"Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere" Albert Einstein

Chapter 2 – Back to Reality

A/N – One thing I wanted to clear up before we got started because I had to actually sit down and think about what actual month this story takes place in so I can get whatever holidays straight that needed to be included. So this story in taking place in January of 2011. I’ll give a more detailed outline at the end of the chapter, until then here we go.

 

Chapter 2

Caroline stood in front of her full length mirror and tried to straighten the ribbon wrapped around her ponytail. She was in charge of the bake sale table today and while she couldn’t wear her full uniform until Friday she still had to show school spirit. She and Bonnie had the lunch shift and she supposed she should invite Rebekah along as well to kind of show her the ropes for the days she would be paired off with another member of the squad. And to explain the rules about using compulsion on her girls, she wouldn’t let anyone do that unless it was a real live emergency that they forget something they saw.

Finally satisfied that she looked perky and presentable enough she hurriedly made her way downstairs to dive into her first morning in her new home. She was already running behind and she still had to gather up all the supplies she’d need at the booth today. Why did this always happen the first day back, it always did no matter how much extra time she gave herself. She could have started getting everything ready yesterday, which she kind of did, and it still wouldn’t have been enough time.

Seeing Rebekah near the foot of the stairs as she jogged down she called forth her best cheer smile and began talking right away. The best way she knew how to survive the many ups and downs in her life was to continue on like nothing had changed at all. Cheerleading was the same today as it was before break, and she was still the damn captain. She had responsibilities, even to Rebekah.

“Bonnie and I will be working the bake sale table in the courtyard in front of the cafeteria today during lunch, I want you to join us so you can see everything that goes into it for when you’re paired off with other people later in the week. The pairings rotate so everyone has to work with everyone else, it helps the girls keep in touch, gives them time to work out any fights or problems they might be having before games or events, and helps the new ones to meet everyone without being overwhelmed by the whole squad coming at them all at once. We’re in the last week of the sale, but since they’re only twenty girls total on the varsity squad and a minimum of three at the table at all times you’ll still be able to meet and work with everyone.” Handing over a spare ribbon she turned back towards her tower of boxes, she knew she would have to make two trips to her car to get them all in, vampire agility only took a girl so far.

“You can wear the ribbon any way you want. Most girls put it in their hair some way, but others sometimes pin it on their clothes or even tie it around their wrists. You only have to wear it while you’re at the sale, but most girls wear it all day so they don’t lose it. We only have to worry about the sale today but you should probably start thinking about what you’re going to do for your spirit boxes on Friday, since you’ve never had to do one before I’ll give you a list of some of the items that are normally in them, feel free to deviate and put your own spin on them the list is just to give you a starting place.”

With everything finally in the car she drove off trying to get there in time to set everything up before the first bell rang. As captain it was her responsibility to make sure everything was ready for the first team of girls after homeroom.

 

Rebekah found herself just blinking at the open door, trying to remember everything the girl had said, she’d been talking a mile a minute and some of her words seemed to run together in her haste to get everything said. Turning back towards her brothers, whom Caroline hadn’t even acknowledged during her entire speech, she found them looking just as dumbfounded as she felt. At least she wasn’t the only one.

“What the hell was that?” As usual with Caroline it was Nik who had an answer for them.

“That was Caroline Forbes on a mission.” If that was Caroline focused on cheerleading she understood now why she had always been able to pull off her part of whatever scheme the Salvatore brothers cooked up. A fixated Caroline was a scary sight to behold. She found she liked the girl even more now.

“Well then I suppose I should get to school, I wouldn’t want to be late for my turn at the bake sale.” As she swept out the door she heard Kol muttering behind her.

“Damn right, Caroline might stake her if she was.”

 

Stefan stood out front of the school and waited for Caroline, he knew she would be there early to set up for that cheerleading thing they had going today so he made sure to come just as early to help her with whatever million and one things he knew she was going to be doing before the bell rang.

He also knew there was a very good chance that she would need someone to vent to about her new housemates before she had to take on the jungle that was high school. As he watched her pull up he grabbed the coffee he brought her and wandered over to help carry the boxes he saw piled in her back seat.

“Urrgghhh, Stefan thank god you’re here, please tell me you have time to help and there isn’t a new crisis de jour going down. You know what never mind, it doesn’t matter if there is a new anything going down you are here by drafted into the box carrying army for at least the next ten minutes regardless. Is that coffee?” Smiling as she paused for breath he decided it was a very good thing that he’d come to help her, he didn’t want to think about what she would have done otherwise. Probably drafted others at random as they walked by.

