She’d been in New Orleans now for a month. A whole month working on her magic and getting physically stronger (she was glad that Elijah had stopped their ‘therapy sessions’ and that Marcel stopped dumping her in the Bayou). There was never a dull moment.
She even had to put an alert on her phone to remind herself to call Charlie because she had forgotten a few times and received an earful from Billy, who called instead. It saddened her to hear that Jessica and Tyler were missing, but maybe they had fallen in love and decided to run off together? The other scenario would be too fucked up for Bella even to consider, but she didn’t fully rule out that the Cullens had something to do with their disappearance.
Davina and Kol were still trying to figure out a spell that would turn Peter and Jasper, but Bella didn’t see the use of that happening, really. The only perk of that would be that Jasper was easy to kill, but Klaus seemed to like the two, very much so and the other vampires had accepted them for who they were. Both Peter and Jasper took the jokes with a grain of salt. She was pleased, however, that the both of them had switched to blood bags for food as their venom could harm someone, and Jasper seemed to be doing well on that. Bella still didn’t trust him though. It was going to take more time, and he kept his distance.
Bella and Kol finally managed not to break anything else during the last time they had sex, much to the relief of Klaus and Rebekah. Kol had created a monster though; Bella loved having sex, liking the experience very much but because of that nifty spell she had run out of things to wear. She only had one pair of jeans left, and that was frustrating. So while Kol was out taking care of something for Klaus, Bella decided to venture into New Orleans by herself and do the horrible act of shopping. She still had plenty of money left from her savings but opted out of buying jeans for now.
The thought horrified her, but the heat made it uncomfortable to wear, and summer dresses were a little cheaper, but whoever made them, didn’t think that muted colors would be a good thing. She opted for some skirts, not too short, and a few new tops and was pleased with what she’d bought – she was certain that Kol was going to like it too. She snorted and shook her head as she was walking down the street in search of coffee. Since when did it matter if Kol liked something she wore? She was such a girl!
When she sat down for a coffee, she checked her bank balance and sighed. She needed to get a job but how was she going to have a regular work schedule when she was either having fun or being educated? She could cut down on the fun but where was the fun in that? She was going to have to talk to Kol about this.
Bella looked up from her phone when she heard someone greet her and smiled. “Hi Davina,” she said as she put her phone away.
“Can we talk?” Davina had her serious face on and she looked a bit tired.
“Are you okay?” Bella said with a nod and pointed at the empty chair across the table. “You look tired.”
“Yeah… I haven’t slept, but that’s because I was trying to work on the spell to turn your friends into …”
“Not my friends,” Bella shook her head. “And I thought you and Kol worked on that together?”
“Oh, we do!” Davina smiled widely at the mention of Kol’s name. “But we were missing a key part of the spell that only I could provide. Or at least I thought I could.”
It surprised Bella that Davina came to her about this. While she had gotten better quite decent in the last month; she was in no way experienced. She was halfway her ‘for dummies’ books and she only knew what Davina and Kol had taught her so far. “And you think I know anything?”
“No. You don’t know anything, but that’s not what my problem is. The spell requires such power that can only be created by forms of magic that my Ancestors, the New Orleans witches, frown upon. They forbid it,” she then smiled with a shrug. “I used to not care about it because of the Harvest and left the coven and stuff, but my magic is still bound by them. If I cross the line, they might take my magic away and I’m sorry, but I don’t like Klaus that much. It’s not like the spell is a necessity anyway. It’s just one for esthetics.”
Bella slowly nodded. “And for the safety of everyone else,” she said as she rubbed the scar on her wrist. “Their venom not only hurts, but if left untreated, the human could turn into a vampire.”
“I don’t understand why Klaus doesn’t just destroy them. I mean, Jasper was one of them, wasn’t he?”
“It’s complicated. I think they asked for asylum, so they’re under his protection, and he wants that spell done.” She took a sip of her coffee. “So, why come to me? I share your Ancestors.”
“Yeah, a couple of generations but from what I can tell, you’re not bound by the same rules because you’re special.”
