Davina’s friend Josh looked at the two girls in disbelief. “I can’t believe you two are going to do this.”
“Relax, Josh,” Davina smiled at him. “Nothing can go wrong. It’s really just a simple suspension spell. The poison stops our heart, and the spell keeps us from dying for good.”
Bella wasn’t entirely sure about this, but if she died for real, she’d turn anyway. She didn’t fear death, and this was the only way to get the cipher to Kol’s code from the man himself. She had Davina take the lead on this one. She smiled a little. If Klaus would find out that she was playing with her life like this, he’d kill her himself. And Davina. And likely Josh as well.
“Cool. Yeah, now I’m totally on board. Uh, just except for the part about the poison, your heart, and whatever you said at the end there about dying,” Josh remarked sarcastically as he eyed his friend. When Davina explained more, he still wasn’t convinced, but when the two girls were wobbly on their feet, he knew that they had already taken the poison. Bitches.
“You’re our link to the living, Josh. Whatever you do, don’t let go,” Davina said as she took Bella’s hand and sliced her hand open before cutting her own arm. “Your hand goes there, Bella,” she said weakly before slicing her own hand and Josh’. “And you, Josh, hold on tightly. Don’t let go. Whatever happens, don’t let go, or we’ll be stuck there forever.”
“For the record, if you looked up “uncool” in the dictionary, there would just be a tiny drawing of what’s happening right now.”
Bella wasn’t sure what had happened, but she suddenly found herself standing next to her body, seeing Davina and Josh as well. “Trippy,” she muttered as she looked over to Davina, who seemed to know exactly what she was doing. Bella followed her out of the room, still a bit unsure of all of this because technically, Bella was sharing her blood with Davina in the living world, something she had promised Klaus not to do because her blood was special. However, she couldn’t help but to be curious about this dark version of New Orleans; there was no sun.
Weren’t the Ancestors supposed to be something similar to light?
“This place is creeping me out,” Bella hissed to Davina as they were walking on Bourbon Street. The eerily quiet Bourbon Street, deserted. It was an exact copy of it, a mirror image, but so dark. Not even night like dark. Just… off.
“Shh,” Davina shushed her as she anxiously looked around to see if they were being followed. She wasn’t supposed to be here; the Ancestral Witches were going to be pissed if they found her here. When they walked passed an alley, she was pulled in, roughly. “Stop it! Let go of me!” She squeaked as she struggled against the person’s hold.
“Easy now, easy now! Don’t take off my head,” the man replied soothingly as his hands remained on her.
Bella joined them in the alley and was ready to punch the man’s kidneys when Davina spoke. “Kol?” This was Kol Mikaelson? Bella was impressed. Well, she should have known that the younger Mikaelson sibling was as gorgeous as the rest of his family, but wow. If things wouldn’t turn out with Klaus after all, maybe she could have another Mikaelson to play with? No, that was insane. Improper.
She was a one guy girl. She wasn’t going to do anything to hurt her relationship with Klaus but damn. If this truly was Kol Mikaelson, she might be in trouble.
“Come on; you don’t recognize this roguish grin? I guess my true face is just too handsome.”
Davina scrunched up her nose. “You certainly sound like Kol Mikaelson.”
“Oh, Davina Claire…” Kol pulled the girl into his arms for a big hug; there was this huge smile on his face that Bella found endearing, but she knew that he was dangerous. Dead or not, he was still an Original who liked to cause trouble. She loved trouble. No, she was in trouble if she allowed her hormones to continue to rage on in her body. “Oh, you are a sight for bleary and battered eyes! You’re also stark raving mad. Do you have any idea what would happen if the Ancestors found you here?”
Bella startled when the electricity around them started to buzz and flicker and turned to watch what was going on, only to have to run after Kol and Davina as they went looking for a safer place to talk. Yes, introductions would come later, and she’d try not to drool. She remained at a distance so the two lovebirds could catch up – yes, it was evident that Kol was madly in love with the witch, but she could also see that she was also a means to his end.
There were light bruises on Kol’s face, even Bella could see them from where she was, but it took Davina quite some time to see them. Poor girl, she was so smitten that she didn’t particularly care for how her boyfriend looked.
