[Vienna, Austria. June 26th, 2015. 12:00 pm.]
Bella loved being able to take things slowly while exploring the world. She and Kol had nothing to tie them down, they didn’t have to worry about money, they could do anything they wanted and she loved it. They had been in Vienna for about a week, exploring the beautiful gardens of Schloss Schönbrunn, for example, along with the palace itself. Sure, it was very touristy, but without time constraints, they could really enjoy themselves and get lost in the beauty for a while.
They’d also gone to a Formula One race that was being held on June 21st, only a few hours away from Vienna. Mostly to satisfy their curiosity as they heard people speak of the sport on their travels. Bella absolutely loved it, the sound of the cars and the whole atmosphere at the circuit was simply a great experience.
She had never been to a car race before, neither had Kol, and she loved it that they could both experience something new, together. It wasn’t a boring race either as in the first round, two riders collided with each other and ended on top of each other. Luckily, they were both okay, but for a moment, the onlookers were quiet and after both men had been clearly alright, they clapped for them.
And today, they were at Hofburg, the former imperial palace of Austria and its rich history. Kol thought it was cute how Bella had a weak spot for historical sites, how she appreciated the stories and the way everything looked. That was another reason he loved her so much; she liked hearing him talk about the past. He knew that it was important that he looked to the future too; a future with his Bella.
He had to admit he was a tiny bit nervous when they went to the imperial apartments of the Palace, the imposing Emperor’s Staircase being just that; imposing. And it was the perfect spot for what he was about to do. Halfway up the staircase he stopped Bella from going up even further and softly kissed her. “Are you having fun?”
“Yeah,” she smiled up at him. “Maybe a little bit too much fun than is actually legal.”
“You can’t ever have too much fun,” he kissed her again and caressed her hair. “Life’s too short for that. And it’s too short to wait for anything else. But I do want to spend the rest of my life with you.”
“Good, so do I,” she smiled and softly kissed him before tugging on his arm. “Come on, we’re missing the tour.”
“I’m trying to ask you to marry me, Cuddles,” he laughed. “We have all the time in the world, could I at least finish attempting to propose to you?”
Bella stopped in her tracks and looked at his hopeful face before letting out a sigh. She softly caressed his cheek as she smiled at him. “I’m not ready for that yet, can’t we just enjoy ourselves?”
“So, I can ask you again?”
“Yes, when I’m ready, you can ask me again, and I’ll have an answer for you,” she smiled at him, kissing him briefly before pulling her with him. “I won’t let you down.”
“So that’s a yes, isn’t it?” He grinned, the weight he had felt had fallen off his shoulders. “Because you do want to marry me.”
“Kol!” She whined.
[St. Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow, Russia. September 13th, 2015. 3:50 pm.]
Bella was taking pictures of the Cathedral to send off to Charlie, show him what they were doing on her birthday. Charlie thought that them traveling through Europe was a great thing, to gain some experience before getting back into the real world and lead normal lives. Kol always had to laugh when Charlie mentioned them leading a normal life because there was no such thing as normal when you were a Mikaelson.
She wanted to go inside the building, and he happily obliged as he’d have an excellent view of her ass when they’d climb the spiral staircase to the center of the Cathedral. “So, if we ever get married, what would you like it to be? Small? Big?” He pointed around them. “In a gorgeous church?”
Bella merely eyed him.
“We’re not discussing this.”
“Do you have a thing against marriage?”
“Why do you want to get married so bad?” She sighed exasperatedly. “Do you really wish to rub the noses of your siblings into the fact that you have a normal, human life? Rebekah wants what you have and can’t have it, she’ll be devastated.”
“For a moment, yes, but she loves you to bits and would want to help out with the preparations.”
“She’ll turn into a bridezilla and I’ll get the blame.”
He wanted to say something witty in return but decided against it. One of these days he was going to figure out why she was against marriage. He could understand she wasn’t ready for it, and he’d be patient, not ask her again for a long time, but she was holding something back, and that was exciting. A puzzle to be made and figured out.
