written a chapter for this story and I am so terribly sorry for the long wait! I got out a bit of frustration against Elena in this one but not too much. I'm not really for there to be any crazy dynamics being changed just yet, but we are building to it. I love hearing from everyone, I know no one is out there reading this but I did enjoy the feedback! Stay safe and enjoy!

Lila wakes up late in the day, which is surprising seeing as her mother usually never lets her sleep in late. It was nice though. Spending the whole night using magic, then the whole day running around helping to make Rebekah's birthday special for her has left her aching and exhausted. She's happy that Rebekah seemed to have been having a great time.

With the excitement of everything going on these last few days, Lilah hasn't been able to get good enough rest these last few days. Plus the spell that she cast the night of the full moon has left her feeling perpetual exhaustion that is hanging over her. It's going to take a few days to shake it. But she is thankful that her mom was willing to let her sleep in these last few hours.

But all good things come to an end. Lilah gets up for the day, shaking off as much of her exhaustion as she can, and gets ready for the day. She puts on a nice dress, pulls her hair into a simple knot on the top of her head, and runs out in search of Klaus. She forgot, in all of the excitement from Rebekah's birthday, to give him what she needed to. With the blue gem still gripped tight in her hand, she does in search of the third son of Mikael and Esther.

"Here," Lilah says, pulling Niklaus aside, between two of the houses and offers the gem to the other blond. "I made something for you. Well, I found it. It has a twin gem that I have. Isn't it pretty?"

Niklaus stares at the blue sapphire with wide eyes. Lilah just kind of thrust it into his hand without any prompt. He blinks a few times, staring down at the sapphire in his hand, blinking rapidly. He runs his fingers over it, contemplative before looking back at Lilah. There is this adorable, wide-eyed look on his face. So innocent. So sweet. Lilah melts at the sight of it.

"Me? You got this for me?"

Lilah nods, grinning brightly. She watches the awe and happiness cross his face as a blush works its way across his cheeks. He can't even look at her without flushing deeper, looking bashful.

"Why...?" Niklaus asks softly, staring down at the gem in his hand. "Why would you give this to me?"

"Because," Lilah says softly, wrapping her arms around her ribs, "that sapphire is like you. It's special."

After Caroline got back from her dad's, she had to get back to her life in Mystic Falls. She came home, saw her mom, spent the day telling her all about what she did with her dad and his new boyfriend. It wasn't overly special, but it was fun. It was fun to get away from all the drama and the heartbreak as her friends drift a bit more away from her. It's nice to not have to worry about all of that for a few days.

Kol gave her a few spells to practice while she was alone, away from the prying eyes of her dad, his boyfriend... and really anyone. It gives her a moment to just focus on herself, to better herself.

Plus it was just nice to get away from everything going on there, even if only for a moment. It was nice to take a few days to focus on herself. But admittedly, she did miss her friends and her mom. Her father is nice and all, and she loves him, but they aren't super close. Not like when Caroline was younger. They've been splitting apart long before her father came out as gay and left them. It hurts, it does, but Caroline is exceptionally good at burying things deep down into the lower recesses of her mind and pretending that they don't exist.

It hurts at the moment, knowing that she and her father can't seem to find that common ground once more, that closeness that they once had, but she forces herself to play along and try to make the best of it if she can.

Caroline got as good of a night's sleep as she could, got up early Monday morning, and drove over to the Mikaelson house at the absolute crack of dawn. She knew that Rebekah wouldn't even dream of being awake at this time but Caroline couldn't help herself. She grabbed out her phone and quickly called Elijah, knowing that he was crazy enough to be up and about at this time.

He picks up on the second ring. "Hello, Ms. Forbes," he says, sounding pleased.

Caroline feels a smile working its way across her face. "Hey, is Rebekah still asleep?"

There is a moment of silence as he pauses to hear out for her. It takes about two breaths before Elijah says, "Of course. That baby sister of mine could sleep through a bomb exploding by her head."

Caroline giggles, shaking her head. "Can you come open the front door for me? I want to surprise her."

Caroline can hear the smile in Elijah's voice as he says, "Yes, of course."

Less than a minute later the door opens and Caroline didn't realize how much she missed her friends until she was staring at Elijah's face. He smiles, closed-lipped, at the sight of her and Caroline couldn't help herself. She opens her arms to him and he seems happy to reciprocate. She wraps her arms around his neck and squeezes tightly.

'Welcome back," he says, giving her a little squeeze back. They smile at each other as they pull back. "I hope you had an enjoyable visit with your father."

