12: Curtain Up

[Giza, Egypt. October 11th, 2020. 8:37 am]

They had done things the right way around, this time. When Bella found out she was pregnant, she told Kol, and they both skyped everyone who wanted to know to give them the good news, much to Reneé and Charlie’s happiness. But also, no, they weren’t going to come back to the States for the birth. If they wanted to be present when the baby was born, they had to come to them.

So here they all were, in a hotel overlooking the pyramids, the day after Bella had given birth to their second daughter, Sophie. They had flown in Paula who had helped them with the birth of Nina, and had now helped with Sophie as well, Paula was a blessing and Bella loved her to pieces. Reneé and Phil were in an adjoined room with theirs and Charlie was down the hall. Klaus occupied the room on the other side of Kol and Bella’s room with Hope.

It was Hope’s first real trip out of the United States, and she had the right age to become interested in things. The Pyramids and the Sphinx had sent her brain into overdrive, and that was the cutest thing ever. Even Nina had gotten excited about it when she finally saw the pyramids a couple of weeks ago.

Bella groaned when Nina woke them up; she had been sleeping in bed with her and Kol as Sophie was in a crib next to the bed. Nina was doing her best to be as obnoxious as possible. Cute, but obnoxious. Bella already feared that Nina would be jealous, that she’d lose interest in the baby as her new sibling would need more attention, but she and Kol were determined not to let that happen. Hence why Nina was in bed with them. Mommy and Daddy felt guilty for the new baby, and the two-year-old was waking the both of them up.

“Ugh,” Bella said as she pulled the pillow over her head. She felt like she had only recently pushed out a baby, every muscle in her body ached. Nina in bed certainly hadn’t been the brightest ideas she and Kol had ever had.

“Morning, mummy,” Nina giggled as she poked Bella’s side with her index finger. “Can I toast?”

“Ask your dad,” Bella muttered, keeping the pillow firmly in place.

“Daddy,” Nina said as she crawled on top of him, kneeing him in the groin. “Wake up.”

“I am awake, little Bit,” Kol replied as he sat up and gently threw her on the other end of the bed where his feet were. “Leave your mum alone, okay? She’s very tired. I’m going to the bathroom, and then we’ll get you some breakfast. Maybe we can go to the pyramids today, and you can tell Hope all about it.”

“Yeah!” Nina said, hopping off the bed and running into the bathroom.

“No, I said that I would go to the-” Kol sighed as he fell back on the bed. “Are you sure she’s mine, Cuddles?”

“Shut up,” she said as she lifted the pillow off her head. “Morning,” she smiled at him.

“Morning, Cuddles,” he softly kissed her. “I’ll have her out of your hair today.”

“Ask Klaus to take her,” she groaned as she pulled him back for another kiss. “I want you to stay with me and Sophie.”

“Okay, whatever you want,” he smiled at her before he kissed her again. Kol left the bed and went to the bathroom to see what his daughter was up to, she was quiet. Too quiet.

[The Abattoir, French Quarter, New Orleans. May 4th, 2023. 12:34 pm]

“I don’t see why you two are in such a rush to move out,” Klaus said as they were having lunch in the courtyard with the entire family, minus Rebekah and Elijah who had left six months ago. It was only because they had left that Kol and Bella had returned with their brood, and Klaus loved it. Little Nina was turning five years old this year, and it would be nice for Hope to have another girl around, despite the age difference. Sophie reminded him too much of Kol when he was little; she was two now, or as she’d say “two and a half!”, And she was the ultimate prankster, even at her age. Nina had mellowed out somewhat as she had gotten older, taking after her mother.

He didn’t want them to move out. There was plenty of room at the compound and always good food, why did they want to move out?

“As much as we love you,” Bella said as she smiled at him. “We have a family to take care of. It’s not particularly safe here.”

“Of course it is!” Klaus huffed. “Don’t be ridiculous. This house the safest place in New Orleans.”

“Yesterday we had to dodge the body of a vampire you had just killed and discarded from the balcony. It nearly dropped on the children. They’re kids, Klaus. I don’t want to see them that kind of stuff just yet.”

“They’re Mikaelsons; they have to get used to it.”

“Yeah, see, I don’t want that just yet. They’re children, Klaus.”