[Târgu Jiu, Romania. February 14th, 2016. 11:44 am.]
They had been spending a couple of weeks with some Romani witches, learning from them and teaching them things. Bella hadn’t liked the cold very much. There was too much snow, and she hated it. There wasn’t a day where she wouldn’t curse him for taking her to Romania when it was cold. She’d rather have been somewhere a little warmer.
The plus side was that a lot of sex was going on between the two of them. Secretly, this had been Kol’s intention all along. Just to step back, relax, hang out with other witches and sex. But, it didn’t come as a surprise to him that her Valentine’s Day gift was two plane tickets back to America. She missed her mother, and she wanted to check up on Charlie and surely, Kol wanted to see if his siblings were doing alright?
She promised him that once the temperatures would rise in Romania, they’d return. She liked the witches they had been staying at, but the frost dampened her spirits too much. He hadn’t fancied traveling 100 miles to Bucharest on the day to celebrate love, but why not? He loved her; she wanted to go home for a while, why not?
While they were packing, he decided to ask her again. “Why are you against marriage? Didn’t you want to marry Edward?”
“Yeah, but that was because I had an ulterior motive,” she replied as she slammed her case shut. She still didn’t like to talk about Edward or hear his name. He could understand that, but the asshole was a part of her history. A part of her. She needed to come to terms with that. “I wanted to become a vampire and he’d make me one if I’d marry him.”
“Especially considering he was a douche.”
“I know,” she said furiously. “Can you drop it?”
She didn’t speak to him on their long trip to Bucharest, but once they were on the airplane she sighed and apologized to him. “I’m sorry, I’m just…”
“I understand,” he replied as he softly kissed her. “I won’t ask you again.”
“Oh, don’t you dare ask my parents,” she threatened. “I’ll chop off your foot and feed it to you.”
[Accessing current feeds]
[Mystic Falls, VA. Former Salvatore Boarding House. January 19th, 2311. 4:15 pm.]
It had been impossible, no, not impossible, more along the lines of unsafe for her to contain the vampires to the house for longer than three days. They had drank through the entire alcohol supply in the house and had started to get antsy; even Stefan, who was usually the stable one. It hadn’t been her intention to keep them locked up for that long anyway. It was unfair towards the Salvatore brothers. According to Sameen they had actually stepped up to the plate and tried to do as much damage control as they could; before Klaus and Kol decided to use them as puppets. It had been unfair to Sameen as well, and Bella truly felt sorry about it. She never wanted them to starve; she wanted to make sure that she was well enough to be dealing with the mess.
But she had been selfish by locking up the vampires and after apologizing and some negotiating, she let them out. The terms were these; she was going to venture into town to restock and get some food. She needed to cook because ordering in was getting a bore (she found out that Daisy’s stomach couldn’t handle certain spices very well). And they were allowed to feed. To make it interesting for them, she allowed them to go after the Bennett witches in Mystic Falls. And only them, this to send those in New Orleans a message. And, strangely enough, they agreed. Stefan could go after their pets and, of course, the wildlife if he didn’t have enough.
She had let them out yesterday and still hadn’t returned. She hadn’t heard a word from them, and she feared for the worst. That the witches had done something for Sam and that Klaus and Kol had gone into a rage. As her body still didn’t get its temperature under control, she dressed in several layers of clothing that she had previously found in one of the closets – she suspected it was Stefan’s. The moment she set foot outside, the vampires came running back to the boarding house, laughing. Covered in blood, but in a much better mood than when they had left.
“Where the hell have you been?” Bella demanded as she closed the door again and walked after them. Like bees to honey, they had found the new supply of alcohol that she had brought back. It felt like a little bit overkill, for them to have fed so much and then going straight to the booze.
“We took care of the Bennett witches,” Damon said with an incredulous look on his face as he poured himself a drink. “You told us to, remember?”
