04: Into The Fire

[Waikiki Beach, Oahu, Hawaii. December 25th, 2017. 11:30 am.]

He was caught in a tourist trap, but he didn’t mind. After how she responded to him in Romania when it was all snowy and cold and beautiful, he didn’t mind going somewhere warm for the winter; anywhere but New Orleans, to be honest. When they had returned from Romania, Klaus found ways for them to use their witch powers for his personal gain, so after a month, they upped and left to visit Reneé, Bella’s mother. And then Charlie before returning to Europe.

Bella had fallen ill somewhere in September when they were somewhere in France. He had planned for her to spend her birthday in Paris again, but this time without the bungee jumping – and she’d been in the hospital for a week before she was released. He felt like he owed her to go somewhere unique and uplifting and had taken her to Hawaii, and she had loved it. They had spent some time on the Big Island and on Maui, and now they were in an even bigger tourist trap. But that was fine. His Bella was smiling and enjoying the sunshine and the beach, and he loved seeing her in her bikini.

“So, remember I got sick a few months ago?” Bella asked as they were lying on the beach, soaking up the sun. She had curled herself up against him as they were lying underneath a big umbrella. They didn’t do Christmas presents, they agreed. Mostly because they wanted to travel light, but also because every day was a gift and an adventure. It was an incredibly cheesy pact they had made, but it was theirs, and it worked.

“Don’t remind me, that was terrible because you wanted conventional medicine to get you through it,” Kol sighed as he ran a finger over her back. “While if you had Klaus or Rebekah overnight a vial of their blood, you would have been healed immediately. You’re so human sometimes.”

She snorted as she hit him on his chest. “And you need to stop wanting to use magic for everything, it’s not a solution to all of the problems.”

“Oh, it so is.”

“Anyway,” she said after a moment of silence. “In our excitement we forgot one important thing since I got sick…”

“Which is?”

“Well, since we’re traveling a lot, I stepped off getting my Depo shot on a regular basis and switched to pills…” She said slowly, looking up at him to see if he knew what was going on, but then again, he probably didn’t have a clue. “They don’t work when you vomit all the time.”

“Okay?”

“I should have made you wear a condom.”

“Huh?”

“Seriously, are you deliberately being stupid right now?” She sat up to look at him, seeing the confused look on his face. “I knew you were ancient, but seriously?”

“What?”

Bella sighed as she turned around to get something out of her bag and put it on his chest for him to look at.

“What’s that?”

“That’s one of five pregnancy tests I took.”

“Oh, okay,” he said, picking it up and looking at it. “I don’t know what I’m supposed to see. Are you saying you’re pregnant?”

“No,” she shook her head angrily. “I’m definitely not saying I’m pregnant. I’m saying that we’re having a baby. WE. Not me. We.”

“This isn’t funny, Cuddles.”

“Do I look like I’m joking?” She got to her feet and dusted herself off. “Merry Christmas, asshole,” she said before walking off. Bella was fuming, how could he think she was joking about this? She would never joke about being pregnant because that was stupid and mean. Very mean. She wouldn’t like it to happen to her, so why would she do that for him?

As she walked back to the hotel, she decided to call Rebekah for advice. Or to rant against, because she wouldn’t want to be a bother to Elijah and Klaus wouldn’t even know what to say. The hybrid would simply let her ramble on and on without there being a solution.

Bella! How wonderful of you to call, are you having fun?”

“Hey Rebekah, Merry Christmas to you.”

You should see the tree that Nik had put up. It’s enormous. We got you presents, but I know you two aren’t coming back for a long time. But it’s the thought, isn’t it?” Rebekah sounded slightly disappointed. “It’s so quiet around here without you two around.”

“Well, you could come to Hawaii? The weather is absolutely fantastic, I’m walking around in my bikini and shorts for most of the time, and it’s just gorgeous here.”

You know, I think I just might after New Year.”

