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Title: Sometimes I Wish That I Could Freeze The Picture
Fandom: The Vampire Diaries
Characters: Liz, Caroline, Bill, Damon, Stefan, Elena, Matt, Tyler, Bonnie.
Rating: PG
Warnings: Spoilers for all aired episodes. Possible triggers for Liz's illness.
Notes: Title is from the Abba song Slipping Through My Fingers.
Summary: As Liz determines not to spoil Caroline's Christmas by telling her of her diagnosis, she remembers other Christmases where she has done her best to ensure Caroline has a good time.


Bill had splashed out a lot on presents for Caroline that year. He’d said he’d done it to make up for not having been at her birth (apparently a friend of his from work, Steven, had gotten into some sort of trouble and Bill had dashed off to help him, and no one had been able to reach him until it was all over). “Bill, at this age, she’ll be more interested in the paper,” Liz had tried to point out, but Bill hadn’t been deterred. “She’ll get a lot of use out of these when she’s a bit older,” he’d said as he picked yet another toy off the shelf. Liz had to admit that that was true, so she hadn’t argued any harder with him.

When Christmas Day came along, Bill disappeared again and was vague when Liz pressed him on where he had been. So much for making it a special day for Caroline, Liz thought as she threw the duvet at him and told him he was sleeping on the couch. The one consolation was that she was too young to remember that her father had ruined Christmas. But Liz was determined that whatever happened, she would never let a Christmas be ruined for Caroline again.


“So you don’t know how long I have?” Liz asked.

The doctor had shaken her head. In these cases it could be unpredictable; it could be months, it could be weeks.

“Is there anyone you want me to call for you?” the doctor asked, but Liz shook her head. There would come a time when Caroline would need to know, but Liz didn’t want it to be now. Christmas was coming, and in the last conversation they had had, Caroline was already upset enough about both the fact that Bonnie wasn’t going to be there to celebrate and that she wasn’t going to be able to have the usual Christmas in Mystic Falls. For once, she hadn’t started on Stefan, but Liz knew that their estrangement would also be playing on her mind that Christmas. To tell her now was the last thing she needed.

She’d made that same decision once before on a previous Christmas, because of her long ago vow that Christmas would never be ruined for Caroline. That year, it hadn’t ended up working out as planned...


It had never been supposed to be that way. They’d agreed that Bill would stick around for Christmas and they would leave it until the New Year before they told Caroline and Bill moved in with Steven. Instead, Bill had announced that “Steven wants us to be together this Christmas” and had decided to take the coward’s way out and remove all his stuff from the house while Liz and Caroline were at the tree lighting ceremony.

When they’d got home and Caroline had discovered that all of Bill’s things had gone, she had directed her anger at Liz. Liz had tried to tell herself that this had only been the case because she was the one who was there, and when she talked about it with Grayson Gilbert afterwards he confirmed that this was most likely what was going on, but it still hurt to have Caroline screaming at her.

Bill had told Caroline that he and Steven had wanted to spend their first Christmas by themselves, which Caroline had been unhappy about, but had appeared to have accepted until she tried calling Bill, only for Steven’s daughter to answer the phone. Bill had explained that afterwards by saying that Steven’s ex had been taken ill and he’d had to have his daughter at the last minute, but at the time Caroline had screamed at Liz about how it was unfair that Steven’s daughter got to spend Christmas with Bill when Caroline couldn’t. (The incident had kicked off Caroline’s dislike for the girl that never really went away.) She’d bolted down her dinner as fast as she could before escaping to Elena’s with Bonnie and ended up sleeping over there. Liz had been left there watching Christmas movies without taking in any of the plot, sipping her whiskey, listening to the Christmas music she’d bought for Caroline and wondered why she’d still bothered trying to do the festive thing that year. But she knew that it was because she had been determined that Caroline’s Christmas wouldn’t be ruined by what had happened between her parents. Next time it would be better, she was determined.


