Oh, he knew he was in trouble. Klaus had only needed to give him that look after Bella released everything and people dropped in the street, but it had been needed. He had figured it was tied to her emotions and he wanted to make sure that the pressure went off the cooker. Perhaps then she’d start to see reason, that she didn’t have to escape to go back. Kol hadn’t expected, however, that while the people dropped in front of the building that he and his siblings would be knocked off their feet by all the emotions she’d been feeling.
He had opened the gate and scooped her up, off the streets as Klaus, Elijah and Freya went outside for damage control and had taken her inside her space, onto the sofa and he had wrapped her up in a warm blanket and was now holding her as she was still sobbing. He hadn’t seen her cry before, because they had taught her not to. Didn’t they know humans needed to cry every once in awhile? That their emotions and feelings were valid, how small or petty they may have seen? Or perhaps they wanted Bella to be desensitized, so that she’d be a mindless drone. “You’re alright, darling,” he said soothingly as he gently rubbed her back. “You’re alright.”
“I’m a bad person,” she sobbed. “I hurt people.”
“You’re not a bad person, Bella. If anything, I’m the one in trouble for pushing you to your limits like that,” he said, which made her look up to him with her tearstained eyes. “Nik might actually put me back into my box,” he said with a slight chuckle, but there was no joking around. “I shouldn’t have done what I did, I apologize. But you’re not a bad person, just so you know.”
“The people who were affected, and their families, will be compensated, quite generously, because of a gas leak in a drug lab down the street, coming up from the sewers and knocking them all back, don’t worry about it,” he told her.
“I never want to do that… it just happens…”
“How about, from now on, you’re voicing all of your feelings and emotions? No doubt you’ve been experiencing them and thinking about them, but tell me how you feel. You’re allowed to, you know. For a start, I can tell you that I’m quite scared that Nik is going to put me away for scaring you so.”
“I wasn’t scared,” Bella said softly as she rubbed her eyes, but not moving from how they were sitting. “I can’t be scared. I’m confused and I’m alone. You seemed to be glad to see me leave. I… they left me. They abandoned me and allowed Klaus to take me here. And then he went after them. And destroying things and… they weren’t coming for me. I was alone and then you… You came to visit me and made me smile. Feel something, but I’m not allowed to feel. And you told me to leave because you found out I still wanted to leave, but I don’t. Kol, I don’t want to leave. There’s nothing for me and I-I am willing to try to become more like you. To try and see things differently.”
She called him Kol, not sir. This made him feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside. In fact, she hadn’t used ‘sir’ since she started to be able to form coherent sentences again. “Is that the truth or are you saying that because you know I want to hear that?”
“No! It’s… no, it’s me. It’s me. Please,” she said desperately, clinging onto him like a small child. “I don’t ever want to feel alone again. Please. Help me. I’ll do everything, just don’t leave me. I’ll try to forget my training. Train me your way. Please.”
His heart broke for her. She was riding an emotional rollercoaster right now, and she was a mess. Hell, even he was still reeling from everything that he felt coming off of her while she had her meltdown. He sure hoped that she’d still think this way once she’d gone through it all. Pulling her closer to him, he slowly nodded. “Try to get some sleep, darling,” he said softly. “It’s been a trying evening for you.”
“You’re not leaving?”
“I’ll be still here when you wake, I’m not moving.”
Bella was quiet for a while and he was pretty sure she’d dozed off until he heard her whisper. “Kol?”
“Yes, darling?” He liked hearing her say his name.
“Is this kindness?”
He chuckled at that. “Darling, everything I’ve done for you this week is kindness, although pushing you like I have this evening is a little thing called tough love. You do that when you can’t get through to someone because they’re so stubborn.”
“I’ll stop with that,” she whispered again. “I like kindness.”
“So do I, darling, so do I,” he smiled as she then dozed off with a tiny, satisfying smile on her face and, in that moment, he found her absolutely beautiful.
A couple of hours later, Bella startled awake as Klaus just about kicked down the door and advanced on her and Kol, who had been startled awake as well. She quickly put up her shield and Klaus bounced off of it. Klaus was filled with rage and it was directed to the both of them. She couldn’t allow him to hurt Kol. She simply couldn’t. Kindness.
