“What happened?” When he saw his brother drive erratically and turning around as if something was wrong, they turned around as well and followed him, but when that yellow light came that Klaus had seen only twice before, he realized his question had already been answered. “They took her?”
Kol slammed the roof of the car out of frustration, creating a huge dent in it. “I should have listened to her, I should have. She didn’t think going to New Orleans was a good idea and I should have listened instead of insisting and telling her it was going to be alright and-” He ran his hand through his hair and took a deep breath to calm himself. He was getting hungry and despite the cars driving around them, he could easily stop one and pull out a human for a snack. “I’m going to Forks.”
“Last time it took two weeks, Kol.”
“I know, Nik, but I’m still going. As I told Bella, should anything like this happen again, I was going to get her back and I’ll wait for as long as I need to. They’re likely telling her that she should not do something like this again and give her back.”
Klaus let out a snort and shook his head. “You’re in deep, brother. Good luck then, but don’t feel offended when we’re going to make a wager between us on how long your patience will last.”
Bella gasped for air as if her life depended on it. She had felt as if she’d been drowning, suffocated, and it had hurt, but everything was quiet now, she could take a breather. Once her head didn’t feel like it needed to explode or as if it was on fire, she took a dare to look around.
She wasn’t in Charlie’s home in Forks. She was somewhere else. Bella found herself staring at Hades, who had a stern look on his face and it just didn’t match the personality she had encountered two days ago.
“You know, I know I said we were going to meet again soon, but this soon?” Hades said in a disapproving tone, crossing his arms over his chest, staring her down. “Do you have any idea what you did? After I told you that it’s just me up here, that I have my minions in eternal slumber? It’s just me here and you just gave me a shit ton of work!”
She blinked at him then, not knowing what he was talking about.
“Look, the first time you sent a couple of souls my way, I let it slide. You didn’t know what you were doing, but you should know better now,” Hades was still sounding disapproving. “And these aren’t just a couple of souls, either! It’s years and years of battles, natural disasters and murder victims thrown into the water. This is New Orleans we’re talking about!”
Once she was certain the God had ended his speech, she spoke up. “What happened?”
“What happened?” Hades huffed as he pulled her to her feet and directed her towards a large window looking out over some courtyard, revealing a lot of people wearing clothes from different times. There must have been a thousand or more down there.”You can help ghosts to move on and usually, you’re doing a pretty good job by reassuring them, one on one, having them know that they’re going to be displaced for something better.” He gestured to the people below them. “Now, you tell me what happened.”
Bella could feel the color drain from her face. “I told Kol that I didn’t want to go to New Orleans, but he assured me- It started in the city ahead of New Orleans, Slidell, there were about twenty of them and rising once the word got out that I could see them and I told Kol to drive… hoping I’d leave them behind… Before I knew it we were on the bridge and Kol telling me to look at the pretty view and…”
“You were overwhelmed. Absolutely no control whatsoever. Well done. Now there are about a three thousand people ready to be directed to their form of afterlife and you’re going to help me sort them,” Hades replied and started to direct her towards the door. “I was told you had your powers under control, Bella. I guess I shouldn’t have trusted that lying bastard on his word. Tell me, did Helios train you, at least? Guide you? Tell you what you’re capable of?”
“N-no,” Bella stammered. “But he did say that if I ever needed help-”
“Typical,” Hades scowled. “You see, that’s one of the reasons why we dethroned the Titan Gods all these millennia ago. Fucking everything with a hole, no control whatsoever and just mainly fucking about. And don’t even get me started on your mother, she-”
“Your own father ate you because he knew you were going to overthrow him. It was only that Zeus-”
Hades scrunched up his nose. “Quite the trauma, being regurgitated. I can still smell the bile we were covered in. I was the oldest and therefor also the last being thrown up. All the pee and poop of my siblings-”
“EW! I so did not want to hear that!” Bella said appalled.