Liz had known that there was always going to come a time when she would have to say goodbye to Caroline, when Caroline would have to leave Mystic Falls before anyone noticed she wasn’t ageing, and when Caroline wouldn’t be able to come back, at least not openly as Liz’s daughter. When Alaric had been turned and had publicly outed Caroline and Tyler to the Council, Liz had thought that that time had come sooner than she had ever expected. She’d asked herself then what she could have done differently – could she have stopped Caroline from getting into the car with Tyler? But she had had no way of knowing that he carried the werewolf gene and would have been affected by that device. Or could she have stayed in Caroline’s hospital room all night and stopped Katherine from getting in? Again, she’d have had no way of predicting that and Damon had said afterwards that Katherine would have just found another way anyway. There were so many what ifs that had run through her head at the time, when Liz thought she would have to say goodbye to Caroline. But when circumstances had changed and Caroline had been able to stay after all, she had put it out of her mind.

Similarly, Liz had always known that there was a time that Caroline would have to say goodbye to her, but they had never talked about it. Probably because they had both thought they still had plenty of time left. Once Christmas was over, she would have to tell Caroline everything, and she would do anything that she could to make it easier for Caroline to prepare herself. (Who was she kidding – it was never easy to prepare for something like that. Liz knew that.)

She’d get them through Christmas first, then in the New Year she’d think about how best to tell Caroline, and to prepare her. Maybe then she’d have a better idea of how to do it.


Liz had asked herself afterwards, if she had known that that was going to be Caroline’s last Christmas as a human, would she have tried to make more of it, or at least made more of an effort to remember every moment of it? Later, she had come to the conclusion that that was crazy, once she had realised that her daughter was still the same Caroline inside.

She remembered Caroline complaining about the snowglobe Stefan had given her in Secret Santa, but Caroline had still hung it in a prominent place on the tree that year and every year after anyway. Liz had refrained initially from reminding Caroline that she had been the one who had insisted on the guys joining in Secret Santa that year, because she’d wanted to cheer Matt up since Vicki had disappeared and not even called him (as they thought at the time). Later she’d become so sick of hearing about it that she’d called Caroline on it, and Caroline had admitted that the real reason she was pissed was because Matt had drawn Elena’s name, not because of the snowglobe at all.

Matt had joined Caroline and Liz for Christmas Day that year. The group had all been over at their house when Elena had asked him if he wanted to join them. Caroline had immediately jumped in with “Matt’s coming to us, right?” before Matt had had a chance to open his mouth, and from the look on his face, it was clearly as much news to him as it was to Liz. Liz had smiled and said of course, she would love to have him. When everyone else had gone, Liz had gently pointed out to Caroline that it might have been nice to have asked her first, and Caroline had just looked at her with those big blue eyes of hers and said that she couldn’t let Matt spend Christmas on his own. Liz couldn’t exactly fault Caroline for that, so she’d let it drop. Besides, if it was what she wanted, Liz wasn’t going to ruin Christmas for Caroline by telling her he couldn’t go. And she kept the same smile on her face when that year, the Christmas get together for the girls after dinner included not only Matt, but also Stefan and Tyler. Tyler had said that he was relieved to get out of the house after his father had lost his temper over something stupid, while Bonnie said that it wasn’t the same without her grandmother and Elena said that it was the same for her without her parents. “At least here, we get some kind of normality.” Elena had said.

Liz had listened to their conversation without letting them see, and had realised that this year, she’d got it right after all.


When Caroline had called, Liz had pretended everything was okay. They’d have that one last Christmas together without it being ruined. As Caroline talked on about how it wasn’t going to be the same this year without either Bonnie or being in Mystic Falls, Liz knew that it was going to be the last Christmas she was ever going to be able to give Caroline. She couldn’t do anything about Bonnie. But she could bring all Caroline’s favourite things from Mystic Falls to her. She’d call Elena, let her know that she was planning this as a surprise so that she could make sure Caroline was out of the way and Liz would have free rein to decorate the dorm room before she got back.