“They’re supernatural children, Isabella,” he countered as he took a sip of his tea. “They’ll have to get used to it, eventually.”

“Now is not that time,” she said in a low voice as she put some bread on Sophie’s plate. “We’ll only be moving down the street to an apartment.”

“Yes, you acquired a lot. That still means you’ll be here for a couple more months,” he said with a smirk on his face.

“Yes. So, no more bodies. Or blood,” Bella pointed at him with her knife. “Promise me.”

“I promise, little Swan.”

[The Abattoir, French Quarter, New Orleans. June 21st, 2023. 3:21 pm]

“I’m dead,” Kol laughed as he scrambled to his feet and flopped into a chair to watch his wife play with their children in the courtyard. He had been going back and forth between the compound and his new home a couple of times today to see if the workers truly were working and to slightly escape the craziness that his girls brought him. Of course, upon his latest return, he was roped into playing a game with the girls, and it ended up turning into him being a human jungle Jim.

Thankfully, Bella managed to distract the girls with the promise of an ice cream while they played another game before actually getting one.

“It’s a beautiful thing, love,” Klaus said as he sat down next to his brother, feeling somewhat morose after receiving a message that someone he deeply cared about was in danger. She wasn’t in enough danger for him to go and save the day. “The way that you and Bella are together, I am so happy for you, brother.”

Kol looked over to his brother and raised an eyebrow. “You should find yourself a woman instead of visiting the nearest brothel on a weekly basis, brother, you’ll find what you’re lacking.”

“I don’t lack anything,” he replied as he narrowed his eyes on his sibling. “You, Hope, Isabella and your children are enough.”

“Uhuh, try fool someone else,” Kol smirked. “I know you, remember? We’re alike, you and I.”

“Not so much anymore, you got tamed, brother.”

“Hardly,” he huffed in return. “You should have seen the things we got up to, I managed to persuade her into a threesome when we were in Amsterdam. With another girl.”

Klaus blinked at that. The possibilities were endless with that knowledge, at least for his brother. “I never thought of Bella as the experimental one.”

“A foursome is next on the cards. With another girl.”

“Nah, too messy, mate.”

He thought for a second and then smirked. “Yeah, maybe. It was easier when I was a vampire though.”

“Just say the word and I’ll bite you.”

“No, I like being human, thank you very much,” he snorted and shook his head. “If you’re that lonely, Nik, why don’t you have us turn the wolves back to normal so you can have your way with Hayley?”

“She’s married, and no. She’s… no,” Klaus mused at the thought. “Although they’d all be rather easier to kill.”

“Killing the mother of your child. Classy.”

“Would make things a lot easier, maybe even have Hope not resent me later on.”

“You don’t care about being resented, Nik. Stop the bullshit. Have Caroline become your mate, you liked her, didn’t you?”

“Jailbait, much?”

“Then what the hell was that in Mystic Falls then?”

“That was not love. It was lust. I do hope you know the difference by now brother or I fear for your manhood when your wife finds out that you only lust after her,” he said with a playful smile on his face. “She’ll rip off your balls and feed them to you.”

“Sounds like you know what you’re talking about,” Kol pointed out. “Am I missing something here?”

Klaus took a sip of his drink as he smiled, but kept quiet.

“There is! Niklaus, you old dog! Who is she? Why isn’t she here?”

“It’s complicated,” he replied with a small smile. “We met in 2007 and I turned her seven years later after she was seriously injured at her job. I always said I wouldn’t intervene in her life or even attempt to rescue her, but I couldn’t help myself.”

“She must be something then.”

“Oh yes,” his smile grew wider. “Unfortunately, she’s not ready to leave her old life yet. I’ll wait for as long as I must.”

“What’s her name?”

“Sameen. You’d adore her, brother. She’s a feisty spirit, and she’s not particularly fond of Elijah and Rebekah after the stories I’ve shared with her.”

“Really? Wow, and Elijah is supposed to be the good brother. Well done, you found yourself a girl with a brain!”

“Kol,” Klaus growled out a warning.

“What?”

“Don’t tell anyone what I’ve just shared with you. Elijah might seek her out and use her against me. Rebekah definitely would. Bella… well, she might seek her out to drag her to New Orleans because she wants me to be happy even if it means that Sameen would not be.”

