Summary: Kol gets sent on a mission and he returns with more than he’d bargained for, what will he do?
Fandoms: The Originals, Twilight
Pairing: Kol Mikaelson/Bella Swan
Rating: Hmm… Mature
Word count: 13.170 words
Author’s Notes: Written for the BIT June Writing Challenge. “I’m not sick. I’m twisted. If I were sick, there’d be a cure.”
This story has gore. Mentions of abuse. Loads of character deaths.
There’s a mental illness in this story and I didn’t mean to offend anyone. I didn’t set out to write the character this way, but as soon as I realized what was going on, I started to do my research. I did my research as well as I could and I’m not using this mental illness as a plot device but as a part of a character. I explicitly wrote this story from one POV so I didn’t have to write the inner workings of the impacted character. Through observations, and later revelation, it’ll be known what makes this character who they are.
“Can we talk?”
Klaus looked up from his book to greet his partner, Myriam. Whenever she came home, she’d greet him with a ‘hello’ or a kiss, but for her to storm into the courtyard as she had done, was something different. “Trouble?” Not that she needed Klaus’ help when there was trouble at her brothel; she had an excellent security team made out of vampires and warlocks to keep her and the girls safe.
“Oh, don’t worry, we’re fine,” she huffed as she poured herself a drink and sat down opposite of him. “But we need to talk. I think you’ll want to hear this and take action.”
On occasion, Myriam would hear rumors of girls in trouble and, without the rest of his siblings knowing other than him and her going out of town, they’d help the girl in trouble and send her on her way. “Does the end of this talk cause us to leave town for a few days?”
“No, not us,” Myriam grinned. “Your brother Kol. I think he’ll be excellent for this job.”
He knew it. Myriam had made a humanitarian out of him. They’d always loved humans in any way possible; for company or for sport, but these days the entire family treated the fragile beings with more respect than they’d done previously. “Oh, so we are talking about a girl in trouble?”
“That is unclear, but there is a girl involved in a very unusual situation and I think it’s a good thing for Kol to go and see what’s up,” she took a drink of her glass and watched him, carefully. Myriam wasn’t in the business of saving girls unless something strange was going on and this case, well, it required someone who knew a lot about a lot of things and an unfamiliar face in case the guilty party recognized Klaus’ face. “Kol is an unknown for the most part.”
Myriam was right about that, but now Klaus was even more intrigued. “Tell me more.”
She let out a snort. “Well, a Cold One strolled into my lovely establishment last night and security was just about to boot him out because we do not serve their kind, but I intervened because this Cold One seemed to know about me and the ties I have to you. He knows of your reputation as a family and he believes we’re this girl’s only choice of some peace.”
“A friendly Cold One?” There were only a handful of Cold Ones that were actually decent to talk to. Elijah had brokered some sort of mutual understanding with the Cold One royalty hundreds of years ago – they’d stay away from each other and not kill those from the other kind, but most Cold Ones they’d encountered were incredibly dull and arrogant. Not worth their time.
Myriam nodded. “He said his name was Peter and that he had the gift of simply knowing things. He knew of a Cold One family up in Washington who are keeping a human girl and the Volturi were powerless to enforce a change or her death.” When Klaus remained silent, Myriam continued. “I know, a vampire having a human pet wasn’t unheard of in the dark ages, but in this day and age? And it’s not just one vampire, it’s an entire coven who are keeping her, all with various gifts of their own to keep her controlled.”
“According to this Peter,” he pointed out. “I don’t find Cold Ones reliable.”
“I knew you were going to say this, and yes, based on this information there’s no reason to get the girl to safety, especially since that coven has a tracker and they seem to be pretty obsessed with her. Now, no, there’s a tribe of Native Americans living close by, shifter wolves, the guardians of the humans and they’re not doing one single thing to protect this girl from the Cold Ones. They’re not doing what they’re meant for.”
“Why?” Myriam pointed out. “Why aren’t they doing anything and fulfilling their duty? I want Kol to go there and find out. I mean, it’s part of their history in Washington, isn’t it? The wolves that are capable of dealing with Cold Ones who get out of line.”
“Perhaps they have an agreement, a mutual understanding, such as we have with the Volturi, to protect the peace.”
“That’s bullshit, Klaus, and you know it. Wolves and vampires don’t mix unless you’re… well… you,” she shot at him. “If you’re not willing to send Kol to check things out, I’ll go myself.”
“You’re not going to mingle with magical wolves and Cold Ones, are you insane?”
“Send Kol,” she said defiantly. “Because you know I will go and there won’t be anything stopping me.”
If he had to pick the dullest place on Earth, Forks, Washington, would be a strong contender. Granted, it would be vampire heaven – taking your kills into the woods for a nice little chase; blood tasted so much better with an adrenaline kick to it, but it was so dull. There was no other word to describe the little town.
The hotels along the main road – two of them! – were rubbish. One had one star and the other one three, but they all looked they could do with a bulldozer to the face and a proper rebuilding. Not that Kol was a snob like that; not at all, he could easily sleep in a tent as he’d done in the past, but the buildings were so old that he didn’t think there was much privacy.
There was a lodge on the edge of town and after some compelling, the current guests left for one of the hotels and he moved in. He needed a place to stay, after all. He spent the first day getting his bearings; explore the town, listen. Observe. Kol wasn’t quite sure why Nik had taken an interest in the comings and goings of the local Cold One coven. Nik didn’t say anything other than Kol needed to draw his own conclusions. It was almost as if he was sent on reconnaissance, and if that was the case, it wasn’t so bad.
They could get rid of the coven and claim their home as their own, that is, if the house was comfortable enough to live in. But why would they want to live in this stupid town, anyway?
He had found the wolf reservation, but didn’t set foot on it; magical or not, they were still werewolves and while a wolf bite wouldn’t be fatal, it’d still mess him up for a good few hours. Not a chance.
As it turned out, it wasn’t difficult to find this coven; the Cullens. The leader was a doctor at the local hospital and the ‘children’ were well known at the local high school. Seriously? Looking young forever and doing school over and over again? Granted, he and Rebekah were technically the age of a high school student themselves, but to go to school indefinitely? Did these Cold Ones like to torture themselves?
Oh, he understood why his sister liked it so much; the dances, the cliques and the raging teenage hormones, but at least she did something good with her educations as well; she was a fully trained nurse and whenever she felt like it she worked as one.
Kol just got bored easily and was glad that he wasn’t sent back to school for this one.
The Cullens had a big house with windows everywhere in the middle of the forest. Pompous asses – they sparkled in the sun but he supposed that the trees gave them enough cover as not to sparkle indoors. The trees did give him cover enough to observe the coven through the windows. The statues. And the human girl. She was human, because she moved like one – delicate and clumsy. Her pale face not showing any emotion and her smile didn’t reach her eyes. She stared blindly out of the window, straight at Kol, when she was pulled into one of the vampires’ laps and didn’t flinch when they took a bite out of her. It was almost as if she wasn’t there. Didn’t their venom hurt like hell? Wasn’t one drop of venom inside of a human body enough for them to turn? How did this girl survive for so long?
Narrowing his eyes on the vampire, he saw that he was a regular vampire. Okay, the girl allowed herself to be used as a blood bag, no big deal. Perhaps that’s all she was; a vampire groupie. He had encountered a lot of them on his travels. She was likely not in any danger at all and his trip had been for naught.
However, it didn’t hurt to interrogate that vampire later after he’d leave. Perhaps he could learn some valuable information off of him before killing him when the information was too disgusting. Maybe have the vampire kill himself and watch him do it. Oh, the entertainment for that evening was sorted!