“Great!” Bella decided not to go back to the hotel but to get something to drink from one of the concession stands. “I have a question.”

Oh dear, you sound serious.”

“Because it sort is, and I was serious with Kol about it and he thinks it’s a joke,” Bella huffed. She sat down to enjoy her drink, or at least make an attempt to do so as she could feel tears sting behind her eyes. “It’s not fair. Why are men so stupid?”

Because they’re men, darling. Are you alright?”

“Yeah,” she said softly as she rubbed her eyes. She was not going to cry over this. Kol was Kol, and she should have handled it differently. “I should have conveyed the message a different way, I suppose.”

You’re having me worried now, Bella. Are you ill again?”

Huffing again, she took a sip of her drink before she spoke again. “No, if only it were that easy.”

It was quiet on the other end of the phone for quite a while before Rebekah excitedly gasped. “Are you pregnant?”

“Five pee sticks and a missed period or two say that Kol and I are going to have a baby, yes.”

Because of the deafening scream of joy on the other end of the phone, she put the phone on speaker and the table until it had finished. “I’m definitely coming over. Tomorrow. I’ll be there tomorrow, and then we’re going to find you an obstetrician to confirm, how’s that?”

Bella let out a sigh of relief and nodded, temporarily forgetting that Rebekah couldn’t actually see her. “That would be great, thanks, Rebekah.”

And tell Kol again. He’ll get the message eventually. He’s simply dimwitted. He’ll be happy. I’m happy. I’m going to be an Auntie!”

[Espoo, Finland. July 7th, 2018. 1:32 am.]

While they were traveling through Scandinavia, they had met the loveliest witch at Suomenlinna, a sea fortress in Helsinki that was supposedly haunted. Paula Grimm was on a tour with some of her coven members as some ‘sister’s day out’ and accidentally overheard Bella and Kol have a discussion about her giving birth. Bella had been putting her foot down on going to the hospital for the birth of their child. Kol kept insisting that it was a bad idea in case there’d be a magical occurrence while she birthed their daughter.

Paula introduced herself as firstly, a midwife. Secondly, a druid in a coven that sounded a lot like the coven Bella and Kol had encountered in The Netherlands, but at least Paula dressed normally and had an actual job. Always willing to help out other magical beings, she offered that they’d come to her home for the birth where she’d be able to ensure a safe delivery.

So here they were, a week later, in Paula’s home. Bella was pacing around like a caged animal as she was trying to walk off the pain in between contractions. Kol had offered to take some of her pain away, but as always, she refused.

“Stop being so bullheaded!” Kol remarked from his spot on the couch, his eyes never leaving her as she kept walking around. “I can’t stand seeing you in pain.”

“You should have thought about that when we both decided to keep this baby, Kol,” she shot at him as she rubbed her lower back. “I’m afraid that if you do take the pain away, I can’t feel if something goes wrong or something.”

“Don’t be ridiculous.”

“Please stop irritating the soon to be mother,” Paula spoke gently as she looked at Kol. “Allow her to do this the way she wants it to go.”

He let out a huff. “If I’d do that, we’d be in the car right now to the nearest hospital.”

“Okay, apart from that then. Be supportive. Offer to massage her feet or back.”

“Bella, would you like…”

“Don’t touch me,” she said as she swatted his hands away as she sank back onto the couch before putting her head on his shoulder and sighed. “Could you rub my back?”

[Espoo, Finland. July 7th, 2018. 4:13 am.]

“I know you are tired, Bella, but you need to keep pushing when you feel the need for it,” Paula spoke gently as she reassuringly caressed her leg. Bella had been pushing for about two hours now, and she looked exhausted. “It is critical that you find the strength to keep pushing.”

Kol used a wet cloth to wipe Bella’s forehead, trying to cool her down some before the next contraction came. It was difficult to stay an active participant in this, helpful, as the experience was fascinating to him. She was going to push a baby out of a tiny hole. His baby. Their baby. He already knew that the human body was able to tolerate a lot of pain and discomfort, but his Bella was Superwoman. She was doing so well. “I’m so proud of you,” he said as he helped her sit up again when the next contraction washed over her.