"I did," Caroline says. "I will tell you all about it here in a second. I have to go to Rebekah before she senses something and wakes up. I swear, she's like a bloodhound. She can find me if I happen to walk within a thousand miles of her. So I'd better go now before her Caroline-sensing sixth sense wakes her up from a dead sleep."

Elijah lets out a little laugh, nodding. He makes a little gesture toward the stairway. "We'll talk more in a bit. I'm sure Rebekah is going to be so happy that you're back."

Caroline nods, grinning as she places her purse on one of the side tables and scampers up the stairs as quickly but as quietly as possible. She makes her way over to Rebekah's room, opening it up a bit and peeking inside to see her friend still asleep, laying on her side. Caroline sneaks into the room, walking over to the sleeping blonde, kneeling down by her bedside and grabbing at her hand.

"Wake up, you beautiful bitch. It's a wonderful day out."

For a split second, there was no reaction, then Rebekah's full lips start curving into a smile as she opens her eyes. Joy flickers across her face, she pulls her hand back and opens her arms for Caroline. The younger blonde crawls into bed with her best friend, hugging her tightly. Rebekah scoots back to give Caroline enough room to get on the bed with her.

"Welcome back," Rebekah gushes, now completely awake. "How was it?"

"Very mundane," Caroline admits, tucking one of her arms under her head. "I practiced a lot and got to spend some time with my dad. But overall, it wasn't anything too great. I had fun, though."

Rebekah rubs at her eyes a bit, staring at Caroline curiously. She lets out a long, slow breath. "That doesn't sound very fun, Caroline. Did you guys end up being able to do anything?"

Honestly, no. Not really. But Caroline was too old to go to play at the park or pillow forts. They went to the mall, walking around and talking. They also went to see a movie and ate out at the local places. But that was basically it. It was nice to have some time alone to be able to practice while her dad and Stephan - his live-in boyfriend - were at work. So there were some perks to it too.

Caroline offers a little smile. "Yeah. I had some fun. It was more to give me some time away from Mystic Falls. Decompress and just focus on magic for a few days."

Rebekah purses her lips, looking like she wants to expound on that, decides against it for now. She turns her pretty blue eyes around the room, pushing down whatever she wanted to say, and gazes outside to see the day brightening.

"You came insanely early, you psychopath."

Caroline laughs, sitting up. "I wanted to surprise you."

Rebekah grins. "I was. I'm glad that you're back. Everything has been positively droll without you. I'm not sure if I can handle it if you leave again. Not only was school boring for the total of four hours that I went to it in the past week, but my brother has been insufferable without you there."

Caroline laughs as Rebekah sits up. She wanted to chastise her friend for not going to school, but honestly, she didn't need to go. She was a thousand-year-old Vampire Original. The last place she needed to be was school. It still took Caroline a second to work past the youthfulness of Rebekah's face and just remember that she's a lot older than she looks. And honestly, it's become clear to Caroline that while a part of Rebekah wanted to live a normal life, even if only a little bit, most of it was Caroline. Rebekah and her brothers used this ruse to get close to her.

Honestly, Caroline is glad that Rebekah is still doing it. Even if it's not entirely for her, she's still happy to have her best friend there with her. Things would be a million times harder without her there. Caroline is thankful.

"I'm sure he wasn't so bad. He's been with you for a thousand years," Caroline says, shaking her head.

Rebekah rolls her eyes. "A thousand years is an unbearably long time, love. You have absolutely no idea. My brother has always been a bitter pill to swallow when he's having a good day, which is rare in and of itself but stay far away from him when he's having one of his usual mood swings, especially if he's having a bad day. He becomes so unbelievably unbearable, it's insane."

Caroline shakes her head again. "Why was he having a bad day?"

"Two days again was the night of the full moon."

Caroline jerks, looking over at Rebekah, who was staring down at her comforter, pulling at a loose thread without looking at Caroline. If it were anyone else, Caroline would think that she was saying that to hurt her feelings. To remind her of the sacrifice that she's asking her friend to make for the people that she cares about. How selfish she's being and she conveniently wasn't even aware enough of her selfishness to be with that friend on just another horrible day. Another horrible reminder of the piece of him that is still being denied. This time by her.

Caroline felt shame stab at her chest like a white-hot poker.

"Shit," Caroline whispers, rubbing at her forehead. "I can't believe I completely forgot about that being the night of the full moon." She had been practicing so that she would be able to help Klaus out when the time came, but she didn't even think about how much time had passed from when she learned that they now had the ability to break the curse. She's such an asshole.