Kol tried watching the girl from the trees as she moved around the house like some sort of drone. Who was she trying to fool? She didn’t look alright, did she? As she went into a room where he couldn’t see her, she was being followed by one of the Cold Ones coming for her at high speed, and she didn’t come out for quite some time so he watched the regular vampire’s interaction with the remaining Cold Ones.
Come to think of it, he looked familiar. Yeah, wasn’t he part of Myriam’s security team? Dialing his brother’s girlfriend, he retreated a little in the woods to make sure his voice wouldn’t be picked up from inside the house.
“Hey, any news?”
“Are you missing someone at work tonight?” The silence on the other end of the line spoke volumes. “Do you make a habit out of hiring folk who like to hang out with Cold Ones?”
“He wasn’t supposed to go. I explicitly told him not to go!”
Kol huffed. “Well that’s settled then, this one’s not returning to New Orleans,” he said before he disconnected his phone and moved back to his perch. It wasn’t like Myriam to have a lapse in judgement, nor for her seers to make a mistake. He didn’t want to jump to conclusions but maybe the guy got scared after the Cold One visit at the brothel the other day and decided to tell on them in exchange for money. Or maybe he wanted to save the girl himself.
Even if that was the case, Kol was still going to rip out his heart. That girl was obviously in trouble.
It took a couple more hours for the vampire to leave, a bag full of money with him and Kol tackled him easily before pulling him deeper into the forest and slamming him against a tree. “What are you doing?” Myriam’s team wasn’t on vervain; mainly so that Nik could punish them whenever they stepped out of line, they never did, but just in case. Compelling the vampire to speak was easy.
“I wanted to save the girl,” the vampire replied. “I swear. That’s all.”
“Then why the big bag of money?”
“The girl isn’t in any danger and I was rewarded for my concern.”
Kol snarled. He could smell her on him even though the feed had been hours ago. He must have spilled some of her blood on his clothes. “And you believed them?”
“Of course not,” the vampire huffed. “Something’s not right but I’m not going to pick a fight with a coven of Cold Ones! I was going to return to New Orleans and tell Myriam to send her boyfriend over!”
“Are you lying to me?”
He narrowed his eyes on the vampire. “What’s the girl’s name? Tell me everything you’ve learned.”
“Her name is Bella and according to them, she’s in a polyamorous relationship with most of the coven; mainly with this Edward and that Jasper fellow. Both gifted vampires, and I do believe that they influenced me and read my mind when I was there.”
“So you’re compromised and you’ve compromised Myriam’s business.”
“I’m not saying that!”
“I am,” Kol growled. “They might send people over to New Orleans now to tell Myriam to mind her own business because hey, you’re working security for her and you went over! Good job.” He slammed the vampire against the tree again. “Tell me more.”
“There are seven Cold Ones in that coven. At least one of them is stronger than an ordinary Cold One and as I said, one can read minds – it will be difficult to fight them all and live. They have a big guard dog in the yard, the size of a pony.”
Now that was interesting. It was likely that it wasn’t a dog, but one of the shifter wolves, but why would they be working together? The Cold Ones and the wolves were supposed to be enemies, the wolves were made for one purpose and that purpose was to destroy Cold Ones. What was going on? “Anything else?”
“Good,” Kol said before he pushed his hand through the vampire’s ribcage and extracted his heart, instantly killing him. The kill hadn’t been satisfying, but this guy should have known better.
He took the bag of money and headed back to his tree. Cold Ones didn’t sleep, and, because he was still observing them, he wasn’t going to either. Tomorrow he’d go into town and find out more about this Bella. Surely someone in town must know her? All Kol knew was for sure right now that Myriam needed to train her staff better and not have them go off on their own.
He still hadn’t established that this girl was in trouble; only that she was involved with Cold Ones and the wolves had something to do with it. Why would he get this girl away from this? She seemed alright. Vacant, sure, but perhaps she had hardened herself against the Cold One’s touch as it was indeed that, cold.
Even so, he could get the girl out – likely against her will – and then what? Have her run for the rest of her life because the Cold Ones would still come after her? No, he’d have to kill every single member of that coven for her to be free. And for that, he needed to have some fresh blood. Good thing that there was a town just down the road then, wasn’t it?
Better yet, why would he care? This was Nik’s thing on occasion, not Kol’s. He could just as well go back to New Orleans and say nothing’s wrong before leaving the country for a while to travel.
He watched the house for the rest of the night, but the girl didn’t emerge from the room until the first sign of the sun. She was being dragged along by the pixie Cold One who was saying something to the girl causing her to stiffen for a moment before lashing out and connected her fist with the vampire’s marble skin.
Kol unwillingly winced, it must have hurt so bad for a human to hit a statue as hard as the girl had, no doubt her knuckles were broken now, but the girl hadn’t flinched. Impressive. It told him that the girl wasn’t willingly at the house after all, especially after still trying to put up a fight after being flung across the room by said pixie. She was restrained by another vampire, a blonde with half long hair, and the girl seemingly calmed down.
It was likely that guy was the one who could influence other people around him. It was certainly worrisome, even for Kol. He could withstand some influence, but he was nowhere near as good as it than his brothers.
The doctor came out, scolding the pixie and the girl before checking the girl over and injecting her with some red substance, her injuries seemed to heal and Kol cursed. Of course. Myriam’s former employer donated some of his blood in return for a sip of the girl and some money. Kol felt rage bubble underneath his skin. Today, he was going to end them all.
But first, he needed to feed.
Kol was on his third compelled victim near the local high school when his phone rang. “I’m eating!” He replied as he put the phone on speaker and continued to feed. “What?”
“Well?” Nik’s voice sounded from the phone, causing Kol to drop the young girl and sighing deeply.
“Myriam needs to find a new security guy; a part of me thinks that his heart was in the right place, but he left his blood behind to heal the girl and received money from that transaction. I killed him.”
“Yes, I figured as much, she wasn’t happy at all and entertained the idea to fire everyone and hire new ones, the vampires under compulsion.”
“Might not be such a bad idea.”
“What about the girl? Is she with the coven willingly?”
“I don’t think so. I’m even thinking there’s a connection to the shifter tribe here. I need to do a little more digging to know for sure. I don’t fancy fighting them off at the same time as I try to extract the girl.”
“Remember what we said, Kol, she needs to be given a choice. If she wants to leave and find her own way, we’ll set her up to do just that and leave her alone.”
“I’m not a kidnapper, Nik,” Kol snapped. “Right now I just want to take them out for hurting her this morning. I’m itching for a good kill.”
“Do you require assistance?”
Kol scoffed as an answer.
“Very well. Good luck.”
When his brother hung up on him, Kol picked up the human from the ground and continued to feed. Oh, he wanted to kill someone so bad, but wasn’t actually killing his food right now. There was a time and place. This wasn’t it. Dead kids in a small town would definitely raise the alarm and make things harder on him.
Kol figured the girl was around twenty years old, it was likely that he was going to find some people of her age in the local coffee shop, bloody millennials and hipsters, and perhaps he could find out more about the girl there.
He hit jackpot right away, a small friends group had been in school with Bella. They were quick to tell him that she had tried high school, but at some point during the first year she was taken out of school and sent to a clinic in Switzerland for some illness by Dr. Cullen. The Cullen children who went to school back then didn’t say a word on her progress because they weren’t allowed to and then again, those kids were ‘weird’ anyway.