“Good morning Caroline. There is nothing going on, I am here to help in any way you need me to, and before you ask yes this coffee is for you. Now where do you need help carrying these boxes to?” Judging by the number of them this would take a good half dozen trips, it could have all been done in one if they hadn’t needed to down play their strength in front of everyone, but he didn’t mind. This gave him the perfect opportunity to hear about his friends new living arrangements.

“How are things at the mansion? Has your head swelled yet? Can you feel it happening now?” Smiling he lightly pushed his shoulder against hers as they made their first trip towards the courtyard that would house their sale table.

“Ha ha ha, says the guy who drives a 1963 Porsche in what has to be the shiniest shade of red I’ve ever seen and lives in a boarding house. By the way didn’t you grow up in that great big old house?” Shaking his head for a minute he tried to keep a straight face, she was right of course he had grown up in privilege and he was happy that now she would be able to experience some of that herself.

“True but now you’re moving up in the world surrounded by all that marble and decadence, how will you keep your feet on the ground and your head out of the clouds?” Despite his best efforts the smile he’d been fighting broke free before he could get the sentence out entirely.

“Very funny Stefan. Actually the mansion isn’t as opulent as I thought it was going to be. I went in expecting I don’t know diamond encrusted everything and solid gold chairs, what I found was very different. Every room is decorated based on function and taste, sure most of the materials they used probably cost more than my car but I think that was done more for quality over aesthetics. Though I did notice that most of the rooms lack any kind of personal touches, they’re kind of cold almost like museum exhibit instead of someone’s home. I swear if they all just walked out tomorrow and never came back if it wasn’t for the clothes in the closets I don’t think anyone would be able to tell that people actually lived there.” That sounded about right to him, the Mikaelsons didn’t strike him as the make this house a home types. Still if she was going to be able to live there with them comfortably, he supposed she would have to remember to look at the things they did and the reasons behind those things with more than just her own minimal life experiences.

“That sounds like them, but you have to remember Caroline that they spent a long time running from their father, I doubt making a place look like they lived in it was a good idea for most of their lives.” He could tell from the way her eyes seemed to darken in thought that he’d brought up an angle she hadn’t thought of yet. He knew she would have after she shook off the culture shock that moving in had given her, he just helped her get there sooner.

As he walked away towards his first class he vaguely wondered about Damon and how he was doing. He knew he could ask Caroline if she’d seen him, but asking her about Damon didn’t seem like the kind of thing a good friend would do. Not with their history. Just like that the thought was gone, like it had never existed.

He wondered if Caroline would need his help packing everything back up at the end of the day. He would have to remember to ask her when he saw her again in class.

 

Alaric waited in his first class of the day for Caroline to show up, he knew she would be early as always, and there were things he wanted to talk to her about before the day began. The two of them had been texting on and off since the move so he knew she was holding up as best as she could with that, not to mention she had Stefan and Bonnie to help her shoulder that burden, so he decided to help her get her academic career in order.

While she had been doing remarkably well considering the upheaval of the past year she couldn’t afford to falter now if she wanted to get into a good college without the use of compulsion. Not that compulsion isn’t an option, but he knew that with her intellect she could do it all on her own without having to rely on her more other worldly talents. All she would need would be a bit of a guiding hand, one he was more than willing to provide.

“Hey Ric, you wanted to talk?” Looking at the clock he saw they had just enough time for him to introduce the idea before class started. Then he would give her the rest of the week to go over it herself at her own pace before broaching the subject again. He knew she would need to look at it from all angles before she made a decision. With her vampirism and her mothers shorter lifespan he also knew that there was every chance that she would opt out of going to college straight away, but he wanted her to have all the options available to her laid out in front of her before she made her decision.

“Yeah, I wanted to talk to you about your next step, academically. If you wanted you and I could go over your options for college after school next week.” Seeing her enthusiasm dim at the daunting choice ahead of her he hurried to assure as best he could. “You have many options available and I just wanted to go over them with you to make sure you’re considering everything before you make your choice.”

“Thanks Ric, that would be great.” Wonderful, now that was straightened out class could begin.

