The next few days were agony for Klaus. Bella was walking around a lot more relaxed and less high strung due to having been given something to help her relieve herself. But secretly, Klaus wished she’d return to using her fingers because the buzzing started at the most inconvenient of times.
Such as in the middle of the night after returning home from his trip to gather information about the vampires Bella had come in contact with. While drinking from a human or during a phone call. The worst while instructing Marcel on how to handle his vampires.
At times like that, he wished he didn’t have his vampire hearing.
And for some reason, Bella stayed away from Klaus as much as possible. While it had gotten easier for her to join them for breakfast at the table, and sitting on a chair as an equal, she hadn’t made eye contact with him or had spoken to him. He did enjoy hearing her voice, though; he always kept an ear out for when she’d speak.
Although they all had been itching to feed her some of their blood to help heal her throat from the burns, they all had agreed not to. As her throat had begun to recover, her voice began to sound richer, and it never failed to bring a smile to his face.
Rebekah and Kol had started with introducing Bella to human entertainment and the idiot box. Telling her that everything she saw was fictional a story, but if you looked passed that, sometimes it was an accurate representation of how the world worked. The first day, they had a Full House marathon. Not a typical family description, but it taught Bella that family was all about love and respect for each other. And of course, having fun.
The next day, they had a Dawson’s Creek marathon. While Klaus questioned the choices of his siblings, he realized it was a good idea to show her non-supernatural focused entertainment. That there was a life without it and that it wasn’t as scary as it appeared to be. For a moment, Klaus had feared that Bella would eventually decide to turn her back to everyone, to them. To him. But if she’d do that, it would be her choice and that was the good thing about it. Not that he wanted her to leave. Quite the contrary. He wished nothing more for her to stay.
The third day, his siblings thought it was a good idea to show the human’s idea of a vampire. Or one of their ideas, anyway. They told Bella that even though she’d been surrounded by vampires for all of her life, that they were, in fact, hidden in plain sight, not known to many humans. That entertainment like this was a good thing because it taught people the wrong thing about vampires in general. Should they come into contact with a vampire, they’d think the monster wasn’t real and holy crosses would protect them. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. How embarrassing.
However, Klaus listened intently to Rebekah’s reasoning for choosing this particular series. It wasn’t because there were vampires in it, but it was because the main character, a woman, was strong, just like Bella. She was juggling ‘normal life’ – her friends, her school – with her ‘job’, hunting vampires. Over the seasons, Buffy’s ‘normal’ shifted a few times, but it was always the same. Same group of friends. Same support system.
Kol asked Bella if she could tell the difference between season one Buffy and season two Buffy and Bella nodded. After Buffy’s resurrection, she became quiet, withdrawn and engaged in behavior that wasn’t particularly her own. At that point, Cami joined in on the conversation. Klaus hadn’t realized Cami had been there. She explained to Bella that Buffy likely suffered from PTSD after her death and resurrection. She was so overwhelmed by everything that she mostly closed down and rejected help.
While Bella hadn’t died, Cami asked her if she could recognize herself in that situation. Cami sounded so hopeful, and Klaus was eager to hear what Bella had to say, but apart from her vocal ‘no’, he couldn’t listen to the rest because she wasn’t using her voice. Bless Rebekah for realizing Klaus was probably listening in. “Season two Buffy is your normal, isn’t it, Bella? You’ve been through so much crap that they forced the spark of life out of you.”
“You’ve been essentially living with PTSD and depression for all of your life,” Cami’s voice sounded, and while he couldn’t see Bella, he could practically see her roll her eyes at that.
Changing the subject, Rebekah grinned. “So, if you had to choose, who would you fancy? The angelic Angel, vampire with a soul, or Spike, the rebel? If I didn’t know any better and were a dimwitted human, I would totally fall for someone like Angel.”
“Oh, get off it, sister,” Kol laughed. “You’d be bored with someone like him in a heartbeat and break his neck.”
“Sometimes it’s nice to be courted, there’s nothing wrong with that!”
“Spike does love his Drusilla very much.”
“But he’s mental!”
“I like Spike,” Bella replied quietly. “His madness compliments his love’s madness. I think that’s beautiful.”
Of course, they decided to stop watching for the day and the buzzing resumed in Bella’s room. Day four, Klaus was glad that the batteries stopped working. Or actually, Rebekah later revealed that she had replaced the batteries with dead ones upon Elijah’s insistence. He figured they had tortured their brother long enough.