Bella was mostly raised by a Billy Black from the reservation. She lived with him and his son Jacob after a nasty accident killed Bella’s father, an accident she’d be in and she witnessed her father die when she was about eight years old. There was no word about Bella’s mother, although rumor was that she’d died when Bella was five – also some sort of accident.
While they all would go to the beach at La Push for relaxation and entertainment, they never mingled with the people living on the reservation – including Bella – because there were stories floating around town that there were strange shenanigans going on there, and after hearing one of those stories, Kol wanted to kill the entire tribe as well. He might even start with them because they were easier targets.
Bella had had not an easy life and quite a sad one, it was very likely that she’d never known happiness or freedom and now Kol felt determined to get her that. But it had to be her choice, so he needed to find a calm way into the house first. She needed to be given a chance; a way out, and not her entire world being taken away from her by force if she didn’t want the help.
He had quite the work cut out for him. It would be easier if Cold Ones could be compelled. Could they be? Taking his phone out, he shot that question over to his brother Niklaus and he replied with a ‘yes but only when well fed’. It was going to be easier than Kol anticipated! He could the girl instruct him how the coven would die, have her get her revenge at the same time as her rescue. Oh, brilliant – it would have been easier to start with if Niklaus had shared this information with Kol to begin with, it wasn’t as if he had that much experience with this particular kind of vampire!
Now he had a decision to make. To get the girl first or to slaughter the wolves first? Perhaps the girl would like her revenge on the wolves as well – yes, to get the girl first was an excellent idea. He just hoped she wouldn’t run away from him.
It was easy enough to get inside the house; the ‘mother’ figure opened the door and her mind was easy to get into to compel her to let him in and show him around. The house was too modern, too clean, on the inside. Kol would never be able to live in this house. No. Maybe he’d set fire to it when he was done.
There were six of them at home and he compelled them all to sit and shut up. No doubt the doctor one was working and would come back later. Which was alright, this gave Kol enough time to befriend the girl and discuss options with her. But where was she? He hadn’t encountered her during his tour through the house and he didn’t see the fake wolf in the back garden, either.
“Where’s the human girl?” He asked of Edward – he had made sure he knew all of the names so it would be easier to give them commands. Edward was a twat, oh, how he reminded Kol of vampires that were sired by his brother Elijah. Or even Elijah himself. Stuck up, arrogant and no doubt a manipulative asshole. “Call for her. Tell her it’s safe to come out.”
Edward was reluctant, Kol could tell. He could also feel him try to get inside his mind, but for now, his defenses held. “Bella, come here.”
A door opened and Kol turned to see the girl emerge. She was wearing a skirt with tights underneath them and some sort of shirt on top of it. It didn’t look awful, in fact, she looked amazing looking like that, but something told him that she wasn’t feeling comfortable in it. She looked a little hesitant, but curious to their new visitor. “Hello darling,” Kol greeted her with a warm smile and his heart sank when her eyes remained vacant as she returned a smile. “My name is Kol Mikaelson and I’m not here to hurt you. Feel free to speak as you wish, them lot can’t hurt you.”
She cocked her head then, curiosity growing as she looked from him to the Cullens who were all sitting in one line, quiet, watching her.
“I told them to shut up, you see,” Kol said pleasantly, casually waving over to the Cullens. “And they’re not able to move unless I instruct them to.” He then slowly got to his feet, careful not to frighten her, but she was more interested than fearful, he could sense that. “Hungry? Surely they have human food in their kitchen,” he then marched towards the kitchen and started to look around for something to make. “Oh, how about eggs and soldiers?”
“Explain yourself,” the girl spoke from behind him after having followed him.
“What’s your name?”
“We’re called Bella,” she replied before repeating her statement. “Explain yourself.”
It was odd that she referred to herself as ‘we’, but perhaps that was something this coven wanted her to refer to as. “Well, Bella, I’m a different kind of vampire, sort of like the one who came to visit yesterday but I promise you, I’m one of the nicer ones. I’m here to help you if you so wish.” Kol replied as he started to make her something to eat.
“Well, first, by seeing if you are in need of help. Are these Cold Ones hurting you, darling?” He looked over to her as he was pouring water into a saucepan and it looked as if she was in inner turmoil with herself before she finally responded.
“We never imagined this life,” her tone was a little bit softer now, the raw edge slightly gone. “But we can’t leave. We have tried before but they will always find us.”
“Well, I can change all of that.”
“No doubt,” she said as she sat on one of the bar stools. “But then we’d have to return to the reservation where there are more people who like to do things to us.”
Ah, so he had been right. “I can take care of them as well.”
“If you so wish,” he smiled at her.
She was quiet for a moment as she watched him. “Where would we go?”
He put the eggs in the water on the hob and started to make toast. He found her speech pattern curious, but it was likely due to the life she’d lead before he appeared. “That’s entirely up to you.”
“Somewhere warm with good food,” she replied as she watched him with a faint smile on her lips as if she was remembering something.
Kol leaned against the counter as he waited for the eggs to boil and smiled at her. “That can be arranged. Tell me, how did you end up with them?”
She slightly narrowed her eyes on him. “Is that relevant information to you?”
“Maybe not… What matters is what you want to do with these Cold Ones and the wolves.”
“I’ve always wished to see the insides of the Cold Ones. Of course, I wouldn’t be able to touch it but… yes. Slice one open with his head still attached so we can hear him scream.”
He was taken slightly aback by her response. Not only was she using ‘I’ to refer to herself, but she sounded excited about the prospect of making these vampires pay for her predicament and he was strangely excited for this, too. “Which one?”
Bella seemed to think for a moment. “I want Emmett to slice open Edward and keep slicing him so he can’t heal. Maybe attempt to replace the venom with salt to dry him out or sand. Or… hot water! Everything! Let’s experiment with everyone watching! Carlisle keeps a medical room in the house, let’s play doctor!”
“Before or after some food?”
“Oh, definitely after. We’re hungry,” she nodded. “Tell us how you differ from them. You say you’re a vampire, but of a different kind.”
“I bleed, like the fella who visited you yesterday.”
“Your blood heals?”
“And you can control other vampires? People too?”
“Well yes, but I’m not doing it on you.”
“You haven’t deserved it,” he simply said. Bella was smart. For someone who’d been in the situation she’d been in, he’d expect her to be more reserved, more broken, but she hardly seemed that way. “Look, I’m not going to deny that in my years on this Earth that I haven’t done something evil or stupid or morally questionable; it’s in our nature.”
“How old are you?”
“I was turned when I was 18. I think. We never really kept track of our age. Might have been twenty.”
This caused Bella to smile a bit warmer now. “When was that?”
“Oh, a thousand years ago, give or take.”
“Wow,” she was impressed. “Are you going to hurt us?”
Either she was so damaged that she was keeping him talking because she thought he wanted her to, or she was fine. She seemed fine. Slightly underweight, but fine. Alert. Especially with her interrogation. “No? I’m here to free you, darling. Allow you to take your revenge through me. Whatever you do afterwards is your choice. Your decision.”
“We will adapt to any situation you’ll take us in.” Her voice had changed back slightly, as had her intonation.
Kol drained the eggs and shocked them before removing the lids and offered Bella her meal. “What situation you’re going to end up in is your choice.”
She dipped a piece of toast in the egg as she thought and took a bite from it. “Where do you live?”
“Currently my home is in New Orleans with my siblings.”
“There’s Niklaus and his partner Myriam at the moment. Elijah is off on business. Rebekah is off looking for love in the wrong places and we sent Freya off to a witches retreat to detox from all the magic she’s been using in the last few years to protect us all.”