“Lower that shield, Bella,” Klaus growled at her. “Or I swear, I’ll-”
“No, sir,” she replied. She was only going to lower the shield when Kol told her to, she liked Kol. Klaus, not so much. He was always filled with so much anger and rage, she could even sense it when he was on the other side of the building, it was that intense.
“Nik, let me explain…”
“Explain? She,” Klaus angrily pointed at Bella as he continued to speak. “Is a danger to us all! You knew this and yet, you decided to push her to her limits! Twenty people got hurt, Kol! Twenty people because you wanted to prove a point! Couldn’t you have taken her somewhere quiet with no humans around to do your little experiment!”
“It was a spur of the moment thing,” Kol said with a shrug.
“Twenty people?” Bella asked with a small voice. That must be a record, but these were ordinary humans and that wasn’t good. “I’m-”
“Don’t say it, darling,” Kol said gently before looking at his brother again. “It won’t happen again.”
“No, it won’t, because she’s going to move out, she’s a danger to the Quarter, to New Orleans. You can take her to our safe house outside the city.”
“Or kill her. She’s no longer welcome in my house!” A wave of fear rolled off of the hybrid, one that made a great impact on Bella.
“He’s not angry, he’s afraid,” she said softly. “Like they were, but they couldn’t send me away because nobody wanted me. H-he believes I might use it on him, but I would never! I tried so hard to make sure you weren’t affected! A-and it won’t happen again! I promise! I-I’ll be a good girl!”
She was tensing up, he could feel it and it was all because of his brother forgetting to tuck his feelings away, and his thoughts, in this case. “Shh, breathe,” Kol soothed her. “I believe you.” Granted, she was a danger to them all, but they were more protected here. Not all the Cold Ones responsible for her care were dead yet and, he really needed Freya’s help with the magical aspect of Bella’s troubles. “I’m going outside with my brother to talk to him, okay? I’ll be safe. I promise. You won’t have to shield me.”
Bella removed her shield from Kol but kept hers up, just in case. When Kol left the space as he pushed his brother out, she got off the sofa and sat down in a corner, hugging her knees to her chest, trying to keep breathing. She wouldn’t mind being sent away, if that’s what they wanted, then she had to be sent away. And if Kol decided to leave her alone, then that was alright too. She was a monster. She had hurt twenty people, innocent humans who were now hurt for the rest of their lives. She didn’t deserve kindness. She deserved to be punished. Death.
“Do you have any idea what you just did, Nik?” Kol said furiously as he pushed his brother into the courtyard. “I was making progress with her and now it’s likely that I have to start all over again!”
“She’s a danger to us all!”
“And you knew that! You can’t deny her presence in this house merely because the unthinkable happened and you had to clean up her mess!” Kol shot at him. “Even without this ability, she’s a danger to us all because frankly, I’m not convinced that the Cold Ones have given up on her.”
“We can’t die, Kol,” Klaus rolled his eyes at him. “But we can get our insides turned into jelly!”
“And she made sure that didn’t happen.” Kol said calmly. “Instead, we all got to feel what she was feeling, every sordid feeling from the past year, since her last meltdown. Don’t you get it, Nik? They made her like this by denying her to feel. In a way, she’s like you, a timebomb, waiting to go off. Or like me, really, you know how I can get when I get really angry. We are all dangerous creatures, and fortunately, I believe that we can make her less of a danger. She’s more relaxed now, open to everything. I simply need more time.”
“I have to say that for once, I’m on Kol’s side, brother,” Elijah said as he walked down the staircase towards his brothers. “She didn’t hurt us.”
“And she won’t,” Kol was convinced that she wouldn’t.
“The girl can’t live on her own and we can’t risk her going back to the Cold Ones. She has seen too much, knows too much. It’s best we keep her here and give our brother some more time,” Elijah continued as he stood next to his brother. “I, too, have read her file as Freya needed some help figuring things out. To my knowledge, she hasn’t killed anyone, merely incapacitated them for the rest of their lives and they were all accidents.”
