Kol still didn’t know whether or not he should feel guilty for feeding Bella alcohol and get her drunk. He hadn’t expected her to be an emotional drunk and the emotional sludge that she had dumped on him had taken him by surprise, but it had also been an eyeopener. She did like him the way that he liked her, it was merely difficult for her to put it into words or to share.
And even the thought of feeling guilty about him made him feel sick to his stomach and he felt he had to kill something in order to balance things out every time he thought about his guilt. Love was stupid, but oh so good. Guilt should be a non-existent thing. He never felt guilt, only when it came to Bella. All the mistakes he had made in the past, all the little things he was doing now that Bella didn’t particularly liked…
And, per her request, nothing changed between them. He was still having fun with her and honest, open, as that worked well with her. Rebekah, of course, made sure she made herself scarce and hung around with some vampires of Elijah’s line. Saint-Tropez was quiet enough for Bella to feel extremely comfortable and transient enough for all the vampires to hold almost a daily feast.
To be honest, he wasn’t missing anything now that he choose to spend more time with Bella outside of bars. She didn’t want to get drunk ever again, she had thought of it as an horrible, yet purging experience that she wouldn’t want to revisit. Instead, they went out for walks a lot when it was dark and listen to the sea or the nocturnal animals and strangely enough, he liked it. It calmed him more than anything he had tried before.
And it sucked. But he also liked the feeling of serenity and calmness and Bella was the only person who could give it to him, as she had done in the past. And yes, Rebekah teased him mercilessly about his infatuation, and he didn’t even get angry about it.
It was just the guilt that was eating him up sometimes.
It was a couple of weeks after Bella’s drunk emotion spill when he decided to take her to Frejus for a few days for a change of scenery, the zoo and the amusement park were a great thing to visit, a lot of entertainment and Bella couldn’t believe her eyes nor hide her excitement when he took her to the Veterinary Clinic of the city to learn things first hand, ahead of her education.
She knew her biology well enough. ‘Still not as advanced as my maths but I take it one subject at the time,’ as she said and she was so happy after the long day of working with Dr. Emily DuMee whom he had compelled to answer any question Bella might have with patience and grace and Bella was simply soaking up the information as she cared for the animals.
She had promised not to use her magic because it was basically cheating, but when someone brought in a dog that was near death due to a road accident, she couldn’t help but intervene as she met them in the waiting area. Of course, Kol had to compel everyone around them that they didn’t see anything, but her heart was big and he was so proud of her, and doing this was another step for her on the self confidence ladder. She wanted to become a vet and she was going to be an amazing one at that!
A couple of days later, they met up with Rebekah in Monte Carlo in a fancy club run by Elijah’s vampires, with EDM music, and a lot of Elijah’s vampires for a feast. Bella had found a quiet spot in one of the corners where Kol could keep an eye on her, but she was the one who told him to enjoy himself, not to hide his true nature and to have fun with it. And he had fun with it, although chatting up the ladies for a bite wasn’t as enjoyable to him as it had been in the past. All he could think of was Bella, who was technically his eternal source of blood but hadn’t fed on since the last time he did out of necessity.
Stuck up pricks or not, some of Elijah’s vampires were quite alright, especially those in France. They were more hedonistic and fair, apart from those from Elijah’s elite little group The Strix. Rebekah was looking for love, of course, with one of said vampires and Kol had just snacked on a brunette girl at the bar, not even looked at her face, he was there for the blood, he already had his girl in the corner watching him. Oh, yeah, he felt her eyes on him. One of these days he was going to try to touch her differently than he usually did. Netflix and chill. Oh yeah. He absolutely loved this era!
However, his thoughts quickly came to a halt when every vampire around them started to fall. Kol’s rainbows and sunshine thoughts made way for worry and dark clouds. If these vampires had fallen, that meant that something had happened in New Orleans to Elijah. He dropped the vampire he had caught and looked around, confused and not quite sure what the hell was going on. He quickly looked at Bella, but she was already on her way to Kol, her heart beating faster, she was scared.
As she ducked into his arms, Rebekah spoke. “I haven’t seen vampires die like this since…” the memory made her sad, and she had to swallow hard. “… you were killed.”
“And my entire sireline died with me,” he said breathlessly as he kept a protective arm around Bella.
“Elijah… Kol, we need to go back, now.”
During their flight back home, Klaus informed them all about what happened over the phone. How there was a new ancient threat in New Orleans and how she had killed Elijah to get the power she needed to resurrect herself. ‘But not to worry, Freya trapped Elijah’s soul in that pendant of hers and we can resurrect our brother without any trouble!’ Somehow Kol didn’t feel reassured by that. Rebekah couldn’t believe her brother’s sunny disposition either. He was far too optimistic by this.