“Bella, please,” Davina said as she rolled her eyes. “I know how great you are at ignoring the facts and stating the obvious, but you must have heard all the buzz that’s going around the witches? They’re afraid of you. Yes, you’re a Claire witch but rumor has it you hold so much power that-”
“Davina,” Bella stopped her before she’d say something annoying. Yes, she’d heard whispers. Hell, Kol told her about those whispers but it was stupid. There was no way that she was as rare as everyone thought she was. Or as powerful. She had magic mishaps because she was untrained and tried to learn how to do magic at the same time as controlling it. She could not wait for the day where she’d prove everyone wrong by being not as “special” as they claimed. Special needs, maybe.
She huffed. “Fine. But like I said, you’re probably not bound by the same rules as I am because the majority of my Ancestors are here. Yours are scattered all across the globe, and you hold all of their untapped magic inside of you. If I’m right, you could do the spell without any dire consequences.”
“But?” She wasn’t sure if she even wanted to.
“We need to be sure, so… could you come with me to Lorraine Jenkins? She’s a spiritual medium and-”
“A medium?” Bella blinked at the girl. “That’s all fake, isn’t it? They’re not real.”
“I bet that’s what you thought about vampires, werewolves and witches too!” Davina countered with a smile on her face. “Come on, this will be a great opportunity for you to learn about yourself too, what you can do, where you come from… What’s in your future…”
“And we have to go to a medium for that?” Bella raised her eyebrow. “How do you contact your Ancestors?”
“Through a spell,” Davina said with a shrug. “It’s easier because they’re all in New Orleans anyway.”
“And I can’t use the same spell because the generations leading up to the ones buried here aren’t buried here,” Bella said with a sigh and pinched the bridge of her nose. “Isn’t there another way?”
“You just don’t want to go to the medium.”
“No,” she shook her head. “If she’s as real as you say, I’d rather not have her learn all about me.” Bella knew she was being paranoid but after her experiences with the Cullens, she wanted to keep her things close to her chest. She shared stuff with Kol, but that was because she trusted him. He had earned that trust.
“I don’t know if there’s another way. I mean, sure, we can go ahead with the spell with you performing it, but what if the rules apply to you too? You’ll get punished.”
“I’ll talk to Kol about this when he gets back, maybe he has some ideas.” She didn’t want to anger the Ancestors either, but for a completely different reason; Kol. Granted, she only knew Rebekah’s version of Kol’s magical resurrection as Kol hadn’t talked about it. He probably wasn’t going to – and Bella wasn’t going to ask – but chances could be that if they’d poke the bear, something could happen to Kol. “What kind of magic is needed for the spell?”
Davina sighed and leaned towards Bella as if they were conspiring. “The way that the spell could work is through sacrificial magic. We’d have to steal the life of another being to breathe new life into the Cold Ones.”
“Shouldn’t be a problem seeing as without a doubt, we’ll kill a few Cold Ones when they finally try to come and get me.”
“Yeah, but even if we make the spell out of defensive purposes, which is a brilliant idea, by the way, to use that power to change them, it’s still sacrificial magic. You use a person to change another.”
“And you’re sure there’s no other way around it?”
“Bella, what do you think we’ve been doing in the last month?” Davina said with a smile as she sat back up. “The spell was pretty easy to find and to adjust and what not. We’ve been trying to find a way to work around the bumpy bits, but we can’t just turn a dark magic spell into something light. I just want to know if you’re allowed to work around the bumpy bits; that’s all.”
Bella finished her coffee. “I understand, and I know that we’re probably short of time, but I’m not going to visit a medium until I’ve spoken to Kol about this.”
“He won’t like it that I’ve dragged you into this,” Davina said with a pout.
“You dragged me into this? How about I dragged everyone else in this?” She retorted with a snort and gathered her bags after paying for her coffee. “You have nothing to worry about. I’ll let you know what happens.”
When Bella came back to the Compound, she found Klaus pinning Kol against the wall and both in a shouting match. What baffled her most was that Kol was letting it happen.
“If you weren’t such a human, I would have-”
“Daggered me? Yeah, tough, Niklaus!” Kol spat at his brother. “Go on then, kill me.”
“Does your girlfriend know you’re suicidal?” Klaus sneered as he knocked his brother against the wall again. “Stay away from Hayley, Jackson, and my daughter. That part of the family dynamic is not for you to concern yourself with. I will break every one of your limbs the next time. Have I made myself clear, brother?”