“Kol, what’s happening to you here?” Davina lightly touched his face, careful not to hurt him.
There was a sigh, and the typical Mikaelson look when someone was just about to give an evasive answer. “It’s nothing. Really.” It was then when Kol decided to change the subject and notice Bella. “Who’s this?”
“Hi, I’m Bella,” Bella said with a slight wave of her hand. “I’m with her.”
“Obviously,” he said before looking back at Davina. “You shouldn’t have come here, Davina. There’s a darkness to this place. To bring someone else with you? That’s insane.”
Davina sighed and frowned as she listened to him. “Kol, I had to find you. I think I figured out a way to bring you back!” She pulled the piece of parchment from her back pocket and handed it to him for him to start reading.
Bella leaned against the counter, observing Kol’s face as he paced and read. She was wondering if Davina was as observant as she was because he didn’t look too pleased with the spell. It was probably legit.
“Hate to break it to you, love… It’s a fake. Looks like someone’s trying to put one over on you,” he said as he placed the parchment on the bar and poured himself a drink, nervously eyeing Bella. “Why are you here?”
“Not now, you have your witch to deal with,” Bella replied and shook her head as she watched Davina narrow her eyes on her boyfriend. “She knows you’re lying.”
He looked at Davina, the bottle of bourbon still in his hand. Yeah, she knew he was lying. For good reason.
“I don’t get it, isn’t this what you want? To live again?”
Kol threw back the glass of bourbon in one go and gathered his thoughts before speaking again. “More than anything, Davina Claire. But do you have any idea how dangerous that spell is? I haven’t seen anything even remotely like it since…” There was the familiar look of panic on Kol’s face. “The Strix Coven. This is their work, isn’t it? Please tell me you haven’t done something foolish.”
Bella knew about the Strix. Of them. They were Elijah’s posse, and they had a coven of witches to themselves. Of course they had. Power was everything, wasn’t it? Why were immortals so good at screwing things up? This was yet another reason why she wished to remain human for a little longer; just to experience the reasonable unknown.
“They can give me power, Kol. Real power! I can bring you back!”
Bella hadn’t known that Davina had let herself get into it with the Strix, but what could Bella have done? To Davina, she was an adult entertainer, working at the Mikaelson’s, she couldn’t possibly have exposed herself as more.
Kol looked desperate and genuinely worried about the little witch. “Find another way, love. Not with them. Nothing is worth what they’ll make you do.”
And just like that, lights started to flicker, the jukebox was quiet, electricity crackling and while Kol had pulled Davina to safety, Bella had been too much inside of her head to hide with them when the Ancestors came into the pub. She was standing so close to them, and yet; they didn’t seem to notice her. To see her.
Curiosity got the better of her, and she waved her hand in front of the closest face, and it didn’t even blink. She peeked over the counter with a big grin on her face and did a thumbs up before heading out the door and ran to another street where she started to make as much noise as possible. This was awesome; the ancestors couldn’t see her.
After she had gotten the attention of the Ancestors, she ran back to Rousseau’s. “Did you see that?” she said excitedly. “They didn’t see me!”
“Curious,” Kol said as he walked towards her and observed her. “Now, what are you? Who are you?”
“I get paid to have sex with your brother.”
“Nah, there’s more to that, come on, Darling, you can fill me in while I walk you back to St. Anne’s,” he said, Davina momentarily forgotten by something that the Ancestors couldn’t see Bella, and yet, he could. “So, tell me why you’re here.”
“I just need to know what you use as a cipher for your special little language. I’m doing research to my lineage, and you made notes in that book. I want to read them,” Bella replied casually as she followed along.
“No, there’s more,” Kol said, impatience evident in his voice. Gone was the nice Kol, the one who Davina loved, back was Kol Mikaelson, Klaus’ brother. “You’re going to tell me.”
“Or what? You’ll bore me to death?” Bella rolled her eyes at him. “No, all I want is the cipher.”
“Is it because of Davina? You don’t want her to know?”