“Oh, but you forget about the part that it wasn’t just one or two witches,” Klaus smirked. “Go on, tell her the good part.”
“We had fun chasing at least twenty witches around,” Kol grinned as he flopped onto the couch in his bloodied clothes. “We drained a few as we started off, then it was a matter of chasing them around and catching them.”
“Their spells hurt like a bitch though,” Damon said with a smirk on his lips. “It was awesome.”
“I’d forgotten how good it feels to actually kill for a good reason,” Kol smiled widely at Bella and then cocked his head. “Why are you dressed up like an Eskimo?”
“I was going to look for you! You had me worried sick when you didn’t come home last night!”
“Aw, that’s cute,” Damon said mockingly and made his way over to Bella to unwrap her. “Using Stefan’s clothes too.”
“Hands off,” she bit at him and punched him in his chest before regretting doing so. Within a blink, Kol was at her side, shoved Damon away from her by force and then started to inspect her hand for damage. “Hey! You didn’t need to do that.”
“Stop mothering me, Cuddles,” Kol said after making sure she still had full use of her hand. “Stop mothering us, we’ve been doing fine before you came back and we will be okay while you’re here.”
Sam huffed. “This is the calmest I’ve seen you boys be in years.”
“I didn’t ask for your opinion,” he shot at Sam and then looked at his brother who snarled in return.
“Oh for the love of everything,” Bella said as she started to unwrap herself from the clothes she had put on and looked at the siblings. “Play nice. You’ve had your fun with the witches, now play nice, I’m going to cook us some dinner that will agree with me.” She walked off to the spacious kitchen and started to look for pots and pans. When she looked up, she saw that both Kol and Klaus, accompanied by Sam, were sitting on chairs, watching her. “What?”
“Forgive us, love,” Klaus smiled at her. “But Kol and I have missed watching you cook and this will be Sameen’s first time.”
“It’s me, merely preparing a meal.”
“Exactly, Cuddles. Please do.”
Huffing, she opened the fridge and got the ingredients out to start prepping. “Do you have any idea how hard it was for me to find proper food, not the engineered kind or powder form?”
“Very hard,” Sam replied evenly as she watched the girl use her knife with finesse and precision as she chopped the vegetables. “150 years ago we had a massive food shortage after some idiot accidentally released a disease that targeted most crops. There wasn’t a cure for it, and the wind took it across the world. They had to resort to other means to get food for the humans and engineered it. Like the uhm… 3-D printer that started to pop up in 2013.”
“How is that healthy?”
“They add the vitamins to it, all the food has become more nutritious and healthy than it used to be.”
“Yeah, but it’s artificial. Please tell me that there are more people out there trying to grow their own crops?”
“There are,” Sam replied simply with a shrug of her shoulder. “You’d call these people hipsters or hippies. They’re all for being 100 percent organic, no technological body enhancements or implants or whatever.”
Bella shuddered as she had thought of the person she bought the vegetables from. He was definitely not a hipster, more a homeless person trying to get more money from his homegrown crops. Having found a colander, she put her already cut vegetables in it to make room for more on the chopping board. She was going to rinse the greens well.
“Unbelievable,” Klaus said in awe as he reclined on his chair while he kept watching Bella. “It’s like Kol all over again. I see a different body, but what it’s protecting is clearly our girl, look at the way she uses that knife. It’s identical.”
“Oh good,” Kol replied as he looked at his brother. “Because if that hadn’t been Bella, she’d have been the biggest imposter ever, and she’d have fooled us for days.”
“I’m just saying, brother.”
Bella looked up from her work and sighed. “Could you three please change into something that hasn’t been covered by blood?”
“Will you stop cutting vegetables while we do? I want to watch the whole process,” Kol replied as he rose to his feet, eager to oblige. “I want to smell everything.”
She put down the knife and took a step back with her hands raised. “Go ahead.” She watched Kol and Klaus run off as if they were little children on drugs, leaving a stunned Sam. “It’s just a phase,” she said with a shrug.