“Shut up,” she groaned as she tried to push as hard as she could.

“I’m serious, Cuddles,” he said encouragingly. “I couldn’t do what you’re doing right now.”

“No, your cock has not enough space to do this shit,” she cried out as she pushed again.

“Marry me.”

She waited until the contraction had passed for a moment before realizing what he had said. “What?”

“Please, marry me.”

She blinked up at him; he had a serious look on his face and this time, he seemed to mean it. She had waited for this. Bella had waited for him to find the right reasons within himself to marry her and now that moment had come but at the worst possible timing. Sitting up again because the next contraction already came, she took a deep breath. “I’m pooping out our child and you think now is the time to ask me again?” she blurted out.

“Yes.”

“You asshole!” she cried out as she felt how their daughter’s head finally popped out of her. She fell back on the bed, breathing heavily and trying to find the rest of her strength for the final push or two.

“Well?”

“Well, what?”

“Will you marry me, Isabella Marie Swan?”

[Accessing current feeds]

[Marcel’s old apartment across the river, Algiers, New Orleans. January 20th, 2311. 2:14 pm.]

Bella knocked on the door before sliding it open, finding a dozen or so young witches stare at her with their mouths open. “Close those mouths before you catch something,” she remarked as she slid the door closed behind her.

“You’ve returned!” If Bella remembered correctly, that was Vanja, first born daughter of the current regent. Older sister of the body Bella was inhabiting. The brunette jumped up from her chair to warmly greet Bella, but she took a step back to make sure there was a distance between them. She was not Daisy.

It had been strange to be back in New Orleans. She hadn’t paid much attention to it when Sam took her to the train to get to Mystic Falls, but on her way over she had taken a good look around, and it had changed. The atmosphere had changed. What used to feel like home had now turned into feeling cold and emotionless, yet also overflowing with energy and not the right kind. Bella realized that a lot needed to be done for it to feel like home again. “Are you all Mikaelson witches?”

“Yeah, apart from Mandy. She’s a Claire,” Vanja responded, making another attempt of hugging Bella, who took another step back towards the door.

“If you insist on keep on trying to hug me, you will keep on being disappointed. I am not your sister,” she said coolly before walking around Vanja and had herself introduced to the teenagers present. They were all from her line, cousins from each other and in Mandy’s case, a distant relative. “Where are the adults?”

“I am an adult,” Vanja said hurt. “So is Malin and Derek.”

Bella hummed as she walked towards the window to look out over the city. So much had changed, it hurt to realize that a lot had changed and even though progress was good, it felt as if the shifted balance had set everything back.

“Are you here to help us, Mrs. Mikaelson?” Mandy asked as she stood next to Bella. Bella liked the girl’s energy; it felt a lot better than the energy coming off of her descendants. She seemed to be a bright cookie and not afraid to step on people’s toes.

“I will help,” Bella smiled sweetly at Mandy before turning around to the other witches. “But first, I’m going to need your help.”

When they didn’t show any respect by unanimously huffing, Bella realized why they had chosen Daisy’s body for her. Daisy obviously didn’t look like much, and she had probably been teased relentlessly for looking like she was twelve.

Bella had grown accustomed to being respected as a witch ever since she and Kol permanently returned from their travels with their two children and becoming co-regents for the witches. She thought that these girls would have extended that respect towards her since they had resurrected her, but clearly they needed some education.

Bella flicked her hand, sending the group flying across the apartment before she crossed her arms over her chest and quietly looked at them. She was Bella freaking Mikaelson; she was the reason they even existed, what the hell was going on? Something was off.

“We don’t have time to help you. You need to help us, and then we’ll see if we can help you,” Vanja said as she got up from the floor and rubbed her ass. “We brought you back for a reason and you’re going to do as we say.”

