Author's Note: Alright, my loves! I'm sorry for the super long wait! I have been super busy with everything going on. Thank you all for the support that you've offered so far! Thank you all for reaching out and letting me know how you're enjoying the story. I do hope that you continue to do so! I hope everyone is safe and healthy out there. Be safe! Enjoy!
There is freedom waiting for you,
on the breezes in the sky,
And you ask "What if I fall?"
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?
Caroline rests her cheek against Klaus's, relishing in his warmth. She feels her eyes drooping closed again as she starts to fall asleep, despite the feeling of sandpaper rubbing against her throat after every swallow. Just breathing in Klaus's amazing scent is enough to turn her into actually jelly in his arms. Klaus doesn't seem to mind, hugging her close as well, kissing her ear and her hair lovingly.
Klaus wraps his arms around her after a few long, wonderful moments, lifting her up and away from the shattered glass in and around her feet. He walks her over to the dining room table and lowers her down into one of the chairs. She leans against the table, laying her head down on her arms as he takes the offered tweezers from Rebekah and starts pulling glass from her feet and legs. Caroline couldn't feel it. Honestly, she wasn't feeling a lot of anything.
She stared down at Klaus as he works on her feet. She stares at the top of his head, blinking slowly. A glass of water lowers down in front of her nose. Caroline blinks into reality a bit. She leans back a bit and looks over at Elijah who placed the glace in front of her. She rubs at her face to wake her up a bit more before offering a little, drowsy smile at the oldest Mikaelson sibling.
"Thanks, Elijah..." She says slowly. "How did you know this was what I wanted..?"
Elijah smiles back at her softly. "It was a lucky guess, I think."
"You were getting yourself a glass of water, weren't you?" Rebekah asks as she cleans up the mess that Caroline made. She offers the drowsy blonde a half-smile, but they didn't look right. They looked almost red, like she was crying or about to start crying. Caroline smiles back, blankly, not able to fully process if such a thing was even possible as she grabs onto the offered glass of water and takes a few big gulps. She rests her head back down on her arms and looks down at Klaus.
She didn't realize that she was smiling loosely until Klaus glances up at her with a sweet little smile of his own. "What, darling? What are you staring at?"
"Nothing..." Caroline says softly. "I was just thinking about the great dream I just had. Do you want to hear about it?"
Klaus rubs some of the blood off of her feet. His cheekbones pop out with his pursed-lipped smile as he stares up at her through long, thick lashes. "I would love to hear about it."
"I dreamed that we went running." She reaches out and lightly runs her fingers across his cheek, weakly. Her tired smiles brighten when his does.
"Did you now?" Klaus asks softly.
Caroline nods, running her fingers across his cheek. "We are like birds with wings that were meant to fly. We are wolves, Klaus, running is in our nature. We... we should do it. I want to do it." She slow blinks tiredly, running a thumb under his eye. "I know it's dangerous because I don't have any control as a wolf, but you do. You can... keep me out of trouble. I just... I want us to go. Just once..."
Klaus frees up one of his hands to grab hold of the one on his face, turning to kiss her palm lovingly, his eyes sparkling up at her. "Then we shall go running on the next full moon, how about that?"
Caroline grins, reaching forward with her other hand to cup his face, feeling so much better for a moment than she has since coming back into herself not too long ago. "I want to go, Klaus. Do you mean it?"
Klaus nods, eyes shining still. "Of course, love. I'll give you everything you have ever wanted."
Caroline managed to get a bit of food into her stomach, as well as some blood from Klaus to heal her feet now that there isn't any more glass there, before going back to bed. She's not sure how it happened, but she vaguely remembers Rebekah coming with her to bed and curling up in her arms. Caroline remembers something about Rebekah calling her 'a selfish bitch' for trying to leave them, but Caroline felt so much better just hugging her friend close to her while she slips back into a peaceful slumber.