“No, I don’t think it is,” Sam replied eventually. “You’re bringing back a sense of normalcy in their lives, reminding them, and me, what it’s like to be human.” She then nodded like she agreed with herself before walking out of the kitchen to get changed. “Change is good.”
When they returned, Bella had poured them a glass of wine and had turned on the oven. Not that she was going to need it, but it felt good. This old house certainly could do with some better insulation, even the compound in New Orleans was always warm in the winters. “So, how many vampires do you have in your army, Klaus?” she asked as she resumed her prep work for their meal tonight.
“Oh, get this, Cuddles, he even has some relatives in his army.”
“We were not going to tell her that,” Klaus hissed at his brother. It was bad enough that he knew, although Kol didn’t seem to particularly care, but Bella, on the other hand, she would be furious. He managed to catch the knife that Bella had thrown at him and looked at her. “I swear, I did not turn them all.”
She grabbed another knife from the drawer. “Tell me what you did.”
“Well, I turned KJ when he was 20,” he said casually. “He was the last you experienced the birth of and I thought it’d be nice to have him around as a reminder. Luckily, despite his dumb actions that echo his father’s stupidity, he’s still alive.”
She remembered KJ. Kol Jasper Mikaelson, son of her great great grandchild, a descendant of her daughter Nina. “Didn’t Becky and Joel move away after his birth like most of them had?”
“Of course,” Klaus replied. “They moved to Los Angeles, but at some point KJ was curious to his roots and came to New Orleans, and I showed him his heritage. Then, of course, was his brother Chuck, who was dying of cancer, and Rebekah happened to be in Los Angeles working as a nurse. Chuck didn’t make it for very long; he had a good ten years though.”
Sighing, she turned her back and started to rinse the vegetables. She knew she shouldn’t be angry with Klaus for doing what he did best; annoying people, hurting them. This was the reason she was glad that most of her children moved away from New Orleans. Not that she didn’t want them to stick around for Klaus, but because eventually, he’d destroy the entire family.
“Oh, and the only surviving line is the one of your first born. As you know, Sophia was in a car accident with her small children while on holiday in the mountains and your son Oliver was gay. It took me a while to track down Eliana’s descendants, but I got them all eventually.”
“You’re lucky I was dead.”
“Of course, I would never do anything to hurt you while you were still alive, but I could not have that many of your descendants walk the earth with the power they had. It would have been catastrophic. The example would be the Bennett witches who are currently taking over New Orleans. Over the years, they’ve kept growing in numbers.”
She nodded slowly. She understood his reasons, but that didn’t mean she had to be happy about it. At least her children had had a great life, and she had loved watching them grow up and get children of their own.
“Then there’s Duke. Angry little fellow,” Klaus mused as he leaned back in his chair. “Even stronger as a vampire.”
“In all fairness, I killed Duke a hundred years later,” Sam remarked sharply. “He wanted to go after James.”
“Yeah and you should have let him. Because if you had, we wouldn’t be in the mess of not being able to enter New Orleans,” Klaus grumbled and crossed his hands over his chest.
“Sonny had my blood in his system when Damon killed him.”
“What? Damon?” For some reason, the knowledge of knowing that someone other than a Mikaelson killing her family made her blood boil.
“You rang?” Damon smirked as he leaned against the doorpost.
Bella opened the drawer of knives, and they shot out towards Damon, some hitting him right in the chest but missing his heart, others hitting the wall or simply the ground. “Damnit. My aim used to be better than that.”
“Ow!” Damon whined as he started to pull out the knives. “Why did you do that for?”
“Sonny,” Klaus grinned.
“I’m a vampire, I kill people, that’s what I do! Besides, he’s so far removed from you that you shouldn’t even care, Bella.”
She lifted the knives off the floor again and threw them at him again.
Damon growled as he angrily got the other knives out of him as his blood dripped on the ground. “I made another one a vampire when he came to visit us in Mystic Falls.”
