17: Kidnapping

[The Abattoir, French Quarter, New Orleans. January 30th, 2311. 4:21 pm]

Bella felt great. She had been so thankful that the day after the spells, she felt as fit as a fiddle. Her mind was clear, relaxed, no immediate threats and she liked it that way. She felt the need to apologize to everyone for having behaved the way that she had ever since her return. Things should go back to normal; as good as normal it was.

She couldn’t help but feel slightly nervous, though, when they were bringing the body of Daisy to her mother – the regent. She had wanted to bring her to the witches hiding out in Marcel’s old loft, but Kol thought it would be a great conversation starter. “Hey look, your daughter sacrificed herself to raise a powerful witch from the dead to have a chat with you!”

Bella, on the other hand, thought it’d be a recipe for murder. However, Kol was confident enough that they wouldn’t get into trouble. Despite his confidence, she had asked Sam to be close by with her gun, for back up.

Yes, Bella knew that she was a powerful witch and yes, Kol was an Original vampire. But, there were werewolves present and Bennett witches, who, apart from Bonnie, Bella hadn’t encountered before. Bonnie had been a powerful witch on her own. Stupid, but there was a lot of power inside of her. If these were her descendants, or at least part of the same bloodline, Bella wanted to be sure that they were going to walk out of there alive.

It was a miracle that they were allowed to enter the garden, but at the door, they were stopped. “No vampires allowed,” one of the wolves said, causing Kol to snarl.

“I’m holding the regent’s dead child, you’re going to let me pass,” he said angrily. If he hadn’t, he would have smacked those werewolves and kicked them out. No one was going to stop him from entering. Unless this house was owned by a living person. Then they’d be in the same shit again as a couple of days ago, and Bella wasn’t going in either.

On the other hand, they wouldn’t need wolves at the door if the house was legitimately owned. Throwing Daisy’s body over his shoulder, he looked at his wife. “I’m trying to do the respectful thing here, look what happens.”

“Go for it,” Bella said with a nod. “I’ve got your back.” She put her hands in her pockets and took a step back as Kol bashed the closest werewolf against the wall with his free shoulder and she could have sworn she heard something snap inside the werewolf’s body. She watched as Kol grabbed the other one by the throat and ducked when he threw him over her as if he weighed nothing.

Sure, she could have easily done something about the entrance problem, but she knew that Kol liked the action too, after having spent days with her, taking care of her, he deserved some fun. She was relieved when he could simply step over the threshold without needing an invitation. It clearly showed that they hadn’t been planning on the barrier being lowered and that there were vampires back in New Orleans.

She did that. She lowered the barrier and allowed her family back in. Oh yeah, she was kickass.

Bella beamed proudly up to Kol as she stepped in stride next to him into the grand hallway. It was one of those old plantation houses they were in; the hallway was open and round so that people could see from upstairs where you got to via a big staircase. In all honesty, it was breathtaking. Even after so many years, the house was still in perfect shape and absolutely gorgeous.

Soon, a lot of heads popped up over the balustrade encircling the area and Bella looked up to look at all of them. “We’re here to seek audience with the regent of the New Orleans covens, Isabella Esther Mikaelson,” she spoke up. “We’re here to return her daughter to her and inform her of the situation in the Quarter. We mean you no harm.”

“How dare you bring a vampire to our home!” One of the witches spoke up, and Bella’s head snapped to her.

“As if I’m going to carry Daisy’s body myself, have you seen me?” Bella huffed. “Besides, he’s my husband so you better produce Esther or I’ll allow him to rip your throat out.”

“Hey,” Kol whined softly. “I’m not your attack dog.”

“They don’t know that, honey,” Bella gently pat him on his arm before looking back up to the witch. “As I said, we don’t intent on hurting anyone, but we will if we have to.”

“I am here,” another voice spoke, and they could see some movement as the woman moved through the witches towards the stairs. “You’ve come to return my daughter to me? I didn’t know she was lost.”

Only when the woman walked down the stairs, Bella replied. “A lot is lost on you these days, I hear.”

“Don’t speak to me like that,” Esther shot at her and waved her hand to fling Bella across the room but nothing happened. Bella had been expecting this and had put a reflective shield around her and Kol. It was fun to see the woman fall flat on her ass on the stairs, though. “What was that?!” she screeched as she got back to her feet.

“You’re the regent, calm your tits,” Bella said calmly as she crossed her arms over each other.

Kol took a few steps forward and gently placed Daisy on the floor before Esther and then joined Bella again, holding up his hands. Oh, he wanted to sink his teeth into every single person in this house, he didn’t like the vibe, the energy in the place, but Bella had made him promise that he would keep his teeth to himself. But he wasn’t happy about it.

