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Stefan, 203, Caroline

Fic; The wreckage of your silent reverie

Posted on 2012.06.01 at 15:47
Tags: ,

Title; The wreckage of your silent reverie
Characters/Pairings; Caroline/Stefan
Word Count; 2140
Summary; Caroline and Stefan, in the midsts of a zombie apocalypse. Angst. Written for the zombie apocalypse comment ficathon, for us_overlooked 's prompt; She sings him to sleep sometimes.




Stefan taught her how to not eat people, taught her how to be a good vampire, and so it fits she supposes, that when life makes it necessary, he teaches her how to be a bad one.

“Here,” Stefan points out a juncture of the man’s jugular with his forefinger.

Caroline nods, the human shivers, beads of sweat freckling his nose.

“You don’t have to do this,” Stefan says gently, but he’s looking towards the man’s little sister.

The man almost subconsciously follows Stefan’s gaze, turns back, more determined now, calm, certain.

“Yes, I do,” he answers Stefan with passion. 

This is how Stefan manipulates. She can’t help but be fascinated, it’s simple, and yet magnificent. She sees why Klaus loved this side of him so much, and that thought makes her feel a little sick. The deal is; protection from the zombies in exchange for blood. Caroline never understood how kindly spoken words could be so sword-like until they bounced off Stefan’s tongue. Though she wonders how much of this is for her benefit; whether he would just be compelling them if she weren’t here, doesn’t know if she should feel patronised or pleased.

“Caroline,” Stefan sighs, “you need to know this.”

“Sorry, I’m watching,” Caroline replies, preparing to create a mental list of Stefan’s instructions.

“Don’t sever it, just nick it, like this,” Stefan says demonstrating, “If you do it right, you don’t have to waste a drop.”


**


Caroline practices on the man’s--Simon’s--wrist; ever aware of every drop they can’t afford to lose as it speckles the floor, and ever aware of every drop of her own blood she uses healing him. But she’s Caroline Forbes; and it doesn’t take more than a few tries for her to become an expert.

Stefan watches closely, as she places her thumb and finger against Simon’s neck for the first time, she can feel his pulse beating strong under her hand; it vibrates through her, it would be delicious if she just ripped in and drank until there was nothing left. Caroline suppresses the thought like it was never there, his skin is warm and clammy and the touch feels foreign, entirely unlike his wrist. Simon’s pulse is getting faster, and it occurs to her that waiting is cruel, so with poise, she delicately nicks the artery, and drinks the exact amount Stefan instructed (enough to keep them strong, but not so much that they severely reduce the human’s longevity).

Stefan sends her a proud smile, and she beams in response, until she realises what she’s proud of—of calculating a person’s worth in blood alone, and she feels sad for the person she’s becoming. The beam stays on her face; it’s her job to keep everyone’s spirits up.


**


“We need to keep moving,” Stefan says, handing Simon a bottle of water.

“Yeah, you going to hold up your end of the deal?” Simon asks.

“If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be giving you our water,” Stefan tells him.

“I suppose you need me healthy though, don’t you?” Simon smirks.  

And that’s the last time any of them bother to mention the deal.

This is survival, for a week nothing much happens. They spend most of the day walking, and searching; for food, for shelter at night, for other necessities. And most of the night keeping watch as Simon and his little sister Rachel sleep.

They take turns carrying Rachel when she gets tired, and Stefan refuses to let Simon keep watch. So it’s just her and Stefan taking turns, the thing is, Caroline is still a relatively young vampire and still needs more sleep than Stefan, they adjust accordingly, which pretty much means Stefan spends almost all of his time keeping watch, and she can’t help but feel guilty. That’s how it starts.

Caroline watches the constant stoic expression on Stefan’s face, never thought she would miss his broody look. She wants to help him relax, in the small time available to him, and she knows she can sing, knows that helped her get to sleep when she was younger. Sitting down beside him, as he lies on the floor, she softly lets a few melodic words slip out, at first he gives her a bemused look, but then gives her a genuine smile; the first in days, and they both feel a little better. 


Spend all your time waiting for that second chance,

For the break that will make it ok,

There's always some reason to feel “not good enough”?

And it's hard at the end of the day


**


Three days later, they are found by a zombie hoard. Simon holds a bat in one hand and a gun in the other. Zombies aren’t that much of an issue for vampires, it’s more about the lack of blood available, but now they have Simon and Rachel to protect.

Using vampire speed, Stefan rips off heads like they’re paper, and she smashes them like they’re balloons. Zombies don’t have the intellect to run away but after twenty or so deaths they become more hesitant when it comes to marching towards them. Holding onto the humans, her and Stefan run off.

A few hours later, it’s hammered home again that this isn’t a good place to be, when some vampires find them.

“Hello darling, what’s your name,” a young woman asks, grinning eerily, reaching for Rachel’s arm.

Caroline’s arm grasps the vampire’s forearm in a vice-grip. The vampire laughs. Not that young then.

“Come on, we just want to share,” a blonde chubby guy says, leering.

“Don’t touch them,” Stefan orders in a low dangerous voice.

Ignoring him the blonde reaches for Simon, Stefan yanks the vampire away; dislocating his arm. Caroline kicks the vampire in the nuts. And Stefan stakes him before he recovers. In the next moment, the woman stakes Stefan in the back, Caroline lets out a punch and a few kicks. Simon distracts with a whack from behind, and at that point Caroline stakes her. 

“That wasn’t too bad,” Simon sighs, relieved.

“They were weak, hadn’t fed, we won’t always be that lucky,” Stefan tells him.