They all sat down with Cami that night, without Bella, to discuss her again. “Frankly,” Cami started as Klaus sipped on his bourbon. “She fits right in with you guys.”
“Elaborate, please,” Elijah coached her, an amused smile on his lips.
“Oh, I can make it very simple for all of you. If you weren’t thousand-year-old vampires, you would have been like her. Not that you have the same experiences, but you all suffer from a degree of PTSD, depression… mania at some point, a different view on society than regular humans… I mean, come on. Your father was abusive. What would have happened if you didn’t become vampires? More abuse. War with the werewolves. Rebekah at a risk of getting raped.”
Kol snarled at that. “Shut up, no one’s hurting Rebekah if I have something to say about it.”
“You cling to each other to hold on to your own sense of normal. You can drink each other’s blood at times, but you stick together. Survivors. You’re a thousand years old. You’ve seen enough for several lifetimes, and the only reason you aren’t behaving like her is because you are each other’s support system. And you know that eventually, things will turn around because you’ve been through it all before.”
“What else is there to do?” Rebekah said with a shrug.
“I understand we’re beyond the point of help, Camille,” Klaus said bleakly. “But can she be helped, fixed?”
“With more time and more patience, she can learn to live with it, but she will have issues for the rest of her life. She’s a bright young woman, and she’s a hoot if she feels comfortable enough to crawl out of her shell. Don’t forget, her normal is the opposite of your normal which caused her to be damaged, but if she decides to stick around with you, she’s going to be fine.”
“What if she decides to leave?”
“It is difficult to say. At least too early to tell. On her own, I think she’ll revert to what she knows and engage in risque behavior with strangers. She might function enough, but without a proper support system… I don’t know,” she replied after a moment of thought. “Plenty of people with PTSD can live healthy lives. Plenty of former cult members have successfully reintegrated into society, but Bella’s different. She’s been raised the way she’s been raised. It’s in her blood, just like it’s in yours.”
“So what do we do?”
“As crazy as it may sounds, I think having her watch television actually works somewhat. I am afraid that Buffy may have triggered something in her that needs to be monitored but try to watch some shows that are fun, fluffy and standard. Oh, Married with Children is an excellent example of a dysfunctionally functional family.”
“I’ll give her a choice tomorrow, but I think she wants to finish watching all seven seasons of Buffy,” Rebekah grinned. “Don’t worry, we’ll keep an eye on her, but maybe it’s good that something might trigger her. She needs to start showing some emotion. I want to see tears.”
“You’re so mean, sister,” Kol grinned. “But, if you want to see tears, we could pop her outside into the street and see what happens?”
“Absolutely not!” Klaus growled at his brother. “She’s not ready for that, and you know it!”
“Have her watch movies like… I don’t know. Wuthering Heights. Somersault. Shows like… Gilmore Girls, more Dawson’s Creek. Try to engage her, make her think.”
“Wuthering Heights was a book before it was a movie,” Elijah muttered.
“Does she know how to read?”
“I don’t know.”
“But you said you had an idea, and now you’re not following up on that idea?” Rebekah pointed out as she looked at Cami.
“I changed my mind over the last few days. This approach is so much better and more entertaining for all parties,” Cami said with a shrug. “If it fails, we can always fall back to that.”
“Was that all? I have a painting to get back to now that the persistent buzzing has stopped.”
Bella was waiting for him in his study when he returned. She was sitting on the sofa, fortunately still dressed and she looked alert. She got to her feet when he walked in, a big smile on her face and her hands behind her back. “Good evening, love,” he greeted her as he walked straight to his canvas. “What can I help you with?”
He heard her sit down again, and he deliberately stood with his back towards her so he could hear her lovely voice, she had no excuse now not to talk. “Could you tell me more?”
“Now that you’re able to talk, why won’t you tell me a story?” He asked kindly as he turned around, catching the brief moment of her eyes flickering down again. “It’s only fair.”
“My life hasn’t been as ex… exit… Full as yours.”
“Exciting? Everyone has at least one story to tell,” he said enthusiastically as he sat down on the sofa next to her. “Come on, love, tell me something.”
She was quiet for a long time as if she tried to remember something worth telling. Her life hadn’t been as exciting as Klaus’, it had been more or less the same every day, and she had liked it that way. “I suppose I could tell you why Kol calls me ‘a little mooner’ sometimes…”
He had wished it would be a story from the past, but this was also a story he was interested in. “Go on then,” he smiled at her.