“You’d better stop talking if you want to keep on breathing,” Kol said as he looked at Damon with a smile on his face. “Once she’s out for blood, she will get it.”
Once Damon had pulled all the knives out of his body, she shot them at him again. “Stop, please,” Damon groaned as he leaned against the wall to steady himself and pleadingly looked at Bella. “I’m sorry, okay? But the best way to annoy Klaus is to go after his family.”
“My family,” Bella said angrily. “You went after my family.”
“You were dead, you didn’t know,” He huffed as he rolled his eyes at her. “I didn’t do anything that would affect you, you know,” he groaned again when he started to pull knives out of himself again. “Did you have your revenge? Can you stop?”
“Oh shut up.”
“You should be glad that she doesn’t pin you to the wall and keep using you for target practice,” Kol grinned as he took a sip of his wine. “She’s a lot like our sister in that way.”
“But it wasn’t something I did to her, was it?” Damon spat, throwing the last knife on the ground and stomped off to clean himself up and get drunk. Bella had always been a little crazy, but this was not amusing.
“There’s one called Xander. At least ten generations removed from you. He’s still around. Rebekah took pity on Elijah Kol, Xander’s nephew, because the poor sod was ill. You see, Rebekah had a habit of coming back to town for a couple of weeks before disappearing again.”
“Her visits became more scarce after Marcel got killed during one of the first attempts of the Bennett witches trying to establish a foothold in New Orleans,” Sam added. “But when she did come, and could mean something to the family, she’d help out. Such as turning someone into a vampire – if they wanted to.”
“Marcel’s dead?” Bella asked with a big smile on her face. She had never liked him because he had a thing against Kol, amongst other things, and to hear of his death was simply music to her ears. She set a pot of water on the stove and used her magic to get the water boiling so she could add pasta to it before resuming making dinner.
“Well, you don’t have to act all happy about it!” Klaus said with a pout. “He might have been somewhat conniving, but he eventually learned what loyalty was.” He then looked at her and cocked his head. “Why do you want to know about the size of my army?”
“Because you’re going to need one if you want to take back what’s yours,” she simply stated before starting to brown the spiced minced meat. “I’m going to drop the barrier when I find out what spell they used for it and then you and your army can rush back in and secure the compound, your home.”
She huffed. “We’ll take the train right to the last stop before New Orleans where we get off. I drop the barrier, and you use the train to get into the city, that way, you don’t have to run across town and risk losing more of your vampires.”
“You make it sound so easy.”
“Because it is. I’m going to drop the barrier, and you’re going to take back what’s yours. That’s step one of getting your city back. I’ll put up protection spells around the compound when you’ve got it back, of course.”
Bella shrugged. “I was thinking to venture into New Orleans by myself tomorrow, talk to the witches who brought me back and see if they know anything. I’m pretty sure they’ve lifted the spell that allowed Sam to get in.”
“You’re not going by yourself,” Kol said, shaking his head. “Absolutely not.”
“Why not? You can’t come with me, remember? And I’ll be okay. I’ll be careful.”
“How about we break the spell that keeps us out and then you can go to your witches?” Klaus offered, earning him a slap on the head from Sam. “What?”
“You know as well as I do that she needs to know what spell it is, and then figure a way around it because she didn’t cast it.”
Bella smiled at that as she tossed the pasta in the boiling water and added the vegetables to the meat in the pan. “I’ll be fine, I promise.”
“I still don’t like it,” Klaus and Kol chorused and at the same time took a sip of their wine. “You’ve only gotten your strength back and-” Kol added but was interrupted by Bella.
“Okay, fine.” She shrugged. “How long do you want to wait? A week? A month? A year? I mean, you could either be back in New Orleans before the week is over or not. It’s fine to me. Whatever you want. But you know, I’d rather have it sooner or later so that Kol and I can spend some proper time on our own without everyone else listening in. Or you know, me having to be one step ahead of you to make sure you don’t end up killing me by accident. So whatever you want. I just want to go home.”