When she woke up a few hours later to Rebekah having made her grilled cheese, insisting that she eats something. Caroline felt sluggish and weak but was starving and practically wolfed it down without breathing. She didn't feel great afterward, but she definitely feels better than she was before. Then Klaus came into her room and sat down on her bed.
He laid down next to her and pulled her into his arms, hugging her tightly. He seem to struggle with something. Something he wanted to say, or maybe he didn't want to say butfelt like he had to. He warred with himself for a long time, sighing over and over again as he struggled against himself. Caroline didn't interrupt him, not wanting to force him one way or another. So she sat in silence, snuggled up to his side, listening to him sigh as they both stare around the room in an otherwise comfortable silence.
Caroline's eyes drooped closed, falling asleep nestled in his safety and his warmth. She almost completely dropped off into the darkness of slumber as he began to talk, forcing her to open her eyes once more. He told her about the night of the full moon. He told her about how Mikael had shown up to kill him and his siblings. How it was all Elena and her friends that brought him here. He told her about how much time has passed since the night of the full moon - almost a full week. He told her about all of it. About her trying to save him, Mikael killing her, Athena calling and revealing that the Blue Spirit needed to die on the night of the full moon to be set free.
As she listened, her head resting on Klaus's chest as he quietly walked her through the night she doesn't remember, Caroline felt this feeling swelling up in her chest that she's never felt before. At least, not as it is. Swelling up strongly like an ember turning into a roaring inferno. Alongside the sadness and the pain, there is this unspeakable, unbreakable rage that has her shaking against his chest. Tears of pain and rage stream down her face and disappear into the thick, soft fabric of his light blue henley.
Caroline scrunched up Klaus's shirt in an angry fist as he tells her about the Blue Spirit coming back and killing Mikael and finally being freed. He walked her through how she marked him and his siblings.
"What does that mean?" Caroline asks through gritted teeth. She's trying to calm herself down but she is so blinded by rage. They did this. How could her friends have done this? She knows that they haven't been together again for a long time, so she knows she isn't owed any loyalty, and Klaus has made more enemies than friends here - if he's been anywhere close to making a friend - so he warrants a bit of harsh treatment but this... this is too much. She is so unbelievably mad that she can hardly think straight.
"I'm not entirely sure," Klaus admits, running a hand through her long blond hair, his other hand grips at her hip. "I think it's a pack mentality. The Cresent Clan's main bloodline had crescent moon birthmarks to symbolize their nobility. I think it might be something like that. To prove that we are all the same pack now."
Caroline presses her lips together tightly. There was something comforting about that. Something about there being a tangible connection between them all. Something like a physical mark on their bodies that connect them to her. They were all linked.
Klaus shows his left wrist to her. Caroline forces herself to let go of his bundled shirt to grab hold of his wrist to look at it better. She sees a discoloration around the scar that looks like wings. It's sharp and clear, obviously unnatural. She runs her thumb over it to feel that it is slightly elevated from the rest of the skin and it's discolored compared to the rest of his skin.
"When did this happen?"
"While we were wolves," Klaus says softly, pressing a kiss into her hair. "I didn't notice it under the fur until I returned to my human form."
Caroline brings his hand back to her waist and curls under his chin, feeling the anger from before start to well up inside of her once more. The thought of these people, her family, being taken away from her by people she thought was her friends. She snuggles closer to Klaus and hugs his close feeling the angry tears starting to build up once more but she has to blink multiple times to get them out of her eyes.
"I'm sorry, Klaus. I'm so sorry," she whispers, sniffling loudly.
Klaus hugs her close, running his fingers through her hair very soothingly. "You aren't to blame, love. This wasn't done by you, it was done for you. They... didn't know what would happen if you had awakened the Blue Spirit."
"Neither did you," Caroline says softly, "but you still tried to save me in the only way you knew how."
