“I think you closed a series of portals, darling,” Kol didn’t know whether to be proud, scared or impressed. Perhaps he was all three. “Don’t worry, I think your friend only saw you space out for a while and mutter something stupid,” he kissed the top of her head.
“I- jeez, Bella,” Drew said, pulling both Kol and Bella out of that room. “You two really need to watch what you’re doing, I mean… I’ve never seen this much happening in my entire career!”
“Yeah, we’re likely not going to use our flying lessons,” Bella said as she started to check Kol over for any cuts or bruises. Granted, they would have healed immediately, but this also gave her the chance to see if he needed something to drink to get his energy levels back up. “Otherwise people might flock here and do more stupid stuff.” Satisfied with how Kol was, she smiled at Drew and Jeremy. “Did you guys see or hear anything before you came running towards us?”
“A whole lot of darkness,” Jeremy shrugged. “It’s almost as if this house is slowly waking up and amping itself up for more, it’s going to be fun.”
“Careful Gilbert, I doubt Bella will forgive you if something happened to her friend here,” Kol warned him.
“Don’t worry, the first sign of trouble, I’ll get him out,” he grinned as he pat Drew’s shoulder. “Come on, man, let’s see if we can finish our corridor.”
Once Kol was sure Jeremy and Drew were out of earshot, he wrapped an arm around Bella as they continued to walk. “What do you think happened in there?” He said in a low voice.
“I don’t know,” she whispered back. “I just felt that I could do that and… that’s scary, because I could feel the darkness inside the portal and… I closed it. At least I think I did. I mean, it disappeared, didn’t it?”
“It’s certainly interesting,” Kol gently nudged her forward. “Be careful next time, alright? I don’t mind things happening to me, but I don’t want you to get hurt. Try not to allow them to space you out.”
“Yeah,” Bella let out her breath as she shone her flash light around. “You know, this whole wall of glass, windows, looking outside, must look so beautiful during the day. In the middle of the woods, imagine all the animals you could see. I mean, a big house is nothing for me, but…”
“You’re such a romantic,” Kol laughed. “Want to buy a dog next?”
“Oh, great idea!”
“No,” Kol shook his head. “We’re not raising a dog in the middle of New Orleans, besides, we already have Nik.”
“I don’t want to have a dog. I want to spend all my time with you,” she smiled as she peeked into a room where she heard coming out of. “Don’t be afraid, we’re not here to hurt you,” Bella said kindly, moving further into the room.
The energy felt kind, good, which was strange as so far, she’d encountered darkness. “What’s your name?”
“Is this your room, Rosalie?” Bella shone the light around, unlike some of the other rooms, this room still had furniture in it. There was a broken bed, a desk and an old chair. “I’m jealous of your view when you step outside.”
“Aren’t you afraid to be here?”
‘Carlisle and Emmett are more frightening. They are downstairs.’
“Did they hurt you?”
‘Not since I decided to hide out here.’
“I don’t think it’s safe, sweetheart,” Kol spoke up after hearing the Ovilus speak. “Not here, anyway.”
‘Why are you hanging around with the tainted? You’re beautiful and he’s… so dark.’
Bella let out a snort. “Let’s not go there, Rosalie,” she replied to the spirit. “What can you tell me about this house, your family?”
‘I can’t. It’s not safe. Not for any of us. You or the tainted. You need to leave.’
“Alright, we’ll go out of your room, thank you for speaking to us.”
‘No, leave this house.’
Bella decided to ignore her and followed Kol out. The rest of the hallway was quiet, perhaps too quiet. If Jeremy and Drew decided to stay up here, they might get some action anyway. This place wasn’t like the sanatorium. The sanatorium felt insane. This house felt dark and secretive and something inside of her told her to stay put and continue. She would have been scared before, but she was with Kol, and therefore, she wasn’t scared at all. There was something there meant for her to find.
They met up with Drew and Jeremy after their half circles and divided and conquered. Drew and Jeremy stayed upstairs and were going to have fun with the wonder box, while Bella and Kol were going downstairs. Bella turned to Kol’s camera and smiled. “This is going to be fun. I wonder what the boys come up with by themselves.”