“We only let Helios out because Circe had managed to escape and impregnate herself with that Salvatore loser. We allowed him to stick around because for all intents and purposes, he was your father, after all. We tasked him with looking out for you and look! You fucked up!”
“You don’t sound like a God, Hades.”
“I may not get out much, but I do roll with the times, young Padawan,” He lead her down a staircase and towards a row of clothing booths. That was the best way Bella could describe them, all with a different sign above the door. “These are portals to everyone’s beliefs, their heavens, sort to speak. Or their hell, depending on what judgement they receive on the other end. Those with no preference stay with us.”
“Get crackin’, Bella, because I’m going to go and have a little chat with your grandfather about you and by the time I get back, I want you to have sorted at least 500 of these lost souls. You freed them from their Earthly bonds, it’s your responsibility to deal with them.”
Bella swallowed hard. “But, what do I do?”
Hades shrugged. “I don’t know, you figure it out, you’re the smart one! You’ve got everything under control!” And with that, he disappeared, leaving Bella with all the people that she had moved and hadn’t even been aware of.
A desk appeared so she could stand behind that as some sort of barrier between her and them, but she felt like such a loser right now. A child who’s done something wrong and had been placed on the naughty step. But this wasn’t even her fault. It was Kol’s fault; he insisted in going to New Orleans and-
Taking a breath, she stopped herself right there and then. Kol wasn’t to blame for all of this; she could have told him ‘no’ and she could have gone somewhere else. Without him. But without him things were boring. And they were together. Then again; Kol should have listened to her, too. She needed to get to work; the longer she was away from Earth, the more time passed and Kol could do something incredibly stupid.
It was strange how the afterlife worked; all of a sudden she could speak all these kinds of languages and understand them and make herself understood. Most of the people she spoke to were good Catholics. There were a handful of Vodou practitioners and one of the newer souls, a tourist visiting New Orleans when Katrina hit, was Hindu, but she wasn’t struggling with the workload just yet. By number 300 she was getting thirsty though. It was no wonder that Hades had a whole staff of people working for him in the times where the Greek Gods were still ‘a thing’, they deserved their eternal rest, Bella couldn’t imagine having to do this day in and day out.
There were a few tough ones in her first 500 souls; small children made her so sad. Who would want to kill them? Some of them died of accidental drowning, but another part were street urchins who died of the cold. Or were abandoned by their families.
Hades returned when she was working on 499. “How many did you do?” He demanded, relaxing his stance but crossing his arms over his chest and angrily looking at her.
Bella watched as 499, Sarah-Jo Watson, walked passed her and into the Christian booth. “Next one is 500.”
“Too slow,” Hades said as he snapped his fingers. “Two hundred more before I allow you a small break.”
Bella fought the urge to talk back at him. This was her mess, this was what she was supposed to clean up and she wasn’t going to complain about it. And yes, it was likely that the quicker she worked, the sooner it would all be over and she could return to Kol. “How much time has passed on Earth?”
“I don’t know, do I look like a timepiece?” Hades nonchalantly shrugged.
“You’re a dick.”
“I don’t like people,” Hades pointed out. “The sooner you’re gone, the sooner I can get back to keeping to myself…” A smirk then appeared on his lips. “Hmm… I have a great idea that I could do once you’re gone and it involves your mother and the Chair of Forgetfulness. Oh… haven’t used that one in a very long time…”
Bella was about to open her mouth when Hades spoke again.
“Who knows, I might allow you to play fetch with Cerberus for a couple of minutes once you’ve done the 200 extra. He deserves some fun,” Hades shrugged. “Although he’s not as big as you think he might be.”
The thought of playing fetch with probably the most famous dog in all of mythology sounded absolutely fascinating. However, once she reached her extra 200, she opted to simply to keep on going, not to waste any time in fixing her mistake. Hades sometimes helped, but by the time she had gone through all of the souls, she was tired. Exhausted. She felt relieved, but she had the feeling that she could sleep for days.