“She knows enough,” Bella said after a while, stuffing her hands in her pockets. “But if I share more with her, Klaus will have my head. So. Cipher.”
Kol let out a frustrated sigh. “I’ll have to know which book, Darling, I used several.”
“The one about the Travelers.”
“They’re long dead, Darling. They’ve done their last massive sacrifice to raise the first immortal, and that was the end of the lines. The Gemini coven? Well, last thing I heard they were all gone too. So whatever your business is with the Travelers, just keep your nose out of it and don’t worry your pretty little head,” Kol replied as he pat Bella on the head as if she was a good little dog.
She looked at him with a shrug and raised her hand to tuck a strand of hair behind her ear. Her sleeve slightly dropped, revealing the scar left by James on her wrist.
Kol blinked when he noticed the scar, grabbing her wrist and looked at it, before looking at Bella and looking back at the wrist. “So you survived a Cold One, whooptiedoo.”
“Use your brain, idiot,” Bella rolled her eyes at him. “Klaus had a friend of his do family tree, and I found out that one of my ancient cousins is from Bulgaria and was a Traveler.”
Swallowing hard, something inside Kol’s brain clicked. “Thank God we’re at the church,” he said under his breath before looking at Davina. “Love, return to the land of the living. I just need a few more minutes with your friend.”
“But, you need to come back with me!”
“It’s not my time yet, love. Once you’re gone, the both of you, I shall wait for my resurrection but please, Davina, don’t use the spell by the Strix.”
Davina huffed. “You don’t have a choice in the matter,” she walked back to him to kiss him goodbye. “And just so you know, I take offense that you’re choosing Bella over me right now.”
“I understand, and I’ll make it up to you. I promise, now go, before they find you.”
“Five minutes. Then I’ll use brute force to bring Bella back.”
“Five minutes,” Kol replied with a nod and watched as Davina disappeared inside the church. “Nik always has a nose for the particular ones,” he remarked as he sat down on the steps and as he was still holding onto Bella’s arm, yanked her down with him. “You’re his whore, then?”
“Not quite,” she replied with a small smile.
“I’ve seen him go to that club where you work.”
“Yes, but we only have five minutes so unless you want to waste that by going over your brother’s relationship with me, you better start asking the right questions so you can give me the cypher for that book,” Bella said curtly as she pulled her arm back and pushed her sleeve back down.
“You’re obviously not a doppelganger.”
“Obviously. Thank God,” she huffed and rolled her eyes. “I’ve been told about them, doesn’t sound too grand.”
“So… you must be from one of the other two Petrova lines. From the brothers.”
“Yep,” she said with a nod. “Want me to tell you?” She was so afraid that she wouldn’t be given enough time to get the information that she needed.
“You’ve been around Cold Ones.”
“You’re just stating the obvious,” she said as she motioned to her wrist. “It’s a long and complicated story, but yes, I survived the Cold Ones. For now.”
Kol thought for a moment, thinking about the book, knowing what he wrote on the back of it. “But why do you need the information in that book? Unless… you’re from the Cold One magnet line of the Petrova line.”
“Bloody hell, you’re a singer?”
Bella nodded slowly. “We think that I might be like Carmen, I need to know what’s in your notes. That’s why I’m here, because of your knowledge about them.”
“Does Klaus know that you’re here?”
“Please,” she huffed. “He would have found a way to stop me and it wouldn’t be pretty because I can’t be compelled.”
“Right,” Kol said as he ran a hand through his hair. “Well, what’s in that book won’t help you much. The Cold Ones, especially the Volturi, tend to keep their secrets just that. All the little snippets that I’ve learned through my travels are all safely in here,” he said as he knocked on his forehead.
“What’s in the book, Kol?”
“Something about a prophecy.”
“Yes. I need that.”
“Because I have it from a quite reliable source that there’s a prophecy about me. Hell, we might even think that a part of your family’s current prophecy is about me.”
“So. How do I decrypt your words?”
“Have you considered asking a witch to cast a decryption spell on it?”
Bella sighed and shook her head. “I neither trust Freya or Davina to do a proper job. Something’s off about Freya and well… Davina… she’s just… inexperienced.”