“You live with a bunch of Cold Ones and magically induced wolves, how can you not believe in witches or magic?” Kol laughed as he watched her devour her meal. “Remind me to give you something proper to eat when we’re done, can’t live on eggs.”
She polished off her plate and used the spoon to eat the remainder of the eggs. “We will come with you to New Orleans. It’s our choice,” she stated. “Unless you don’t have a spare room.”
He blinked at that. She wanted to stay with him? “Bella, I- Uh…”
“We will stay with you until we feel confident enough to brave the world as it is, once we’ve adapted. We trust you in not being a threat to us.” She then cheekily grinned. “And if you are, trust that we will fight.”
“I didn’t plan on taking you back with me,” he said as he scratched his head. “I can’t take care of you, Bella.”
“You won’t have to take care of us, we take care of ourselves. We merely need a place to adjust,” she then jerked her head towards the still silent Cold Ones. “Can we take one apart now and see what makes it tick?”
Kol listened to every step she wanted Emmett to take when dissecting Edward and instructed him. Even the crazier ideas such as trying various liquids inside of the open torso were met, as long as the liquid was available in the house. Of course, it wasn’t surprising that nothing seemed to hurt the statue, and eventually Bella got angry and fed up; grabbing one of the modified electric saws in the home exam room to saw off Edward’s head. The amount of strength she exerted surprised him, but then again, these assholes hadn’t been the nicest of people to her. She almost had a delirious look on her face when she was working on severing the head from its torso and all he did was lean back and make sure that she wouldn’t be splattered on.
But she was so turning him on right now. His mind wandered in the wrong – morally wrong – direction as he headed to the garage to grab some of the baseball bats that he had seen on his tour. She knew that the Cold One venom could hurt her, and she was being safe as she was still sawing through Edward’s neck while Emmett watched.
When he returned, she was still cutting, but nearly done, and he decided to test the density of the baseball bats on Emmett. He wanted to do something, too. It was a good thing he got a few of the bats because they all broke or bent on his exterior.
“Yeah, okay, pull his head off,” Bella motioned to Emmett, after having had her victory on Edward and seeing Kol use Emmett as batting practice. “Can we do something horrific to the girls?”
“Depends,” he said as he jumped on Emmett’s back; the Cold One built like a quarterback not moving an inch, because Kol had told him so. “I generally don’t torture women.”
Bella smirked then as she eyed Kol curiously as he ripped off Emmett’s head. “Well, I was thinking we could make little cuts on Alice, in the tub…. And then light a match and have her burn alive.” She was quiet for a moment before her smirk turned wider. “Have Jasper light the match and throw it at her.”
By the time they had dismembered the six Cullens, the patriarch returned home and Kol told him to walk into the burning house. The fire was enormous; no doubt the fire department would come soon to extinguish the fire but by that time, there would be nothing left of the vampires.
He could hear some snarling coming out of the woods behind them and, turning to Bella, who looked at the fire with fascination, he smirked. “Want to play with the puppies now?”
She sat down on a rock, still watching the flames in silence, deep in thoughts, contemplating his question. She looked so pretty as the color of the fire illuminating her face. Despite the fact that she was quite thin and the fire highlighting the bags underneath her eyes. She was gorgeous and he was one twisted fuck for thinking like this. All evidence of her being hurt, gone, due to the ‘well meaning’ security vampire from Myriam’s brothel, but there was no doubt in Kol’s mind that she must have gone through a lot to have him inflict this much damage on the Cold Ones as he had.
While he had only an inkling of what she may have had gone through over the years, she seemed rather… stable. No damsel in distress. No tears. Normal. She looked normal, and in his experience that meant that she was at least a little bit of a psycho. Then again, she was a psycho, he had already seen that inside the now burning house. Maybe it was because of the trauma, right? He’d never experienced humans to be this… unhinged.
“We’re tired,” Bella eventually said quietly. As she looked up to Kol, he saw some humanity in there and for a moment, he was relieved. But then again, she’d gone through a lot and she was going to need time to even out. Hell, it took him centuries and even now he was still considered to be unstable and unreliable. “The wolves know what we’ve done, you and us, and they won’t come after us or alert the authorities.”
“No, they’ll be mounting a defense if we leave them now,” he countered.
She smiled warmly then, the smile almost reaching her wearily looking eyes. “They’re the only tribe that can shift. Now that the Cold Ones are gone, they won’t create new ones, so to say. There aren’t many wolves, likely two handfuls. We are only interested in one family. It’ll be alright if we go to sleep now and go back later. We need containment, we need rest to do that.”
Everything in him screamed that she was mistaken and that if they wanted to do more damage, they would have to go now. “Or, you stay here and I will take care of the puppies.”
“Why would you do that?” She blinked at him. “And why did you do all this?” Bella pointed at the burning house. “We are no one. You don’t know us so why did you do all this? Why are you here?”
“I told you while you and I were having fun with the Cold Ones before we killed them,” Confused, he ran a hand through his hair. Had she already forgotten? “Are you alright?”
She paled then. “Oh fuck,” she muttered under her breath as she looked at the floor, her eyes looking for something, likely hoping he hadn’t heard that but there was barely anything that escaped him. Bella got up from the rock and dusted herself off as she composed herself. “Excuse us,” she lifted her head to look at him, her eyes locked onto his.
“Why, darling? It’s alright if your mind is a little fragmented right now, how long did they have you?”
“Oh, quite a couple of years,” she said with a slow nod. “We’ve never truly been free of them and we appreciate you for having entertained and engaged our dark side.”
“Are you truly free though? Something tells me the wolves have something to do with this, too. They were created to take the Cold Ones out and they didn’t. Hell, one was sleeping in the backyard when I arrived, like some guard dog.”
“If you had given us a little more time before setting the house ablaze, we would have been able to get one of their credit cards to stay in a hotel for the night,” she said, her tone accusatory. “We need rest so we can sort us out and start adjusting to a life without them.”
“You wanted to come to New Orleans with me, yeah?”
“We said that?”
“Yes, yes you did. Now, I trust you on your word that you do want to make the puppies pay for what they did to you but that that you’re now too tired to continue. I’m renting a lodge, it has an extra bedroom, you can sleep there.”
“Still, we could have used one of their credit cards, the Cullens had money.”
“Don’t worry about that, okay? As long as you’re around me, under my protection, you won’t have to worry about money. And if you do decide that you’re ready to face the world on your own, I won’t leave you without, either.”
She seemed to think then. “If you turn out to be like the Cullens -”
“I’m not,” Kol sneered. “I’m a bloody vampire but I’m not like them. We don’t keep pets – not anymore, haven’t had pets for centuries and we’ve never treated them as poorly as the Cullens have treated you. Now, trust me and allow me to pick you up to take you to the lodge so you can rest.” Oh, that sounded harsh, but she was testing him now. When Kol saw the hesitation on her face, he tried to calm down; he had been sent here for a reason, Myriam and Niklaus wanted him to get this girl out of harm’s way and he was losing his patience with her. “You can trust me, if I wanted to do you harm, I wouldn’t ask you or tell you what I need from you. I’m not out for your blood, nor your body.”
“Then what are your motives again?”
“To help you,” he reminded her, finally hearing the fire alarms. Kol held out his hand for her to take. “The way I see it, you have three options right now; one – You come with me to get the rest you want, two – We go after the puppies now rather than tomorrow or whenever, or three – I leave you here and you get taken into a hospital because you look like a walking skeleton and are acting confused and no doubt they’d like to keep you there and poke you with needles.”