She could tell that Klaus was trying to give her friends the benefit of the doubt for her sake. She could hear the anger brimming in his voice and the tensing of his jawline against her forehead at his own words. He was angry. He was very angry, but he was trying to keep it under control. For her. And she appreciated him trying despite all of it. But she's so mad. She's so unbelievably mad that she can't even focus on how warm and fuzzy it feels to be linked with the man she loves and his siblings, which are basically her family at this point.
And that makes her madder than even that. They tried to steal all of their lives in one fell swoop and now they are stealing what tiny little bits of happiness that she can. She can't believe it.
"The Blue Spirit got to have the first run with you and not me?" Caroline grumbles, snuggling closer still.
Klaus lets out a huff of a laugh, hugging her tighter. "I'm sorry." He kisses her forehead before saying, "The Blue Spirit told me that we were mates. I think that's part of the reason we are so obsessed with one another."
Caroline snorts. "You're the one trolling for young girls in bars, weirdo," she jokes, feeling the snakes of anger in her chest burst into butterflies. She's never heard of anything like that. "Wh... what's a mate?"
"I'd been looking through tomes and sifting through what I've got on werewolf lore, but I haven't really found anything on it yet, but while I'll keep looking..." Klaus trails off slowly, "I don't think it's a bad thing."
Caroline hikes her leg across Klaus's, trying to get as close to him as possible, finally smiling since they started this discussion. "I don't either. But... I want to think it means like a soul mate. Like we were meant to be together. I would like to think that, at least."
"That you and I are soul mates? Meant to be together forever? Yes, I very much like the sound of that," Klaus rumbles in her ear. She can hear the smile in his voice, which makes her smile more. She's not sure how he does it, but he always seems to know how to make her feel better. In just about everything. She's not sure how he does it but always seems to be able to just make her happy.
"You're okay with the idea of spending the rest of your immortal life with me?" Caroline jests, looking up at his face.
Klaus grins down at her, blue eyes sparkling. "I can't imagine it any other way."
Caroline feels someone squeeze her waist, pulling her from her sleep. She looks up at Klaus, who was staring down at her through hooded eyes.
"Hm..?" Caroline hums groggily, squinting at him in the waning light filtering in from outside.
"Your mother is here," Klaus says, rubbing her back. "Do you want to see her?"
Caroline groans as she stretches out all her limbs as far as they can go. She holds herself stretched out as far as they'll go. It feels good as her muscles stretch and her bones crack and pop. It's hard for her to focus on how good her body feels to uncoil from her near fetal position for the last couple of hours with Klaus chasing her as she rolls away to wrap himself around her. Caroline laughs lightly as he kisses her hair, cheek, neck, and the back of her shoulder. Caroline looks over her shoulder at him and accepts the kiss he places on her lips.
"I want to see my mom," Caroline mumbles.
"Then go see her," Klaus laughs, kissing her cheek.
"I don't want to get out of bed, though," Caroline sighs, not wanting to leave, but also knowing that she has to go see her mom. Liz has no idea how close she was to losing her daughter, and Caroline swore that she was going to let go of her anger. She has to go see her mother. As much as she would love to stay in bed without ever having to leave, she knows that she has to. At least it's Liz and not... not anyone else. If it's Elena or Bonnie or Stefan... well, Caroline would probably go complete wolf and tear them apart. She can't see any of them right now.
But Liz... she'll get out of bed to see her mom.
She kisses the back of his hand before fully extracting herself fully from Klaus, stretching a bit again before standing up. She feels tired and weak, but she can't lie in bed all day, every day. She goes into her attached bathroom to brush her hair and teeth, apply some deodorant, and try to make herself somewhat presentable before heading toward the door. She pauses, casting a look over at this sultry hybrid who offered her a quirky half-smile as he lazes in her bed, watching her go. He waggles his fingers at her as she shakes her head and exits the room.
Caroline makes her way downstairs to hear Rebekah talking to her mother.
"How is she?"
"Good," Rebekah says softly, leading Liz into one of the sitting rooms. "You know that the nights of the full moon take a lot out of her. My brother has been looking after her."
