The spell had taken a lot out of the both of them, and Kol was happily snoozing away while he lay half on top of Bella and his legs all over hers. She wasn’t uncomfortable, but she wasn’t able to take a nap herself. Her head was still spinning with what she had experienced. The spell, meeting Kaleb and then Ed… While part of her was relieved that she didn’t have to take the Ancestors into account, she was also scared because it was a lot of responsibility to police herself with something unfamiliar.
Before Kol had dozed off, he promised her that she shouldn’t worry about anything, but she did. And to top it all off, the Volturi were coming. Bella was already wishing for Jane to try and hurt someone so she could finally do something about it.
“You’re not napping,” Kol muttered as he shifted a little against her. “Stop thinking.”
Groaning, he looked up at her. “What is it, Cuddles?”
“Just the thing that Ed said…”
“About you being a magnificent, powerful witch? We’ve been telling you that.”
“Yeah but it really hit home and now I’m scared.”
He shifted again and softly started to kiss her neck. “It’s good that you’re scared, but you have nothing to fear. You’re in good hands. Relax. Nap.”
Bella sighed as she closed her eyes and was silent for a while. “I’m hungry.”
Kol whined as he untangled himself from her and nudged her out of the bed. “Go eat. I’m staying here.”
Bella was surprised to see Jasper on the first-floor walkway when she returned to the Compound with a box of pastries seeing as it was daylight. However, with the Volturi coming round, she shouldn’t have been that surprised. She still didn’t trust him, but he was the only one around who knew her for longer than anyone else and she wanted to talk to him. If anyone had a better insight on how she felt, it was him because he manipulated hers for a very long time.
She fished an éclair out of the box and started to eat it as she walked up the stairs. “Hey Jazz,” she greeted him, automatically holding out the box of pastries to share, temporarily forgotten that he didn’t eat human food. “Can we, uh… talk?”
“Of course, Bella,” he smiled at her, kindly ignoring the box of goodies. She was grateful that he kept his disapproval of the sweet desserts to himself – if he disapproved at all, but Bella kept it in the back of her head anyway. He and his family used to control what she ate and now he didn’t have that control anymore. “What’s on your mind?”
“You’re surrounded by vampires and werewolves, why are you scared? You have nothing to be afraid of when it comes to the Volturi, Bella.”
“I’m not scared of them, Jasper, in fact, I’m hoping that Jane will try to hurt one of you guys. I can’t wait to hurt her for once,” she countered as she took another bite of her éclair and let the words sink in for a moment. “I’d appreciate it if you’d at least acknowledge my feelings instead of disregarding them.”
He smirked as he leaned against the balustrade and looked at her. “Why are you scared?”
She put the box on a nearby table and started to pace back and forth as she munched on her éclair. It was hard to find the right words without actually transmitting her emotions to him but then again, he’d probably pick up on them anyway. “Have you ever felt as if you’re in over your head? I mean…” she sighed as she continued to walk. “Imagine having this power inside of you that scares most people in the know and with knowledge of what that power could do and that the responsibility lies with you to control it and make sure you make the right decisions?”
Jasper gently put a hand on her arm to stop her from walking around and nodded. “I’m a vampire, of course I do.”
“But you have the Volturi. If you do something out of line…” she then chuckled as she jumped on another train of thought. “Imagine the look on their faces when you’re no longer a Cold One soon, though, it will be hilarious.”
“They don’t see everything,” he replied with a smile. “I mean, sure, they see a lot but not everything. All of us are responsible to control ourselves, to control our bloodlust, to make sure we keep a low profile. If we don’t, we get caught and destroyed. Interaction with beings who are fragile takes a lot of self-control too, I’m sure Edward told you that. I’m not telling you anything new.”
She winced at the name and nodded. “But what if you lose control?”
“Then I lose control and have people help me to regain it,” he let go of her arm. “So it’s true then? You’re not an ordinary witch?”
“I wouldn’t call witches ordinary to begin with,” she said with half a chuckle. “But most witches here in New Orleans gain their power from the Ancestors buried here and have to abide by their rules. Like… Kol and Davina can’t perform the spell to change you and Peter, but I can.”