The regent finally made her steps off the stairs and looked at the lifeless body of her daughter before looking back up to Bella and Kol, emotion barely showing on her face. Her own daughter and she weren’t even flinching. “What happened?” She demanded, making herself taller as she eyed her ‘guests’. “Who are you?”

“Ah!” Bella smiled up to Kol. “The two questions that can be answered in one go! Would you like to have the honors, dearest?”

“Gladly,” he smirked before turning his attention to the witch. “Your subjects were worried about you due to your allegiances to the Bennett witches,” he said, causing most of the witches around them to scowl. “As I can tell, many have gathered around you. From what I’ve heard, you’ve reinstated the Harvest. Why is that? As I remember, that was made unnecessary 300 years ago.”

“We’re losing power. Whoever thought it was a great idea to petition the ancestors to end the Harvest wasn’t the brightest bulb.”

“You don’t practise magic the way it’s supposed to be practised; that’s why you seem to be losing power,” Kol snapped. “Your witches knew that something needed to change. With you, but also New Orleans as a whole. Since you wouldn’t listen to their pleas, they resurrected the most powerful witch they didn’t even know about until a Claire pointed her out to your children.”

“You’re saying that a Claire is responsible for Daisy’s death?”

“No, I’ve heard that she sacrificed herself so that this witch could inhabit your daughter’s body while she’d save every single one of you,” Kol pointed at Daisy. “Your daughter volunteered, even took the poison that would cause the witch to die in a matter of days, a week. They were that desperate, yes.”

“And who was this witch they brought back? Did she do something special?”

“How about dropping the shield that kept the vampires out while her body was being poisoned?”

“Don’t be ridiculous, nobody is that powerful apart from the Bennett witches and we don’t have those buried in the cemetery.”

Bella felt a vibration in her pocket and retrieved the device with a smile. Turning it around, she read the message sent by Sam.

‘Our friend wants to inform you that she didn’t find any person named Bennett with a chip in their head, will that work?’

“And you still haven’t told me who you are!” Esther was losing her cool again, and Bella felt sorry for her.

“Shouldn’t there be two regents?” Kol inquired playfully as both he and Bella took a few steps forward. Oh, he had missed this, he and her against the world. They hadn’t told Klaus yet, but if they’d get their chance today, Bella would take the place of the current regent, just as long as she was needed. “I know that people tend to forget history, which is a pity, really.”

“My name is Bella Mikaelson, and this is my husband, Kol. Your children are worried about you and who you align yourself with. We’re here to help.”

“I don’t need your help!” Esther screeched after a moment of silence as if she was thinking about it. “Leave my home or I will throw you out!”

Bella quickly took a step forward and pulled Esther within the protective bubble and the woman collapsed immediately. Kol managed to catch her, and Bella looked at him. “Well, that explains it.”

“What did you do?” One of the other witches stepped forward, panicked that Esther had fallen to the floor. “You fix her right now!”

“I believe I just did,” Bella deadpanned as she focussed on the woman. “Are you the leader of the Bennett witches?” When the woman slightly nodded, she continued. “What’s your intention? Why have you been insinuating yourselves in New Orleans?”

“Why do you care?” The woman spat as she defiantly crossed her arms over her chest. “We’ve been coming here for a hundred or so years, looking for a great source of power to benefit us all.”

She blinked at that. That was new. “I don’t understand. You can’t practice ancestral magic; you have no ancestors here. What source of power?” When she saw the confused face of the witch, she sighed. “I’ve been dead for 300 years. Enlighten me.”

“What?”

Bella smirked and cocked her head. “Enlighten me.”

“Why? You come into our home, ruin our friend and have the balls to demand information?”

“Pretty much,” Bella smiled up to Kol. “Are you alright, my love?”

“I feel a little bit peckish if I have to be honest,” he said as his true face came out to play. He focused his attention to the witch who had been speaking and licked his lips. “Tell her what she wants to know.”

“You’ll die, vampire,” she threatened.

“Been there, done that… I’m sticking around this time.” Without warning, he shot forward and sunk his teeth in the witch, draining her as he locked eyes with Bella, who, in turn, was licking her own lips, he could smell her arousal and winked at her. They were going to have so much fun.

“So,” he said as he dropped the witch and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. “Who’s going to tell us what’s going on?” He ran up the stairs and killed two witches by snapping their necks. “I have no problem with killing the lot of you until one speaks up.”

“Stop him!” One of the witches screeched while others were casting spells on Kol that Bella tried to prevent from hitting him from her spot in the hallway. Kol kept moving around as well, a bit smile on his face as one by one, he killed witches until they stopped attacking him.

“I don’t know what’s going on, or who you are but stop!” One of the teenage witches called out, her hands raised in defense. “I’ll tell you what you want to know.”

“Good, because you’re exhausting my wife,” Kol said as he hopped down to rejoin Bella. He put an arm around her and smiled widely. “That was fun.”

