Klaus was very much in his element at the moment, Caroline could see the sparkle in his eyes he was so amused, center stage and center of attention. They were all watching him now just waiting for his explanation waiting for his latest game to begin. Looking around at all of her friends she realized that to an outsider who didn’t know all the history between them it would almost look like they were eager to play but she could see the resignation and desperation underneath. They all knew there was no way out of this and more over that it was beyond likely that none of them would be leaving this room at all.
“Alright all, here’s how this new little game works, we’re going to play truth and consequences. First thing you should know before we begin is that you’ve all been compelled to tell the truth when a question is posed to you.”
Oh no, she could already tell that this little game wasn’t going to end well for any of them. Least of all her.
“The second thing you should be aware of is that your fates will not be decided by myself or any of my siblings eager though they may be to play along, no your lives are in sweet Caroline’s hands not mine. Don’t mistake me, my siblings and I will be participating quite a bit, the game is called truth and consequences after all.”
The way he said consequences made her skin crawl. She couldn’t help thinking about the pails of vervain in the corner. At least they would all survive though, if their fates were really in her hands, it wasn’t like she would ever willingly kill her friends after all.
“Now here is how the game works. My family and I will be posing questions to you all one question a piece from each of us and you must answer honestly when your truths are laid bare for all to see then dear Caroline will be given the choice between two consequences and whatever she picks shall be your fate. As I said earlier the catch is that it will be a blind choice, sweet Caroline will not know what the choices are any more than the rest of you. You had best hope that luck is finally on your side.”
Yeah, like that ever happened. She could do this, she would just trust her instincts and hope that if anything really bad were to come up she would be able to find a way around it. And then maybe Santa will pop down the chimney and spread a little Christmas cheer in July. This was going to completely and totally blow.
“Shall we begin?”
Like they really had a choice.
“Who’s first then? Should we draw names from a hat, choose at random, maybe go alphabetically?” Kol was having far too much fun with this, though that wasn’t really surprising he was evil spawn junior after all.
“I think Caroline should choose.”
“Marvelous idea sister, so darling Caroline who’s to be first?”
“Oh no, I am not choosing, no way in hell.” She was not choosing and they could not make her, well they could but they better not.
“She is quite right brother, Ms. Forbes already has a part to play in this game. It would be unfair of us to give her another task.” She silently thanked Elijah with every fiber of her being. “Besides should it not be the responsibility of someone with a bit more experience with judgment like Ms. Bennett.” Then she damned him to the hottest circle of hell.
Every eye in the room turned towards Bonnie just waiting for her answer.
Bonnie had been so preoccupied with sorting through all the new memories in her mind made while Klaus had taken her over that for a minute she didn’t know why everyone was looking at her, then her mind played back the conversation that had been going on around her and she understood.
She could refuse like Caroline had done, but she knew it wouldn’t do any good she could tell by the identical looks of glee on their faces that all the originals were in agreement with Elijah that this should be her role to play. The only thing she could think to do would be to nominate herself as the first victim of this little game of theirs.
“Before you begin though there is one caveat, as the ‘chooser’ you will be the last to play the game so you cannot put yourself forward as you self-sacrificing sorts are wont to do.”
Damn Kol, what was he reading her mind or something. Damn them all, they had easily and effectively painted her into a corner and there was nothing else for her to do but to name someone. But who? Looking around at her friends she loved them all dearly, well most of them anyway, she couldn’t choose one of them to be tortured. She just couldn’t.
“Tick tock, witchy. Either you choose someone in the next thirty seconds or everyone gets tortured for the next thirty minutes as a penalty for your tardiness.”
As soon as the name left her mouth she looked over at him desperately trying to apologize without words. I am so sorry Ric!
“Ooooh, is someone a little mad with the teacher? Did he give you a bad grade? Alright then, Mr. Saltzman, looks like your first up. Shall we begin?”
Oh god, please let him be okay! If he died she would never forgive herself, or Klaus.
Ric wasn’t angry about the choice Bonnie made, he understood it, and on some level was even thankful for it. Out of all of them only he, Stefan, and Damon were even old enough to legally drink in a bar and if he’d been forced to watch one of these kids being tortured that would have been even worse than the feeling of terror that came with going first in a demented game like this one.
“Alright so who’s first to question the former vampire hunter turned history teacher?”
“Me first Nik! Ohh, ohh, me first!” Rebekah was jumping up and down waving her hand in the air mockingly.