“And you’re afraid that you might go too far? That the responsibility of having this power is too much to deal with?”
Bella nodded. “I know I won’t. I mean, I have Kol, and I’m glad that he knows what he’s doing and he says it’s nothing to be afraid of but…”
He caught her when she wanted to start pacing again and tripped over her own feet. Setting her back on her feet, he spoke again. “He’s right. You’re a funny little human with your panic attacks and your occasional rage but do you know what the source of those are?”
She shook her head as she pushed her hair out of her face and looked at him.
“You have a big heart, Bella,” he smiled at her. “And it’s beautiful and you get worked up about stuff when you care too much about something or someone. You think your emotions are out of control, and I think that’s mainly my fault, but they aren’t. You don’t have to be scared of your power, Bella. Because I know that everything that happened in the beginning of you growing into your new power – the destruction – ties within the fact that you went through an adjustment phase where you felt again. Really felt. Not artificial feelings manipulated by either drugs or me.”
She blinked at him, the words making sense. “So it’s your fault then.”
“Yes,” he nodded. “My manipulation is the reason you lost control.”
“And yet, you’re still not sorry.”
“Would it help if I told you I was?”
“I don’t know…” Bella replied with a sigh and turned to her box to get another pastry out of it. “Can we try?”
“Sure,” he smiled at her when she turned around again. “Bella, please accept my sincere apologies for what I have done to you. I’m sorry that I manipulated your feelings so much and made sure you were compliant for the rest of my- for the rest of them. I am sorry that I broke your trust and ruined our friendship. I am sorry that I used your predicament to get out of my own. You were right. I’m a vampire, and I should have done something earlier and not use a human to my advantage.”
“Thank you, that means a lot, Jasper.”
“Did it make you feel better, darlin’?”
She sighed and shook her head as she took a bite out of the dessert she was holding. “No, but I appreciate it though.”
“What I did… what they did, is unforgivable. That’s why I didn’t apologize because it wouldn’t work. I know you, remember?”
She nodded and took a deep breath. “Thank you for listening to me and my rambles.”
“Always, Bella, you know that.”
She nodded again and grabbed her box with pastries. “I’ll see you in a bit.”
When she got back to the room, Kol was lightly snoring. She set the box on the table and grabbed her French for Dummies book. She had almost finished with it, and she found it was a beautiful, but complicated language. It did help a lot with the pronunciation of some spells, so there was that.
After a while, Kol woke up and sleepily joined her at the table where he tucked into a beignet. “I don’t understand you’re not even remotely sleepy.”
“I have other things on my mind,” she smiled at him. “But it’s better now. I’ll sleep tonight.”
“Oh yes, the magic of pastries,” he nodded in agreement.
“You spoke to him?”
Bella nodded. “I needed him to tell me that what I was feeling was irrational and he did. I’m more than equipped to deal with being a witch.”
“Of course you are, Cuddles,” Kol softly kissed her. “I know you are.”
“I know… but…”
“Let’s change the subject,” Kol said as he took another pastry.
“We’re going to have dinner soon with your brother, are you really going to eat another one?”
“How many did you have?”
Bella blushed and waved her hand. “Too many. Go on, eat on.”
She was glad that during dinner Marcel wasn’t there. It was just the siblings and her. Klaus and mostly Elijah talked about how they were going to handle the Volturi while she was mainly pushing her food around on her plate with her fork. Not because the food wasn’t delicious – Klaus always managed to compel a great cook. She kept offering for her to cook for all of them – or that she wasn’t hungry due to too many pastries, but just because she could. Sort of?
She wasn’t sure. She wasn’t worried about the Volturi anymore for several reasons. One, she was a witch now, and she could make sure that they wouldn’t touch her or anyone at all. Two, Cold Ones were quite lame vampires compared to the ones she had been hanging around with. Three, they sparkled in sunlight, which made it just easier to laugh at them.