“How does that work? Y-you’re a vampire, and she’s not?” The girl carefully stepped around the dead bodies and Bella carefully observed her movements. She didn’t look scared in the slightest, impressed, maybe.

“You first,” Bella said, magically nudging the witch ever so slightly to have her stop moving. “What great source of power?”

“If my suspicions are correct, I’m looking at it,” the girl eventually retorted with a nod towards Bella. “There is no trace of you in our mental history, but the diaries of our ancestor Bonnie Bennett spoke of you,” she smiled kindly. “There was even a picture of you and your husband with her, though; he didn’t look like that. Wasn’t he a witch too?”

Bella groaned as she turned to Kol. “Sam said the same thing. The Mikaelsons knew about you and your family but not about me.”

“Yeah, Nik made sure you stayed out of it, to protect you.”

She huffed. “Look where that has gotten us.”

“Barb’s idea was to resurrect your soul and mold it to her will, maybe plonk you into Esther’s body. The only problem was that we didn’t know how and when,” the girl said, shame was heard in her voice. “She wanted to use your power to make New Orleans better, clean out the werewolves. Get the witches of New Orleans behind her, more power.”

Bella was furious. People were still so obsessed with more power and didn’t care on how they were getting it. “Yeah well, that’s not going to happen. Nobody touches me again apart from my love.”

Kol picked Esther’s unconscious body from the floor. “We will rebuild New Orleans and restore it to its former glory, but New Orleans doesn’t have a home for witches of your kind. Maybe, in time, you could form an allegiance of some sort with the witches here, but you are not bound by the magic of the Ancestors here. You should travel the world, see things, learn things from other witches. Don’t get stuck here.”

“And get rid of that stupid chip in your head. Use books,” Bella said as she smiled at the teenager. “Educate your coven and get out. If you’re not gone by the end of the week, you’re free to be hunted.”

“But…”

“No but. You’re lucky we’re giving you that much.”

[The Abattoir, French Quarter, New Orleans. January 31st, 2311. 7:11 am]

“You can’t keep me here!” Esther’s voice screeched through the entire building. They had brought her to the compound the day before after she’d collapsed and made her comfortable in one of the guest rooms that didn’t look all too bad and Bella had sealed her in. She wasn’t going anywhere; she needed to answer some questions first. “I am the regent of the covens of New Orleans!”

Bella groaned as she turned in the bed and rolled into Kol’s arms. “I should have put a silencing spell around that room too…”

“Uhuh,” he yawned and kissed the top of her head. “You’d better get your cute little ass out of bed and attend to our guest before Nik flips his lid.”

She let out another groan.

“You decided to take her here, Cuddles.”

“I know. And I swear, once this is all sorted out, you’re going to kill me so we can spend eternity together and out of this kind of shit.”

“That’s a promise, just say when.”

She smiled at him and softly kissed him before leaving the bed in search for her clothes, but was surprised by Sam, who rushed into their chambers. “Ever heard of knocking?”

“Oh my, look at you,” Sam said as she licked her lips after stopping an inch away from Bella. “So deliciously naked.”

“No biting of the human,” Kol warned from the bed, his tone far from being playful.

“Who said anything about biting?” Sam put Bella’s face between her hands and kissed her, full on, pushing her against the nearest wall and continued to kiss her. She used a little bit of force to keep Bella in place, but Bella was hardly resisting.

“Nik!” Kol eventually called out. “Your mate is snogging my naked wife! Again!”

Sam sighed as she stopped kissing Bella when Klaus got into the room. “I must say; this is a lot better than the previous version of you. The original is much better.”

“I missed it?” Klaus playfully pouted before composing himself. “Bella, your guest is up and screaming, why are you still naked and snogging my mate?”

Bella scowled as she flung Klaus out the door and ducked away from Sameen’s hands to get her clothes. “You could do something useful and get her breakfast.”

“She’s your guest.”

“If I don’t fix her, if we don’t fix her, you’ll have a lot of trouble on your hands, so be nice.” She pulled her shirt over her head before finding her pants and got in. She was going to get dressed properly later but yes, to show that they really weren’t the bad guys, she’d better hurry and give their guest something to eat. Pulling her hair back into a ponytail, Bella smirked at Sam. “We need to do that more often.”

“No!” Kol and Klaus said panicked. “Cuddles, I know we’ve experimented in the past, and we’ll probably continue doing that, but not with my brother’s mate!” Kol added. “Hot as it may be… It’s incest-by-proxy. No.”

Sam huffed as she hopped on the bed with a grin on her face before reaching over the blanket to cup Kol’s privates. “I do what I want, when I want, with whomever I want.” She gave a gentle squeeze and smirked. “It’s just kissing, don’t get your nutmegs in a twist.”

“You’re twisting them right now,” Kol said with a strained voice. “I give.”

