Banner by karahalliwell Four years and three months after Founders’ Day and Caroline Forbes is cremating her uncle.
The months have passed painfully and Uncle Bobby’s death comes suddenly and far away from home. Castiel sent Sam to give her word of it, a bad idea considering she wasn’t aware that Sam was back before. The heart attack of seeing her dead boyfriend combined with the news of her uncle’s death overwhelms Caroline. She doesn’t speak for days.
Dean drives in the next day, tires squealing in the salvage yard. He rushes in breathless, demands an explanation, and she only hugs Rumsfeld closer. Castiel appears to give him his explanation and Caroline goes to gather the wood. Sam brings the body from the alleyway in Denver and Dean helps her set the pyre.
She stands close by, eyes watering as the smoke stings them, and ignores Dean’s calls to move back. She stands as the pyre burns for hours, stands there until there’s little left to burn. Sam appears on her right side and Dean on her left. She feels their fingers brush her hands, feels them trying to comfort her. She jerks her hands away and steps back, eyes changing from blank to enraged in a second.
“Bury the ashes,” she orders, moving away when Castiel tries to get closer. “Bury the ashes, and then get the fuck out.”
She turns on her heel, whistles for her most loyal dog, and stalks into the house, slamming the door behind her.
Four years and three months after Founders’ Day, the Apocalypse has been averted, but Caroline finds her world has ended all the same.
The third time she wakes it’s because she feels fingers skimming across her face. Caroline opens her eyes and sees a pair of sad green ones looking back at her.
“Hey,” she greets Bonnie in a hushed whisper.
“Hey,” Bonnie whispers in return. Bonnie’s fingers keep tracing patterns on Caroline’s cheek and Caroline slings an arm across Bonnie’s midsection.
“I remember our last sleepover,” Caroline whispers, a ghost of a smile on her face. “We gave each other manis and pedis, and then ate unholy amounts of ice cream.”
“You added vodka to yours,” Bonnie reminds her with a little laugh. “That was gross.”
Caroline snickers. “It really was.”
They laugh quietly together and lapse into a comfortable silence. Bonnie’s eyes dart away from Caroline’s face and towards the end of the bed. “There’s a dog on the bed,” the witch whispers in confusion.
“It’s Rumsfeld,” Caroline explains. She moves her hand up from Bonnie’s torso and tucks some of Bonnie’s hair behind her ear. “You have an angel inside you.”
Bonnie nods and bites her lip. “He tells me things,” Bonnie whispers, and her tone is a little bit haunted at this point. “He told me something about Willow Creek and how to fix the covenant. He says we need to make it stronger, to keep the town safe. We have to keep the town safe, Caroline. It’s what she died for.”
Caroline nods, knowing what Bonnie is saying before she says it. It’s what everyone’s been saying to her. It’s what Aunt Karen was trying to explain to her, what Uncle Bobby always said she would figure out one day. It’s what her mother never got to explain, it’s what Castiel was saying without saying.
This is her home. The town is hers. It doesn’t belong just to her, but a part of it is hers alone. It’s where she grew up, where some of her happiest memories took place. It’s her lot, her destiny, her responsibility-and she’s never wanted it. But it’s hers nonetheless, and it’s been waiting for her the entire five years she spent hiding at Uncle Bobby’s.
“Caroline?” Bonnie’s voice is soft and pleading. Caroline blinks and looks back at her friend. She thinks of five years in South Dakota and the results-a broken heart, a dead uncle, and endless bitterness. She looks at Bonnie and sees terror, death, and heartache. Neither home is ideal; neither home is without its bad memories. But Dean will come with her wherever she will go, and Rumsfeld is a given. Bonnie is here and Bonnie won’t leave. And for the first time, Caroline doesn’t think to ask her.
“I need you for this, Caroline,” Bonnie whispers in that same pleading tone. “I can’t do this without you.”
Caroline smiles and nods, the fear in her belly not unexpected but not as paralyzing as it has been in the past. She reaches over and hugs Bonnie to her chest, feeling nervous but content to have Bonnie close again. There are a million arguments to be had in the future. A lot of cursing and fighting and colliding is on the horizon. Dean and Matt are still butting heads and Tyler is really creeping her out lately. John Gilbert is still in town and Jeremy will be caught in the middle when push comes to shove. Castiel and Sam will be back for Pahalial, and Caroline still isn’t convinced that Cas’s plan will work. It’s an uncertain future, a hard future.
But it’s a future.
She laughs until she’s crying and her friend is confused.
“Caroline?” Bonnie makes it a question. Caroline shakes her head and hugs Bonnie closer than before.
“What’s a little blood and hair between friends?”