“I’m surprised you’re not scared yet,” Kol laughed. “I mean, look what we’ve already felt and encountered.”
“I’ve got you,” she smiled at him. “I’m literally tied to you. How can I be scared?”
“You’re up to something.”
“I might be,” she replied as she started to walk down the stairs, using her flashlight to guide her way. “I mean, the longer we stay here and get actual conversations and stuff, the more we have for the channel and the longer we don’t have to go somewhere spooky and enjoy ourselves.”
“Yes, but I think you’re being a little bit irresponsible here… I mean, it’s a good thing that I can take a punch but…” No, he wasn’t scared. He was worried. For her. This house could kill, at least the 2nd floor could. It was likely he had to compel Drew by the end of all of this, too. There was no way that a human could survive being smacked against a wall that hard without any pain. Or Bella seemingly closing that portal. What had been up with that anyway? Was it part of her evolving abilities? It also took every inch of his self control not to get angry, to lash out, or to pick her up and run her out of the house.
“Don’t worry, Drew said that the ground floor was a lot quieter than the upstairs levels, what could possibly happen down here?”
“Uh, everything?” Kol laughed, shaking his head. “I admire your bravery, Bella, I love your bravery and your self-confidence in this part of your world, but it’s kinda scaring me. It’s like you don’t see the dangers lurking here.”
“I do,” she said bravely. “But showing fear only put more fuel on the fire for them to pelt with.”
‘Did you learn your lesson, Miss Bella?’ the voice of the ghost they had encountered before and had sucked some of Kol’s energy to manifest sounded. ‘Will you leave now?’
“Ah, great, the ghost knows your name,” Kol sighed.
“He called me Bella before,” she dismissed it with a shrug.
“Yeah, but not through the Ovilus, so I can hear. Who is this guy? The one who stole my energy and showed himself to us?”
“That was so not done,” Kol said angrily. “If you’d asked nicely, I would have gladly given you some of my energy but no, you’re a ghost, you can do whatever the hell you want.”
‘And you’re a vampire who takes blood from anyone you want, what’s your problem?’
“Oh, hell yeah, I have a problem with you.”
Bella sighed and ran a hand through her hair. “Fine, since you’re so talkative, what’s your name? You know mine, so…”
‘Jasper, ma’am,’ he replied. ‘I died a few days after returning home from WWI, my Father used a proxy to marry me to Alice Cullen to strengthen our name but that woman’s insane, there is no wonder why no one wanted to marry her in the first place.”
“Nice to meet you, Jasper, why are you still here?”
‘I try to scare people so much that they leave. This house is bad, the family is horrible and our co-inhabitants are not to be reasoned with.’
“It’s not working, is it?”
‘That’s because you’re a lady, Bella, I don’t scare the ladies. But I have no problem hurting your friend.’
“We just came here for the stories, really. We’re not here to prove that spirits exist and a lot of our equipment isn’t scientific at all.”
‘Do you believe that’s the reason that that bonehead asked you to come here? To allow you to tell our stories? No, darlin’, he already knows them. He’s looking for something and he ain’t gonna get it.’
“What is he looking for?”
‘I ain’t telling,’ Jasper replied. Bella could feel his energy shift a little into the hostility area. ‘But since ya ain’t leaving, allow me to escort you through the ground level; I might be able to protect you.’
“Oh, yeah, well, there are more than enough brothels in Chicago, Edward doesn’t have to look in this place for that!” Kol quipped. “I swear, if that wanker makes one more move on Bella, I might snap his neck and I don’t care if that human upstairs sees it.”
‘Your vampire is not whom I thought he’d be.’
“No, he’s a good guy,” Bella smiled and looped her arm through Kol’s. “We’ll be fine, Jasper.”
‘Very well, if you need anything, just call for me.’ Bella could feel Jasper’s presence leave them as they walked towards what looked like a former ballroom and immediately Bella felt a sense of dread. Granted, she felt darkness and bad things over all upstairs, but here she was dealing with real human, emotions. There was dread and pain and excitement.
