So far, Caroline had spent approximately five hours sitting in Sheila's car. Yesterday afternoon, just as Caroline had pulled into the school parking lot after her trip to Tyler's, Sheila had called her. Apparently she thought it was a good idea for Caroline to come along when she visited her daughter, in case Mikael's desiccated body was holed up somewhere close enough to visit. While it had only taken two hours to get to Abby Bennett's home in Monroe, North Carolina, Sheila thought it would probably be best if Caroline waited in the car as Abby probably wouldn't be receptive to vampires.
So she waited. For another two hours she waited. Apparently Sheila had also taken the time to attempt to convince Abby to come back to Mystic Falls and take a chance on getting her magic back. When Sheila came out of the house, it was with the location of Mikael's body and Abby's promise to think about a return.
Another two hours later and they were standing outside the Pickett mausoleum in Charlotte. Honestly, if she were in Abby's place, she would have been located as far away as possible from where she hid this guy. Maybe she thought she could do some good if she found out he escaped or someone tried to free him. It didn't matter now. Mikael had officially gone from being Abby's responsibility to being their bargaining chip.
Sheila readjusted the strap of her bag and gestured to the mausoleum doors. Caroline easily opened them, breaking the lock in the process. With a grin, she turned to the other woman and playfully said, "Oops."
The sound of Sheila's soft laugh followed her inside, where she was confronted by a stone sarcophagus with a simple cross on the lid. She was officially living the gothic vampire cliché now. Taking a deep breath, she braced her hands on the lid, but then paused and turned back to Sheila.
"I swear, if he moves in any way, I'm going to scream like a small child and you're not allowed to hold it against me or tell anyone that it happened. Clear?"
With a nod and a small smile, Sheila replied, "Crystal."
Turning back, Caroline pushed the lid off with one forceful shove. She could feel Sheila come up beside her to look. Inside was a middle-aged-looking man wrapped in chains and bearing the grey skin and prominent veins of a dead or desiccated vampire. Unless Abby was storing any other incapacitated vampires, this was their guy. Just as Caroline relaxed, Mikael's eyes popped open and, as promise, she did scream like a very small and very frightened child.
Sheila had no comment as she was picking herself up from the floor. Apparently it had been just as shocking for her.
"Besides the eyes, he shouldn't be able to move, right?"
Caroline wasn't sure if Sheila knew what she was talking about or if she was just that good at lying, but it was easy to believe her when she confirmed that the eyes were the only thing that could move on the vampire in question. Calming her nerves, Caroline braced herself on the edge of the stone tomb and climbed up. As she balanced on the narrow edge, she could feel Sheila reach up to brace her. When she looked down, the older woman's expression showed her concern.
"You do remember that I'm a vampire, right?"
Sheila didn't look amused, so Caroline turned her gaze back to Mikael. Taking her smartphone out of her back pocket, she quickly snapped a picture. When she jumped down from her perch, she could hear Sheila's gasp and made a silent promise to be more careful so as not to unnecessarily worry her friend's grandmother. Ignoring the weight of Mikael's silent stare, Caroline groped around him until she found what she was looking for.
"Caroline Forbes, what are you doing?"
Ignoring the scandalized tone, Caroline turned with a large grin brandishing Mikael's white oak stake. Tilting her head in mock curiosity, she gave a little hum.
"What does it say about a father when he spends this much time and effort decorating and embellishing the only thing that can kill his children?"
Without waiting for a reply, Caroline tossed the stake carelessly toward Sheila's bag and then walked over to where the lid to Mikael's temporary coffin had landed. Lifting it awkwardly, she managed to maneuver it back in to place.
When she was done, she saw Sheila setting up candles along the walls of the mausoleum. On the way to Abby's, she had told Caroline that she planned to place a magic barrier around where Mikael was hidden to prevent anyone else from getting to him as well as to prevent him from escaping. Though, after about fourteen years, she doubted he would be making a sudden bid for freedom. She couldn't help but agree that it was better safe than sorry.
When they settled back into the car, a thought suddenly dawned on Caroline. As she turned to voice it, though, Sheila interrupted her.
"Yes, Caroline, I realize that this means I'll have to come with Klaus so that he can get to Mikael."
Caroline leveled her with a mock suspicious look and a touch of a pout.
"That apparent mind reading thing you do is freaky."
She took a deep breath and blew it noisily out. As she turned to stare out the windshield, she informed Sheila, "I'm going to come with you, because there is no way I'm letting you go alone."
Caroline reassured herself that this had nothing to do with wanting to see if this Klaus was the same as her… Not hers, never hers. This had nothing to do with wanting to see how this Klaus was different from the one she knew. She was going purely to look out for Sheila.