"It's alright," Rebekah says, glancing at Caroline. She lets out a little whoosh of breath. "I didn't say that to make you feel bad. I'm just telling you. He's not exactly in the best mood right now, so it's best that he's not here right now. Besides, it's not all on you, Elijah asked him to hold off too. It's not just you." Rebekah turns her full attention to Caroline's dejected face. "Don't be like that. Trust me. He's waited a thousand years. He can wait a few more months." Caroline stares at her, not feeling even slightly better about this.

"Happy to hear," Caroline mumbles, feeling like garbage.

Rebekah presses her lips together tightly, reaching out to squeeze Caroline's hand before pulling away and standing up. "Maybe be a bit gentle with him when you see him again. That's all. He might be an absolute, insufferable bastard at times, but... well, he's still my brother and I know this makes him very unhappy. But that's all I'm going to say." She holds her hands out like she was surrendering, as she backs up toward her bathroom. "I'm going to get ready. I'll see you in a bit."

Caroline nods, groaning as she rubs her face. "I'll go downstairs to talk to Elijah."

Rebekah nods back. "Be careful of Kol, he's up and about too." Rebekah winks at the exasperated roll of Caroline's eyes.

Caroline stands up slowly and heads for the stairs. She follows the sound of Kol and Elijah talking, heading into the kitchen, scooping up her purse from the foyer as she goes to see them both staring at one another, equally unimpressed with the other. It seems like Klaus isn't the only one who's in a bad mood. Caroline looks between them, pursing her lips.

Kol, who was staring into Elijah's identical brown eyes to his own, says, to Caroline without looking at her, "Hello, love. Welcome back. I hope you had fun in your time away from this dreadful place."

Caroline huffs, walking further into the kitchen as both brothers turn to look at them, Elijah brings the cup of coffee that he's drinking up to his lips for a dignified sip. "I did. Thanks for asking. But Kol, I want to show you something."

Kol tilts his head a bit. "Oh? Go on?"

"Well," Caroline says, walking over to the island between both brothers, placing her hands on the countertop, tapping at it with her nails, "I've been practicing while I was away and I got to thinking. You said that Lilah was able to siphon from things around herself. She didn't have to physically be touching that specific object to siphon magic from it, right? That it was a special skill that only she had."

Kol nods slowly. "I do recall saying something to that effect."

"Well, you also said that because I'm her doppelganger, I should be able to do so too. And, well, I can. I figured out how to do it." Caroline grins as a cunning smirk is working its way across Kol's face. "Do you want to see?"

Kol nods. "I would love to."

Caroline digs around in her purse, pulling out her magic orb, and places it in the middle of the island, and lays her hands down flat onto the countertop. She closes her eyes and focuses. It's a bit different from pulling magic directly from an object that she's touching. She has to stretch out her senses as far as she can go, locating magical sources. Then, she has to tap into them. And it's not something easy to do. The further it is, the harder that it is.

It's like an arm in her brain reaching out for an object. But that arm is very weak and very small. At first, Caroline was using this to just sense out magic so that she could go to it and siphon from it. She figured it would be a useful skill if she didn't have access to her orb or a willing Original Vampire. So she figured being able to locate another source of magic as quickly as possible would probably be in her best interest. So while she had nothing to do during the day while her dad and Stephan were at work, she practiced magic.

She started by just reaching out for the magic. Then she began to ponder what Kol had said about Lilah and wondered if it was true that she would be able to do it too. So she started practicing that too. And while it's not impossible, it still isn't easy. She can only siphon from things within about two feet in every direction of her. And the further from her that it is, the harder than it is for her to siphon from.

Caroline closes her eyes, reaching out with her senses to find the orb on the counter in front of her. It's a lot easier seeing as she knew that it was there, but she could sense the Originals around her too. Kol, who was a lot closer to her than Elijah is, comes in relatively clear. Elijah's a lot more fuzzy, hazy in the corner of her mind. She wouldn't know who exactly was there if she didn't already know that it was Elijah. But she can sense Kol. He's close enough that she can recognize Kol because she's siphoned from him before.

It's not easy, but Caroline is trying her best.

She siphons from the orb a bit to show that she can before opening her eyes. Elijah sips at his coffee leisurely from where he's leaning against the sink, while Kol is grinning down at the orb. He drags his eyes over to Caroline, placing his palms together and offering a little bow toward her, a crooked smile gracing his handsome face.

"You are learning well, my young pupil."

"So you learned how to use a bit of Lilah's ability..." Rebekah clarifies as they walk from the parking lot to the school. They walk shoulder to shoulder slowly, occasionally bumping into one another. Caroline rubs her hands together, suddenly anxious to be back. It was nice to get away and focus on herself for a little while, even if it was all for learning more about magic.