“But Hope, she could be-”
“Hope is a just baby, Kol. I will not allow you to use her for a spell. You have your special witch, you don’t see me wanting to use her for my gain, do you? She’s yours.”
Bella cleared her throat as she looked at the brothers while she was standing there with her bags, raising an eyebrow at Klaus. She stared at him long enough for him to release Kol, who had a big smirk on his face as he made his way over to Bella. When he was close, she punched him in the arm. “Using babies for magic?”
“She’s a tribrid, Bella; she’s powerful and-”
“If you’re worried about that spell, Davina talked to me about it and you and I need to talk.” She looped her arm through his and glared at Klaus as they walked to their room. “If you hurt him, Klaus, I will rip you apart myself.”
“Would be fun to see you try, love!”
Bella growled as she turned around and with a quick motion of her hand, she flung Klaus against the wall he had just pinned Kol against. She then pulled Kol into the room, while Klaus roared with laughter behind them. She threw her bags on the bed and just stared at him for a while. “Are you okay?” She asked after giving him a good lookover. “He didn’t hurt you that much, did he?”
Kol shrugged. “Nothing I can’t handle, darling,” he fleetingly kissed her before turning around to nose around in her bags. “Oh! Skirts! See? I knew you’d give up on your jeans obsession once you’d get here.”
“Hey!” She tried to push him away from her bags, but he firmly held his place, using his height as an advantage to keep her from the bags. “Kol, come on, leave those bags alone.”
“We should definitely have more sex so you can buy more clothes.”
Bella stopped pushing as she looked at him. “We’re not going to have sex for a while because you wanted to use Hope for a spell.”
“What?” Kol whined as he dropped the bags and turned to her. “You can’t do that!”
“Watch me.” She sat down in a chair, crossed her legs and arms and looked at him. “Davina wanted to take me to a medium today to see if I can do your spell.”
“I told her not to ask you,” Kol muttered as he sat down on the bed, toying with one of Bella’s new shirts.
“Because I don’t want you to get hurt or do something you don’t really want to do.”
“And you didn’t bother to ask me first?”
“It’s a complicated spell; you’re not ready for that.”
Bella grabbed a pillow and threw it at him. “That’s because you and Davina take it easy on me. Make me ready for it. And there must be another way than visiting a medium to get the information we want.”
“Of Course there is. Several, actually. The easiest would be with the help of a dark object and someone monitoring us for safety.” When he saw the look of terror on Bella’s face, he snorted. “The easiest and the fastest doesn’t mean it’s the safest. You wanted to be made ready; this would be a great way to see if you can handle that.”
Jerk, she thought, but she wasn’t going to back down either. “Fine.”
“Great!” Kol jumped to his feet with a big, adventurous smile on his face. “Call your mother, ask her if she still has the names of your family tree and try to get the boy twin’s mother. I’d ask Davina, but I don’t want to involve her in this. I’m going to ask my sister to keep watch seeing as we both trust her.”
“What are you going to do?”
“Trying to find that dark object.”
Renée was more than willing to help Bella out for ‘study purposes’, curious as what Bella could discover about her family while she was in New Orleans. Her mother also talked about maybe coming over for a week with Phil when he was all rested up and out of his cast. Bella was a little apprehensive about that seeing as things weren’t that easy to cover up around the Compound and would likely have her mom stay in a hotel.
When Bella eyed the list she had written down, she felt sick. The name of the twin boy that Davina had spoken about was Edward Alexander Higginbotham. Edward. Edward. Yes, she was well aware that Edward Masen hadn’t been born in 1705 but the name seemed to haunt her everywhere. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and reminded herself that it was just a name. A stupid name.
Kol had retrieved the object he’d been looking for, and Rebekah joined them in their room after dinner. Bella was nervous about this, seeing as Kol had reminded her that this was dark magic, after all and that a lot of things would go wrong. Maybe the medium was not such a bad idea after all. “Maybe we shouldn’t,” she blurted once the door was closed.
“Alright, we won’t,” Rebekah said with a shrug. “But the Cullens and the Volturi are on our doorstep. We’re running out of time.”