She took his hand with a scowl and he lifted her up before speeding off to the lodge as she held on tightly to him. He was surprised by how alright she was with the speeds he was going at; then again, she had lived with Cold Ones for so long, no doubt they used to transport her like this often enough.
He set her down inside the lodge once getting there and she looked around in surprise. “Oh, don’t worry, I don’t own it, just renting it for a few days,” he said dismissively. “You see, I was sent to see what was up with you considering you lived with Cold Ones and they have their ‘turn or kill’ policy and all.”
“And instead of observing you decided to get us out of that situation.”
“Exactly,” he smiled at her and showed her the bedrooms. “Choose one. Once you’re asleep, I’ll go into town to get us some food and something to drink. You’re safe here.”
Bella hummed as she entered a bedroom, turned around and nodded. “Thank you,” she said before closing the door on him and he could hear some movement on the other side of the door, it was the sound of one of the chests being dragged across the room, sounds of effort coming out of Bella and he couldn’t help but laugh.
“Need some help, darling?”
The dragging stopped. “What’s the use of barricading ourselves in when we need your help to do it? Wouldn’t that trap you in here with us?”
“Merely offering some assistance,” he said with an amused smile on his face. “Are you going to barricade the window too?”
“Darling, you do know that if I wish you harm, I could easily kick down the door, no matter how well you barricade it,” he replied, shaking his head. “Will you be alright if I go to the city now?”
“Alright,” he said as he looked at the closed door as more dragging sounds could be heard. “I’ll be back shortly.” This girl was definitely entertaining.
As soon as he got out of the lodge, he ran for a short distance, and stopped when his phone rang. “What?” He said a little annoyed – could he seriously not do anything without being checked upon? Then again, it was his brother and his sister-in-law who sent him out in the first place. They still didn’t quite trust him.
“I believe congratulations are in order, brother,” Nik’s voice sounded.
“Excuse me?” Kol blinked as he scratched his head, looking at the flames coming over the trees from the spot where he was. He never thought that Cold Ones would be such great kindle!
“Didn’t you start the greatest fire Forks, Washington has ever seen?”
“Oh.” Now that Nik mentioned it, he could hear the television on in the back, a blow by blow detailed report from somewhere close to ‘the scene’.
“Tell me that you at least had some fun while taking care of the Cold Ones? Were they that terrible to the girl?”
“Nik, you were the one who told me that humans and Cold Ones don’t mix. I merely did what you wanted me to do, to extract her.”
“Very well, what’s her name and birthdate? Allow me to set her up with a bank account and other details so she can start her new life.”
“That won’t be necessary,” Kol said dismissively, but it felt good to know that his brother did indeed help others with their money. “I already gave her some choices and she’d like to come back with me so she can adjust to normal life.”
He didn’t like Nik’s silence on the other end but waited patiently. “We never bring them back with us, Kol. They’re not lost animals, there are plenty of institutions, charities, that could help her with getting her life back. Besides, we’re hardly normal.”
“I don’t think that’s possible in this case. She was eight when she watched her father die and was raised by the wolves and somehow ended up with the Cold Ones. I don’t know how, she hasn’t told me and I doubt she will.”
Kol could hear Nik’s sneer on the other end. “We are not equipped to take care of people like her! Nor do we want to!”
“You don’t have to. I will.”
“You?” His brother scoffed. “Kol, you are the least capable of all of us!”
“If you really believed that, you wouldn’t have sent me to Forks to check out the situation. Face it, Niklaus, you and everyone else got fed up with me hanging around doing nothing of importance and Myriam wanted me to have a project. I now have one,” Kol angrily responded. “I don’t know for how much longer we’ll be here, she’s resting now and I was about to fetch us something to eat. We still have to take care of those puppies, there is no way I will allow them to live.”
Kol could hear the television again, a lot clearer now, Nik must be holding the phone up to it. “The latest update – Sources within the police department say that Bella Swan lived at the house. Bella Swan was the daughter of the former police chief who died in an accident over twelve years ago. Chances are that she perished in the fire, a fire that the fire department still has no control over while more departments are coming from around Forks and that could take time. Weather forecasters believe this fire could take out half if not 75% of the woods surrounding the fire making this the worst fire since 1951. Should the winds change, the fire could spread to the historical town center.”
“Brilliant,” Kol grinned. “I doubt she had a passport anyway, we’ll drive down from here.”
“And where will you be staying?”
“At the compound, of course, Bella can have the room next to mine!”
Another silence at the other end of the line. “We’ll find you something.”
“I think you’ll find her fascinating, brother,” Kol smirked. “Is there anything else I can do for you? I’d rather not have her be alone for long and I was supposed to get food.”
“Don’t get attached to her, Kol,” Nik warned him, but that was likely too late. Bella was different and interesting, something Kol immensely liked and wasn’t going to give up on her that soon. Besides, there was a reason why she wasn’t turned into a Cold One, wasn’t there? She was special, and he was wondering just how much. He didn’t think her to be a witch, and if she was one, she was untrained and unaware of her abilities.
Kol hung up on his brother and quickly went shopping. When he returned at the lodge, he checked in on Bella, but she sounded to be fast asleep. Well, she did say she was tired! He turned on the TV and lowered the volume before making something decent to eat for Bella for when she’d awake again. Something told him that she was used to short stints, and he truly hoped that once she’d be in complete safety, and would feel safe, she’d sleep for longer; like a normal human being.
He wasn’t much of a cook; he could do the basics, such as eggs or toast, but thankfully, the internet was a wonderful invention and he had found a recipe for a full chicken roast with all the trimmings; it would keep him busy for at least a few hours as he listened to the news coverage of the fire. Oh, he could have gone to a restaurant and fetch food, or compel someone to prepare it for him like Niklaus usually did, but he needed to keep himself occupied. Stave off the boredom, he didn’t like waiting.
Did he feel any remorse for starting the fire? No. Would Bella? Doubtful. How would she react that they assumed her dead? The little that he knew about her was that she didn’t have any family left, that both her parents had died under dubious circumstances, but Bella only remembered her father’s accident, or did she? She’d been fairly young when her mother died when she was in Phoenix with her, according to the people he had spoken to before deciding on taking the girl away from the Cold Ones.
He heard the sound of Bella falling to the floor, her incredible dirty mouth as she swore, her scrambling to her feet and starting to drag her barricades away from the door. She was pushing her hair out of her face as she opened the door and looked at him, curious for a moment before seemingly remembering what had happened. “Hello,” she greeted him before the smell of Kol’s cooking made her smile widely. “Oh, that smells amazing.”
“Doesn’t it just?” Kol beamed at her. He just wished it tasted that too, but from what he could tell, this recipe had been foolproof. “Come, sit at the table, it’ll be ready in a minute,” he said as he switched off the television. “Did you sleep well?”
“We did, thank you,” Bella replied as she sat down, eyeing him curiously and he found himself looking at her the same way. With a sigh, Bella ran a hand through her hair. “The Native American tribe here are called the Quileute. Many years ago, a bunch of Cold Ones crossed their land, wreaked havoc and some of the tribe started to change into big animals, destined to kill every Cold One on their land, until Carlisle Cullen managed to sign a treaty with them. As long as Cold Ones didn’t cross a certain line, the wolves wouldn’t kill them.”
“That’s what I heard,” Kol nodded as he set plates on the table followed by his complete dinner. There was roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, greens, some yorkshire puddings – they had been fun to make, and something to drink for them.
“When Bella was eight, she was in a car with her father and they were in a terrible accident. The details… still enrage us. It was caused by a Cold One, a Cullen, and another one ripped Bella’s father into pieces right in front of her.”