Three hours later, Caroline hadn't fully convinced herself that she had no real curiosity when it came to Klaus. Luckily, when Sheila pulled up in front her of house there was a promised distraction from her thoughts in the form of Elena sitting on her porch steps. Unluckily, Elena looked to be very upset.
In response to Sheila's questioning look, Caroline said ruefully, "Yeah, I know what this is about."
And she did know what it was about. While Sheila had told Elena that she was a doppelgänger and what that meant, no one had told her what Katherine had meant to the Salvatore brothers. Apparently –either last night or today—Stefan had gotten around to telling her what exactly went on between them. Knowing Stefan, there were probably things he left out that would have really put Elena's mind at ease. So it was Caroline Forbes to the rescue.
It only took an hour or so to convince Elena that Stefan loved her for her, and it had nothing to do with Katherine, then they decided to have a sleepover. When they called Bonnie to try and get her to come, the young witch had to pass because she was reading through her Grams' witchy library. Caroline was disappointed, but couldn't really argue with the fact that they needed all the knowledge they could get.
Caroline wasn't pretending as she swooned –once again—over hearing how Stefan jumped in the river and ended up saving her from the sinking car. She got teary-eyed right along with Elena when she heard about how her father made Stefan save her first. And, yes, she still found it romantic that Stefan couldn't resist the urge to get to know Elena once he figured out she wasn't Katherine. She had to say, it was one of their better sleepovers.
The next week went smoothly, which was very fortunate. Caroline wasn't sure that she could have handled anything popping up given how chaotic her thoughts were. She was trying to decide when they needed to tell her mom about her being a vampire and all the trouble coming to town. All week she would waver between wanting to put it off as long as possible and wanting to just get it all over with. Then, of course, she had to decide how to tell her. Should it be over a nice dinner? Maybe she should have everyone there to help her. Or just Sheila.
The last sounded like a very good plan.
Friday she called Sheila to ask if she would help. On Saturday, just after Caroline and her mother finished up breakfast, there was a knock at the front door. Suddenly she wanted nothing more than to run out the back door and keep running. Since that wasn't an option, she followed her mother and watched as she let Sheila in.
They moved to the living room once Sheila said that she had something they needed to talk about. She began by telling the Sheriff what was coming to town, that the Salvatore brothers—well, Salvatore brother given that Damon was currently desiccating—were vampires, and that her daughter had been turned and why. There were a lot of tears and denial, and Caroline had to convince her mother that she had started trying to bond with her before she had even talked to Sheila about turning. It was a small lie, but Caroline was determined to tell her mother. Which was why, much to Sheila's surprise, Caroline told her mother about being sent back by Bonnie.
Not surprisingly, that one took a while to convince her of. An hour into it, Sheila became so frustrated with the conversation that she roughly placed her hands on each of their heads and showed Liz what was in her daughter's mind. Apparently, whatever her mother saw was enough to convince her that they were telling the truth, and that she shouldn't kill Caroline or turn her in to the Council. They also told her that they hadn't told Stefan or Elena about the time travel for obvious reasons.
"If you didn't tell them, then why are you telling me? Why are you telling me any of this?"
Caroline could hear the accusation in her mother's voice, as if she was angry that they had put the burden of this knowledge on her.
"I don't want to lie to you. I don't want to be afraid of you, or have you afraid of me. I almost lost you because of Silas and now I have a chance to stop that from happening. I don't want to waste this time around lying to you and being afraid that you'll hate me. I love you."
By the time Caroline had finished, her mother had tears in her eyes, yet she was shaking her head.
"I won't tell the council, or kick you out. But… I just need time to think about this. It's just…"
Caroline nodded her head with her lips pressed tight and tears hanging on her lashes. She understood what her mother was going through, just like she understood what Bonnie was going through. It didn't stop it from hurting, though. When Liz got to her feet and quickly walked from the room, Caroline could no longer hold back. As sobs wracked her body, she felt Sheila's arms go around her and the warmth that accompanied the gesture. But as much as the sensation still reminded her of home, it was no substitute for her mother.
After Sheila left, Caroline wrote out a note to her mother explaining that she would be staying the night at Elena's and then headed out the door. Thankfully Elena was home and, once Caroline explained that she had told her mom about being a vampire, was more than willing to let her stay over. After a quick run to the store for some emergency ice cream, they curled up on the couch with some sad movies so that Caroline could pretend it wasn't her mother she was crying about.
Halfway through their second movie, Vicki and Jeremy came in the door. After giving Caroline a very nasty look, Vicki nearly stomped up the stairs toward Jeremy's room. With an apologetic shrug, Jeremy followed her.
"What was that…?"
Caroline interrupted Elena before she finished so that she could hear the argument upstairs. Yes, snooping was immature, but she felt she had a right to know why Vicki was throwing her dirty looks. Last time she checked, she hadn't done anything to the girl. It didn't take long, though, to figure it out.
