Bella didn’t see much of Klaus the next few days as he was moving heaven and hell to make sure that the Strix didn’t have anything in their possession that could kill him. Even went as far as destroying everything that Aurora had done, going through her things and avoiding Tristan as he went.
A part of her wanted to leave the compound, avoid Klaus, but she knew that if she’d set one foot out of the compound that she’d be scooped up by a Cold One. The air in New Orleans felt riddled with them, and it was still strange that she just knew it. She didn’t have any idea where they were, just that they were close. She couldn’t get warm either when she was sitting on the balcony; front or back, it was even worse.
She also didn’t want to leave the compound, because that meant leaving him, and that was something she wouldn’t do unless he’d tell her to leave. And despite his paranoia, he still hadn’t done so.
Instead, she had found another book on the Cold Ones and their lore in Elijah’s library which he generously had shared with her, knowing that Bella loved history and that she wanted to kill some time. The book wasn’t a treasure trove like Kol’s book had been, but it made her understand her current feelings.
The Cold Ones were quite scared of singers, despite their attraction to them; it started with one vampire, but the longer the singer lived, the more vampires liked the scent of the singer’s blood; causing the vampires to fight amongst themselves, often to the death, until there was one winner.
While singers were generally women, they had encountered a male one once or twice when a family wasn’t blessed with girls as children. There was one story where a coven of female vampires fought for the attentions of their male singer; ending up killing him in the melee.
It was a given that singers were created by the Travelers to end the Cold Ones, to hunt them down and rid the world of the plague and this book had several eyewitness accounts of the first supercharged singer called Carmen, with a note that all singers worked differently. Carmen’s voice was her weapon – coming from her career and passion for singing. Bella thought it would be interesting to figure out what she’d be, seeing as she loved history and books. Was she going to pelt the Cold Ones to death with books? Bore them to death?
Granted, she had to give herself a pat on the back for her quick thinking to lure the Denali’s to the Strix’ lair and have those vampires kill them off. It had been smart. Intelligent. However, seeing as she didn’t want other vampires to fight her battles for her, she would have to think of other things. Maybe Elijah had books on how to make a bomb? She could lure the Cold Ones to an empty space and blow them to smithereens.
It didn’t sound too exciting. Maybe, once Klaus would turn her, her teeth would be able to cut through marble and steel so she could take a bite out of Edward and his family. Which meant she’d have to come close. While she had learned some self-defense, she wasn’t quite sure if it’d measure up to what she needed to be. It wasn’t as if becoming a vampire would bless her with ninja fighting skills, would it?
She should turn, but she wanted Klaus to turn her because they’d been talking about it for so long and she now felt that she was ready. Willing to do her part, because despite Klaus’ anger the morning after he lost his sire line, he was right. She was a mere mortal, and if she was going to hang around longer, she needed to become sturdy like a vampire. Less easy to kill. Like a vampire.
She loved Klaus, she actually loved him, and knowing what happened to most of his exes, she wanted to make sure he wasn’t going to be left alone because she died. If he still wanted her. Best thing, for now, was to keep her distance and let him rage. Elijah and Freya were keeping an eye on him, and she was there for him when he needed her.
Bella was grateful that Klaus stopped for a moment to participate in Cami’s wake. It was beautiful, and alcohol flowed nicely – at least that was what she was told; she didn’t want to risk a Cold One attack to rain down upon the wake. On top of that, Bella didn’t know Cami that well, only through the stories Klaus told her about her and through the brief interaction she had with her.
She was sitting in the study now and nearly got herself, and her chair, knocked over by Klaus, who stormed in, half drunk. “Where have you been?”
“Out. Drinking. Rousseau’s,” he muttered. “Pretending to talk to a ghost.” He looked at his siblings who joined Klaus in the study. He looked lost. Sad. Scared. “It was him. It was Gaspar Cortez.” He said knowingly, affirming his suspicions that people were coming after him now.
Freya sighed as she looked away from her brother. “I assume this is someone from your box of letters?” She sounded as if she didn’t want to believe him. Bella knew that even the older sibling was fed up with Klaus’ antics, but for the sake of family, they were entertaining his fear.
“The youngest son of a particularly vile family of warlords I dealt with in the 17th century,” Klaus said dismissively.
Elijah frowned. “Didn’t they burn that philistine pigsty into the ground?”
A smile appeared on Bella’s lips when Klaus scoffed. This was turning into a typical sibling conversation, wasn’t it? One filled with memories. Sure, brought on by someone who was going to try to kill Klaus, but still. She loved stories like these. Because it was history, and Klaus and his siblings had lived it.
“Pigsty?” Klaus was appalled. His siblings never had any taste. “Belaga was my favorite artist retreat! Someone had to pay for that, so I murdered Gaspar’s brute of a father.” Oh, he saw Elijah sigh, yes, his brother never appreciated the finer things in life.
“And?” Freya coached him.
“And one or two-”
“Five,” Elijah interrupted him, annoyance evident in his voice.
“Five of his bloodthirsty brothers.”
“Don’t forget the mistress,” Elijah reminded his brother, a playful note in his voice.
“Ah!” The hybrid took offense to that. “That was an accident!”