**

That night Caroline decides to sing to Stefan again. It’s odder the second time. It makes this a habit; makes this something they do. It makes her think of Elena. The words--though in tune--come out awkward. In response, Stefan pulls her arm around himself, and places his head in her lap, and she relaxes, stroking his hair as she sings.

After this, every time they have a bad day, Caroline sings Stefan to sleep at night. 


I need some distraction, oh beautiful release,

Memories seep from my veins,

They may be empty and weightless, and maybe,

I'll find some peace tonight


**


Days drift into weeks, and they carry on.

“We can look after you,” Stefan coaxes.

The woman agrees; they almost always do. They now have seven humans in their little team, and are provided with more than enough blood to keep both of them strong.


**


Weeks drift into months, they steal food from the dying, and kill those in their way.

A tall, skinny man approaches them. There are already puncture marks on his neck. He’s been food for one of the other vampire gangs. He looks broken; far more so than the usually dishevelled humans they find. 

“Are you Stefan and Caroline? I heard about you, people are saying you’re it’s safe with you, can you help me?” he rasps.  

“We can look after you,” Caroline tells the guy.

Stefan gives her a disagreeable look, but doesn’t object; they have eighteen people with them now; it’s far too many. She refuses to turn anyone away; after all the ruthlessness, she has this to hold on to. And the singing; the singing reminds her, that whoever, whatever she is, she’s still human (that they’re still human); still touched by the sound spinning in the air.


In the arms of an Angel, fly away from here,

From this dark, cold hotel room, and the endlessness that you fear,

You are pulled from the wreckage of your silent reverie,

You're in the arms of an Angel; may you find some comfort here


**


Vampires are shrewd creatures. As it comes up to a year, almost every human still alive is in the service of one vampire or another, used as blood bags and thrown away when it’s no longer convenient to protect them. But these humans hear rumours, of two kind vampires, rumours that say if you can escape and get to them, you will be looked after. This legend isn’t helpful for Stefan and Caroline; it’s downright problematic; their little army reaching forty strong.

“Are you Stefan and Caroline?”

“I’m sorry, we can’t help you,” Stefan states bluntly.

“Stefan! We have to!” she exclaims incredulously.

“No. It doesn’t matter how many rationing lists you make, or how many scavenger hunts you organise; there isn’t enough food for everyone as it is,” Stefan says quietly.

Caroline opens her mouth, to give another of her ‘I will sort it all out’ speeches, and then she closes it again, because Stefan’s right. Except she’s supposed to be the one who stands up for these people, and giving in makes her the bad guy.

“I’m sorry,” she tells the man, voice cracking over the words.

That night Stefan sings to her as she cries silently. She doesn’t feel like she has the right to sing anymore.


So tired of the straight line, and everywhere you turn
There's vultures and thieves at your back
The storm keeps on twisting, you keep on building the lies
That you make up for all that you lack


**


Every now and then a person they turn away comes back to haunt them, in the form of a body on the road, or a zombie, Caroline keeps count (it’s happened seventeen times) even though Stefan tells her not to.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, vampires descend on them. Ever prepared, people pull out their various weaponry; daggers, stakes, crossbows, Vervain darts etc. They usually have the numbers (and strength) to win, but as darts fly, and stakes are thrust, more and more vampires appear. Vampires die, humans die. As everyone fights, some of the humans away are dragged away. Caroline sees, but knows there are too many stakes and kicks and punches she would need to deliver to get to them in time. It’s chaos. She stakes and kicks and punches her way through the battle anyway.

Once the vampire gang have kidnapped ten people, they decide to leave; all vanish away in a second.

“We can’t go after them, we’re not strong enough,” Stefan says.

Then the people’s voices drown them both out:

“We have to!”

“You promised you would look after us!”

“It’s stupid, more of us will die!”

“You have to try.”

“And what happens when more of us are taken?”

“I can’t lose anyone else.”

“Please help, I’ll do anything, please!?”

Everyone argues over each other, yelling into the cacophony, words jumble into nonsense, she only hears pain and tears and wretchedness spilling out onto the ground.

“What if it was Elena?” she whispers. 

Stefan still hears her, gives her a sorrowful look, but only watches with consternation as many people leave on a rescue mission.

“So we’re only left with the disloyal ones, that’s great,” Caroline says. 

“We’re not their friends Caroline.”

“How can you say that, we’ve been moving for over a year, and have found nothing. These people, they’re all we have, otherwise what is the point of all this!” Caroline shouts.

“We have each other Caroline; I’ll never let anything happen to you. But you can always go on the suicidal rescue mission if you want.” 

She stays with Stefan, and mourns the Caroline who wouldn’t have done; that girl’s gone now, it’s time she got used to it.


**


“Sing to me Caroline,” Stefan asks her that night.

“I can’t,” she sighs; she hasn’t sung to him since the night they turned that first person away.

“I think we both need it. It’s a reminder. The times you need a reminder most are when you’re closest to forgetting, whatever we do, we have to remember our humanity; that’s what we have.” 

“Of course you knew,” Caroline says, with a wry smile, not particularly surprised that Stefan knew her reasons for singing.


“You feel bad, your humanity is very much still there.”

“What’s the use if we don’t act on those feelings.”

“We only do what’s necessary; that’s the line we don’t cross.”

“I don’t feel any better.”

“You’re not supposed to, now come on, let’s sing.”


It don't make no difference, escaping one last time
It's easier to believe
In this sweet madness, oh this glorious sadness
That brings me to my knees





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