Caroline stops, peaking down through the rails into the sitting room to see her mom, in full uniform, sitting down on one of the couches, across from Rebekah. It feels like forever since she's seen her mother when it has only been a few days. Caroline hasn't been able to offer her mother a lot of thought over the years without being angry about it. Without being enraged by the cards in life that she was dealt, in her own way, that is. But while she thought that she was dying, she was finally able to let go of a lot of that anger that has been building up inside of herself.
Not all of it is gone, she knows, that's going to take some time - a lot of time, maybe - but enough that she's willing to keep going. She's willing to see if there is something more that can come of her relationship with her mother.
"I know your perception is skewed because he's your brother, but she's my daughter and your her friend," Liz says slowly, lacing her fingers together on her lap. Liz stares at Rebekah who nods for her to continue. "Is he looking after her? Caroline, I mean? I know she's been out on her own for so long and I'm not in the best position to question her life choices, but she's... okay, right? He's not a bad guy, is he?"
Rebekah stares at Liz for a long moment, trying to decide on what she's going to say, warring with herself on how she wanted to respond. Rebekah looks at Liz for a long moment before resting her elbows on her knees and leaning forward. "My brother is a bad guy, Sheriff Forbes. He has done a lot of bad things but he absolutely adores your daughter."
Liz sighs looking down at her regulation black shoes, letting out a sigh. "I don't know if that makes me feel better or not."
Rebekah smiles softly. "Caroline is beloved in this household. Trust me," Rebekah says, amused, "our family isn't unanimously in favor of just anyone. Your daughter is very special."
Liz smiles back at her softly. "I've known since the moment she was born. I just..." she blinks slowly, eyes dropping to the hardwood floor, rolling her thumbs around one another. "I just want her to be happy. Out of everything in the world that I want, what I want most, is for her to be happy. It's all I have ever really wanted. It's hard to get her to open up about anything, really, and that's mostly my fault, but whenever I can get her to talk about him. Klaus, I mean, she seems to be... happy." Liz smiles a bit more gently.
"He makes me happy," Caroline says, finally exiting the stairs and walking into the sitting room. "They all do. Elijah is great, like a big brother. Rebekah is my best friend," Caroline catches the smile the other blonde sends her way and sends one back before turning her blue eyes toward her mother, "And Klaus... well, he's the best. He's been nothing but kind and wonderful to me. They all have. I'm very fortunate."
Liz looks over at her with worry shining in her eyes but she tries to hide it behind a gentle smile. "I'm happy to hear that." She turns to face Caroline as the youngest in the room walks over to sit next to her. "How are you feeling, sweetie?"
"I'm good. I'm just tired," Caroline admits, rubbing at her shoulder. "The full moon has always been tough on me, but this one was tougher than most."
"Why's that?" Liz asks, tilting her head a bit while looking at her daughter.
Caroline offers a little smile, leaning back into the couch, tired. She folds herself onto the couch, still tired. A small part of her wanted to tell Liz about it. She wanted to tell her mom all about herself. It would be a silly way to connect to her mother, but a part of her really wanted her to. But she also hadn't fully digested all of this information herself, she wasn't ready to explain it to someone else who probably wouldn't understand either. But it has to mean something that Caroline wants to talk about it. Maybe she's forgiving Liz more than she thought. Which is a good thing.
"It's okay," Caroline says easily, offering her mother a little smile, feeling slightly better about their own relationship. "I'll be fine. We can talk more about it later. What are you doing here, anyway?"
"You haven't been feeling well," Liz says easily, covering up her disappointment at being brushed off easily enough. "These last few days, I mean. I'm not a werewolf but my immune system is pretty good. I have been worried about you. Do you really think that it was just a stomach bug?"
Caroline nods. "Yeah, I think I'm all good now. I'm just tired. Another day or so and I should be back to normal." As normal as she can be sharing her body with an ancient spirit. Honestly, she doesn't feel any different. She still just feels like herself. Which she's happy about, but she's not sure why she doesn't feel different. She should because everything is different now. Maybe not in leaps and bounds, but at least enough that it should be noticed. Right?