She could hear some residual whimpering, but other than that, it wasn’t powerful enough for her to see it with her own eyes. Humans could be more cruel than any dark entity, she knew this. “I don’t think the Cullens were a particularly happy family,” Bella said softly as she shone her light around the ballroom. “But they held parties here. Like…”
“Oh yeah, big dresses I think. I can hear some rustling… But it’s residual, there’s nothing alive here.”
“Good enough to take a small break?” Kol smiled at her. “Just to sit down and have something to drink?” Even with Bella’s flashlight, it was still dark enough for him to drink in front of her, take some blood from that bloody thermos – he knew it was going to taste disgusting, but it was a necessity. Ever since coming down the stairs he could feel his energy being drained and while his guard was still up, it was not going to be enough.
“Sure,” she sat down in the middle of the room and he joined her as she opened her bag and handed him the thermos before she grabbed a bottle of water for herself. “What was it like in the old days? Throwing a ball and stuff?”
Kol grunted, not having had too many experiences with them – and they all sucked. “It’s just a bunch of people dressing up, talking, making connections and business deals with a lot of alcohol and waltzes,” he then let out a snort as he opened the thermos. “I know the dances, but I was blessed with two left feet.”
“Aw,” Bella cooed as she took a sip of her water. “I’d likely keep tripping over my own feet.”
“Ah, darling, you’re a Mikaelson now, I’m sure that there are a lot of balls in your future,” Kol said as he started to drink from his thermos. Just as he expected, it tasted awful. “I mean, I won’t make you dance, but Myriam surely will. Now, while I drink, I want you to take a moment and dig deeper into the feelings you get off this place. Peel back a layer or two.”
“I can’t do that.”
“I think you can. You’ve been far too quiet, you were talking more about stuff at the Sanatorium.”
Bella huffed as she crossed her arms over her chest.
“You could have sensed our flying lessons coming upstairs, but you didn’t. Because you’ve not fully opened yourself up,” he said, nudging her with his foot. “Do it. You can always choose to close yourself off again. It’s okay to be scared.”
“I don’t want to feed this house…”
“It’ll be alright, now do it. I’m going to drain this thermos.”
She grabbed hold of his foot, she wanted to make sure that she was at least holding some part of Kol as she did as she was told. Bella didn’t want to do this. Absolutely not, because she was afraid, but Kol made her feel less afraid. Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath and moved her head from side to side to loosen up those muscles before taking another deep breath as a shudder ran down her spine. “I think someone got killed in here,” she muttered, wrinkling her nose. “It smells disgusting.”
“Oh, smelling things now huh? Could be the blood,” he said, shoving the thermos in front of her nose with a grin on his face, causing her to back away from him.
“Yep. Never mind,” Bella shuddered. “That’s definitely you.”
Kol laughed as he continued to drink. Oh, he knew she didn’t like blood, and she had made that clear, but she promised to try to get used to it, perhaps it was right for him to drink in front of her more often, otherwise she wouldn’t get used to it. It was adorable when he noticed her pinching her nose, still with her eyes closed.
“Oh,” Bella said softly as she shuddered. “Someone has been killed here. Right inside this room,” she kept her eyes closed as she focused on the skidmark. “It’s residual, like what happened in the sanatorium.”
He shifted the camera a little to make sure it was being recorded properly. “Tell me.” He wasn’t surprised at all that she had been running around without having fully opened herself up – it explained a lot about how she had been walking through the second floor with him. Trying to act all brave, as if nothing was there.
“I think that’s Jasper, he’s in a fight with this big, hulky guy dressed like… I don’t know, a woodworker? Lumberjack?” Bella tilted her head as if she was trying to listen or shift what she saw. “Something about not consummating his union with the guy’s sister? I mean, Jasper told me he was married to Alice Cullen via a proxy when he was overseas.”
“In those days it would still be required to actually have sex with someone after marriage to seal the deal, sort to speak, married by proxy or not,” Kol explained to her. “Especially in wealthy families.”