“Caused by her getting a meltdown because you can’t stop humans from feeling and think that it’s going to be alright,” Kol muttered. “She’s fine now. I’ll make sure she stays that way, but you barging in like that didn’t help, Nik.”
“The girl stays,” Elijah decided. “Merely because you wanted to help her and now you’ll have to see it through despite you pawning her off to our youngest brother.” He then sighed and looked at Kol. “You may return to the girl now, Kol, I will handle Niklaus.” Elijah then hesitated, wondering if he should give this piece of information and then decided yes. “Marcellus encountered two Cold Ones in the Quarter tonight, the female killed those he had been patrolling with, but kept him alive.”
“So they are coming for her!”
“Let them come,” Elijah said quietly as he lead his brother to his study. “Go back to the girl, Kol, see if you can undo some of the damage Niklaus has done.”
Kol went to fetch himself a blood bag first and finished it before going back to Bella. He found her in the corner of the room, once again made herself as small as possible. He took the blanket off the sofa and sat down next to her, wrapping her up in the blanket and put his arm back around her. “You don’t have to leave,” he said softly and gently squeezed her arm. “Majority vote, and Nik was outvoted.”
Kol huffed. “That’s nothing. You didn’t even kill them. In the past, we used to decimate entire villages. Eat them. Burn houses, create chaos and mayhem. And look at us now, we only kill for sports or when we’re under siege!”
She blinked at him in surprise. “But you’re a vampire, that’s what you do.”
“True,” he nodded. “But as the times change, so did we. Granted, there are times where I’d love nothing but to eat my way through an entire party for shits and giggles, but that rarely happens these days.”
He then told her about his time as a human, recently, and everything that he had learned. She listened intently and he made sure that he mentioned that it had been a long process for him to learn to have some control over his bloodlust, and his emotions. He told her about how he was the wild one of the family, and how he was the one who needed to create a mess at times so his family could be safe and feel better about themselves for not having done atrocious things themselves. “Change doesn’t happen overnight, Bella, but making an effort is half the battle.”
“But I’m a monster.”
“Nah, compared to us you’re a saint,” he smiled at her. “You’re a good girl and in time you’ll get even better. But the most important thing is that you’re not leaving. I am not going to take you away and bring you some place else.”
She finally moved then and shifted so she was sitting against him again, like they had sat on the sofa. Only time would tell if she’d remain this open to talking openly, and not referring to him as ‘sir’, but for now, he actually liked the way that she was and he was going to try his very best not to allow his family to corrupt her, to make sure she found her own way and her own two feet amongst them. But for now, he was glad that she allowed herself to fall back asleep.
Kol left her alone for most of the next day and the day after that, he managed to get Bella out in the courtyard for breakfast. A glorious platter of assorted fruits, all the colors and they were all for her to try. And a stack of pancakes. Who didn’t love pancakes? To switch up on her bananas and orange juice. Granted, Bella’s orange juice contained something Freya concocted to try and eliminate some of the magical damage done to Bella, but it was time for Bella to experience more food choices. Again, within reason, seeing as her body was still getting used to regular food sessions and bowel movements. Kol knew that Bella hurt, at times, but she never showed it.
She had the freedom to be curious, the freedom to feel and the freedom to share what she wanted to share, and while it was hard for her, she was making an effort. “Oh, what’s that?” Bella pointed at the cup of tea, her nose nearly in it as she tried to smell it. “It’s hot?”
“That’s tea, darling,” Kol laughed. “And yes, it’s hot. When it’s cooled down somewhat, you can have a taste.”
“Why is it hot?”
“Because some beverages, and most food, are best enjoyed hot,” he said as he rolled up a pancake for her and handed it to her. “This is a pancake, and it’s warm. You can even have your banana rolled into it and I happen to know that it’s delicious with chocolate.”
The pancake felt moist and warm in her hand, but it smelled good. She nibbled on it and than sat down in her chair to eat it all. It was delicious!