Bella had attempted to try and make sense of the days in an attempt to figure out how long Kol was by himself with his siblings, but she had given up around the 1500th soul. She was unable to tell, why try to figure out a way anyway? She merely hoped that Kol wouldn’t be daggered again because he pissed off the wrong sibling.
And as much as she wanted to sleep for days, she knew that Hades wasn’t done with her yet and thus, wasn’t allowed to go. “Alright, I’m done, now what?” She sighed as she sat down against a pillar and looked at the God. “Any more penance I need to do? I’ve learned my lesson.”
“Have you?” Hades countered as he squatted down in front of her. “Because frankly, my dear, I think that you’re in need of some control over this side of you.”
“I don’t even want it,” she muttered. “I mean, yeah, I brought Kol back to life and I’ve done some good with it, but it’s too distracting, too… much. I’m not made for this shit.”
He smiled at her then as he reached out to ruffle her hair. “That’s what you get for being raised a mortal and only grown into your powers when you turned 18. You have the mortal way of thinking and that’s alright. I can help you with this. I can’t exactly take it all away as it’s a part of you now, but I could get into your mind and dial this gift way back. Maybe to only being able to see the spirits of loved ones? To help those you love, incase one of your vampires gets staked before their time?”
“Is that even possible?”
Hades nodded. “Helios should have seen this coming a mile away. But I heard he only gave you two choices, huh? You like your vampires too much to leave the Earth and join him and his family and your abilities are so much fun, he should have offered to tone them down until you were full and ready, not to merely take them away.” He rubbed his hands together in glee. “Who knows? I might unlock some more abilities inside of you that are fun! Your mother loved transforming people into animals and that certainly has rubbed off on you, but that’s not all she could do, can do. Let’s find out!”
Before she could object, Hades had slipped inside her mind and she could feel him moving around, tugging on things inside of her, loosening other things, and she started to feel back to normal again. Herself. Not this person with a huge weight upon her shoulders. All the while, Hades was grinning like a lunatic. Bella wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing.
She wasn’t even sure if she should allow him to mess around in her head, seeing as he was practically at odds with the Titan side of the family. With reason, too. While she was righting her wrong, Hades told her more about the Battle of the Gods, Titanomachy, and the reasons behind it all. Compared to the Titans, the Olympians were innocents; well, apart from Zeus. He liked to sleep around with anything and anyone. There were stories Hades could tell her about his brother that weren’t ever documented by scribes because they were so scandalous.
The Olympian Gods were far from innocent, of course, Bella knew that. But they were quite tame in comparison.
Instead of letting her go once he had messed with her abilities, Hades took the time to teach Bella how to control them; it took quite some time, regrettably, but it was necessary for Bella not to feel like a loose canon. She had believed she had been in control whenever she transformed people into animals, but as it turned out, it was so easy to tip the balance and make unwanted transformations; transformations that could actually kill her subjects when she didn’t want them to die.
One of her new abilities was to turn invisible. Not to really turn invisible, but unnoticable; something in the corner of someone’s eye, not being able to focus on and therefor not to be seen. Something that all Gods could do. To be somewhere but not, and nobody could tell, not even witches and not even the Ancestors.
Bella had told Hades about her plans of going back to New Orleans now that she wouldn’t be able to get overwhelmed by the dead anymore, now that she couldn’t see them anymore. She wanted to go back to her boyfriend. Hades told her that the Ancestors wouldn’t like her presence in the city because she had the power to destroy them; something Hades really didn’t want to dial down inside of her because she might need that power one day. The Ancestors didn’t like it when someone was more powerful than they were, and he warned her that life would be hard for her in the city. However, turning invisible to everyone, would certainly work in her favor when it came to the Ancestors.
According to Hades, the Ancestors were nothing but power hungry dead witches who required sacrifices each year. They didn’t require it, but they did it as to ‘give back’ to those who sacrificed to them. There was this spell called The Harvest that required the practitioners of Ancestral Magic to sacrifice four of their young women every 300 years or so, to the Ancestors, to ensure that the witches could still channel their Ancestors.