Liz offers a thin smile, not really comforted by her words but figures that they aren't close enough to push on it. Even though she really wants to. Caroline is thankful for Liz trying to understand, offering the space needed to keep their relationship on the right track. They can get to the point of being mother and daughter again, but that's going to take time.
"How are you doing?" Liz asks, looking at Caroline through long lashes. "I know you're tired... but are you okay?"
Caroline nods, reaching forward to take Liz's hand and give it a bit of a squeeze, which seems to make Liz happy and it helps Caroline feel a little bit better. "I'm good. Rebekah, Klaus, and Elijah take great care of me. They always do."
Rebekah smiles from the other couch, casting a look over at Elijah who gives her a tiny smile back. Caroline felt better having them all there with her.
As tired as she was, Caroline wasn't ready to let her mother go home just yet, especially since she stopped in just to see if Caroline was doing alright. Especially considering how close Caroline was to never seeing her mother again. They could do for a bit more bonding time. Maybe then, Caroline will be comfortable enough to start talking to her mom more. But they'll have to see until then.
"Are you going back to work after this?" Caroline asks, giving her mom's hand another squeeze.
Liz shakes her head. "No, sweetie. I'm just heading home for the evening. Why?"
"I'm not much of a cook, but do you want to stay for dinner? I can't imagine that you've eaten recently with the way your stomach is growling," Caroline says playfully, grinning when Liz blushes a bit at being caught.
"You don't have to go out of your way, Caroline, I'll just go home and eat," Liz says, but wraps her hand around Caroline's tightly, not ready to part ways just yet.
"Stay and eat with me," Caroline says. "It's nice of Elijah and Rebekah and Klaus to eat a little bit to make it feel normal, but I know that it doesn't do anything for them. It would be nice to have a meal with someone who actually needs to eat, so really, you would be doing me a favor."
Liz smiles softly, blue eyes sparkling. "I would love to stay for dinner." She looks down at their hands, a soft expression on her face, obviously happy about all of this, which makes Caroline happy too. This could be good for them. Then something occurs to her, and she looks up at them, looking at Caroline with thin dark eyebrows pulled together tightly in confusion. "Wait, what do you mean food doesn't do anything for them?"
"Oh..." Caroline looks over at Rebekah who was giving her the classic, you-messed-up-baby-werewolf look, "um... about that..."
Liz stares at the three Originals sitting across from her at the table. Her food is sitting in front of her untouched as she stares back at them. Caroline made them dinner while Rebekah - who Liz met more than a handful of times through Caroline - basically told her the story of their lives. At least the beginning of it, and how they are the first Vampires. The Originals.
Liz sat there quietly, listening to her as she talked, trying to absorb all that information. Caroline, even having already heard all three versions from all three siblings, still listened with rapt attention. There was always just a little bit more to the story each time they tell it again. Something that hadn't occurred to them or they didn't think was important enough to add the last time that fills in more of the story of their lives. The time that they lived in, so long ago, that honestly, Caroline can't even imagine it.
They lived in small villages, survived off the lands, hunted for food, and harvested crops. Their father was an actual Viking who pillaged villages and fought in battles. There weren't really nationalities or governments. They were just people that did it all. They relied on others and themselves for anything and everything. It was such an interesting time to be alive - for people with survival skills.
Not Caroline, though. She wouldn't be able to survive. Sure, she lived on the streets, but she didn't have to hunt for her own food or anything like that. She would literally die out there.
But that's not to say that she isn't interested in hearing more about it.
It's Klaus's life. It's Rebekah and Elijah's lives. And Caroline loves them, so she loves hearing about their lives.
Klaus rests his arm over the back of Caroline's chair as all four of them stare at Liz as she tries to process everything that she's learned. Caroline is honestly proud of how well Liz is taking this. Caroline can tell that a part of Liz wants to get up and run away as far and as fast as she can - preferably with Caroline in tow, no doubt. And there is a very real possibility that she's simply paralyzed in shock, but Caroline wants to believe that she's simply fighting the instinct.