And now Bella was talking about herself as if she wasn’t there. Was she possessed by a spirit? “You’re kidding,” Kol said, not missing a beat. He wasn’t going to address Bella’s strangeness, he didn’t know what was going on yet and didn’t want to upset her.
“Wish we were,” she said with a slight shrug as she eyed the food on the table and only started to pile on the food when he did. “Bella was in shock; almost catatonic and didn’t speak for quite some time as her father’s best friend took her into his home; a Quileute. She was soon moved into the barn, chained to a post and well… let’s just say that the stories about them being kind are untrue. When the Cold Ones responsible for Bella’s accident heard of her survival, they managed to convince the Quileute to release her into their custody – humans aren’t supposed to know about the Cold Ones. They hide amongst the humans, but Bella had seen them for who they were; monsters. It was the law that they took her in as not to spread the word and endanger them. They weren’t much better than the tribe had been, and as she matured, so did their treatment of her.”
He wasn’t squeamish, but this story made him lose his appetite, while Bella shoved mouthfuls into her mouth. “Remember to chew,” he pointed out, causing her to slow down. “And yet, here you are, relatively sane after your entire ordeal,” he continued. “I have seen victims who were tortured and abused by vampires, and they are a lot different than you are.”
“It’s the reason why the Cullens never turned us,” Bella said with her mouthful. “Human life is finite, eventually we’d die. They didn’t want to have us on their hands for the rest of infinity.” She took a sip of her drink and looked at him. “Are you in the business of hurting people?”
Yes. No. Well… “On occasion,” Kol eventually said. “I tend to play with my food. My siblings find me erratic and a maniac, but over the years I have significantly calmed down and they don’t seem to notice. I met this girl a while ago and she showed me that there’s more to life than rejection and anger.”
“She sounds like a good person.”
“She was,” Kol smiled bravely. “She died.”
“Oh, sorry,” Bella said as she swallowed another piece of chicken. “We didn’t mean to make you feel bad.”
“I’m not feeling bad at all,” he replied. “I feel lucky and fortunate to have had her in my life, she taught me some valuable lessons and I’m a better person for it. I honor her memory by not reverting to who I used to be.”
She smirked then. “Unless you’re allowed to kill some bad people.”
“Oh, I love me some monsters who have their hands on people they shouldn’t have in the first place,” he grinned as he rubbed his hands together in glee. “After your story, I really want to go after that tribe now.”
“What’s stopping you?”
“Well, you, of course. I want to kill them for you, so you can have your revenge. You need to watch, obviously. You liked it very much to instruct me on how to kill the Cullens.”
Bella winced then. “Yes, about that, that shouldn’t have happened, but we were too tired to stop ourselves.”
“Ah, admit it, darling,” Kol nearly purred. “You loved it to take your revenge.”
“It’s well deserved, yes,” she had given it some thought. “And necessary in various ways, but not great for adjusting to a life without vampires and werewolves.”
“Darling, if you wanted a life without vampires and werewolves you’d have not told me you wanted to come back with me,” he let out a snort. “My family is the worst and shouldn’t be considered a halfway point. You’re human. You could get hurt when one of us has a temper tantrum.”
Bella shrugged and continued to eat her food in silence. Kol saw her expression change for a few moments here and there, but she didn’t seem to be bothered by it. She polished off her plate with ease, before she looked at him with a faint smile on her face. “That’s like the best food we’ve had in years, can we have some more, please?”
“Eat as much as you want, darling, but I do have to warn you, you might have to spend hours on the toilet after you digested it.”
“We can’t wait,” she giddily responded and piled up some more. “Apart from chasing your prey, what do you like to do?”
“I love music and magic,” he replied as he took a sip of his drink. “Or the movies. Videogames. Just because I’m over a thousand years old, doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate modern technology. Oh, and fast cars,” he grinned widely. “Anything that goes fast, really, gets your heart pumping and of course, most fast cars are beautiful. Speaking of which, how are you with cars? Get car sick or anything?”
“Good, because you and I will travel to New Orleans by car, seeing as I don’t fancy waiting for you to get your passport and all.”
A thoughtful look appeared on her face as she continued eating. “We don’t think we have one, will we need one?”
“We’ll see,” Kol smiled at her. “It all depends what you want to do once you’ve adjusted to a life without the Cold Ones, away from here. You don’t have to think about that now.”
“Do you think I could do magic?” She barked out a laugh. “Oh, that would actually be a very bad thing if I was in any way magical, let’s not discuss that matter any further because damn, that would really get interesting.”
“How so? Magic is beautiful. When we get to New Orleans, I’ll ask someone to test you if you’d like.”
“No,” she was now hiccuping with laughter. “Oh, no, that would be really bad. No, we like tools. Engineering. Mechanics. Cars. Taking them apart and fixing them. Sabotage a few cars on occasion…” She scraped her plate empty and finished her drink. “Would you like to kill the puppies now? We could kill Mr. Black ourselves. He’s in a wheelchair, you see. A nice rake through the chest will do.”
“Maybe tomorrow, they’re still trying to get the fire under control and I don’t want us to attract more attention.”
“But now there’s chaos, we could easily slip by.”
“You wanted rest to get yourself together, you’re getting it,” he countered as he started to clear the table. “We’ll go first thing in the morning, which is in 8 hours.”
Bella quickly got to her feet and took the dishes from him. “Fine, but you cooked, we’ll be doing the dishes,” she replied as she put the dishes on the counter and started to clear the rest of the table. “Why won’t you ask us what you’ve been wanting to ask since we’ve started to speak to you?”
“Excuse me?” He said flabbergasted. Well yes, he was curious but he didn’t have to know. She was harmless, that’s all that mattered.
“We’ve seen the way you’re looking at us when we speak. The way we use our words. No doubt you’re wondering where the girl that liked the torture of the Cold Ones went,” she said calmly as she rinsed off the plates. “Anyone who visited the Cullens were immediately told about us, how defective we are.”
“I don’t see why you’re defective,” Kol replied as he leaned against the counter, looking at her. “You’re fully functional and not in the least bit traumatized by what you’ve been through. Does that surprise me? Sure, it’s unusual, but I find that amazing. We all have our quirks. Me? As I said, I have some control issues from time to time. I like to pick fights with my siblings and wouldn’t hesitate to betray them if it serves me better. I’m narcissistic and have a blood addiction. It would be boring if we were all the same, wouldn’t it? No, Bella, you’re not defective. You’re an unusual human being, but I dig it.”
“But I need to warn you -”
“Warn me?” He laughed and shook his head. “Darling, relax. You’re not around uptight Cold Ones anymore. We normal vampires tend to be a lot more flexible. Unless you’re a weapon of mass destruction capable of killing me, which I highly doubt, there’s no reason to warn me.” He then sucked in a breath as he continued to watch her clean the dishes. “I like surprises.”
She hesitated for a moment, but didn’t stop doing the dishes. “You’re a remarkable person, Kol. Thank you for making us feel normal.”
“Normality is overrated,” Kol huffed. “You know, I could do the dishes a lot faster.”
“And then what would you want to do?”
He shrugged then. “I saw some boardgames in the closet.” He was surprised that she agreed to that; he wasn’t one for boardgames normally, but anything to keep her inside the lodge and away from the television to see the news. They played a couple rounds of Set and Fluxx before she informed him that she needed to sleep again. This time she moved less things against her door.