“Your secret is safe with me, older brother,” he smiled at him, happy that unlike appearances, his brother did have someone special for himself. And that was good. It made life so much better to know that his brother had someone. It only sucked that she wasn’t currently at his side. “Any idea when she’ll be ready for you?”

“No idea. Knowing Sameen, she’d have me wait for a century,” he said with a slight chuckle. “Simply because she can.”

“A stubborn one. I like it!”

[Accessing current feeds]

[The Abattoir, French Quarter, New Orleans. January 27th, 2311. 11:04 am]

It seemed like the witches had been right; Bella had started to feel worse during the night with cold chills and vomiting a lot. Luckily, Kol had been out to vent his anger on some werewolves instead of furniture, so she didn’t have to feel particularly bad for him to have to watch her. She was happy though that Sam had followed him out so that Kol wasn’t alone and uncontrolled. Like Klaus, Kol could take things too far.

The sound of him laughing had woken her up early that morning after having had just a couple of hours of sleep. Kol was telling her about his fun night out with Sam, going after Hope’s mother, Hayley, and chasing her all over New Orleans while pulling her tail or throwing her far far away as a sport. When Bella questioned their actions, an even bigger smile appeared on his face and told him the stories that Sam had told him about Hayley and their delicate relationship, to which Bella rolled her eyes.

Neither of them had liked the information that Bella and Kol had learned from the witches. Klaus applauded their restraint of not killing them as he would not have hesitated, but he trusted the both of them for having a plan. It was a good thing to leave your opponents alive for as long as possible to gain more information, but that did have an expiration date.

Bella was currently in one of the bare rooms in the compound, away from all the noise of the compelled workers around and working on the spell she wanted to cast to find out more. She believed the witches had spoken the truth when they had said they had ‘just poisoned’ her, but the herbs in her system would not have caused her to feel cold all the time. Or, on occasion, get the feeling that she was being stabbed in the stomach or shoulder. She had Kol draw her a pentagram with chalk on the floor because she couldn’t do it without hurting herself or smudging the circle. She then had him place her in the middle of it with her herbs. “I’m so sorry for you having to carry me all the time,” she said as she looked in the spellbook. “I feel like such a loser.”

“Nonsense, Cuddles,” he said as he leaned against the wall. “You know I don’t mind helping you.”

“I feel like an invalid.”

“You are.”

She looked up and smiled before sticking out her tongue at him.

“No. I was mistaken. You’re a small child,” Kol grinned as he crossed his arms over his chest. “Take your time with the spell, don’t worry about getting caught doing magic by the demented regent, we’re safe in this house.”

“I’d rather be in our old home,” she muttered before turning her attention back to the pages and started to mix her ingredients. “I bet it stinks now.”

“It’s no longer there, I checked. We’ll build another one once this is all over, I doubt we can continue living with Klaus under one roof.”

Bella shrugged. “Why not? The place is big enough.”

“Bella…”

“What? I don’t want him to get lonely! I know he has Sam now, but Elijah and Rebekah will bugger off again once New Orleans is back to normal.”

“We’ll be only down the street, he’ll be fine.”

She sighed and shrugged. “Whatever, we’ll see.” She rubbed her temples as a headache unexpectedly showed its ugly head, and it caused her having to squint at her book. She needed to be able to read the words to cast the spell because she had already realized that memorizing them wasn’t working anymore as she’d forgotten the words. Taking a deep breath, she told herself to ignore the pain, drag the book onto her lap and read from there.

“Are you okay?”

“Fine,” she said as she added the last ingredient, a drop of her blood, so it required her to cut herself a little, to the mix and slowly started to read out the words in the book. Her ingredients started to burn a blue hue, and she gingerly poured it across a map – to find the location of the object or magic that was controlling her as she kept casting the spell.

The trail lead to the City of the Dead, which was quite puzzling, seeing as according to the Mikaelson witches, only the regent and a handful of Bennett witches were occupying the cemetery. She raised an eyebrow and continued casting, but the line stopped there. Letting out a breath, she laid down on the floor and rubbed her forehead.

“Ugh,” she let out. “Fancy paying your respects to my old bones?”

Kol snorted and nodded. “After lunch and after you’ve taken a nap.”

“I don’t need a nap, I’m not a child,” she shot at him as she kept rubbing her forehead. “I want this to be over with. Whoever is fucking with me, physically, is going to pay for it, dearly. Even if it’s the fucking regent.”