“The spell isn’t important for both of those things,” Bella pointed out. “We need to do the spell for Klaus’ benefit; that’s all.”
“But this is for your benefit as well, Cuddles,” Kol spoke calmly as he noticed that Bella was on the verge of having a panic attack of some sorts. She certainly looked like it. “You can ask anything you wish when it comes to your powers if we find the right ancestor who knows things.”
“What if it doesn’t work? Or what if something happens?”
“It will work, and if something happens, Rebekah will pull us out,” he took her hand and squeezed it. “We’re doing this together. I’m going in with you, and I’ll make sure you come to no harm.”
“You neglected to inform her of the fact that your spirit will be temporarily disconnected from your bodies?” Rebekah snorted as she sat down in a chair. “Classy.”
“What?!” Bella squeaked.
“It will be alright, I promise,” Kol didn’t stop looking at Bella, but rather wished his sister dead right now. “I wouldn’t do this myself if I thought it’d be that dangerous. It’s tricky, yes, but there are far more dangerous and difficult spells out there. Trust me.”
“I do but…”
“It will be alright, Cuddles,” he repeated and softly kissed her. “The only thing that will probably be off-putting is that this body won’t travel with us. You’ll see me as I was. Before I died. Before mother put me into this body. My spirit doesn’t match the body.”
“That’s going to be interesting,” Rebekah smirked. “At least you’ll be able to tell if she fell for your looks or not!”
“That would be interesting,” Bella agreed and smiled at Kol. “Alright, let’s do this.”
“Oh sure. The spell freaks you out but to see what I looked like before this makes it interesting?”
“I’ve seen you on pictures, Kol.”
The spell took them to some waiting room type of room. It was empty, and there were no windows, there were benches, and it reminded her of the hospital. She shuddered as she wrapped her arms around her and looked for Kol, what were they supposed to do next? Would they be able to leave this room to make things more comfortable? The door swung open, and it made her turn to it, to see what was going on and Kol appeared with a big smile on his face. “Come on, Cuddles, what are you waiting for?”
“You, obviously,” she replied as she walked over to him. She stopped a few steps before him to admire him with a big smile on her face. She didn’t care much about how a person looked, Kol was a good man, but he was just as beautiful as his current body was. “Wow, pictures didn’t do you justice,” she took his hand as he pulled her out of the room into something that looked like a meadow. “Where are we?”
“We both know I look good, no matter what,” he said with a smirk. “We are where we need to be, I just shaped the environment a little bit less harsh, that’s all.”
She nodded as she looked around. It looked much like the Bayou, for which she was grateful. Had Kol made it look like the forest surrounding Mount Olympus, she would have killed him once this was over.
“How this works… if a spirit wants to talk to you, they’ll come out on their own. If not, all you have to do is call his or her name,” he explained as he nodded towards some rustling bushes. “Heads up.”
Bella blinked when she saw Kol – no, Kaleb – clear the bush, and she could feel how Kol tensed up. While Kol oozed self-confidence as he walked, Kaleb did not. He slouched as if he wanted to hide the fact that he was tall.
“You must be off your rocker to come here,” Kaleb spoke as he eyed Kol and straightened himself up almost as if he had a short burst of bravery injected. “You have so many enemies around here and they all want a piece of you.”
It was weird to hear him speak with an American accent, it just didn’t compute in her head.
“I know that, thanks,” Kol replied as he looked at Kaleb. “Look… I…”
“I should kick your ass,” Kaleb’s voice was cold and threatening. “You stole my life. You pretended to be me. Don’t think I didn’t know what was going on while you took my body for a ride.”
Bella instinctively moved herself between Kol and Kaleb, even though both boys were nearly twice as tall as she was. Kaleb was not going to beat up her boyfriend. He’d have to go through her first – and yes, she thought of him as her boyfriend, even though they hadn’t talked about the label yet.
“I am sorry,” Kol replied calmly as he eyed Kaleb carefully. He wasn’t going to shy away from a fight, but Bella had moved herself between them, and they were in the spirit world after all, a little respect would go a long way. “I took real good care of your body…”
“You got us into a bar fight with werewolves.”
“Not my fault, mate.”