“Very well Rebekah you have the floor.”
“What to ask, what to ask. Oh, I know. So teacher, how do you really feel about always having to save poor innocent Elena?”
“I hate it.” Whoa where did that come from? He could feel his eyes getting wider with shock, while his mouth just kept running. Where were these words coming from?
“Oh really, do tell.”
“We keep rushing into these half-baked plans, and someone always seems to get hurt or killed. I think that if there was a little less scheming and a little more realism around here we’d all be better off.”
“So it seems that the doppelgängers safety isn’t paramount to everyone.”
“I didn’t say that! I want Elena to be safe and to live a normal life, I just don’t think her normal life should come at the expense of everyone else’s.”
He just couldn’t stop talking. His mind was no better than his mouth at the moment, he kept thinking about everything he’d lost, everything everyone had lost, for these plans to half ass work. Jenna, Isobel, being possessed by Klaus, Abbey, Mayor Lockwood, and the list went on and on.
“Good for you Mr. Saltzman. Now who’s next? Kol would you like to ask your question?”
“I want to know about… Damon. How do you really feel about Damon, I mean the man did turn your wife after all? Then if I heard right he rubbed your face in it, in public no less. Go on then, let it all out.” Of course he had to ask about Damon. He looked around the room at all the suddenly stiff postures of the people he thought of as his family. They already knew what he was going to say, because it’s basically what they all would say if posed the same question.
“When I first met Damon I hated him. I thought he was an arrogant ass with an ego bigger than the entire state. Then as I got to know him better, mostly against my will, I realized that he was one of those people who lashes out when he’s hurt or upset. He thinks that if he pushes all the right buttons then he’ll get everything he wants. He’s one of those people you always hear about, too old to be a kid, but never going to be an adult. Now after all this time I’ve just accepted him for who he is because he is never going to change.”
As the words poured out of him he realized just how true they were. While having to tell the truth against his will was disturbing to say the least, it was also freeing in a way. There were no pretenses left to hide behind. There was only simple honesty.
“Well said sir, Elijah you want next go?”
“Yes, we’ve heard what you truly feel about Damon, and I agree with you all that you’ve said but I’m more interested to know what you really think about Caroline? In fact, I can’t wait to hear it.”
He actually had to stop and think for a moment before he answered that one. Unlike all the rest that just came pouring out this one wasn’t on the tip of his tongue. He rarely thought about Caroline at all, so to be asked what he honestly thought of her was a bit of a riddle.
“Well, I envy her strength and applaud her loyalty. She’s a lot smarter than anyone, myself included, really gives her credit for, I mean she was the only one of us who knew exactly how this was going to end so she’s at least smarter than we were. She’s brave and almost fearless to a worrying degree. She seems to almost always put the safety and well-being of others before her own. She’s a bit of a perfectionist, which isn’t always a bad thing and I honestly think that her borderline OCD tendencies are how she’s dealt with all the stress that is our lives now so well. She controls what little she can in her immediate surroundings and that gives her the inner fortitude necessary to tackle the unexpected things in her life like vampirism, and all the supernatural perils we’ve faced in the last two years or so. If I’m being nothing but honest I admire her, she is the best of us.”
By the end of his little speech everyone was stunned speechless. Especially Caroline.
“Well said mate. Now for my question then we can get on to the fun part. Have you ever hurt Caroline?”
“Not intentionally. Though I’m sure that I have hurt her by saying something thoughtless or excluding her, I haven’t ever hurt her physically if that’s what you mean.”
“See that wasn’t so hard was it?” He tried really hard not to answer the obviously rhetorical question but they had compelled him to answer all questions posed to him honestly.
“Speak for yourself.” His answer seemed to amuse them all, great just great.
“Now time to move on to your part of this love, now don’t worry we’ve made it quite easy for you. All you have to do is answer one yes or no question and your answer will decide his fate. Yes or no, darling. Do you forgive him? Remember you to have been compelled to tell the truth.”
“How generous of you, love. Well, teacher looks like you will be living through this after all. Your exact punishment though won’t be revealed until the very end when you can all hear it together, wouldn’t want you to miss what comes next. Just to keep things fair though…” Klaus bent down until he caught his eyes. “You won’t speak another word until I allow you to. We can’t have you helping the others now can we?”
“Okay witch, pick again, who’s next?”
Bonnie looked mutinous, like she would refuse to answer. There was no easy out this, all that was left was her friends, and Damon.