This time, she slept for longer. Kol kept an ear out, just in case she had a nightmare, but she seemed to be having pleasant dreams, small giggles coming from behind the door on occasion. No, he feared that in a day or two, when she’d fully realize that the Cullens were dead and she truly had to start a new life, she’d have a break. He merely hoped there wouldn’t be tears. He didn’t do tears.
He fully believed that she’d be able to take care of herself, as she had told him, but how could she be self-sufficient after the life she’d had? On top of that, she didn’t have to tell him her life story but she did. She was so brave. Braver than he’d ever be. Bella kept him guessing. This was fun. She was fun. It was too early to tell, but he really hoped she’d stick around after she got used to living without people manhandling her. Bella was interesting, she was kind, she was insane and she… well, perhaps she was magical. He wasn’t going to ask Freya to perform a spell for that, it was unlikely that she’d be back by the time he and Bella would be in New Orleans. If Bella were a witch, he was going to have so much fun tutoring her!
He must have dozed off somewhere during the night, because the smell of coffee and bacon being cooked woke him up. “How are you so quiet?” He muttered as he tiredly rubbed his eyes.
“You must have needed that nap,” Bella greeted him. “And we were really quiet.”
“You were,” he agreed as he stretched and got to his feet. “You didn’t have to make breakfast,” he continued as he saw that she had set the table with the breakfast staples that he had gotten the day before. “I would have done it.”
“You cooked dinner last night, breakfast is easy.”
He snorted as he held up the slices of bread. “No crusts?”
She briefly paled before composing herself as she brought over the bacon. “Didn’t fancy them today. Too chewy,” Bella replied after setting down the hot pan and started to make herself a peanutbutter and jelly sandwich, carefully cutting it in small triangles. A small smile appeared on her face then, almost as if she had satisfied a child inside of her, before she rolled her eyes and started to eat it.
The changes were subtle, but Kol noticed. Oh, he noticed. How could he not notice? She was beautiful and now that she was more rested, she seemed to be a lot more alert, there was life in her eyes now. He couldn’t wait until he’d get her away from Forks and see her grow more comfortable and have her feel safe.
After breakfast Kol found them transport to Seattle – at least – where he would be able to get a better car for roadtripping them back to New Orleans and drove them to the reservation to kill the pups. “You don’t have to do this, I can do this on my own,” he reminded her. “I’m itching to kill flesh and blood, it means less chance to get burned by venom.”
“As I said yesterday,” Bella’s voice sounded deeper for some reason. “I’m going to push a rake through Billy Black, you can do the rest if you want, but they don’t all have to die.”
“Oh, they are all going to die, darling,” he said determined as he parked the car. “We’re going to rid you from your nightmares for once and for all, then you can start your new life.”
Bella told him that she wanted the Blacks to watch everyone die, so he herded everyone in their community building and killed the entire tribe. This included the women and children. Heartless? Overkill? Likely, but this tribe was a plague. Was he afraid of a Native American curse? Nah.
It was easier than expected to kill the shifted members of the tribe, especially after drinking so much blood during his spree. However, it didn’t mean that it was easy. They were strong and their skin was nearly impenetrable. Nearly. Not impossible. He made sure nobody came close to Bella, promising her that she’d be safe. He could have fed her his blood, yes, but not without her consent. He still believed that she believed that she’d be leaving him once she felt strong enough to face the world on her own, but he knew better. As much as she intrigued him, he could tell the feeling was mutual. And if not, well… then she’d leave. But he believed that she wouldn’t. Something good was going to come out of this, for the both of them.
Bella stood there quietly, watching him, an occasional thin smile across her face. The last of the wolves was Jacob Black and Kol held him down while Bella tried to drive a rake through his body. After several attempts and her cursing up a storm, Jacob lay there, bleeding. “Then fucking watch your father die, asshole!” She yelled at him before turning around and drove the rake through Billy Black’s chest. Blood splattered everywhere as the older Black coughed and spluttered, bleeding out as his body spasmed and jerked while Bella kept driving the rake into him. Once he stopped, Kol snapped Jacob’s neck and pulled his head off his torso.
Bella looked down on herself and started laughing. The walls of the building were covered in blood. The floor had turned into a red river. Both Bella and Kol were covered in blood. “What a mess!” She kept laughing as she stepped away from Billy Black. “What a pretty mess!”
“You know, darling,” he said amused. “Some people would think we’re sick because we find this pretty.”
“Sick? We’re not sick. We’re ‘s no cure for who we are!”
He grinned widely then. “Exactly!”
“How about we steal some of their clothes from their homes and take a shower before we move on?” Bella responded as she carelessly gestured towards the bodies. “Wouldn’t want to ruin the car or have people look at us as if we’re covered in blood…”
“Sure, darling, whatever you wish,” he replied as he lead her out of the building. “Shall we start another forest fire? Mind you, they still haven’t got the other one under control.”
“Hell yeah, let’s burn the place down!”
There was absolutely not a hint of remorse there. More the sound of freedom in her voice and it sounded like music to his ears. They did as she’d suggested and after turning the building in tinder, he set the thing ablaze with all the dead Quileutes inside. And while the flames became bigger and bigger, they drove away towards Seattle before driving home.
It didn’t take long for Bella to fit in with the rest of them and adjust. As she started to feel more at ease around him and his siblings, he discovered more sides to her. Some sides were cute and adorable and then there was the side where he had to try to control himself and not to turn into a raging, jealous boyfriend because he wasn’t a boyfriend. He wasn’t her boyfriend, she hadn’t shown any indication of wanting more than friendship at the moment and he wasn’t going to claim her, but that was hard when they were out having fun and she turned into the biggest flirt ever. There were times that he took the guy aside and made a snack out of him.
Kol wanted her to flirt with him, not with others.
His siblings and Myriam found her a curious creature too, but Kol knew that they were glad that she had taken to Kol a lot and wasn’t in their way of doing things.
Bella knew she was safe now, she had even said so herself, but he could still hear her try to barricade the door of her room every night for some reason. Habit? This strange habit hadn’t escaped the attention of his siblings, either, so a few months after Bella had joined them in their home, Myriam and Freya dared Bella not to move anything in front of that door for a night. She was living in a home filled with well adjusted vampires who weren’t going to hurt her, nothing could happen.
Bella had cautiously agreed, but only when the gates of the courtyard would be closed and locked. They had all found it sad and heartbreaking that she felt that she had to be locked in, one way or the other. Still, after the months of her rescue. Niklaus agreed, locked the gates when Bella went to bed, but unlocked them again after a few hours because he didn’t like feeling like he was locked in. Ever.
Kol decided not to sleep that night. He had a feeling that Bella wouldn’t be able to sleep, either. She’d been too anxious, too embarrassed in that anxiety, to get a good night’s sleep, and he hated that he’d been right. As soon as everything was quiet in the Courtyard, he could hear the door to Bella’s room open as Bella quietly giggled.
“Wow,” she said, amazed, sounding like a small child. “Oh, wow, pretty!” She tiptoed around, looking at the paintings on the wall, smelling the flowers, sniffing the bottles of alcohol on the tables and headed upstairs. Her balance seemed off, unstable, she even placed her hands on the steps as she climbed the stairs.
She started to hum some children’s song to herself as she reached the next floor. A good thing about being a vampire was that Kol could be quiet and invisible if needed be, he wanted to see what was happening, was she sleepwalking? Was that the reason she locked herself in at night? When Bella entered Nik’s study, he felt slightly hesitant about it, because Nik had been painting and he was highly protective over his art, what if Bella would do something to his painting while she was sleepwalking?