Bella thought it was humorous how the entire family was on the warpath, they had barely even landed and Rebekah, Kol and Klaus went off to find a weapon that could kill them all that had apparently been created by this new enemy, The Hollow. Bella knew exactly what and who the Hollow was, and that they were going to need the Ancestors to help defeat it. She could feel that they had already fixed what had been broken. Bella could feel the pull of the Ancestors to come and talk to them. To be the guide of the new Harvest girls, and frankly, she didn’t want to.
While everyone was busy doing what they did best, Bella decided to go anyway, and hear the Ancestors out. They couldn’t hurt her while she was alive, they wouldn’t dare. While she was still weak compared to the witches they liked to use as their pet, she had become more resourceful in the last five years, and yes, she didn’t go without her moonstone in her pocket.
If Kol knew she was going to talk to the Ancestors by herself, he’d be pissed. She knew this.
She was greeted by two of the Harvest girls, Steph and Amy. “We do not allow you entrance into our domain,” Steph said as she crossed her arms over her chest. There was a boundary spell cast over the tomb, so Bella couldn’t enter anyway. “But you can talk to the Ancestors through us.”
“You forget that I’ve been your Ancestor for over a century until five years ago and that they want me to guide you?” Bella countered as she put her hand in her pocket to fumble her moonstone for safety.
“It’s time for your return.”
“Why? All I did was hide and stay out of their way, my power added nothing to theirs.”
“You’re running with vampires, even aided the Mikaelsons in their return. The Ancestors don’t like vampires.”
“I know that, but your precious Ancestors were also the cause of the creation of the beast that is now Marcel Gerard. They had dealings with Lucien Castle, played him like a fiddle to do their bidding. Who’s going to make sure Marcel stays in check and doesn’t go on a rampage again?” Bella countered and shook her head. “The secrets of the Ancestors are safe with me. I retained all my memories from my time with them and I have not used any of that information for my benefit. I am only back in New Orleans to help the Mikaelsons defeat the Hollow, what are the Ancestors going to do about it?”
“Leave that to us,” Amy said as she moved forward. “We have created a Dark Object that will sever your life from that of Kol Mikaelson and then we can help you rejoin the Ancestors.”
Bella threw up a boundary spell of her own, freezing the two witches in place. “I am not going to rejoin those nutjobs and have my soul shredded for running with vampires and for escaping the Ancestors in the first place.”
“But I thought you wanted to die?” A new voice spoke, and Bella turned to see who was joining them. Not one of the Harvest girls, that was for sure. There was a power coming off of this girl that Bella realized that this was the Hollow made flesh. “You’re only still here because you’re linked to Kol Mikaelson.”
“I’ve been dealing with that feeling for the last five years, yes,” Bella replied as she cocked her head. “Are you The Hollow?”
“Let’s talk,” she smiled as she put an arm around Bella to start leading her away from the Harvest girls. “I can help you with your predicament, if you do something for me. I have a power source that is now vulnerable. Now I know, and I feel, that you’re not powerful enough to do many things, but as you said, The Mikaelsons are going to do everything in their power to destroy me. I am not a bad person, Bella, I like power, sure, but I’m also doing great things with that power. I help those who are loyal to me. I can sever your link to Kol Mikaelson and you can do with your life was you please. You can live out your days, become an old lady with cats, or, you can end your own life.”
Bella had already decided that living wasn’t such a bad thing, especially now that she had Kol and his family to be with. She was being looked after and she looked after them. It seemed that the Hollow wasn’t picking up on that, which was quite interesting as nobody had ever managed to read her mind until she was dead. “Why me?”
“Because the Mikaelsons love you. They wouldn’t do anything to hurt you and I need you to protect something that’s mine while I find a way to deal with them.”
“I’m not going to screw them over,” Bella shot at her. “You leave them alone and they will leave you alone. Don’t go after the kid, either, because they will keep coming.”
“But Hope… she’s nothing like I’ve seen in my entire existence. I want her.”
“Promise me you will allow the Mikaelsons, all of them, to leave New Orleans safely and I will do as you ask. If you have the power to sever the link between myself and Kol so that I can die, then surely you’ll have the power to turn me into something more powerful than Hope to do your bidding.”
Oh, this was incredibly stupid. But if she truly had some sort of totem and Bella would bring it to the Mikaelsons, surely it would help them destroy the Hollow. She could play along, for now. As long as nobody died. Anything that could help the Mikaelsons to get rid of the Hollow was a good thing, even if Bella had to sacrifice herself for it, because even if she’d be mortal again, at least she knew that she’d be with Kol until she’d die.
“This was not what I had imagined,” the Hollow sneered as she nearly ripped off Bella’s neck from pulling her against her so tightly. “But you are correct, I could make you a powerful being to do my bidding and leave the child alone until she’s a little bit older.”