“Jasper’s death was an accident, though,” Bella softly said as she pointed to the far end of the room. “There was a piano there and this bigger guy threw him across the room, Jasper cracked his head and the piano fell on top of him.” She whined upon seeing the blood and Jasper’s brains spilling out over the floor. “Oh, that’s gross.”
“Another guy comes in, lean built, blonde hair… kind looking but he wasn’t. Oh, definitely wasn’t, he truly killed someone in his time. Once or twice. Ah… he told this big guy to take care of the body and then there was this huge cover up. For money.”
‘I was kinda hoping you wouldn’t get to see that,’ Jasper’s voice sounded, snapping Bella out of her focus.
“I thought you left.”
‘I heard my name, ma’am.’
“Oh, he’s back?” Kol asked after hearing the Ovilus speak up. It was nice to have that thing on forever because it gave him information in real time. They checked the voice recorder that was running all the time too, but only afterwards, when they were editing. The results of the sanatorium had been insane.
“Yeah,” Bella said as she took another sip of her water. “Telling me that he wished I hadn’t seen the way that he died.”
“Trust me, I can relate to the feeling mate,” the vampire muttered to himself as he panned his camera around the room. “So, Bella? Is that murderer conscious or residual?”
“Well, this particular event was residual, I’m not sure if this big guy is still around.”
‘Yes, he is,’ Jasper sighed. ‘His name is Emmett, Rosalie’s husband. He’s the muscle for the family.’
“Oh, she told me about him,” Bella replied, blinking. “He beat her?”
“Bella?” Kol smiled at her. “What’s he saying?”
“It’s alright,” Bella replied as she took the closed thermos from Kol and stuffed it in her backpack.
“That’s not an answer.”
“Thank you, Jasper,” Kol growled as he got to her feet and pulled Bella up too.
“Brilliant,” Kol replied as he dusted himself off before getting Bella cleaned up. “So, why were you guys quiet when Drew and his mates came visiting?”
‘Oh, they were douchebags, trampling all over the place,’ Jasper sighed. ‘At some point we were afraid they would concentrate their attention here on the ground floor, but they found it funnier to play with the dark forces upstairs. Speaking of which; nicely done, Bella, closing those portals!’
“They kept quiet because they weren’t respectful,” Bella replied to Kol. “I doubt we’ll get any other interaction myself, seeing as it feels like they’re protective over something.”
Bella shrugged. “Perhaps a hidden treasure or something they hid in life, only for them to look at. Or something that should be destroyed in case it falls into the wrong hands.”
“Likely,” she nodded.
‘He’s Emmett and Rosalie’s grandson. His father turned his back on the family the moment that he could; Edward’s not entitled to what’s in this house. He could do a lot of damage.’
“So there is something,” Bella grinned. “What if we won’t tell anyone, will you take us to it?”
“Hell no!” It sounded like a whisper, followed by the sound of a piano being pounded on a few times in anger, despite the absence of one.
“Oh hey, I heard that!” Kol replied. “Wow, you must really be passionate about this, Jasper.”
‘I’ll be back,’ Jasper groaned and Bella could feel him leave.
“He’s gone,” she said as she pointed at a door leading out of the ball room. “Ready for more?”
“Lead the way, you know how I love watching your beautiful ass.”
Bella rolled her eyes, smiling at his antics as she continued to grow more accustomed to them. She turned to make her way across the room they were in, to another doorway on the opposite end. Poking her head through, flashing her light around to check for any dangers or obstacles, she drew in a breath. The room was quiet and felt more dark than the others, it was almost as if a little from upstairs had come down.
“You okay?” Kol asked the question that annoyed her time to time on these trips.
“Yeah,” she drew out, still looking around. “I don’t hear anything but it feels like something is staring at us.”
“Something or someone?”
Bella turned around to look behind her as she struggled to hear for anything unworldly in the room, but it only frustrated her more. “I don’t know. Maybe we should keep going? I don’t think it’s going to speak up, who or whatever it is.”
“Why won’t you try to see it?” Kol suggested. “You can see residuals, why not real stuff?”
