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I've Most Definitely Got A Problem.

So, this is AU.  Caroline was turned by Klaus to be his eternal companion, yada yada yada.  All will soon become clear.

-.-.-.-.-
The Hybrid stared down at the woman lying in the cradle of his comforter, looking thoroughly exhausted. Her breathing was finally back to normal, her skin healed from numerous bite marks and burns.  When he'd found her, she'd been half dead, unconscious in the chair that his enemies had chained her to.  Her wrists and ankles were bloody from where she'd fought the holds of her cuffs, though it had changed nothing.  Still she had been forced to endure the pain of the sun, the delirium of multiple wolf bites.

And it was his fault.  When he'd turned her only half a century before, he'd wanted nothing more than a companion and she had fit the bill.  As a human, she'd been lost, easily swayed.  It had taken him little time to coerce her into bed, even less to gain her trust.  Soon, he'd showed her what he truly was--a monster that monsters feared.

She had accepted him, accepted the curse upon herself.  When he'd turned her, he hadn't expected that his heart would swell with love for such a tiny female.

Still, there he was, gently stroking her face as she slept, wishing that he had truly protected her.  If only he had seen through the tricks.

He could have saved her from the pain.

Kneeling beside her, he raised one of her hands to his lips, his own hand stroking her hair.  "Wake up, love," he breathed against her fingertips.  "Show me those beautiful blue eyes once again."  Just once more; that's all I need.  One last time.

"Niklaus?" she said quietly as her eyes fluttered open.  They bore into his, full of love yet darkened with the pain of memories.  Memories of things that never should have happened.  "Am I home?"

What a strange word.  Home.  Of course, this was where they laid their heads, where they lived with no one but a stray Original for company.  Had this house been a home before her?  Before she had blessed him with her light, had he truly felt something more for this place?  Could it ever be home again once he did what he must?

He nodded, tears choking him.  "You're home, love," he answered, voice shaky.  "You're safe."  I will keep you that way, even if I must keep myself from you.  "They can't touch you anymore."

When she flinched, he couldn't stop the rage that built within him.  He knew of all the ways those men had hurt her, knew how they'd forced themselves on her.  He'd heard them joking--as if her life were nothing more than a joke--about how she'd cried out for him to save her.  She'd called his name, begging for him to save her from the pain.  And he hadn't been there.  He had taken their bait and left her to fend for herself.  God, how he hated himself for it.

"Niklaus."  Why did she always insist on calling him by that name?  It reminded him of the humanity he'd left behind until he'd found her.  The humanity that would tear him apart when she was gone.  "Please don't do this."

It was as if she had read his mind, as if she knew what he planned.  Of course she did.  She knew him better than he knew himself, would know every move he'd make before he thought to make them.  Because she was his Caroline.  And he desperately wished he could still be her Niklaus.

But how could he face her with the knowledge that he was the reason she held so much pain?

Shaking his head, he dropped her hand from his lips, caressing her cheek tenderly.  "I'm so sorry, love.  But this is the only way to protect you."  From what they've done, from what they might do.  He had to let her go; it was the only way to protect.  Locking his eyes with hers, he said, "Open your eyes again, sweetheart."

"Never.  I won't leave you."

"But you must," he breathed.  Climbing into the bed behind her, he curled his body protectively around hers, stroking her hair as her teardrops fell on his arm.  They felt like liquid fire, burning him alive.  "I'll always be watching over you," he whispered into her hair.  "But you deserve a life I can't give you.  You deserve a male that will be able to dote on you, treat you as the queen you are."  As I have failed to do.  "Somewhere, there is someone that will give you the world; I'm just releasing you to find him."

He slowly turned her towards him, a sad smile on his face.  His thumb brushed away tears as he murmured, "You'll never want for anything.  I will make sure you are safe and sound.  But if you are with me, you aren't safe.  I have to keep my distance if you are to live."  When her sad eyes blinked up at him, he said, "Caroline Forbes, you will not remember me or what happened to you last night.  You will only remember that you are a vampire, have been for fifty years.  Sleep here for now, but once you awaken leave.  Go see the world as I promised you I would show you.  Never remember me or our time together."

Glazed eyes blinked once, twice, before her head nodded and she slept.

Rising from the bed with tears in his eyes, Klaus moved to the doorway, turning for one last look at her lying in his bed.  God, how he loved her.  How he could live without her, he would have to learn.

Using his inhuman speed, he left the house for the darkness that awaited outside, disappearing from Caroline's life forever.

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joseph morgan, klaus mikaelson
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