It was nice not to have any problems to focus on other than the headache of learning magic.

"A little bit," Caroline admits. She looks over at Rebekah as they enter the school, moving closer to one another to avoid bumping into any of their classmates. "But Kol said that Lilah could use it on a far larger scale. He didn't say how far, but she could easily sense out all the magical hotspots in the area around herself with relative ease. Focusing just enough to find magic in my little radius gives me a headache for like an hour afterward. So there is always that."

Rebekah links her arm through Caroline's, giving her a sweet smile. "Give it time, Darling. I promise it's all going to be okay."

Caroline nods, hoping that it's so. She swore she would stop being weak. She swore that she would help Klaus break his curse however she could. And while getting better at magic, she hasn't really kept up her end of the bargain. So, she definitely feels like garbage again. Turns out she didn't need help to feel like utter trash. She could do that on her own.

"Hey, Care."

Caroline glances up to see Elena standing a few feet in front of her, tucking a loose strand of hair behind her ear.

Caroline casts a look over at Rebekah, who was rolling her eyes in disinterest in the Doppelganger. But Caroline wasn't willing to write off her friend and their years of friendship because of a few months without... well, anything.

"Hey," Caroline says, offering a little smile as they approach the brunette.

Elena smiles back and it's pretty and perfectly Elena. "Hey. Welcome back."

"Thanks," Caroline says, finding it hard to keep her smile on her face. It had to be just her, right? This felt so awkward. It was like trying to make pleasantries with a stranger. This is not how it should have been with Elena. Elena Gilbert was one of her oldest friends. Was her best friend. This can't have been the fate of their relationship. Not after all these years.

Rebekah looks over at Caroline, as if able to read her mind, and Caroline sends her a look. "Hey, I'll catch up with you, okay?"

Rebekah quirks an eyebrow, leveling it with Caroline's eyes, trying to decide if she was serious or not. But Caroline needed this. She needed another chance to tell her friend the truth. Elena and Bonnie. They deserved that much. Rebekah, as if able to read her mind, lets out a little sigh before nodding. "Very well. I will see you later, then." She casts Elena a look before walking away.

Elena turns to watch her go for a moment before looking back over at Caroline, pointing at the other blonde a bit as she vanishes from their immediate vicinity. "She doesn't like me much, does she?"

Caroline purses her lips a bit. "Picked up on that, did you?"

Elena raises her eyebrows a bit. "Did I do something to her?"

Caroline shakes her head, wrapping her arms around her stomach, trying not to feel uncomfortable in front of one of her oldest friends. "No, nothing. Well, nothing directly. Her problem is more with Stefan than you."

Elena's eyebrows pull together in confusion. "Stefan? What happened?"

Caroline shakes her head again. "It's not my place to say. You should ask Rebekah." Hold a second. "Actually, she would probably tear you apart. Never mind. Basically, she knew Stefan a long time ago and they were close but it's been a long time since then and it's..." Caroline hesitates, not sure how much she wanted to reveal in the open hallway of her school. "It's complicated."

Elena stares at her for a few moments, contemplative. She wraps her arms around herself and looks down onto the floor, eyebrows pulling together. It's obviously important to her, but Caroline wasn't going to go into any more detail about it. Honestly, the problem isn't Rebekah - well, maybe a little bit - but Stefan gave her the brush off, and that's super rude. So Caroline doesn't think the problem lies solely at Rebekah's feet. Although it isn't Elena's fault for how Stefan is acting toward Rebekah, Caroline's not sure how to deal with any of that. But maybe she should talk to Rebekah, get her to lighten up on Elena a bit.

"Don't worry about that for now," Caroline says, waving her hand around. "She's just upset by things she can't control. I'll talk to her."

"Thanks, I guess," Elena says softly, shrugging her shoulders a bit before turning her dark eyes toward Caroline again. "I want to talk to you about Damon."

Caroline feels her heart leap into her throat and she has to painfully swallow a few times to get past it. She rubs her hands together trying to keep calm but wants nothing more than to run away from the situation. From Damon. She's been doing pretty good in avoiding him since... since...

Zach Salvatore's death.

Caroline runs her hands through her hair, still not able to completely able to block out his screams in her ears. Echoing in the back of her mind while Damon tore him to shreds. Damon's out and about again, Caroline knows, but she's managed to avoid him. That, or he lost interest in her. Either way, it works out in her favor.

"Wh-why do you want to talk about him?" Caroline asks, feeling her hands getting cold.