Matt would be safe she knew, what could he have done that Caroline wouldn’t forgive? He was Matt after all.
“Ah Matt Donovan, it looks like it’s your turn, are you ready for your reckoning mate?”
“Yes.” He just hoped that no matter what he’d done in the past Caroline had forgiven him. He wasn’t sure what his punishment was going to be even if she did, but he didn’t even want to think about what it would be if she didn’t.
“Alright then, who gets first go at the quarterback?” Klaus clapped his hands and rubbed them together. He looked like a cheesy movie villain, not that he had any plans to ever tell him that. No, Matt had only one plan. To keep his mouth shut as much as possible and do his best to survive this newest mystical snafu.
“Rebekah went first last round brother, I want my turn.”
“Very well, Kol, you may begin.” Just what he needed, Kol as his first interrogator. He didn’t know what he’d done wrong in a past life but whatever it was he must have rivaled Hitler to deserve this.
“So quarterback, I was just wondering as a man filled with such apathy. What drew you into our supernatural world to begin with?” That had not been the question he’d expected to have to answer. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad, no sooner had the thought formed in his mind than his mouth opened and out poured everything. He had no control over his words, it was like he couldn’t stop now even if he wanted to.
“My sister Vikki was turned by Damon and then staked by Stefan. I didn’t know about it until much later, by then nearly everyone I’d grown up with and considered my friend was either dead or something supernatural.”
“Oh, Damon, you naughty boy. You seem to have a thing for turning the people closest to those you surround yourself with. I wonder if that was by chance or design. Too bad you can’t answer. Just wondering mate, if I may have another follow up question, what else has Damon done to you?” Oh, joy, because that was a list he really wanted to rehash in front of everyone. Why couldn’t Kol just stick with the one question?
“He turned my sister, but only after spending an entire day compelling himself a playmate. When I asked him why he did it he said it was because Stefan had taken his day ring trapping him in the house and he was bored. After that I caught him nailing my mom. I guess he decided to work his way through my whole family or something. Beyond that it’s been mostly little things. Comments and things like that.”
“Wow, Damon, I can see why you have so many friends.” The compulsion to keep quiet kept Damon from responding to Rebekah’s words but his eyes said it all. He both hated them all in turn and didn’t care one bit what they thought of him.
“Nothing to say, oh well, I guess I’ll just talk to Matt-y. It is my turn after all.”
“Right you are dear sister. Pose your question.” Klaus seemed to be in charge of the whole thing but at the same time he seemed to be really not paying any of them much attention at all he was so focused on Caroline. Matt sincerely hoped that he continued to ignore him for the most part.
“Why do you participate in these schemes to help poor defenseless Elena? From what I hear you don’t really want to be there, you spend most of your time hovering near the door always on the brink of leaving.” How could they know all that?
“I participate because she’s Elena and I’ve known her my whole life. Mostly though, I participate because if I didn’t help and she died, I would lose my mind. She’s one of my oldest friends and if I can help her I will, no matter how dangerous it is.”
“Then why are you hovering near the door ready to bolt at the slightest opportunity?”
“I already told you what Stefan and Damon did to my sister, hell to my family. Would you want to be in a room with them any longer than necessary? I stay near the door so that I don’t lose my temper and attack Damon for violating my sister or Stefan for killing her. I know I would lose those fights.”
“Brother your turn, though I’m fairly certain I already know what your question will be.”
“Indeed. Mr. Donovan, tell me how do you really feel about Caroline?”
“I’m proud of her. My introduction into the supernatural, at least the one I remember, was all about what was happening to the people around me and I could barely deal with it. I damn near shut down completely unable to handle my world turning on its head, but Caroline was different. She woke up in a hospital, alone, transitioning into a vampire with hazy memories that were still out of focus and no idea what was happening to her. Somehow though she dealt with it and no one at the hospital died, sure she killed someone later, but that was after hours of handling everything herself with no help from anyone least of all any of us. I think she’s strong and fearless and I wish that I was half the person she’s becoming.” Even he was stunned by the words coming from him. He knew he thought highly of his friend but he didn’t know just how much he looked up to her.
“Well said, mate. Now I think you can guess what my question will be but I’ll ask it anyway, and since Alaric’s response shined light on a possible loophole I’ll go ahead and close that for you so there will be no misunderstandings as to my meaning. Have you ever hurt Caroline in any way?”