“I think not,” Bella huffed.

“Forget it, Vanja. Mandy was wrong, as always. We’ll find a different way to deal with our coven.”

“Derek, was it?” Bella said as she walked up towards the boy and helped him up from the floor. She found it amusing that Mandy was following her like an eager puppy. Yep, she really liked Mandy. “Would you care to inform me about when you kids learned not to respect your elders?”

“We don’t need to respect you, we raised you from the dead to help us, you’re going to help us.”

“You have to forgive them, Mrs. Mikaelson,” Mandy said as she eyed her coven, clearly fearing for their lives. “They have been through a lot, and their parents haven’t always given the best examples. They don’t understand that kindness goes a long way.”

Bella resisted the urge to pet the young witch on her head and tell her that she was a good little puppy. Instead, she kept focused on the Mikaelson witches. “You’ve given me new life; this does not mean that I am your puppet or yours to be controlled. I’m quite agreeable to have around, but thinking me as of your property is not done, have I made myself clear?”

The impish looks on the faces before her made her blood boil. Idiots. “I am Bella Mikaelson, former regent of the New Orleans witches and your ancestor, treat me like any less and I will certainly not cooperate, how’s that? Do you understand now?” Yeah, she had the right to demand respect like an Original. Definitely. When all heads nodded, she motioned for everyone to sit down again and joined them in their circle. “I’d like to see the documentation you have on the spell cast around New Orleans that keeps the vampires out.”

“Why?” Malin asked as the blood drained from her face. “Our problems don’t concern the vampires.”

“In a way, they do,” Bella said kindly. “New Orleans is a crucial city as for centuries the supernatural community has been in perfect balance with the human population. Neither faction held too much power, too much control even if they all fought about it. This is silly, I know. But without that balance, the power shifts. Who are in control now? The werewolves and those Bennett witches, yes? How many humans get killed on a daily basis and how many wolves are being born every year?”

“Too many.”

“The vampires are predators, a necessary evil if you like. Their hunting kept the werewolf and witch population under control, and thus the balance in New Orleans. By doing so, they made it the perfect city for tourists to come and revel, to eat Po-boys in the street listening to Jazz music, stroll around feeling safe and warm in the arms of the city.”

“But…”

“In just fifty years after your great-grandfather kicked out the vampires, the balance shifted like a snap of the fingers. The Bennett witches moved in, they left their home of Mystic Falls and moved in to work with the werewolves. I’ve been told that werewolves from all over are now in the city, not just the Crescent wolves. The Bennett’s took away your home and your sanctuary. This would not have happened if James hadn’t cast that spell.”

“You want to bring the vampires back to New Orleans? How does that solve our problem?”

“It won’t directly solve your problem, but it’s the first step in the right direction.”

“I knew this was a bad idea,” Kol, son of Ulf, said as he got to his feet and started to pace around. “She’s in league with the vampires; she’s not on our side. The whole story about balance is bull. We need to simply drive out all the foreign elements and then everything will return to normal. Her power was supposed to help us with that.”

“So that’s what you’re interested in? Power?” Bella looked around the circle and almost every one of them nodded. “Why? Your line is incredibly powerful already, what do you need with more power?”

“We need to stop the regent from going on with the Harvest,” Malin said quietly. “We don’t have the juice to stop her.”

“You do. Every single one of you has the power, especially if you work together. What is it with you guys? Have you gotten lazy?” She now noticed the clear absence of Grimoires and books. “Where are your books?”

“The moment the technology was there, they started to use it, it was easier,” Mandy explained. “Back in your day you probably had people who were anti-technology or anti-vaxxers, these days we have anti-chippers. You see, a family can choose whether or not they want a chip implanted in themselves, and their offspring, that contains all they need to know. My family thinks it’s a form of mind control, to keep the population in check and from rioting. Sometimes we think it even prevents them from creating an original thought because they won’t read real books.”