"I just wanted to make sure that you're okay. That you've been staying away from him," Elena says, shrugging her shoulders a bit, but looking through long dark lashes at her, watching closely.

Caroline's eyebrows pull together. "I've been staying away. And what about you?"

"I don't like Damon," Elena says, her voice carrying that tone that always widdles away a bit of Caroline's sanity. She probably doesn't super like Damon, but she can't just admit that she really doesn't like someone. Not even for Caroline. To her face. About the guy that spent weeks torturing her. Elena saw proof of all the bite marks that Damon gave her. Even if she didn't fully understand it when she saw it, that couldn't have looked normal.

Irritated, Caroline turns away from Elena a bit, her blue eyes soaring down the hall, hoping to catch a glance at Rebekah, but the other blonde is nowhere in sight. Caroline instantly regrets having asked her to go on ahead. She wouldn't have, had she realized this was what she was about to walk into. It's not fair, it isn't right. Why won't Elena just completely hate on him as Caroline does? Maybe she just doesn't fully understand? Caroline just doesn't know.

"That's not what I asked," Caroline sighs, turning her eyes back to her childhood friend. "And what about Stefan?"

Elena casts a look at Caroline. "What about Stefan?"

"I hope you are staying away from him too," Caroline says, eyebrows pulling together tightly. "Listen, Elena. Those two are bad news. I'll tell you all about - "

"You don't know," Elena says, defensively. "Damon, maybe. But Stefan... he's just trying to be good. And he is." Caroline stares into the eyes of her best friend, trying to decide if she was serious or not. This whole thing is so completely ridiculous that Caroline can't seem to find the words for it. Elena shakes her head a bit, staring back at Caroline. "What?"

"You can't honestly say that there is any real difference between them, can you?" Caroline asks, incredulously.

"Stefan didn't do anything, Care," Elena says stepping closer.

"You're right," Caroline snaps, Stefan's green eyes watching her sadly burning into her mind. "Stefan didn't do anything. Nothing. Absolutely nothing! He just stood by and did nothing while his psychopath of a brother...!"

Elena's face falls neutral, staring at her. "What, Care? What did he do?"

Caroline can feel the pricks of pain as Damon's fangs bit into her all across her body so vividly if she closed her eyes, she could imagine she was back in that room - her own bedroom - being held as a prisoner. Caroline wraps her arms around herself tightly, shivering from the memory. She feels so utterly sick. She shouldn't have to defend anyone. She should be the one being protected. She had no idea what she was going against with Damon, but Stefan did. Damon is his brother and still, he just sat by and did nothing. Nothing and all. And here Elena is trying to - what? Is she defending them? Or Stefan at least? For doing nothing? Really? Right to Caroline's face?

The magic she absorbed from the orb this morning tingles at her fingertips and Caroline would do anything to just be able to through some chairs across a room or to just utterly destroy something. She's so freaking mad! This isn't right. This isn't fair. Elena has been Caroline's friend forever and Caroline feels like she has to beg her friend to give a damn about her. Why is this happening?

Caroline chokes on a sob she didn't know was building up in her tense throat. It catches her off guard and makes her even madder. Why must she be the biggest baby in the world? Why must she always be a hundred percent more extra than the next person? Why must she justify how fucking shitty the situation with Damon and Stefan made her feel? Why does she have to own up to it when they both seem to get a pass? How is any of that fair?

"Care," Elena says, her eyes widening as she steps closer, reaching out for Caroline.

Caroline yanks her hands back, retreating a few steps, hating how she feels like utter garbage at the hurt look on Elena's face. "No, don't touch me. I... I shouldn't have to explain why you should be on my side. You are my best friend, Elena. We-We've been friends forever and you're going to chose some new guy over me? I mean, what the hell?" Caroline is both laughing and sobbing her way through this. She shakes her head in utter disbelief.

"I am on your side," Elena insists, stepping closer but not making any move to touch her, which Caroline is relieved for.

"No, Elena," Caroline says bitterly, ignoring the clenching in her chest, "obviously not. But you don't give a shit about me. You never do," Caroline half sobs, shaking her head. She doesn't care if she's making somewhat of a scene from the passersby in the hall that are actually paying some level of attention to what is going on around them.

"Caroline," Elena says, brown eyes wide. "I do care about you!"

"You have a terrible way of showing it," Caroline mutters, dejectedly. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go be anywhere that isn't here." She maneuvered past her childhood friend, heartbroken, ignoring the brunette calling out for her from behind.

At this moment the only person she wanted was Rebekah.