With a resigned sigh, she focused back on Elena and, in a whisper, told her what was going on.
"Last Friday I compelled Tyler to take me to his place and help me find the moonstone. Apparently Vicki followed us and now thinks I stole her on-again off-again boyfriend. She's bad mouthing me to Jeremy, and he's getting upset that she's still jealous over Tyler."
Looking at Elena, Caroline decided to broach what she knew would be a sensitive topic.
"You know we're going to have to tell Jenna and Jeremy about what's going on, and soon."
Elena's eyes grew wide with shock and she stammered, "What? No, we're not going to tell them! I want them to lead a nice, normal life."
Caroline could understand where Elena was coming from, but they couldn't afford that kind of thinking right now. Reaching out, she covered one of Elena's hands with her own.
"Ignorance may be bliss, Elena, but it's about to become fatal in this town. And no amount of sending them away will work, because it would be far too easy to hunt them down if someone decided you needed some incentive to do what they wanted you to."
Before Elena could answer, Vicki came stomping back down the stairs and out the door. When Jeremy came back down more slowly, though just as angrily, Caroline hold a pint of ice-cream toward him.
"Rocky Road and sappy movies. It'll cure what ails ya."
After a minute, Jeremy turned his gaze toward Caroline, the expression on his face confused and a bit lost.
"Are you and Tyler together now?"
Wow; she did not expect the pang that went through her at the question. She really had to get used to the fact that she and Tyler were not now–nor would they ever be—together. Keeping her expression neutral and the offer of ice cream extended, she replied, "Nope. I don't date d-bags."
The part of her that still identified herself as Tyler's girlfriend tried to rise up in protest. However, she had to remind herself that, as much as she loved him, before he turned and they became friends, Tyler had been a major asshole. And this time around, he was more than likely still a major asshole.
Taking the ice cream, Jeremy nudged Caroline over and sat down to watch movies with them. While he didn't cry, she thought he still fit right in.
When Caroline went to school Monday, she didn't see Vicki anywhere even though she looked for her. In fact, she didn't see her at all the rest of the week and Jeremy was looking more and more worried every day. Wednesday, Caroline had a very uncomfortable talk with her mother in which the Sheriff tried to ask in as roundabout and inoffensive a way as possible if she or Stefan may have killed Vicki.
While she was hurt her mother would even have to ask if she had killed someone –and remember those she had killed before made her feel guilty but didn't lessen the pain—she was grateful that she was being asked and not accused. She assured her mother that she hadn't killed Vicki and that Stefan was sticking strictly to his woodland creature diet.
It did leave a doubt in her mind, though. How sure could she be that other vampires hadn't arrived yet? She was going to have to have her mom use the compass to find any. However, she wasn't letting her mother just roam out there alone, and she really couldn't let the Council get hold of the device just yet. She was going to have to call Sheila and make sure she was with her mother. If there was going to be vampire hunting, no one was going to be doing it alone.
That night she talked to Sheila about her plan. If there were other vampires in Mystic Falls, they had to know about them. Sheila agreed and, the next afternoon, she came by after she taught her last class of the day. Her mother came home for a minute after Caroline had called her and told her it was important. While Caroline noticed the strain in her mother's voice, she chalked it up to the fact that she hadn't completely come to terms with her daughter being a vampire.
It would have been hard to miss the sorrow in the Sheriff's face when she walked into the living room. Before Caroline could ask what was wrong, Liz took a deep breath and asked Caroline and Sheila to sit down.
"They found Vicki Donovan's body out in the woods this morning."
Shock ran through Caroline and she picked her phone up off the coffee table.
"I'll call Stefan to see if Damon's gotten out. I knew we should have put up some sort of magic barrier just in case. I'm so stupid!"
Caroline's mother calmly took the phone out of her hand before she could find Stefan's phone number in her contact list.
"It wasn't a vampire. There were no signs of bite wounds or blood loss. We're waiting on the tox screens, but we're pretty sure that it was an overdose."
Caroline stared up at her in shock. It just didn't make sense.
"But… I saved her. Damon couldn't hurt her anymore because he was locked up. He couldn't turn her, so she wasn't going to attack anyone, and Stefan wasn't going to have to stake her. I stopped it from happening. She was supposed to be safe."
Caroline could barely feel her body and her brain didn't seem to be working exactly right. If Damon hadn't gotten out, then Vicki was supposed to live. That was the plan. She had done everything right!
It wasn't until she felt her mother pull her into her arms and start stroking her hair that she realized that her face was soaked. It was like that knowledge opened a floodgate, and she was suddenly sobbing uncontrollably. She could hear her mother whispering to her and feel Sheila wrap her arms around the both of them, but she just couldn't let go of the thought that this shouldn't be happening. She followed the plan they had come up with, but it hadn't worked.
She was already failing and she hadn't even started yet.