Kol let out a breath. “First, alternate with one letter up, two letters down, three up, four down. Then grab the original story about The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson. First publication. Elijah has a copy of it in his study. Replace everything of that cipher with every fifth character in the book. If it’s a period, it’s a period. Good luck.”
Bella smiled at him and pecked his cheek. “I do hope you’ll allow Davina to resurrect you. I think it’ll be interesting.”
Kol grinned. “If you’re going to kill some Cold Ones, I definitely want to be there. Those sparkly bitches have ruined enough. But I shall tell you of my exploits when I return, storytime!”
She let out a snort. She liked this sibling a lot more than Elijah. “Deal.” Before she knew it, she was coming to on the floor of the loft Davina had taken her to, and the girl didn’t look all too pleased for Bella’s alone time with her boyfriend. “Sorry,” she said with a slight grin, feeling as if she got knocked over the head with a sledgehammer – she wouldn’t put it past Davina to have actually done that.
“Did you get what you wanted?”
“Good, so did I,” Davina said as she straightened herself up and pointed out the door. “I think it’s best if we don’t meet again, Bella Swan,” she spoke as Josh made some noise of objection. “There’s clearly things that you do not wish to tell me and I can’t have that. It’s either full disclosure when being my friend or not.”
“No, I’m serious, Bella. You used me! I should hurt you, but I’m not going to, because you apparently needed Kol’s help with something, but as far as you and I go? We’re done.”
“I think you should go,” Josh said as he ushered Bella out of the loft and closed the door. He turned around to face Davina and glared at her. “Seriously?”
“She used me! Now, out of my way, I need to-”
“No,” he said as he pushed his friend down on the bed and handed her a bottle of water. “Tell me what it was like. Tell me everything. Drink that bottle and then maybe, maybe then I’ll allow you to go.”
Bella went to the Big Burger to get something to eat. A lot of time had passed since she went to Davina and returned from the Ancestral Plane and she needed to get things straightened out in her head – despite her self-imposed seclusion that she had insisted upon herself the day before.
It wasn’t safe out in the open; there was something in the air that made her feel uncomfortable, and it wasn’t until she spotted Alina in the distance, keeping an eye on her, that she allowed herself to relax some. Even Myriam was thinking about her. Still.
She needed to eat. She was famished, and while she could have returned home immediately after having done what she had, she needed to take this time for herself. She was relying far too much on Klaus. Bella was independent. She was reverting again. Allowing herself to be put on the sidelines, much as she had allowed Edward to do.
Granted, the biggest reason was because of everything that was going on and, like Klaus; she wanted to stay safe, but if she’d truly wanted to remain safe, wouldn’t she just have gone back to Débauche? She wasn’t ready for the big bad world. Not yet.
What sane, self-respecting woman would allow her sort of boyfriend sleep with another woman to try to find out what she was up to?
None. It was cheating with consent. Even though… it wasn’t. Or was it?
She sat back and chewed on the last bit of her burger. She was so fucked up. She knew Klaus wasn’t Edward, but there were similarities, weren’t there? He was manipulative, yet he didn’t quite manipulate her. Klaus gave her choices but with the slight hope that she’d pick the choice that benefited him. Klaus had his bouts of ignoring her completely, but she didn’t mind that much, it wasn’t as if the world revolved around her.
Klaus respected her, made sure that she didn’t want for anything, but maybe this wasn’t the right time to have a relationship with each other. He had this whole family prophecy thing going on and her world got turned upside down when suspicions arose about her being Bella the Cold One Slayer.
And how was that going to work, exactly?
There were just too many unknowns at the moment and maybe she’d be better off at Débauche. Her own apartment. Doing whatever she wanted, dance for an audience again instead of just by herself – even though she was the worst mover ever – have sex with other guys and get paid for it, feel like she mattered again when helping Myriam out with the administration.
Ignoring her problems yet again.
She nearly spilled her drink when Peter sat down in the chair across from her. “Bella, you need to go to the Compound, now. I’ll explain later, but you need to go now.”
He sounded urgent enough to spook her, gather her things and to start running. What the hell?