“That’s a bit overdramatic,” Vanja huffed and Malin concurred. “This saves us time to do other things.”

“Like what?” Mandy shot at her cousin. “Seriously, what do you do with your time? You do your spells, your rituals, but don’t learn anything new, how is that not lazy?”

“Now, don’t fight,” Bella said soothingly and looked at Mandy. “Did Daisy have the implant?”

Mandy nodded. “But I smuggled in a tiny EM-pulse generator to shut it off for you. It’s impossible to turn it back on. I didn’t want your mind to be affected by their laziness and contain your knowledge and memories.”

“And that’s where you went wrong,” Derek grumbled. “If you hadn’t, she would have helped us without having her own agenda.”

“They were afraid to resurrect you,” Mandy said, ignoring Derek. “There must have been a reason you’ve been excluded from the Mikaelson history in their updates. They knew about Kol and know that they should fear him, but there was barely a word about you.”

Bella nodded. This she could understand. She had overheard Klaus and Sameen talk that evening when she was trying to get warm in front of the fire, even though she was talking to Kol. He had arranged it so that she wouldn’t be on those chips to protect her. “But you know.”

Mandy smiled widely and nodded. “I snuck into the Lycée to grab a few old books. I know you don’t mean any harm unless you’re threatened. They just fear you, unsure of what you’d do without any means of control. I would never have suggested they should resurrect you if I thought you were malevolent.”

She understood a lot better now and sighed. She had never experienced this side of the coin, and it didn’t feel all too good to be on that side either. Bella was still missing something, but she was certain she was going to find out soon. “I take it that James didn’t keep written records?”

“Sadly no,” Mandy shook her head.

Bella smirked as she conjured up notebooks and pens and handed it to the Mikaelson witches. “Start writing.”

While the witches wrote, Bella decided to take Mandy outside for a walk in the safe zone and grab a bite to eat. Mandy was able to tell her more about the history of New Orleans and how bad the situation was with the witches. Bella realized that it hadn’t been a recent problem. Even long before the vampires were rudely evicted from the city, the witches had started to become complacent, thinking that everything was going to be alright simply because they carried the Mikaelson name.

She understood Klaus a little better now too, with him killing so many of her descendants, and now she was wondering if it had been a good idea, at all, to have children with Kol. She felt indirectly responsible for the mess, but she wondered if it was better to take a step back; surely the only thing remaining of her and Kol’s family was a diluted bloodline and the name. Which, technically, wasn’t even theirs to have.

With a cloaking spell, she dared Mandy to cross the river with her to the cemetery where Bella wanted, no, needed, to retrieve something from the tomb that only she or Kol could open. It had been his old hang out, and they had spelled it shut from everyone else ever entering. There were so many things in there that could do so much harm they didn’t want to see inflicted upon New Orleans. But she also stored their most valuable treasures in there, and she needed to pick up just one item. A small box.

It didn’t come as a shock to her to see that some of the tombs and graves had been destroyed. Likely by the unwelcome witches and that they even made an attempt of cracking open the vault. Having Mandy as the invisible lookout, she got into the tomb and found the box she had been looking for with ease, the layout of the room still in her blood, still familiar. “Don’t worry,” she whispered as she caressed the wall as she shut it again. “We’ll see you soon. The both of us will.”

“That was brilliant!” Mandy squealed once they were back in relative safety across the river and walked up the stairs to the apartment. “I was so afraid they’d sense the magic and would come running.”

“Perhaps they did, but it’s called a cloaking spell for a reason. I made sure it scattered the magic so they couldn’t pinpoint where it came from.” Sliding open the door, she was satisfied to see that the witches had finished writing and handed her the notebooks. “Thank you. We shall see each other again soon and hopefully by then I will have secured you a haven in the French Quarter.”

“Good luck with that,” Derek huffed. “It’s werewolf central over there.”

Bella just smiled as she put the notebooks in her bag and went home.

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