“Take it or leave it, honey,” she replied as she let go of Bella. “Deal?”
“Fine…” Bella sighed, shaking her head. The Hollow gave Bella the address of the home she kept it in for now, and went on her way, but not before the link was severed completely.
“Don’t forget, Bella, you’re mortal now. Don’t allow the Mikaelsons to kill you, or anyone else for that matter, you have a totem to protect,” the Hollow called after her. As soon as she was out of ear shot, Bella sent a text message to Kol with the address where to meet her. Truth be told, she was scared now. She could die and that meant that she wouldn’t have a future with Kol, because she was mortal now. However, she hoped that he wouldn’t be angry with her for doing this, that he’d see that what she was doing was a good, helpful thing, and that hopefully, everything was going to be alright.
She found the glowing ball exactly where the Hollow said it was, and not even a second later, Kol found her. “What’s going on?”
“I did something…” she hesitated as she met his eyes. “And you’re probably going to get mad and you’re going to freak out and everything, but I saw a chance to help and I took it…”
He didn’t like where this was going. Hadn’t she been at the Compound all this time? “What did you do?”
Bella let out a breath as she kept looking at him. “I went to LaFayette because the Ancestors wanted to speak to me…”
“And instead I had to speak to the two Harvest girls. They want me back. Likely to punish me for running with vampires and helping you and escaping in the first place.”
“That’s not going to happen.”
“I know,” she smiled at him. “I told them that, too. I’m not going back and I am certainly not going to allow them to shred my soul into a million pieces and make me leave. However… the Hollow was there too.”
“That bitch found me and thought she could bribe me with dangling a resurrected Davina in front of me, fat chance. I left,” he said bitterly.
“Did you at least hear her out as to why she needed you?”
“Of course not,” he huffed.
“I did,” she said as she held up the glowing totem. “This is her protection, her totem. She wanted it to be safe.”
Kol looked at the object and then back at Bella, he was getting worried now. “What did she offer you?”
“Something I no longer wanted, but she can’t read my mind so she believed it was something I still wanted… but that’s not important. The important thing is is that you can destroy this and destroy her, save the city and save Hope.”
“She severed our link, I am mortal again,” she said softly as she looked at him. “And that’s alright, if that’s the price to pay for getting you this thing, then so be it. I don’t care if she kills me for betraying her, I want you to be safe.”
“And I want you to be safe,” he said as he pulled her into his arms. “You silly girl, you should have let us handle this…” While he was happy to hear that she no longer wanted to die, to be mortal as it meant that she’d stick around with him, it hurt to know that she was mortal now. And this act of kindness could either make Nik very happy or he’d end up killing her. “Freya is doing a locator spell on the Hollow, she suspected that she had an object to her.” God, this had been one stupid move by her.
“She won’t be able to find me, I cloaked us thoroughly,” Bella said as she placed the glowing item on a side table in the house they were in. “Perks of having studied her magic for the last five years, I suppose,” she added with half a shrug and then moved into Kol’s arms again. “But can we talk? My new found mortality is messing with my brain right now and I don’t know what to do…”
If it were up to him, he’d feed her his blood and kill her so that she’d come back to him. But she had made it clear in the past that she didn’t want a relationship and the most touching they had done was shared through hugs or moments like these, where she hid in his arms. “I don’t want you to leave me, Bella. I don’t want you to die.”
“I don’t want to, either,” she smiled up at him. “I swear, I don’t. But whereas I thought we had all the time in the world for me to grow into things – a relationship, it’s now gone. And I’m not sure if I want to become a vampire, either.”
“I’d lose my magic and I’d lose the vision I had to become a vet who healed with magic…”
“But darling, Myriam is still a healer too, she’s a vampire.”
“It’s her knowledge of herbs that makes her fantastic. And I know my magic is nothing special, but what I did in that animal hospital in France… it was beautiful,” she then sighed. “But I also know that I’m not capable of protecting myself, and that being immortal helped a lot with my self confidence in magic. I couldn’t die, if I did something wrong then it would be alright and now it’d have consequences.”
“You want to try to link yourself to me again through magic? Bella, it was an accident you didn’t plan on happening. You won’t be able to replicate that because there were other powers at play at the time, too,” he gently pushed her hair out of her face and kissed her forehead. “Darling, I do want to have more time with you and nothing makes me happier for you to say you want the same. Take my blood, just for safety. Should you turn, you don’t have to hurt other people to get fed. We usually drink from blood bags anyway.”
“I’ll be the worst vampire ever, and even more incapable of protecting myself,” Bella scowled.
“You’ll be stronger and more durable and if you don’t want to fight, that’s fine with me, darling. I’ll protect you. Always.” Maybe, just maybe, her turning would have even more positive effects. How would a brain like hers deal with heightened feelings and emotions? “It’ll be difficult to give up on your magic, but you are smart and resourceful. Your knowledge of stones and herbs is vast and you can still be a kickass vet later if you want to. I’d really like for you to stick around awhile longer. With me. Forever, if possible.”