“Uh… on the first day after he arrived, Jacob was tasked to show him around. I didn’t know who he was and why he was in the castle because it was clear that he wasn’t one of them. It wasn’t my place to be curious about him, either. They walked in on me while I was performing a task for Edward. The first thing Kol saw was my… cushions.”
He had sort of gathered that from the little nickname. He wasn’t going to press on what type of task, as he didn’t want to know the answer. Klaus smiled at her and nodded encouragingly for her to continue.
“The second time Kol ran into me, was literally walking into me. He wasn’t watching where he was going. He said he had his eyes closed because he saw me, but he bumped into me while I was finding something on the floor on the Guard level. They said they had dropped something and wanted me to find it. His knee bumped against my cushions, and I fell over, much to the delight of the guards. Of course, I knew they liked to see that so maybe Kol had been in on it, I don’t know.”
“I doubt it, love.”
“The third time, Kol greeted me with ‘Hello, little mooner!’. I didn’t understand at first, and he had to explain it to me. Apparently it was foreign to him to see a naked girl all the time?”
“Hardly,” Klaus smiled at her, finding the story sad, but she didn’t seem to think there was something wrong with it. “Thinking back, how does it make you feel?”
“I don’t understand.”
“Now that you’re not walking around without clothes anymore, how does it make you feel?”
“Warm, but would you like me to walk around without clothes? I can do that!” she said hopeful. “Clothes can be very restricting when performing certain tasks.”
“What do you want?”
Bella thought for a moment and smiled at him before slowly crossing the space between them and put his arm around her as she cuddled up to him. She pulled her feet on the sofa and nodded. “Is this okay for you?”
“Is this what you truly want?”
“Then this is more than okay for me, love,” he smiled down at her and gently squeezed her arm. He could feel how she relaxed against him and how her breathing evened out. She was asleep within minutes, but that was alright. He felt so immensely proud of her for sharing a story and for her daring to do something that went against her training. She was speaking somewhat fluently with some pronunciation difficulties, but he was so proud of her.
Screw Cami, he thought. This girl is salvageable.
Bella followed him back to his study after breakfast the next day. He hadn’t let her go all night and barely slept himself, but he didn’t mind. She had been sleeping soundly without so much as having a nightmare or issues to deal with in her sleep. Kol and Rebekah had been discussing Buffy at the table, more specifically the curse that the vampire Angel had been under.
She had offered that the series was silly seeing as without the curse, Angel acted like Emmett and Edward, but with the curse, he was more like Elijah. Spike, however, unaffected by any curse, reminded her of the Mikaelsons. Spike didn’t have to be the bad guy, but he choose to be and most importantly, he was someone of honor, something not even Angelus had.
He liked it that she could freely engage in a discussion without fearing that there would be a consequence. More importantly, she was heard, and not ignored. She didn’t even flinch when Kol pelted her with pieces of toast because she knew that he wouldn’t hurt her. She didn’t dare to return the favor and start a food fight, but Kol was crazy enough to make her do it eventually.
“I should talk to you about a curse,” Klaus said to Bella after closing the door of his study. “One that has been in my family until recently. Would you mind if I painted while doing so?”
“I like it when you paint,” she replied as she made herself comfortable on the sofa.
Bella nodded. “It’s peaceful. Makes me feel calm and quiets the voices in my head.”
“You have voices in your head?” He blinked at her. “That’s new.”
“No,” she giggled. “I’m not crazy. Just the things you told me that I didn’t have to do trying to bubble to the surface… since you’re not allowing me to punish myself…”
“No, you’re not.”
“And since I’ve managed to give my hole some attention over the last few days… Watching you paint works.”
Klaus nearly spat out his sip of blood. “Your what?”
“Hole,” she muttered, blinking at his reaction. “Where the shaft goes in? Down there?” she pointed at her crotch. “There’s another one between the cushions where the rod can be inserted, but poop comes out of there too, quite unhygienic.”
He didn’t know whether to laugh or to feel sad for her. Or disgusted. “Bella… you’re telling me that good old doctor Carlisle didn’t even teach you the proper names for your genitals?”
“Breasts, hole, and cushions. And there’s a pleasure spot…” she pointed to her jeans. “Right there. But I never felt that it only hurt so why it’s called a pleasure spot, I don’t know.”
“And what’s the male equivalence?” He was curious now. He was probably flying too close to the sun, but damn, his curiosity was peaked.
“Shaft, penis, lance, pole… ding dong?”