“I think it’s just going to make her Christmas being able to spend the day with you,” Elena had said as they said goodbye.

There was a time when Liz would never have heard Elena say that. For Caroline, Christmas had always been about being with her friends. But there had been one year when that had changed.


The Christmas gathering was smaller that year. Caroline had tried to persuade Tyler to join them for the big day because he was going to be alone, but Tyler had refused and then wouldn’t take her calls. She’d also tried to persuade Matt to come, but he’d decided to spend the day with Jeremy that year. Elena and Bonnie had come over as usual in the evening, but there had been a bit of an atmosphere between Caroline and Elena – Liz wasn’t clear on why, but from what she had understood it had something to do with the ongoing triangle between Elena, Stefan and Damon that Liz had lost track of a long time earlier. Stefan had ended up coming over in the morning and Elena in the evening just to make things easier.

When everyone had finally left, Caroline had gratefully accepted the drink that Liz had offered her and sank into the couch. “I’m never gonna try and plan something like that again,” she sighed, rolling her eyes. “Next year, maybe we should take off somewhere, do Christmas as just the two of us.”

Liz had smiled. “I like the idea, honey, but we both know that when Christmas comes around again, you’ll be making the same plans and trying to fit all your friends in, just as you always do.”

“I’m serious, Mom.” Caroline had shaken her head. “The best parts of this Christmas have been the parts where I’ve just been able to relax with you.”


“You’re sure you want me to go?” Stefan asked. “She still hates me. I’m the last person she’s going to want to see bearing fairy lights.”

“I’m sure.” Liz had said. “It’ll give you a chance to talk.”

Liz knew that Stefan was probably right and he would indeed be the last person Caroline would want to see. The last few times she’d spoken to Caroline, all she’d heard was how Stefan had disappeared when she’d needed him the most and what kind of crappy friend did that anyway, and how she was better off without him. But Liz also knew that Caroline was going to need all her friends around her after she was gone, the same way she had tried to be there for Tyler after Carol’s death, and that included Stefan, too. And if Liz could just give Caroline a helping hand with that, then she would. It would be one of the last things she would be able to do to make it up to Caroline for the way she had been with her in the past.

As she walked into Caroline’s dorm room, Liz determined that she would give Caroline a Christmas she would always remember.

As Liz drifted in and out of sleep, she was aware that Caroline was there, that she had placed that snowglobe in her hand. Sometimes she thought she saw other people there, some who may well have really been there (Damon, Elena, Stefan) but some who couldn’t possibly be: Miranda Sommers Gilbert; her ex-husband, Bill. Memories flashed before her eyes; she relived the day all over again when Caroline had spoken of her ambition to work in the media and Liz had scoffed that Caroline never even watched the news, and how she had initially disowned Caroline on discovering that she was a vampire and had worked with Matt against her.

“I can take it all away,” Damon offered. “You won’t remember a thing. I can make you think you completely accepted it when you found out Caroline was a vampire.”

For a moment, Liz was briefly tempted, then she dismissed the idea. “No. That’s not me. I can’t do that.”

“I understand.” Damon replied. “But don’t think about it. It isn’t going to help. Remember all the good times you had with Caroline. If you concentrate on those, it’ll be easier.”

Liz nodded. “Can you go and get her for me, please?”

“Of course.” Damon left the room, and Caroline walked back in.

Liz forced a smile. “Guess I gave you a Christmas to remember, huh? Sorry it’s ended up being here.”

Caroline smiled weakly. “We’re spending it together, and that’s what matters.”


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 23rd, 2014 06:10 pm (UTC)
This fic is really great :) Well done!
Jan. 4th, 2015 05:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you! (and the icon was actually quite appropriate there)
Dec. 23rd, 2014 09:02 pm (UTC)
What a beautifully crafted, well-thought out, wonderfully written, moving, amazing fic! ♥ I loved it. Thank you so much for sharing it ♥
Jan. 4th, 2015 05:39 pm (UTC)
And thanks for reading! Apologies in advance but I may write more on this storyline.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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