“But I’m broken.”
“To me, you are perfect,” he said before getting distracted by a phone call from his sister Rebekah, informing him that Freya had found the totem and that she was going to find and destroy it while Freya and Hayley were going after the Hollow themselves. Kol told her not to bother and that the item would come to the compound shortly. He needed to take care of other things first. “So, how about it, darling?”
“You sure there’s no other way?”
“Not one that I can think of quickly and I’d feel more at ease with my blood inside of you when we go and see the siblings with the Hollow’s trinket.”
“Are you mad at me?”
Yes. No. Yes. This was stupid. “No, of course not,” he smiled at her and tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear. “You do what you always do, think with your heart first, then realize the consequences later. And that’s alright. Darling, being a vampire isn’t all that bad. Trust me. You’ll find things you’ll enjoy as much as magic and in a way, you can still practise some magic with our Dark Objects.” But please, drink my blood so that when Nik does kill you in a fit of rage, you’ll come back to me, he added in silence.
Bella nodded, and the moment she did, he bit into his hand and made her drink. She didn’t like blood, he knew this, and he also knew that that was going to change should she transition into a vampire. Unchartered territories, and he hoped that she wouldn’t turn out to be a psycho vampire but remained her quirky, usual self. Kol bought her a coffee on the way to the Compound to get rid of that coppery taste while she carried the totem around.
“Don’t bother!” Klaus shot at his brother. “Don’t bother?!” He was so angry that the veins were popping in his forehead. “What are you playing at, brother!”
Kol moved Bella behind him and watched his brother rage for a good minute or so. “Please let me know when you’re done so I can explain.”
“Hey! Quiet!” Myriam called from the balcony upstairs. “Hope has just fallen asleep!” She then looked at Bella and noticed that something was different. She hopped down to the ground level and sniffed Bella. Sure, Kol’s scent was all over the girl, as it should, but there was a small trace of Kol’s blood on her lips, masked by the coffee she had drank after. “Why do you have Kol’s blood inside of you when you don’t need it? Did you two have sex?” She sniffed Bella again. “No, that’s not it.” She then noticed something glowing in the inside of Bella’s coat and took it. “Oh. Oh…” her heart broke. What did she do now? “Bella, what did you do to obtain this?”
“She made a deal with the Hollow, who granted Bella’s last known wish. Mortality so she can die again,” Kol said as he kept Bella behind him, his eyes firmly locked onto his brother’s. “Of course, that hasn’t been the case in quite some time, so Bella took advantage of it and obtained us the totem for us to destroy so that Freya and Hayley can kill the Hollow.”
“A deal with the Hollow?” Klaus breezed as he pulled his brother away from Bella and nudged his girlfriend away from the girl as well. “Are you absolutely out of your mind? Have you completely lost your remaining marbles? No doubt that the wretched wench put a tracking spell on you to make sure you didn’t bring that to us. You have put us all in danger!”
“Klaus, control yourself,” Myriam said kindly, still holding the totem as she tried to move between Bella and her hybrid again. “You can’t fault Bella for having good intentions.”
“Good intentions?!” Klaus spat. “She’s endangering us all!” He was pulled away from Bella by Kol, flying across the courtyard, but landing safely. On his sprint back to the girl, he grabbed a knife and stabbed Bella in the heart before snapping her neck.
“That’s a bit overkill, don’t you think?” Kol growled as he caught Bella’s limp body and looked at his brother.
Klaus pulled the knife out of Bella and ran his finger over the blade, tasting the girl’s blood as he shrugged. “Overkill? I think not. I could have ripped off all of her limbs, now that would have been overkill,” he said calmly. “It had to be convincing, Kol, you told me that it was possible that the Hollow had spelled her or was keeping an eye on her from afar.”
“I’d rather had her death be less violent,” Kol chided his brother before carefully lifting Bella up. It was strange to hold her like this again. Dead. Truly dead. The first time he had killed her, it had been a mercy killing, and now, she died at the hands of his brother because it had to look convincing. “I swear, if she comes out of this and she’s wild and deranged, I’m blaming you,” he said before taking Bella’s body upstairs and he was going to hold a vigil next to her until she’d wake up in transition.
Myriam sighed as she bounced the totem up and down in the palm of her hand. “Kol’s right, you could have handled that differently.”
“Can you destroy that thing or not?” Klaus shot at her, ignoring her words. Myriam and Bella had become very close friends over the years, it came as no surprise to him that she was choosing Bella’s side.
“Temper, temper,” Myriam said in a singsong voice before making her way over to the bowl to start destroying the totem with the items Freya had left for her.