Elijah rolled his eyes and looked at his sister to explain. “The point is that Gaspar was but a footnote.”
“Until he became a vampire, hell-bent on hunting me,” Klaus added.
“I still don’t understand why you’re so scared, Klaus. You can easily take him on,” Bella said from her position behind the desk. “I know you told me about the possibilities of a new White Oak somewhere, but do you honestly believe he’d have tracked it down if he was just a footnote to you?”
“He’s a cunning deviant, known to compel hoards of the helpless to aid him with his tasks,” Klaus started. “You see, this is exactly what I was concerned about. Devils of all kinds, crawling out of their crevices to strike at me,” he paused then, straining his hearing and heard some intelligent muttering and footsteps that he recognized all too well. “Speaking of which…”
Bella blinked and watched Klaus rush out of the study. Exchanging a look with Elijah and Freya, they all went after him to see what was going on. Much to all of their surprises, Klaus was stunned, looking at someone. Kol. “Now, Nik, you did go after my girl,” Kol spoke as he approached his brother.
“It can’t be…” Klaus said stunned as he took a few steps towards Kol.
She stayed near the door; she already felt as if she was intruding on a private family matter, which was ridiculous. She was a part of the family, wasn’t she? Why else had everyone been so concerned with her safety? Out of fear for Klaus? Were his siblings even still afraid of Klaus now that his sire line was lost? Was this going to affect her in any way?
Davina stepped forward, afraid that something would happen to Kol. “It’s Kol. When I broke your sire link, it created a surge of power.”
Freya was disgusted as she fell in line next to Klaus. “You stole the Nexus Vorti,” she said coldly. Bella added the words ‘You bitch’ silently in her head.
Bella couldn’t help but feel proud of Davina. She had actually managed to bring Kol back from the dead. Something Klaus had thought possible but thought Davina wouldn’t do. Or at least die trying. She thought that Freya and Klaus could be a little more grateful towards Davina, and apparently, Davina thought the same.
Davina rolled her eyes at the siblings. “And brought your brother back from the dead!”
Bella wasn’t sure if Kol was pretending to love Davina still, or that he was just with her out of loyalty, as a thank you for bringing him back, but he once again came to her defense. Telling his siblings that they should be thanking her. She watched Klaus hug his brother and then decided that she was, indeed, intruding on something and quietly backed towards the open door. It didn’t take long for Bella to realize that Klaus wanted to be alone with his family to discuss things as she could hear him tell Davina to get the hell out.
This was ridiculous. She was hiding again. Again. She had made so much progress and yet, not so much. But it wasn’t up to her if she was going to be included in family business, it was Klaus’. She was going to hear all about this when they were in bed anyway. Or maybe not. It depended on whether or not Klaus was in a sharing mood.
He sent Peter, a Cold One, away. Was he going to send her, an almost Cold One hunter, away too? Nah. He wouldn’t, would he?
“Nik, you don’t have to worry about your bloody prophecy anymore, didn’t the Cold One take care of that for you?” Kol’s voice sounded annoyed. “Peter’s a decent Cold One, you know. He knows his stuff.”
“No, brother,” Kol smirked as he walked into his brother’s bedroom, finding the human girl sitting cross-legged on the bed with a big book in her lap. “You’re still human?” He looked at his brother. “Why is she still human and not turned into the Cold One hunter?” Kol skipped his way to the bed and sat down next to Bella with a big, goofy grin on his face. “You do smell delicious, want me to turn you instead?”
“Aw, and here I thought you were going to behave yourself for Davina,” Bella countered playfully. “Good to see you not covered in bruises, Kol.”
“Oh, that’s right, I forgot you two had already met and forged a bond of some sort,” Klaus huffed, leaning against the doorframe with his arms crossed over his chest.
“You know,” Kol said as he kept his eyes on Bella. “You’d think that for someone who’s afraid of the big bad prophecy that he’d take it more into account. What was it… hmm… something about losing everything but siring the Singer would make him more powerful?”
“Oh, is that what it meant?”
“Of course, darling. He’s the audience, you’re the performer,” Kol smirked. “Although… I assume you’ve read my notes by now and told Nik about the prophecy about you.”
“I have,” she said with a slow nod. “But to be honest, I have no idea what it means.”
“It’s not important, Kol. She can wait a little longer while we sort out our more immediate problems,” Klaus said a little patronizing.
“What about her immediate problems, brother? New Orleans is crawling with Cold Ones at the moment, and while the witches and some of the vampires are trying to fight them, Bella can end them in one fell sweep. Doesn’t she deserve to feel safe? Don’t you want to be reassured of your strength?”
“Kol, I lost my entire sire line, they’re coming for me.”
“Exactly, Nik, and you’re going to need all the help you can get. Turn her already or I will, and it’s likely I will get the strength she’ll add on because like yourself, I’ve lost everything. In fact, I’ve died so many times now that I’ve earned it to turn her and become stronger than you.”
“You will do no such thing!” Klaus growled, pointing at his brother. “She’s mine!”
“Is she? When’s the last time you’ve fed her your blood?”