At least that sounded right enough, but he couldn’t help but laugh and shake his head. “I don’t think I’m the right person to teach you the right words, Bella, but hole and cushions? How about your pussy and your arse?”
“A pussy is a cat, and an ass is a donkey.”
She was right about that. Groaning, he turned around and started to paint. “I will have to ask Rebekah to talk to you about this,” he said with a small, amused smile on his face. It was sometimes easy to forget that no matter how much she’d been through in her life, that she still had a very innocent side of her. It kept him on his toes, but also out of his depth. “This is a conversation you should have with another woman.”
“It’s personal, something private. It would be wrong of me to meddle with that.”
“It just is.”
Bella huffed as she looked at his back and then watched his hand gently take a brush. She liked the way he held his brush. So tender, so kind. Whenever one of the Cullens would grab something it truly looked like something granite was grabbing an item but Klaus’ hands were majestic. Beautiful. “Tell me about that curse, please.”
“Of course,” Klaus said thoughtfully. “I told you how my mother turned us all into immortals, didn’t I? Through witchcraft?”
“What she hadn’t anticipated that with the immortality spell, came the bloodlust. The need to drink blood to sustain ourselves. We didn’t quite know what was happening to us; I remember being in the woods and I had fed upon villagers while there was a full moon, and I tore them to pieces, I changed. I wasn’t simply an immortal; I was a werewolf as well.”
“How does that work?”
He snorted. “As it turned out, my mother was unfaithful and fell pregnant by a werewolf. She never said anything, always hid it from my father. Until that day.”
“My father hated me even more, and my mother was so afraid that she used the blood of the girl Elijah had accidentally killed to bind my werewolf side with a curse. That blood was really special, as she was the first doppelganger and only the blood of a doppelganger would break the curse. Amongst some other sacrifices, but that was the rarest component.”
“Rare blood? What’s a doppelganger?”
Klaus explained it all, how it started with Tatia, then Katharina and Elena. How the curse was eventually broken and that he was no longer an immortal vampire, he was the first and original hybrid. His blood had magical properties, and as he was both vampire and werewolf, he could cure a vampire from the bite of a werewolf. Witches wanted his blood to do the bigger spells or to use it for binding spells.
Klaus was about to tell Bella about a witch ending up with his blood when she spoke. “Carlisle liked to experiment on me. When I was younger, I was often made sick, and he found a cure for it, he was the King, who could perform miracles. Carlisle was having dealings with regular vampires who could turn a human with just a bite, and he wanted to make my blood safe. I spent countless of hours in his laboratory, pleased that I could help him with his latest project.”
“What did he do?”
“Oh, injecting me with various things or transfusions of some kind, I don’t know. All I know is that he was pleased with me for being such a good girl, and after a few months, he handed me a vial of something that I had to drink. It was awful, but I did it. I was rewarded with my return to Edward and I overheard them saying something that I drank a vial that had a particular kind of blood in it with other ingredients to bind it. I didn’t quite understand.”
“I do,” he said with a low growl. He had hoped that Bella wouldn’t know about it, but she did. Of course she did, she was smarter and more observant than she had led on. “He tasked a witch to create a potion for you to drink to make your blood safe to his liking. He was afraid that the ‘different vampires’ would drain you and turn you into one of ours and take you away.”
“Yes! Exactly!” Bella smiled at him. “And no matter how often they tried, they couldn’t turn me. I have had to have many blood transfusions. They were also surprised I never died even when they drank from me. So that’s why it’s safe for you to drink, you see? Even if you aren’t able to control yourself, I’ll still be here.” She got up and approached him at his easel. “It’s okay to drink from me.” She held up her wrist again.
“Oh, love, please don’t,” he sighed as he put his brush down and lowered her arm, gently. “I know the origin of that special blood, and if you’ve been paying attention to anything that I’ve said, you know too.” She was so close to him, her scent stronger, making him long for her even more.
She thought for a moment and shrugged. “I don’t care if it’s yours. If anything, I should thank you for saving my life because if they hadn’t used your blood, I would have been dead.”
Klaus liked it how simple she seemed to make it, but it wasn’t that simple. “What if that potion did more than just make your blood safe? Magic can be quite unpredictable.”
“I suppose we’ll have to find that out together,” he said with a smile. Of course he knew the answer, but he didn’t want to scare her. She had to come to her conclusions about this, and until he wasn’t sure if she could distinguish her feelings from what she had been taught, he was going to keep saying that.
And he was surely going to talk to Rebekah about teaching her some things about her body. He didn’t want to hear the buzzing ever again.