Liz turns blue eyes toward Caroline when Rebekah finally finished their story.
"Are you... okay, sweetie? In a house full of vampires, as a werewolf?" Liz asks carefully. She looks over at the three siblings, offering a half-apologetic look. "No offense, of course."
"None was taken," Rebekah says, while Klaus and Elijah just share a look with one another.
Caroline sucks in a breath, knowing that this was something was probably going to have to say once they started talking about it. Thankfully, Caroline has been thinking about it since Rebekah started telling her story. She knew that she would have to say something to her mom.
"Mom," Caroline says, staring at her mom from across the table, "do you remember when I brought Rebekah over the first time? Do you remember us all sitting in the kitchen talking for hours? Do you remember me talking about her and Klaus and Elijah while the guys were gone doing whatever it was they left town for? We had fun, didn't we?"
Liz blinks, confused. "Yes?"
"And earlier, you came to see me, but you spoke with Rebekah first because you were worried about me and you trusted that she would care enough about me to confirm one way or another if her brother was a good guy or not, right?"
Liz casts a slow look at Klaus, considering, before turning her eyes back to Caroline. "Yes."
"She's the same person, mom," Caroline says gently. "She's been an Original Vampire for a thousand years. She was one when you first met. She was one when she came over to talk with you. She was one when she opened the door this evening. None of that changed. The only thing that did, was now you know."
Liz stares at Caroline for a long moment, looking conflicted still, despite Caroline's words.
"They are over a thousand years old," Caroline says, staring back into Liz's eyes. "They aren't the bastions of perfect people and life choices, but those are cultivated from their own choices. If you have to dislike them - hell if you have to hate them - hate them for those things. The things that they controlled. But don't hate them for being vampires, mom. They had no greater control becoming vampires than I do being a werewolf."
Liz raises her eyebrows slightly in consideration. She sucks in a slow, deep breath, lowering her eyes to the cooling food in front of them. Caroline had managed to finish it right before the end of the story, but no doubt it's going to be cold by the time this is all said and done. Not that it really mattered. It wasn't going to be winning any sort of awards or anything.
"They are my family, mom," Caroline says softly. "Despite being dark and twisty, Rebekah's words, not mine, they are my family. Elijah is the big brother I always wanted. Rebekah is my best friend. And Klaus..." Caroline trails off, not sure if there was really any words that could completely describe their relationship to a 'T'. At least a word she was brave enough to use yet. "Klaus is special. They mean the world to me, and I trust them with my life. So, to answer your question, yes. I am okay. I am okay in a house full of vampires because they aren't just vampires to me. They are my family and I love them. I know it'll take time, but I want you to love them too."
Liz sucks in another breath, lacing her fingers together on the table as she works her way through everything that has been said. She looks over to the large french double doors leading outside to the backyard with faraway eyes. She blinks a few times slowly before looking back over at Caroline and nodding slowly. "Okay."
Caroline's eyebrow raises toward her hairline. "Okay?"
Liz nods. "Okay. I don't have to like it, but I accept that things don't work out exactly how I want them to. I am not exactly the bastion of good decision making either. I accept that they are your family. I accept that if I want you, I have to accept everything that comes with it. I will find a way to understand." She nods, more to herself than to Caroline. "I love you and you love them. If that's how it is, that's how it is."
Caroline feels a smile working across her face, she reaches next to herself to grab on to Klaus's hand, hardly able to contain the excitement that zips through her at the idea of everything finally starting to work out. Rebekah and Elijah both look at each other. Elijah's expression is soft while Rebekah smiles sweetly, looking like she's about one more sappy thing away from crying. Just another thing that Caroline loves about her. "That's how it is."
Liz smiles back, thinly, but hopeful. "Give me some time to digest it, but I accept it."