Bella quickly made her way off the bed as Klaus lunged at his brother and they fought on the bed. What was going on? Was Kol deliberately provoking his brother into turning her or was he serious? If she had to believe the notes, he was probably serious, but this was ridiculous.
“Enough!” Elijah’s voice sounded angrily from the door. “Are you two quite done?”
“Oh, look, daddy’s home from the quick errand he had to run,” Kol quipped, earning him another punch to the face from Klaus before Elijah pulled the two of them apart.
“As much as it pains for me to say this, Niklaus, but Kol is right. We’ve allowed you to be selfish for too long; it’s time you concern yourself with others. Especially with your neglected girlfriend, who, if I may add, has been nothing but flexible and accommodating to you.” Bella opened her mouth to say that it was all right, but Elijah held up his hand for her to stop talking. “It’s not alright, Bella. Freya and I have watched you tread ever so lightly, but enough is enough. It’s time that Niklaus helps you with your problem. It is more immediate seeing as they’re about to overrun the city, and I don’t see Niklaus go after them to take care of them for you in his current state.”
“I would!” Klaus huffed.
“You’ve busied yourself by chasing after possible splinters of White Oak, brother, fuelling your own paranoia while you have nothing to be afraid of, it’s time to end your pity party and turn her.”
“Fine,” Klaus sped over to Bella, bit his hand for her to drink from and forced it upon her before sinking his teeth into her neck and draining her dry. He was angry; his siblings were bullying him, and he was just going to take care of this to satisfy them before he’d resume tracking Gaspar and killing him. Maybe have Freya find a way to track his enemies so he can surprise them and take them down first.
He had taken her by surprise; she had struggled, but only briefly. Once her heart stopped, he lifted her limp body into his arms and gently placed her upon the bed. “Now, back to the order of the day. Cortez.”
“You’re such a brute, Nik,” Kol scowled as he checked her over. “She’s meant to be giving you power and turn into something powerful herself, and you treat her like dirt. She’s your girlfriend.”
“Who understands that I-”
Freya sighed deeply and flicked her wrist, snapping Klaus’ neck and dropping his body to the floor. “I am sorry,” she said coldly. “But he needs a timeout.”
Elijah let out a relieved sigh. “Thank you, Freya. Is she comfortable, Kol?”
“Yes,” he replied as he tucked her in. “She’s going to be extremely ticked off when she wakes.”
“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” Freya said with a shrug. “We’ll have to track Cortez and take care of him for Klaus.”
Kol huffed. “Who was he again?”
“Gaspar Cortez’ family decimated Belaga,” Elijah explained with a playful smile on his face, knowing what was coming next, Kol had had an even bigger distaste to the place than he did.
“Ugh, Belaga! That place was hideous!”
“Oh yes, and I can hear Klaus already scold us for having no taste,” he agreed.
“Nik had a way of saving letters, does he still have them?” Kol asked carefully, lifting his brother’s limp body and placed him on the end of the bed. “Because if he does, I could teach you a spell to actively track his enemies.”
“Yes, he was looking at them earlier,” Elijah said, following his siblings out of the room. “They’re in the study.”
When Klaus was awake, he wasn’t happy at all. How dare Freya snap his neck? Yes, he may have lashed out a little bit, and he may not have given Bella an easy and painless death, but he had his reasons. In the case of Bella, he was angry; he was sure she’d forgive him. “What am I looking at?” He asked, looking at a map with blobs of blood everywhere, but New Orleans was clean.
“Your greatest hits,” Elijah remarked. “As you can see, we’ve taken care of Cortez while you were taking your nap, but Kol and Freya have created this map.”
Some dots were moving towards New Orleans, and it was troubling. “I have to apologize for my behavior, it was-”
“You. And you’re forgiven, Niklaus,” Elijah replied calmly, clapping his brother on the back. “So this may only be a fraction of our potential enemies.”
Kol chuckled and shook his head. “In hindsight, we could’ve been nicer to people. Or at least left fewer survivors.”
Ignoring his brother, Klaus turned to his other sibling. “We don’t know all their motivations. Half of these people could want to put the bullet in your heart! End the sire war with the pull of a trigger.”
“I have an army devoted to keeping me alive. The only people that care to protect you are standing in this very room,” Elijah said seriously. “And in your bedroom and your beloved club,” he paused then, almost as if he was weighing the gravity of his next sentence. “As you well know, Niklaus, there is another way.”
The other way was undesirable. It meant he’d have to run and disappear. Something he was good at. Something his entire family was good at, but mainly him. Going away would be easy. Especially to save his own skin. He wouldn’t go alone, either. Elijah had told him about Hayley’s revenge of killing the Strix vampires involved with Jackson’s death, and if he’d run, he’d have to take her and Hope with him. Hope was half his, something his enemies could use against him. They didn’t know about Bella, so she’d be safe at the compound, but he had to run. To disappear.
“You’re going to run?” Freya said incredulously. The mighty Klaus Mikaelson, running away?
Klaus chuckled. “There was a time when the name Klaus Mikaelson was little more than a rumor. A shadowy figure who cast fear into the very bones of any who heard whisper of him. I don’t run, sister. I disappear. And tonight, the three of you are going to make that possible.”