Her flashlight turned on him, scowling. “Considering the feeling that I’m getting that it wants us dead, I don’t think that’s a very good idea to experiment with here. I’d rather try practicing that back in New Orleans. At least there, we know what we are dealing with. Even with your family’s skidmarks.”
Wincing at the word, he let out a breath. “Okay, let’s move on then.”
Bella started for the other exit in the room, pausing in the doorway to the hall. Tilting her head to the side, she turned the corner and around a sharp bend in the corridor. Her flashlight remained on the walls, as if searching for something.
Kol suddenly felt as if was being poked by someone. He was sure it wasn’t Drew or Jeremy because he could hear them upstairs, fooling around with the Wonder Box on the third floor, and Bella was right in front of him. “I’m being poked. My sides, tapping on my back.”
She glanced back at him, wide eyed. “There is something hidden in the walls. I’m sure of it. Are you holding up against it?” she questioned, glancing around him, still not wanting to actually see anything. “Jasper?” she called out, hoping it might be him.
“Stop poking me, this is annoying,” Kol growled lowly.
‘Hmmm,’ a female voice sounded. ‘So tasty.’
Bella tensed as she narrowed her eyes, her flashlight darting around, searching for disturbances. “Who are you?”
‘Oh, none of your worries,’ the woman giggled.
“Yeah, hands away from there,” Kol swatted around his ass. “That’s not yours.”
“Seriously. He may be hot, but he is mine,” Bella added, feeling rather defensive on his behalf. “Shouldn’t you have moved on or something?”
‘My husband is here, why would I go without him? Besides, daddy scares me, he wants me to stay.’
“Husband? Are you talking about Jasper?” Bella grimaced, having recalled the ghost’s story. “Do you think you might be able to help us? Find what is hidden?”
‘I could,’ Alice replied in a singsong voice. ‘But daddy won’t like that to happen and he’s coming, you’d better hide!’
“Um…” Bella blinked as she looked up to Kol. “She, um, wasn’t very helpful.”
Kol glared back at her, his hands covering his groin. “No? Really? She certainly made sure she got one last grabby attempt before she apparently took off on you. Maybe Nik should join you on the locations with psychotic molesting women. That would fun, yes?”
“Sorry,” Bella replied softly, remembering how many times Jake got assaulted during their trips in the last two years. “If I could physically remove them from you, I would have.”
“Yeah. In the future, Jeremy will research first and if there is someone with grabby hands, Nik or Elijah will go in. I’m really damn close to tearing someone’s head off, she was starting to anger me that much,” he pointed out, attempting to suppress a growl. “The others do have significant more control in that sense.” Kol then felt a jolt of energy go through him before feeling a tug on the leash and Bella being smacked against a wall.
‘You have no business here!’
“Ow,” Bella whined as she tried to catch her breath. “People do like their walls here…” she rubbed her head as she steadied herself against the wall.
‘This is MY house. Why can’t you people leave us alone?’
“So far, the only people who have done harm in this place is you guys, not us,” Bella replied, quickly moving closer to Kol for safety. “I like to tell stories. In the absence of you telling me one, I have to go and explore.” Her head was pounding still. “Please stop draining his energy to interact with me, I can hear you just fine.”
‘I do not think you understand girl. I want you gone!’
‘I will make you leave. Heed my warning.’ With that, the spirit let her go, disappearing so suddenly, it unnerved Bella.
“Maybe we should call Jeremy and Drew down here,” she said, inching even closer to Kol and handed him her flashlight. “Hold this for a second? I want to grab some aspirin.”
He silently took the flashlight, eyes narrowing as he stared at her. His head cocked to the side. The plastic of the handle began to crack from his grip as she dug through her sack, gathering her attention. His eyes were squeezed tightly shut and he was unnaturally still, even for a vampire.
She stared up at him, trying to figure out what was different, as he appeared to be in a great deal of pain. “Kol?” Bella whispered, her hand moving from the bottle of aspirin in her bag to that of the emergency vervain, grabbing a small stalk in her hand.
“Bella…” he ground out through his teeth. His voice was low and gravelly. “Jeremy…” he warned her with just a word before his eyes opened and were filled with nothing but black darkness as he shot forward after her, his hand dropping the flashlight to choke her neck as he pulled her around to him. “I warned to leave…” he growled, his hot breath in her ear.