No, she wasn’t scared. She just wanted everything to be done with, so she could start living again. Maybe tempt Kol into going somewhere else, like… Disneyland. Or, if preferred, something more badass and go camping. She’d need a job for that, to save up because even though she didn’t need to wish for anything, just ask, she kept it to the necessities like not paying for her food.
She smirked as an idea came to mind. It was cruel and probably not a good idea, but she could always force anyone of the Cullens to hand over one of their millions. It wasn’t as if they were going to use it after they destroyed them. And it wasn’t as if she didn’t deserve it either, especially after their treatment.
“What I’m more interested in at the moment is the reason why Bella has a devious smile on her face,” Kol’s voice pulled her off her train of thought as she met his eyes and smirked. “What are you thinking about, darling?”
“I’m fantasizing, that’s all.”
“Oh?” He leaned on the table with his elbow and put his head in his hand. “Care to enlighten me?” He asked as he suggestively wiggled his eyebrows.
“We’re trying to eat here,” Rebekah rolled her eyes at her brother.
“We’re not doing anything but eat, sister,” Kol replied with a smirk as he briefly looked at her before turning his attention back to Bella. “How interesting is your fantasy?”
Bella shrugged as she took a sip of her soda. “Not that interesting, just a fun idea that could lead to more fun to be had without exhausting your family’s resources.” She snorted when all four siblings rolled their eyes simultaneously. “What? At least I’m not thinking about getting a job, something you think of as dull!”
“We don’t think it’s dull, little dove,” Rebekah said with a smile on her face. “It’s unnecessary. We keep telling you that.”
“Isabella values some form of independence. Whatever she’s thought of, I am sure it will be beneficial to her.” Elijah replied simply.
“I hope so, this needing a job nonsense is getting tiresome,” Klaus remarked as he shoved his plate out in front of him and then looked towards the door as Marcel entered. “Ah, I take it our guests have arrived?”
“Yep. There’s seven of them. Jasper identified them as the three leaders and four members of the guard.”
“Jane, Alec, Demetri and Felix.”
Bella groaned. Of course, they took Felix with them. “Well, it’s official, you scare the shit out of the Volturi, Klaus. If it comes to a fight, Felix is one to look out for.”
Klaus smirked as he looked at Marcel. “We’ll meet them shortly, we’re just finishing up our dinner.” He waited until Marcel took his leave and then looked at Bella. “They have nothing to fear from us, Bella. I intend to have this meeting end on a positive note. If not, I’m always in for a good fight,” he said with a big smile on his face.
“Yes, but let us at least try to stay civil, Niklaus,” Elijah said sobering. “We have been coexisting with their kind for a very long time and I do not wish our relationship to end.”
“Nevertheless, it will be a short meeting once Marcus identifies our relationship to Bella,” Klaus said with a shrug. “If he doesn’t, I am certain he will pick up on the relationship between our brother and her.”
“We shall see, but please, Niklaus, don’t cast the first stone.”
She knew she had no reason to be scared of the Volturi. She kept reminding herself that as they descended the stairs into the courtyard. She had wedged herself between Rebekah and Kol, and Peter and Jasper kept an eye out from the balcony. She was safe. Should something happen, she was more than capable enough to make sure nobody got hurt.
“Marcus, Aro, Caius, how nice of you to drop by,” Klaus greeted them as he kept the fountain between them. “To be honest, I was expecting you a little bit sooner, are you getting slow in your old age?”
Aro smiled politely. “We would have, Mr. Mikaelson, had it not been for the numerous of uncontrolled newborns roaming the country that left my guard scattered to clean up the mess. You wouldn’t happen to know anything about that, do you?”
“I had no hand in that,” Klaus replied as he crossed his arms over his chest. “Why are you here?”
“Mr. Mikaelson, you are aware of the laws we live by, are you not?” Aro said as he peeked over Klaus’ shoulder to look at Bella. “Our society is shrouded in secrecy and contact with humans – apart from using them as food – should be restricted to the bare minimum so they won’t find out about us.”
“I think that’s a funny little rule, completely preposterous seeing as we live among them. Of course there will be humans who will find out about who we are and what we do.”