“Yes.” The next question was the one he dreaded the most, he knew what it would be, and he knew what his answer would be. More than that though he was ashamed of what his answer would be.
“When Caroline first transitioned she and I were dating but we soon parted ways, I wasn’t over Elena yet. When I found out what she was now, a vampire, I went to her mom the sheriff and I told her. Together she and I worked on a plan to expose her that would have ended with her death. I don’t listen to her nearly as much as I should, and I ignore what she says whenever I don’t like it, even if it’s the truth.”
“That is quite the list of sins there, but I’m sure it will be by no means the longest we will hear tonight. So love, after hearing his answers tell me is young Matt here forgiven? Yes or no?”
“Ah, you’re no fun.” Kol whined off to the side, while he couldn’t care less, she had forgiven him.
“Patience brother, I am certain she won’t be forgiving everyone tonight. Just have patience. Now witch choose, who goes next?”
“Oh, my favorite hybrid at last.” Everyone could tell Klaus was looking forward to this round of questions. Tyler knew he was screwed, no matter what they asked he doubted Caroline would forgive him.
“Can I go first Nik or would you like to?” They were talking about him like he wasn’t even in the room, or worse, like he wasn’t even alive. They acted like he was a toy they were passing around, just an object.
“That’s quite alright Bekah, you can have the first thrust, don’t worry I’ll have my turn.” There was a phrase he wished he’d never heard coming from Klaus about him, and hoped he would never hear again.
“So mutt, here’s my question for you. How do you really feel about being a hybrid?” Why would she ask that? Everyone knew how much he hated being bound to Klaus.
“I love it.” Wait what? “I never have to turn again if I don’t want to, I’m stronger now than I ever was even as a werewolf, and now I have all the vampire perks that everyone else does. I wouldn’t go back to being just a straight up werewolf for anything.” Why would he say that, he hated being a hybrid just as much as he hated Klaus and everything he stood for. Didn’t he?
“I thought as much, it isn’t the being a hybrid that you loathe, it’s the sire bond that has you all bent out of shape.” What? No, it was all of it, wasn’t it?
“Oooh, my turn to confuse the wolf boy, not that it seems all that hard to do. If you had to choose between revenge on Klaus and being with your beloved Caroline which would you choose?” Easy.
“Klaus.” Shit, how could he say that? He didn’t mean that, he knew he would pick Caroline if it came down to it, right?
“Well that’s got to be an interesting revelation for you. I ask if you’d pick my brother or your girl and you choose my brother. I bet this evening has completely changed your life.”
“No – I didn’t…” He couldn’t take the words back, no matter how hard he tried or how loudly his screamed at himself to do it, he couldn’t.
“Truth compulsion mate, you can’t take the words back because any excuse or bumbling words that came out of your mouth right now would be a lie. You were given a choice and you truthfully answered the question posed to you. End of story. Elijah, your turn. Trust me asking this mutt questions is just so much fun.”
“Mr. Lockwood, tell me, how do you really feel about Caroline?”
He willed himself with everything he had to say any of the nice things he thought about her, but even as he did he knew that wasn’t what he was going to say. While he did think highly of her on occasion deep down he always thought the same thing about her, and that’s what he was going to say.
“I think she’s an insecure, neurotic, bitchy little twit. She’s always going against us, her supposed friends, always defending people like Klaus. She never just does what we need her to, she’s always got something to say about it first and God help you if you don’t want to listen. She’s controlling and just an all-around general pain in my ass on most days.” He knew what he’d said wasn’t all he felt about Caroline but apparently it was what he really felt about her.
He looked over towards her intending to apologize for his harsh words, but he couldn’t get the words to come, apparently they would be a lie. Thinking about it, he knew that he wasn’t sorry for the words, he was sorry for the fact that they would likely land him in an early grave, there was no way she would forgive him now.
“Well, that was certainly an interesting revelation. Now for my turn mate, so have you ever harmed Caroline in any way?”
He tried to keep the words back to just say nothing at all, but again he failed. He wished with all his might that he would survive this experience as the words came flooding out, but deep down he knew he wouldn’t. This was the end of the line for him, but at least he would go out with a clean slate, everything out in the open.
“I have treated her horribly, I’ve attacked her both physically and verbally several times. Any time something happens that I don’t like, especially when it involves Klaus I take it out on Caroline. I have accused her of having feelings for Klaus, for wanting to step out and leave me for him purposefully playing on her insecurities while all that time I was cheating on her. I did it so that she would never confront me about anything she thought I may have done.”