[City of the Dead, LaFayette Cemetery 1, New Orleans, LA. January 27th, 2311. 3:03 pm]

She had cursed him when he had brought her to bed after lunch but had gladly taken the few hours of nap time and when she had woken up again, she felt refreshed. Better. More focused and less dizzy. “We should stop by our playhouse and get the non-magic shackles, just for kicks,” she said as Kol carried her into the cemetery. A few of Klaus’ daywalkers had followed them, just in case, but it seemed that after just a couple of days, the werewolves had retreated from the French Quarter.

“We’ll do it anyway because it’ll make your life easier,” he replied as they stopped at the Crypt she was buried in. “Look at that, a whole crypt for our family. Klaus must have been feeling generous,” he said as he stepped inside.

Bella couldn’t believe her eyes as she looked at the names engraved on the tombs and swallowed hard when she noticed the names of their four children and the dates that they had died. “Kol, they lead a long and meaningful life,” she proudly said as she caressed one of the stones. “Look at them, look at all of them, they all lived because of us.”

“I have created vampires who lasted longer than that,” he deadpanned, earning him a slap on the head. “Hey! It’s the truth! They all lived until I was killed.”

“By a new vampire and a teenage hunter.”

“And a butcher’s knife and vervain water, seriously, don’t forget the vervain water, that seriously hurt,” he pouted as he planted a kiss on her head. “Aw, look, Nik have us together.”

“Good, the way it’s supposed to be,” she smiled at him. “Now let’s go to our playhouse.”

They retrieved the shackles from the crypt and Kol was impressed by how everything looked after all these years, much like she had been when she went to retrieve their rings earlier. He couldn’t help but put some extra things in his pockets as they left again and grinned. “We’re going to have so much fun, are we going to kill the witch responsible and destroy whatever she’s using?”

“Hell yes,” Bella grumbled as they sealed the crypt again and continued on their quest of finding the fucking witch that was messing with her. “And then, you know, we could talk to the regent and see where we go from there. But I hope that killing the witch responsible for giving me so much grief on top of the poison shit, will allow me to at least drink your blood and fix my damn ankle.”

“Grumpy pants,” he laughed.

“What?” she whined. “Enough is enough! I want my body back.”

“You want your old, creaky, flabby body back? Rocking the grey hair?” He teased her, earning him another smack on his head. “My, you’re grumpy.”

“Yes,” she said with a pout. “I’m still getting used to the blonde hair.”

“I think it looks fabulous on you, Cuddles,” he smiled at her before walking into an invisible shield but because Bella could enter, she fell out of his arms and flat on her ass on the other side of the shield. “Oh, well, at least we found the right place,” he quipped as he looked at her.

“That hurt,” she pouted as she managed to get to her feet and dusted herself off and looked around. This was a new part of the cemetery and she hadn’t seen it on her previous visit. It wasn’t a crypt or mausoleum, more like a mansion on the side of the cemetery and it looked severely out of place. “Should have brought my crutches,” she deadpanned as she looked at the building.

“Can’t you get me in?”

Bella let out a breath as she tried to sense the magic used and shrugged. “Nope, you’ll have to wait here, unfortunately.”

“You know, this is just typical. I hate it!” Kol spat as he started pacing along the line that separated him from his wife. “I hate it!”

“Kol, breathe. I’ll be fine.”

“Doubt it,” he growled as he kept pacing as if he was a caged animal. He threw the anti-magic shackles against the barrier for good measure and hated it that they bounced back as well. “What if something happens to you in there? I won’t be able to save you.”

“Hey,” she said as she looked at him. “Look at me.”

He stopped pacing and looked at her, taking a deep breath. “Yes.”

“I’ll be fine,” she smiled at him. “I’ll just kill the witch and that will drop this barrier. Then you and I can look for the object together,” she said as confident as she could. “I promise. I’ll be fine.”

“Don’t die on me, okay?”

“I won’t.” She hopped outside the barrier and pulled his head down to softly kiss him. “You know I would have drank some of your blood just to be on the safe side if I could, right?”

He nodded as he returned her kiss before sighing. “Hurry, my little pirate.”

“What?” She laughed at him.

“Remind me to get you an eyepatch to match your outfit.”

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