“Ah, yes, but unlike you, we do not have the ability to compel someone to forget about us,” he countered with a smile on his face. “It was promised to us that Bella would become one of us to keep her alive, sort to speak. Or she’d die. She caused quite the scene when we tried to kill her mate. Surprised us all with her willingness to die for him.” He looked over Klaus’ shoulder again as he continued. “We are merely here to see the agreement has been settled and if not, to rectify what’s lacking.”
Bella nearly broke Kol’s hand, she could feel how hard she was squeezing it, and he wasn’t responding to the pain if it even hurt him. She had agreed to Klaus and Elijah talking to the Volturi while she stood by, but she wanted to throw them all across the courtyard and out of the gates. There was no way she was going with them.
“There’s no need for that,” Klaus said as he moved so he blocked Aro’s view of Bella. “She’s under my protection.”
Aro smirked. “Even so, our laws need to be obeyed. She knows too much.”
“With all due respect,” Elijah spoke up and joined his brother. “She has suffered from your kind for too long, the laws no longer apply to her.”
“Interesting, please, tell me more. We hold the Cullen coven in the highest regard.” Bella could tell that Aro tried to ignore Caius’ snickering. “They are quite the interesting family.”
“How about we let a former member of the coven show you what they did to her.” Elijah said as he gestured for Jasper to come down. “You are telepathically gifted, are you not?”
She could see the self-serving smirk on Klaus’ face as Jasper jumped down and sauntered his way over to Aro, holding out his hand. He wasn’t reluctant, it was as if it was planned. Aro seemed to be at a loss of words at the sight of Jasper and Felix had taken a few steps closer to his master in case Jasper would do something they’d regret.
“Now, remember, Jasper, show him the whole picture and leave nothing out,” Klaus reminded him before Aro took Jasper’s hand in his.
It didn’t take long for Aro to be done with Jasper, and when he was, he had an amusing smile on his face. “Well, well… it seems that our dearest Carlisle has a dark side after all.” He then spoke in Italian to Marcus and Caius, who both nodded in return before he turned back to face Klaus and Elijah. “Their unfortunate misconduct towards Bella does not take away that her knowledge about us is vast; the law is still in place.”
“We would have to confer to judge about Jasper Whitlock’s situation, whether he should be allowed to live or to be destroyed, but please, hand us Bella Swan and there won’t be any trouble,” Caius added.
“Are they always this singular minded?” Kol whispered to Bella, who just stared in shock at the Volturi. “Cuddles.” He gently elbowed her to make her look at him. “Don’t worry, my brothers won’t allow it.”
“Miss Swan is under my protection,” Klaus repeated himself. “She’s living under my roof and she’s my brother’s mate. She’s in constant contact with vampires, werewolves, hybrids and witches, and you’re telling me that you’re afraid that she knows too much?”
“We had an agreement.”
Bella realized too late that Jane was up to something, and it wasn’t until Kol doubled over in pain that she knew what was happening. She imagined reaching into Jane’s body and grabbing her insides to turn her inside out before she shot her hand out, causing Jane to double over and releasing Kol. “Leave him alone!” After releasing Jane, she turned around to check Kol over, but he seemed to be doing alright apart from being a little shaken. She was going to fully check him over once they got back to their room.
“Miss Swan is a supernatural being herself; that agreement is rendered void, wouldn’t you say?” Elijah said, a hint of smugness in his voice.
“That’s an interesting development, indeed,” Aro said with a nod as he looked over at Jane, who was looking at Bella with a murderous look on her face after she was released. “Very well,” he said as he turned back to Klaus and Elijah. “We will not come after the girl as long as she’s under your protection and your brother’s mate.”
“As for the fate of Jasper Whitlock, we shall be back once we’ve discussed it,” Caius spoke calmly, which resorted in Klaus snorting.
“Until next time,” Aro said as the three Volturi turned around in unison and spat away, followed by their guard.
“Well,” Klaus smiled widely as he turned and looked at them. “What’s next?”