Deafening silence met his words. While everyone knew that Caroline and Tylers relationship had been strained ever since he became a hybrid, none of them had known about even half of what he admitted to. Or at least they hadn’t wanted to know about, because if they knew then they would have had to take sides. Everyone turned to Caroline and Klaus when he started speaking again, breaking the suffocating silence.
“So love, it’s question time for you. Do you forgive him?”
Caroline didn’t know what to say, she couldn’t think. Tyler had cheated on her, he’d played on her insecurities to do it. Did she forgive him? Could she forgive him?
The flash of triumph in Klaus’s eyes told her more than anything else that, that was the answer he had been hoping for. Kol and Rebekah whooped in shared happiness, they had been beginning to think that Caroline had a far too forgiving heart, but it appeared the darling girl knew how to hold a grudge when it was warranted.
“I would start the next round, I for one am energized enough to keep going, but I think it would be better if we all took a little break. So Kol why don’t you and Rebekah go around and lift the silence compulsion from them and we’ll leave them all alone for a bit.”
Caroline watched as Klaus and his siblings easily and methodically circled the room, even once the silence was lifted no one spoke. Not yet. After the last original left, the room exploded.
“Caroline I know you’re hurt, but you have to tell them you changed your mind when they get back. They will kill Tyler.”
“Come on Caroline you don’t want Tyler to die over one stupid mistake do you. Just forgive him already.”
They didn’t understand at all, she couldn’t just tell them that he was forgiven because she couldn’t forgive him, and she couldn’t lie.
It seemed that everyone was in agreement that what Tyler had done to her was acceptable and that she should just get over it. She wished she could, she really did, but she couldn’t get past the part where he’d played on her insecurities. The cheating and the less than flattering description of her character she could have forgiven, he was only human after all, and a teenage boy at that. She could have told herself that he was just a jerk and that he may not deserve her forgiveness, but she did. Holding a grudge only ever hurt the holder, not the offender. All these things she could have said, she could have forced herself to get past them, but not that.
Everyone who knew her for more than a few minutes knew that she had abandonment issues, among a whole slew of other insecurities. The fact that Tyler had decided that her emotional wounds would be a useful cover for his infidelity hurt more than anything else that had ever happened to her. He had manipulated her, used her, he was as bad as Damon! No, she would not forgive him, not now, probably not ever. Whatever the originals had planned, whether they killed him or not, that would never change.
Klaus sat upstairs with his sibling sipping his bourbon while they all listened to Carolines so-called friends chatter away at her, basically pleading for her to save the Lockwood boy. When the idea of this game had first come to mind he and his siblings had all agreed that they would use the opportunity to show Caroline the truths that had so far eluded her. He knew his sweetheart was intelligent, but even the smartest people could easily fool themselves about the people they saw as their family or friends.
He had been slightly surprised when his entire family had decided that Caroline was worth the effort, normally when one of them felt any sort of emotion for someone outside the family the others would do everything in their power to destroy that person, but not Caroline. When he’d asked them why he’d been stunned to hear their response.
“Because Niklaus anyone who understands us all so well is already a part of this family.”
They saw Caroline as a sibling now, as someone far younger and more naïve than any of them had been for a very long time. They would help her to see the truth beyond the lies, to see herself for who and what she really was, and to see her “family” the same way.
“Well, we’ve given them enough time to further hang themselves, shall we return?”
“Yes, let’s, did you notice how she has yet to speak to any of them? The compulsion was lifted from her as well but she hasn’t said one word.” Rebekah seemed almost proud of Caroline for keeping her silence.
“I did notice that, what do you make of it?” Normally when someone as emotional as his darling girl was became angry they made sure everyone around them was fully aware of that fact.
“I believe she’s starting to see them all for what they are. Have you been listening to them? They’ve all been pleading for the mutt, but so far not one of them has asked how she’s doing after finding out that her supposed boyfriend was nothing like what she’d believed him to be. Not to mention she’s not the only one down there holding her tongue.”
“Yes, I have yet to hear from the quarterback or the teacher. Do you think they’ve begun to learn their own lesson?”
“Only one way to know for sure.”
“Quite right.” Clapping his hands together he watched as the whole room fell back into the silence of before. “Are we ready to continue? Good. So witch who’s next?”
“Lovely, so who wants to go first?”