“It was, indirectly. Then there was Davina hurting us. Your brothers… Hell, your own mother!”
Kol sighed as he relaxed his stance. If Kaleb wanted to hurt him, he’d done so already. “I am sorry that it happened. It wasn’t by choice… Not much choice.”
“No worries, dude,” he said with a shrug and relaxed. “Am I pissed that my life got cut short? Sure. But I’m also grateful that your mother took me out of a miserable situation. I hate your brother for hexing us and resulting in my death. And yours, but you’re obviously back and so is my body.”
“You’re alright with all of this?” Kol blinked at Kaleb.
“Oh, hell no! But what’s the use of holding a grudge around here? I’m glad I ended up here and not oblivion since the Other Side is gone and all.” He then turned to Bella and extended his hand. “Kaleb Westphall, your boyfriend has my body.”
“Uhm, hi, sorry about that,” Bella said as she blushed and shook his hand. “I’m Bella Swan.”
Kaleb looked at Kol and smirked. “She’s hot, dude. Well done!”
Kol grinned as he nodded. “She’s lucky to have us.”
He scoffed and shook his head. “You, maybe. Me? Not so much. Anyway, if you’re looking for someone specific, you’d better call out their name or something because they’re not coming, and you need to hurry.”
“Shouldn’t you be with the Ancestors, by the way?” Bella asked Kaleb, a little bit confused as they were in the spirit world, and Kaleb had been consecrated when he died.
Kaleb grinned and winked at her. “Just because I’m dead doesn’t mean I stop breaking rules. I’d better go back before they notice I’m gone.”
“Hey, can I pick your brain for a moment, Kaleb?” Kol asked him as he stopped him from returning to where he came from. “What do you know about the Claire family bloodline? About that story that was told for generations?”
“What? About the twin boy? Sounds like a fantasy to me,” he shrugged as he stuffed his hands in his pockets. “I’ve heard the stories, but it sounds to me that it’s purely made up. There’s no way that magic could survive that long without being used; there’s no way that someone could hold that magic until another girl came along without combusting.”
“Well, it’s true though,” he nodded towards Bella. “Her mother was the magic vault; all the magic is now in her.”
Kaleb’s eyes grew big as he looked at Bella. “You’re the descendant of Édouard Carlisle Alexandre Claire?”
Bella took a step back, so she was closer to Kol. First Edward, now Carlisle? Was the universe playing a dirty trick?
“The stories said he was taken into care in England and was forgotten after a name change. Look, the Claire witches were very powerful back in the day and your Davina still is, there aren’t a lot of witches that can do what she does. I suppose there was a good reason she was chosen for the harvest…” Kaleb ran his hand through his hair as he looked at Bella. “Try find your ancestor and if he doesn’t know anything, ask his mother, she’s consecrated at the cemetery. If you’re truly his descendant, you should be careful with your magic. Such power is difficult to harness.”
“I’m doing quite alright, actually,” Bella said smugly. What was it with men underestimating her? “I don’t feel any different either.”
“Huh. Interesting,” Kaleb said with a nod. “Certainly something to think about.” He then turned around. “Good luck, you two. Don’t let me see your asses back here before your time or I will personally kick you back into a body of my choosing!”
They both watched as Kaleb walked back to where he came from and then Kol breathed a sigh of relief. “Well, that went well.”
“That was interesting,” Bella agreed as she looked up at him. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah,” he smiled bravely. “It’s just weird; that’s all. I mean… I shouldn’t feel guilty about it because that’s not something I do… You know, feeling guilty… I may not have agreed with mother’s methods, but I was grateful for another chance even if I took the one chance he had…” He sighed and shrugged. “It’s complicated.”
“That’s what feelings are,” she smiled at him and caressed his arm. “Complicated, messy and illogical and there’s nothing wrong with feeling guilty, or at least a little bit guilty.”
He shrugged again. “I’d rather not dwell on unpleasant feelings, how about you call out for your ancestor so we can return to our bodies and have sex?”
Bella grumbled as she looked down and shoved her hands in her pockets.
“Bella, it’s just a name,” Kol kissed the top of her head. “Do it. Call for him, I dare you.”
She took a deep breath and nodded. “Edward Higginbotham, please come to meet me, I want to talk to you.”