Bella whimpered as she tried to push herself away from him. Daddy Carlisle. “Get out of him,” she commanded. “He’s not yours.”
“Your friend is strong. I will keep him like I’ve kept others that have trespassed.”
“Is that what you don’t want me to find?” Bella breathed heavily. “The bodies you’ve buried on your property?”
The being inside Kol let out a dark laugh, his fingers tightening more around her throat. He breathed in her scent, her fear, as he smiled against her skin. “And what if the living found any bodies? I am dead. How will they convict me of the crime? There is no justice in the afterlife.”
“Oh, there are ways,” she thought of the witches, how they could help or priests exorcising the entire house before burning it down. She felt that she was losing consciousness and she needed to act quick before he’d add another ghost to his house. With her remaining strength, Bella pressed the bundle of vervain against Not-Kol’s cheek, hearing it burn and blister the skin the moment it hit.
Immediately, his hold on her loosened and he stumbled backwards a step. Carlisle released Kol, taking off and leaving him collapsed on the floor, crying out in pain from the now healing burns of the vervain.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered as she dropped the vervain and reached out for him. “I didn’t have a choice,” she said as she finally dared to take a breath, feeling it sting a little as the altercation had likely bruised something inside of her neck.
Kol hissed as he felt his face before peeking through clenched eyes at her. “Yeah, I know,” he replied with heavy breaths through the discomfort. Slowly sitting up, he still had some markings of the burn on his cheek, but it was fading. “I tried to keep him from gaining control, warning you when it was failing.”
“Jeremy wouldn’t have been here in time.” She slightly coughed, feeling around for her bag to get some water and that damn aspirin. “You okay though? He didn’t leave anything behind?”
He still was getting his bearings together when he finally turned his attention to her. “I – I think he’s gone now. I don’t feel anything but like I really want to take a long nap,” he replied, rubbing his neck. Looking around, he shifted so that he could lean against the closest wall and put his head back, blinking absently. “I could have killed you.”
“But that didn’t happen,” she reminded him as she found her bottle and the pills. “Do you want to get out of here?”
Kol hesitated, wanting so strongly to say yes, but he knew she wanted to find whatever it was they were hiding. “I was able to get an idea of where he was trying to keep you from while he was in me,” he admitted, making a face of displeasure of the thought of the possession.
She grabbed the half broken flashlight and started to check him over; the light reflecting on his pale face. “You already drained the thermos earlier, didn’t you?” She softly ran a hand through his hair as she made sure his face had healed up.
“Just a bit,” he admitted. Another lesson learned. Even overfeeding before going to a place like this wouldn’t work. “Perhaps you should wait for Jeremy to make his way back down.”
“I have a feeling that I should do this with you,” she replied as she shook the empty thermos. “Have some of mine?”
His eyes darted to her neck before shaking his head. “No, Darling. While it wouldn’t be the first time, and I do doubt the last, when we do exchange blood, it would be for those times. Not like this. You’re not a blood bag to me,” he said, moving to push himself to his feet. “I should be okay until we get out. Let’s find this thing that fucker is hiding and skedaddle.”
“Okay, if you’re sure,” she said as she rubbed her neck and straightened herself out, stretching a little to loosen up again.
Kol pulled her back to him as he took notice of her movement, gently lifting her chin so that he could get a better view of the damage. Sighing, he grew more disgusted with himself for not fighting the being harder.
“Hey,” she smiled at him. “It’s okay, this wasn’t you.”
“Before we get back to the others, I’ll give you a little of my blood,” he nodded, kissing her temple, his eyes darting around for new potential threats. “I hate this place more than I ever hated Niklaus. That’s saying a lot.”
“I’ve never been to a place more secretive and uncooperative as this,” Bella sighed, rubbing his arm. “It’s frustrating and I hate it but there is something here. I feel this need to get it and run like hell. Then advise Edward to burn this place to the ground.” A loud bang could be heard echoing through the hallway they were in. “Oh shut up!”