Hades thought that was bizarre. Even at the height of the reign of the Old Gods he had hated the sacrifices and offerings made to him, or for him. It was unnecessary, and quite frankly, he had found them offensive. Just because he didn’t like to show his face and his business was the Underworld didn’t mean that he wanted black sheep sacrificed to him. Or blood spilled in his name. People had the power inside themselves to deal with things, they didn’t need his aid at all.
Bella got slightly pissed off when Hades told her that almost two years had passed on Earth during the time she was with him, but accepted it because it had been her punishment, and in return, Hades had helped her a lot. “Now, before I pop you in New Orleans,” Hades said with a playful smile as a bouquet of cornucopias appeared in his hands, “You have to know that I don’t do party favours, but I really liked your company, Bella. I love your work ethic and you’re an excellent student. Should you and Kol ever wish to have children, let me know and I’ll make sure his swimmers can swim again.”
He handed her the bouquet of flowers and before she could say anything, she found herself in the middle of a square near the waterfront of New Orleans, holding the flowers. Freaked out, she left the flowers at the statue of Andrew Jackson and decided to get her bearings. She had absolutely no idea where she was, where the Mikaelsons were and in how much trouble she was with them.
It wasn’t as if she could ask anyone where the famous Originals were living these days because that would draw too much attention. Bella was glad that Hades had returned her bag to her as well; her money and her phone were still safely inside of it so she rented a hotel room and decided to sleep for days first. No matter how badly she wanted to return to Kol, she needed to be awake and not walk around like a zombie. No, her head needed to be firmly placed on her shoulders and not still in the clouds. Or underneath the dirt or wherever Hades’ underworld was located.
It took her a few days to familiarize herself with the French Quarter and it was only dumb luck that when she rounded a corner that she saw her Kol with a young brunette, holding hands, talking softly to each other with that goofy smile of his that Bella had only seen him using on her before and Bella’s heart broke.
However, she wasn’t going to let this one go, Kol was hers. Not this floozy’s. Taking a deep breath, Bella started walking. There was no way that she was going to let Kol out of her sight. She hoped to catch up with him and then walk off with him, leaving the young girl behind. Kol looked good, his ass filled those jeans very well and that jacket… she wanted to rip it all off and reclaim him as hers. Again and again if she had to.
“Hey!” Bella said once she had caught up with them. “Are you done playing? Can we go now?”
Kol turned around in shock. “B-Bella? You’re back?”
“Oh, this is the bitch that left you?” the brunette huffed, looping her arm through Kol’s, staking her own claim on him. “She doesn’t look like much.”
“I had to clean up my own mess, Kol. What made you think I wouldn’t return?” Bella smiled at him, ignoring the midget next to him. “But I guess trading me in for a younger model answers that question for me. Tell me, did you even wait for me to come back?”
“Wow, a whole month! I thought I was worth it to wait at least… two months?”
“Nik needed me and-”
“It’s okay,” Bella said, still not moving from her spot, now addressing the person next to him. “It’s okay, you can let go of him now. He’s going to take me home.” She couldn’t believe how bitchy jealousy made her feel.
The girl opened his mouth but Kol spoke before her. “Bella, your home is wherever it is. Forks, or wherever. It’s not with me. You left me and I’m with Davina now. Deal with it. Go home. Leave me and the rest of my family alone, which should be easy because you’re so good at it,” his words dripped with venom and Bella was slightly taken aback by his words. She couldn’t help but watch him and Davina walk off and by the time she had recovered, she knew that running after him wouldn’t be a good idea.
While his rejection had hurt, she could feel the tears burn behind her eyes, something felt off, and she was going to do everything in her power to make sure her family was alright. And to start with that, she had to disappear and regroup. Observe. Learn things. Find out where everyone was and do some more observing.