Bella laughed and shook her head as she walked out of the room towards the kitchen. Fetching some breakfast, she made her way over to Esther and got into her room. “Thanks for waking us all,” Bella said as she placed the tray on the table. “You have nothing to fear from us.”

“What the hell happened?”

Bella eyed the older woman and sighed as she sat down in a chair. “I don’t know; you tell me. What’s the last thing you remember before waking up here?”

“I don’t know,” she replied, warily eyeing Bella. “Who are you?”

Sighing, Bella took a piece of toast and took a bite out of it, gesturing to the breakfast for Esther to take. “My name is Bella Mikaelson, and you’re in my family’s home. I’m a witch, like you and yes, we are related but very distantly.”

“How so?”

“A little over 300 years ago, I gave birth to my daughter Nina.” She gestured to the spread again. “Please, have something to eat and drink.”

Esther hesitated for a moment before sitting down and reaching for the coffee. “That’s impossible, all we know is that our line started with Nina when she was born in 2023.”

“Everyone has a mother,” Bella smiled at her. “Like your daughters. Who would they be without you?”

“Yes, I know that, but we figured she was the product of the ‘vault’, we thought Renée Higginbotham was her mother…”

Bella smiled at that. So that’s how Klaus hid her in modern history. It made sense, and it sort of fit, a little… although her mom would be ancient by the time Nina came around. Then again, if a lie were strong enough, it could withstand time. “Mandy Claire didn’t think so.”

“Oh, the Claires…” Esther said as she took a small sip of her coffee. “They pride themselves in that they’re all natural, no chip. And that they’re still nose deep in books.”

“While the Mikaelsons rely on information loaded onto a chip without any renewal or updates on information?”

“Oh, every few years or so we can get an update, but not of the witch variety.”

Bella sucked in a breath. “Did the overall IQ of all of you drop over the centuries? Technology is awesome, but that doesn’t mean you should rely on it, certainly not as a witch! You have to continue to learn, to grow. Seriously, no wonder that the Bennett witches got the jump on you with that attitude.”

“Excuse me! You have no idea!” Esther breezed, nearly smacking her cup of coffee on the table.

“Your great grandfather James shouldn’t have kicked out the vampires, that’s one mistake,” Bella said, holding up a finger. “Bennett witches were on the rise 50 years ago. Hell, they’ve been coming for even longer than that. With the vampires kicked out, they could form an allegiance with the werewolves and take what was the legacy of the New Orleans covens.” Bella spoke calmly as she remained eye contact with Esther. “Another mistake was that chip, but we’ve already covered that, and it’s not your fault that you’ve gotten used to being lazy.”

When Esther wanted to speak up again, Bella interrupted her. “Most importantly, it’s stated in the rules that since my husband and I were regents, no one was supposed to rule alone. What’s your excuse? What was your father’s excuse? I mean, from what I gathered in the books, it went well for a couple generations.”

“There’s no use of two regents.”

“Probably not, but that wasn’t the point. The point was to hold each other accountable and strong. To make sure that no one could be influenced by outside forces without the other knowing it. Safety.”

Bella was shocked to find the woman roll her eyes at her.

“Your children, your family, were so desperate to come to your rescue as you were under the influence by the other witches. Now that you’re free of them, I would have thought you’d come to your senses,” Bella got to her feet. “I see that you’re not ready. Enjoy your breakfast, I’ll check in on you later.” She turned around at the door and smiled. “Know that you’re safe here. No one is going to hurt you. However, you’re not going to leave this room and know that we won’t be able to hear you as I just put a silencing spell around this room as well. Take this time to think.”

She yawned as she crawled back in bed with Kol. “She needs some time.”

“I think she’s a lost cause.”

“Shut up.”

“We’ve been over this, Cuddles. Over 300 years ago. You’re too nice; I thought we fixed that,” he said as he pulled her into his arms. “Being under the influence of some spell or not, she’s a terrible regent.”

“Yeah well… maybe she’ll get better.”

“And if not?”

“Don’t worry, I’ll take the position back if I need to, I just want to tread lightly, at least for a little bit. We have time.”

He let out a cry of frustration. “Why must you be so ridiculously human?”

Smirking, she nudged him and crawled on top of him, straddling his waist with her knees. “Because I can,” she said playfully and kissed him tenderly. “And because sometimes you need that reminder as well, especially now that you’re no longer human.”

“Neither will you in a bit,” he pulled her shirt over her head. “But I guess your big heart will stick around when you change. That’s going to suck.”

Bella playfully hit him on the head before kissing him again, pressing her body against his.

After a while, Kol broke off the kiss and rolled the both of them over. “Lose the rest of your clothes, woman,” he said with a low growl as he looked at her. “Because I’m lazy to do it myself and too impatient too.”

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