“See? You’re a natural,” he said proudly. “Polite and clear.”
“What if he doesn’t want to talk to us?”
“Well, then we pick another one or go back and ask his mother like Kaleb suggested, but she’s an ancestor consecrated at the cemetery. I’d rather not ask her seeing as she’ll say no.”
“So what, though?”
“No, we’re going to play nice with the ancestors,” he laughed, liking her boldness. “Worst case scenario is that we’ll have to talk to a witch in Mystic Falls. She doesn’t like us much, but she can tolerate Elijah.”
Bella nodded and saw someone emerge from the bushes. “Here we go.”
“I am Ed Higginbotham, who are you?” The man sneered as he continued to approach them. “Why are you disturbing my peace?” Unlike Kaleb, who appeared wearing clothes Kol would wear, the man was dressed in clothes of his own time, slightly muddy and disheveled and he certainly wasn’t pleasant.
“My name is Bella Swan, sir,” she replied as she took Kol’s hand for safety. “I’m your descendant.”
“Rubbish. We do not get girls.”
“So I’ve heard. My mom was the first one.”
He blinked at her and took a step back. “Huh,” he said with a nod, sounding quite surprised. “The stories were true then?”
“Pardon me for asking,” Kol said as he looked at Ed. “But don’t you dead people talk to each other?”
“Sure we do, but we do not reminisce on stories that were supposed to be just that,” the man snapped at Kol before continuing in a more polite manner as he shifted his gaze to Bella. “I never believed my mother when she said that I was special and that something wondrous would happen in a hundred years or so… what year is it?”
“2012,” Bella replied with a smirk.
“Blimey,” the man scratched his head. “Time flies when you are dead, I suppose…”
“Aren’t you supposed to be elsewhere, sir?” Kol tried, but Ed seemed to ignore him. “Seeing you’re magical and all.”
“Can he shut his gob?” Ed thumbed towards Kol after turning his back towards him but not towards Bella.
“He asks the right questions…” Bella said calmly. “You don’t have to like it.”
“Fine, fine,” he grumpily replied. “I became a Higginbotham. I do not remember much of my magical family and my entire life I despised them for making me leave simply because I was a boy. When I was dying, I hoped to see them again but I did not have the fortune to do so. I was human upon my death as my magic transferred to my boy when he was born. I reckon that is how they managed to save the magic, somehow, I do not know. What did you come here to ask, little girl?”
“Am I bound by the rules the Ancestors of New Orleans, your mother, and every generation before her, or not?”
Ed started to laugh. “Sweetheart, you could wipe the floor with those ancestors as you hold generations of magic within you. You will be more powerful in New Orleans seeing as that is the place that holds my sister’s family in the ground but simply put, you do not need them. You are not bound by their rules as technically you are not family, and you do not have a close ancestor buried and consecrated there.” He replied with a smile on his face. “The only request that I have is that you use your magic wisely and with the purest of hearts. It is easy to let such power go to your head and use it for darkness. We, the discarded boys of the Claire family, did not suffer for you to throw it all away. Do good. Be good. Stay grounded.” He had spoken clearly to Bella before he turned to Kol. “Keep her safe. Avoid covens who want to have her in their circle for her power, not for who she is.”
“I will, sir,” Kol said, nodding. “Don’t you worry about that.”
Ed was quiet for a moment as if he was lost in thought and then looked at the both of them. “It is time you two take your leave. You have been here too long, and enemies are at your doorstep. Go. Now,” he warned them and pointed to a door that appeared out of nowhere.
“Thank you for your information, Ed,” Bella smiled at him before she was being sucked out of the door once it opened, returning her to her body with a thud as she fell back on the floor. “Ow…”
“Thank God!” Rebekah exclaimed. “You’ve been gone for twelve hours! I had to watch over you all night, especially after the Volturi sent a messenger ahead out of courtesy to Nik. They’re coming tonight.”
“Good,” Kol said as he helped Bella to her feet. “That gives us some time to nap and eat in the meantime.”
“At least tell me you found what you were looking for.” Rebekah said tiredly as she rubbed her eyes.
“Of course we did, sister,” he smiled widely. “Now, out. Bella and I need to get some rest.”