 

Jeremy hurried down the halls towards the cafeteria, lunch would be starting soon and he needed to find Caroline and talk to her. He hated this, being forced to say things he didn’t mean, to feel things he didn’t want to feel. Not for the first time he wondered how long this punishment was going to last for. They couldn’t seriously leave these compulsions in place for the rest of their lives could they?

No.

This had to end, it would end, just as soon as the year was up and Caroline was feed from the Originals hold she would start putting everything back to the way it was before. She just had to. First she would liberate Elena, and Damon if he was still around and getting him out was actually an option, then she would get Klaus to lift the mind control from everyone else. He would do it, for her, he would do it.

Even knowing this wouldn’t last forever his mind still froze when Caroline drifted into his line of sight. She was standing with Bonnie at their little table shuffling everything around before the first wave of teens hit like a tidal wave.

“Caroline!” Seeing her jerk around to face him left him with conflicting emotions. Part of him was glad that he’d managed to spook her, like scaring her even for a moment had evened the playing field they stood on if only for just that instant. The other louder part of him urged him to apologize for causing her even a second of discomfort. He hated this compulsion, it would overlap onto his own emotions and desires turning everything into a tangled mess.

“What’s up Jeremy?” Like she didn’t know. Like she couldn’t guess. He was here for the same reason he sought her out every day, the only reason he came to her at all. Though he supposed she could just be being polite, they had learned on the first day after all that her preemptive refusal to accept his offer didn’t actually negate his need to verbally say it. If anything her denying him before he had a chance to speak only made things worse.

“It’s lunch time, are you hungry?” That was another nifty little loophole they found that actually did work. He could phrase the offer in any way he wanted as long as his meaning was clear to Caroline, at least he was able to stop asking her if she wanted to bite him. That had gotten old quick.

“No thanks Jeremy.” That was it, three little words and she was back to paying attention to Bonnie and their cheerleading duties. It was like she didn’t care at all, then again this too could be done for his benefit, in deference to his own discomfort.

She hadn’t accepted his offer, not once, though he knew it was only a matter of time before she did. She was a vampire after all, it was inevitable that she would have a bad day and bite him out of spite. That just what they do apparently. At least all the other vamps that he’d ever met.

Walking towards the cafeteria for his own lunch he tried to push all thoughts of anything supernatural to the back of his mind. He had made the offer he was done for the day, at least for now.

 

Bonnie watched Jeremy shuffle away and decided now would be a good time to get Caroline’s mind off of everything. Every time Jeremy made his offer Caroline’s mood seemed to bottom out, but not today, today she would keep her mind on happier things if it was the last thing she did.

“Cheer up Care, who’s going to buy anything from a cheerleader without a little pep in her step? Are we still doing our annual before competition sleep over this year? We can have it at my place if you want a night away from la casa de vampire.” It was tradition after all to stay up all night the night before they headed out to the competition and watch movies, pig out on ice cream, and just generally shake out the jitters that competing usually brought with it.

“We’re definitely doing it, as for where we’ll be doing it, I’ll get back to you on that one.” Seeing that this particular distraction wasn’t working she decided to go a different way with it. If the sleepover couldn’t distract her from her Jeremy shaped slump, then maybe the competition its self could.

“Have you come up with a way to fix our routine for the competition? I know something about it was bugging you before break.” Lately the competition was the only thing guaranteed to drag Caroline out of whatever pit of despair she’d fallen into at the drop of a hat. She was more determined than ever to push them all to victory, and as her best friend she was more determined than ever to help her do it.

“Not yet, there’s just something off about it. I know it’s something small, but whatever it is it’s bugging me like crazy. I’ll look at it all again at practice tomorrow, and with Rebekah joining in maybe she’ll be able to help me spot it. Whatever it is.” While she wasn’t exactly psyched about having another vampire on the squad, Caroline was the only one she truly trusted, if the captain was fine with it she wasn’t going to rock the boat and object.

“Don’t worry Care, whatever it is we’ll fix it.” Hearing the bell for lunch they gave each other one more hug before pulling up all their pep and getting to work. It was time to sell sugar to their already sugared up classmates. Hurray!