Deciding to wait it out, Kol got inside and not a second too late. Bella had already started to grab the paint and was now defiling Nik’s painting with her hands and fingers. “What are you doing?” Kol whispered from behind her. “Nik’s not going to like it!”
“I’m making art,” Bella replied as she looked at Kol. The statement almost sounded as if considering it art would make things alright in Nik’s head. “Oh, you’re Kol! You’re the reason Bobbie thinks of leaving,” she said as she turned back around and continued to make strokes on the canvas with her fingers.
“You’re not sleepwalking,” he said surprised and sat down in one of the chairs close to Bella and the canvas.
“I’m awake,” Bella replied before squirting more paint on the canvas. “If you’re the cause of Bobbie thinking of leaving, you must be nice to the system, are you nice?”
“I am…” he said slowly, cocking his head in confusion. “You’re not referring to yourself as we?”
“I’m not. I’m not really the system, I never get to go out in front and they don’t tell me everything, either,” she replied, not stopping her painting. “Tessa and Bobbie are usually fronting, so they’re together, they’re we. If Tessa’s alone, she’s I. Like me.”
It was as if pieces fell into place then. Bella had multiple personalities inside of her. Humans sometimes developed that after trauma and Bella’s story was as tragic as they came. “What’s your name?”
“Dorothy,” she said with a giggle. “And I’m seven.”
“Nice to meet you, Dorothy.”
Bella’s hands were now covered in paint and she stopped painting for a moment to look at him. “You can run away now.”
“Why would I want to run away?”
She shrugged then. “Because I’m seven and aware that I don’t look seven to you.”
“Well, I like your company, I’m not going anywhere,” he laughed. “Would you like to tell me more about the system and yourself?”
“Oh, I don’t think I should,” she shook her head as she turned back to continue painting. “You see, I’m a bit of an outsider, they make sure I have fun at all times. Tessa never wanted me to be in the system because that’d mean I hear everything they do.”
“The others communicate with each other?”
Bella sighed and shook her head. “They do, it’s like telepathy. And I’m cut off from that. I only know what Tessa tells me. Like how we moved here and that I never ever have to hide from the monsters anymore because we are okay now and she said that she trusts you.”
“Does she now?”
“Uhuh. Bobbie does too, which is why he’s planning on hanging back for a while and have Tessa drive us. He still will stick around to help with Lynne.”
She giggled. “Lynne is a ps- psy- uhh… bad person.”
Interesting. “You like to paint then?”
“Uhuh,” Bella nodded as she continued to paint more stickfigures. “And drawing, I like to draw. And to read, but I was never allowed to have books or crayons in the outside world, but in our home in the body’s head? I have everything. Except for a pony. I’m too young to have a pony and there’s not really a lot of room in the head,” she giggled again. “And usually when I wake up and take over, I can’t get out of the room because the things are so heavy to move away from the door, it’s not fair. Tonight must be a treat day!”
“It sure is,” he said amused as he leaned in his chair. “Do you think I should ask the system tomorrow about how you guys work?”
“Will I get an answer though?”
“I think so,” she said as she grabbed another tube of paint before a gust of wind knocked it out of her hands, causing her to yelp and jump back.
“What in the bloody hell do you think you’re doing!” Klaus breezed as he scolded the girl and pointed at his painting. “You ruined it!”
“Nik, calm down,” Kol said as he got to his feet when he saw the formerly serene face of Bella – Dorothy – turn into sad and scared and oh, there could be tears there. Much to his surprise, Bella jumped into his arms and put her arms around his neck, much like a child would do and started to sob.
“I didn’t mean to! I like to paint! I am sorry!”
“It’s okay,” Kol shushed her, no doubt there were now paint splatters on the back of his shirt. “Niklaus is just being a meanie, to whom I’ll explain things later. Let’s get you cleaned up,” he said as he narrowed his eyes on his fuming brother and left his brother’s study.
“My paint! My expensive paint!”
“Nik, you’ll get over it!” Kol called back before taking up a slight job and bringing Bella to her room. He took her to the bathroom and started to wash her hands. “It’s alright, darling, Nik is just a big meanie who doesn’t like to share his things.”
Bella was sobbing still, but a lot less. “I woke the others, they are coming.”
“That’s alright,” he smiled at her as he continued to wash her hands. “I do hope to see you again, though. It’s alright to feel comfortable enough to come out.”
“Thank you,” she said before her hands were janked out of his and he was staring at the sterner looking Bella, who looked at her hands, slightly confused before meeting his eyes again. “Well. I suppose we will be packing our bags.”
She used the I to refer to herself. Single. One. “Why?”
“The secret is out, of course. No doubt you’d want to get rid of us. Don’t worry, we will be going.”
“No,” Kol blinked at her. “Wait. Who am I talking to now? Bobbie? Tessa?”
“And to think that I was going to leave the girls in your capable hands,” she replied as she pushed him to the side and continued to wash her hands. “We should have never agreed to not to barricade that door.”
He frustratingly ran his hand through his hair. “Look, the best place for you guys to be is here. Once we explain your unique situation to the others, they will understand. You’ll have a hard time on your own out there.”
“We will adapt.”
“Sure, but will you be safe?”
“Are you saying I can’t keep them safe?” Bella fumed as she slammed the edge of the counter. “I’ve been keeping them safe for years. Taken the torments. The abuse. For years. Don’t tell me that I can’t keep them safe because you have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“I can’t make you stay, but… I’d love it if you guys would hang around for a while longer. I can understand you don’t want to stay here, but we could get a place for ourselves. A house. An apartment. A safe area for you to be who you are. I know what it’s like to hide and it’s no fun. However, trust that my family is a safe family and nothing like the Cullens or the Blacks. We don’t abandon people. It’s people who abandon us.”
“You don’t find the system weird?”
“Everyone has their troubles,” Kol shrugged. “Granted, I don’t know anything about your system, like how you guys work. If the real Bella would ever come out… but I’m willing to learn because I like you.”
“You like us?”
“Oh yeah, from the moment I saved you. I didn’t want to let you go to be honest.”
“Maybe,” Kol laughed as he tossed Bella – Bobbie – a towel. “Stay. Teach me so I can teach my family. And before you say that you’re fucked up, then I have news for you; my family is as crazy as they come and you’ll fit right in. Please stay, don’t run because my idiot of a brother scared the little girl. You don’t have to hide who you are anymore, don’t you know that by now?”
“Well…” Bella sucked in a breath. “You can stop hoping that you’ll meet Bella, she’s as dead as a doornail. We listen to Bella and named the system Bella because that’s what this body’s name is. We’re usually consistent in who’s up front – me and Tessa or just one of us. Our system doesn’t allow switching without putting it up for a vote, but Dorothy has a tendency to escape while most of us are either asleep or doing other things during the night time when the body needs rest.”
“Okay, good to know.”
“And we’ll stay. The majority of us wants to stay because they trust you. To be honest, I think Tessa carries a torch for you anyway.”
“Bobbie, I understand the fight or flight feeling. We all do. I swear, there’s no better place for you than here.”
“Very well, but if I don’t like what I’m hearing, we’re still gone.” Bella held out her hand for Kol to shake it. “Do we have a deal, Kol Mikaelson?”
“Yes, deal,” he said as he shook it. Bobbie had quite the grip! Kol was glad that it was quite easy to persuade the system to stay – he did want to learn and he did want to make sure that Bella was happy, every single one of them. If his brother wanted to kick the both of them out, then he’d happily go somewhere with Bella so that they could be free without the fear of being damaged or ridiculed.
Dating was going to be a bitch, wasn’t it? But, one thing he knew for sure, life was never ever going to be boring again.