Bella let out just the tiniest of giggles as she finished her pancake and it was adorable. He hadn’t really heard her laugh or giggle in the last few days and it was great that she was allowing herself to enjoy things. “That good, huh?” He asked, a big smile on his face. “Would you like another one?”
“Can I? I think there’s still room for one more…”
“Of course,” he handed her another pancake but frowned when she stiffened. “What’s wrong, darling?”
She believed she had sensed Jasper. It felt like him, the way he slipped into her mind. And while Jasper had been her friend, helping her with the children she let out, he was a Cold One. A Cullen. He was with someone else. A female but not Alice. A very strong female and her rage was the same as that of Klaus, if not worse. And they were close. “They’re here,” she whispered as she dropped her pancake. She couldn’t be seen eating food that wasn’t meant for her, she couldn’t be seen sitting on a chair. She couldn’t be seen. She didn’t want to be taken away. “Please don’t let them take me,” she said as she looked at Kol with tears in her eyes. “They can’t take me because they didn’t want me anymore.”
“Hey, it’s alright,” he soothed her, gently putting his hand on her leg and squeezed it. “It’s going to be alright, I’m not going to let you go, remember?” He looked up to Klaus’ study. “Nik! Elijah! Freya! They’re coming!”
“What? In the morning? The sun’s out!” Freya said as she quickly put her hair in a messy bun. “Then again… this is New Orleans… stranger things have happened… It’s still early in the day… Eh,” she shrugged. “I need coffee.” She then noticed the table filled with food. “Oh, food! Fingerfood! Yum!”
“Give me a minute, I’m hungover,” she muttered as she sat down next to Bella and bit down on a piece of pineapple. “Don’t worry, Bella, you’re safe here. There’s two of them and there’s four of us… well, five, including you,” she smiled before she reached for one of the cups of tea.
“Jasper, h-he can influence emotions, make you more agreeable and less angry. You all need to stay close so I can put you in my shield so he can’t do that.”
“Don’t worry about us,” Freya smiled at her before reassuringly squeezing her leg. “So, how close are they?”
Just as Elijah and Klaus came downstairs to join Kol, Freya and Bella, two hooded figures stood in the entrance of the courtyard. “Quite the flair for the dramatic,” Klaus huffed and motioned for the two Cold Ones to come in. Marcel and his vampires were going to make sure they wouldn’t have an easy escape. “Goodmorning, have a seat,” he said as he pointed at the empty chairs. “I hope you don’t mind, we were having breakfast. I would offer you some, but then again… you’d only decline.”
“Don’t be scared,” Freya said to Bella and handed her the pancake that she’d dropped earlier. “We made a battle plan yesterday. If they were truly coming to take you away, they would have showed up in numbers, not with just the two of them, no matter their abilities. Let Klaus do the talking and don’t allow them inside your mind, okay?”
Bella nodded, but she was unsure if she was capable of eating now. She was holding her pancake and looked at Kol, who was sitting on the other side of her now. Sitting between him and Freya, Bella felt safe. Freya was kind. Just like Kol.
“Go on, eat it. I’d like to see the scowl on their faces because we’re letting you eat what you should be eating,” he grinned as he popped a piece of apple in his mouth.
Elijah got to his feet and opened the large parasols to block the rising sun to make sitting in the courtyard be more bearable to them all. He had no desire to have a conversation being distracted by a lightshow. “Welcome,” he said as the Cold Ones removed their hoods. “I’m Elijah Mikaelson, this is my brother Klaus, my brother Kol and my sister Freya. And, of course, one of your former charges, Bella.”
“The name’s Jasper Whitlock, sir. This is my friend Myriam Jenkins and Bella was not our charge,” he said as he sat down, surprised that Bella hadn’t thrown her shield up and surprised by the fact that these traditionals genuinely seemed to care about her. Apart from the hybrid, he was still shaken by Bella’s actions only a couple of days earlier. “She was my protectee, I kept an eye on her as much as I could and intervened in some cases.”
“Is that so, Bella?” Klaus asked her as she was nibbling on her pancake like some sort of rabbit. He had to admit, she was brave. Very brave. “Is Mr. Whitlock telling the truth?”