 

Rebekah didn’t know why she had agreed to help with this at first, their classmates had descended like a horde of starving locusts, at one point she had been genuinely afraid for her own safety but once the day had finally begun to come to a close she could admit that the whole experience had been fun. They were in their final hour of servitude and over all the entire thing hadn’t been so bad, though she was beginning to realize exactly how much work actually went into a simple task like this one. Apparently tomorrow while Caroline wouldn’t be in charge of the table its self she would be in charge of bringing the lions share of the baked goods to sell instead. No wonder the girl had been so invested in the equipment they had in their kitchen.

Without the barrier that was Elena Gilbert she and Bonnie had gotten along better than they ever had in the past, the girl didn’t try to attack her in any way the whole afternoon, though she could tell she still wasn’t completely trusted that was to be expected the girl was a witch after all. Caroline was a force of nature, anticipating everyone needs and somehow managing to keep everything in its proper place despite the chaos of it all. During the lulls in activity, while the ravaging hordes were off eating, the three of them had talked about everything from fashion, to school events, to school work. It was like they were genuinely becoming friends, or as close to it as they could. It was nice.

Caroline thought about everything she knew about Rebekah and decided she should probably include a bit of an overview of all things cheer while she had her attention. The girl had never been on a squad before and as far as she knew cheering hadn’t really been a thing when she’d been daggered back in the 20’s. Picking up her clipboard she began explaining absently while marking everything off her list before the final wave began.

“The main high school sports here in Virginia are Football, Basketball, Baseball, Soccer, and Lacrosse. You missed Football and Soccer they ran from September to November right now the only team we worry about is Basketball and that ends next month, just in time for Baseball and Lacrosse to begin. We don’t actually cheer for them at all of their games, their season falls during the national qualifier cheer competition, which begins at the end of this month, so they only get us for the first few games. After that Christmas break and the competition keep us way too busy, so instead we make them spirit boxes every week regardless if they have an away game or really any game or not. Every Wednesday and Friday each player gets a spirit box. Like I told you yesterday I’ll assign you two players that you’ll be responsible for, since it’s the first week back from break you’ll only have to do the Friday boxes this week.” Lord this day was long, she couldn’t wait until she could just crawl into bed and pull the covers over her head.

Seeing the first few students beginning to filter out towards them again she knew it would just be a matter of minutes before the rest of them followed. Her bed would have to wait; she had work to do.

 

Kol spotted the wayward Lockwood mutt up ahead and smiled with what most would call sadistic glee. While everyone else was busy with their own self-appointed tasks he’d decided that a week was long enough to let the naughty puppy try to hide.

“Ah, Tyler there you are, I’ve been looking all over for you.” Seeing the instant panic that brightened his eyes was a boost for his mood. “Relax darling, this won’t hurt a bit. I do need you to come with me back to the house though, you’ve been ducking your responsibilities to the family and that just won’t do at all. There are things that need to be done after all. Don’t worry I made a list of all the things you’ve been neglecting whilst off on this little bender of yours. I’m sure you’ll catch up in no time at all.”

Honestly to think that he could simply avoid them while staying so near to them all, it would seem the boy was as dumb as they all assumed him to be after all. No worries now that his willful nature had been curbed so to speak they would be able to keep him in line. In fact, it would be his singular pleasure to do so.

 

Matt made his way towards the Mikaelson mansion trying not to heave with every step he took. Today would be his first session with Damon and the very idea of it was enough to make his stomach turn. Deciding to take Caroline’s advice to heart, and knowing there was nothing he could do about it, he took a moment to compose himself before knocking on the door. Finding Klaus on the other side waiting to walk him through it all did nothing to alleviate his worries, but again there was nothing to be done about it. He would simply do his best to survive the coming year, and hopefully at the end of it things would start looking up.

 

A/N – Continuation of the Time line issue. So I had to sit down and figure out exactly when the last story took place in the time line and when this one could go down too. That was a lot harder than I thought it would be actually, especially since Season 3 premiere was the start of senior year with prank night and they didn’t graduate until the final episode of Season 4. So that would have put two seasons as only being around 9 months or so. I had to place it before Elena turned at the end of 3×22 and after Finn dies in 3×18. So that gave me a very narrow window there and I decided that the last story Party Plans took place over the Christmas Break for them which is roughly December 22 – Jan 2 in America. So now Caroline will be staying with the original family from the first of the year in 2011 until the first of the year in 2012. When this story starts Caroline is roughly halfway through her senior year. (I pushed back the date of Elena’s turning from early Nov in Canon so my story could work and have her still be human in late December I hope no one notices hehehe)

 

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