It had been a couple of days after Freya brought balance back into the sisters and bound Bella to Kol. Fortunately, Peter wasn’t around to prove that it worked, no doubt Bella would be traumatized by the experience of getting a stake through the heart. They had to wait with the spells until Myriam was somewhat calmed down, and Bella was making sure that her sister was fine, that she had everything she needed because she didn’t want them to become like the Cullens or like the Mikaelsons of the past.
Myriam had found her mental control quite easily after the bonding, and it had taken a day or two for Bella to truly master her abilities. She didn’t need to listen for Kol anymore to remain grounded, but just in case, she had made a slight connection of her own to his mind. He didn’t even realize it was there.
For Myriam it had been such a relief that she could stay in the present with her mind, and only using her abilities at will. Before the connection between her and her sister had been restored, she felt as if she was losing grip of reality at some point. And her relationship with Klaus was so much healthier now. She could truly focus on him, enjoy him in all of who he was, without her sister getting affected. Yes, another plus to all of this was that she was having Bella around for forever and her sister wouldn’t accidentally intrude on the private moments.
Bella was glad to be rid of the intrusive thoughts from the streets. The earworm songs. The random thoughts that didn’t make sense. She could still hear them, but she’d have to want it. And she didn’t want it. It wasn’t so bad now, Bella could actually function normally, something she hadn’t been able to do for so long, not even when she was with the Cullens. She was a normal human being who had control over her mental abilities that she previously saw as a curse. It was strange to have her mind to herself, and only have her own voice in it, but it was a blessing. Her own emotions, however, were strange. Foreign. For the first time, she could identify them properly and they weren’t making sense most of the time. Or did they?
It was hard to get a read on people when she didn’t actually read them. What were they thinking? How were they feeling? Would they still think Bella was stupid for asking questions or did they find her annoying? Did she have to get out of their way? With her mental abilities under control, she realized her social skills were severely lacking, and with everything going so well at the moment, she didn’t want to bother anyone. She usually sat in her room or in the courtyard, drawing. That way she didn’t have to be social much.
Bella loved her sister, but she was scared of her too. Bella was scared to do something wrong again and have her sister freak out again. Bella was also slightly afraid of Klaus, mainly because of her initial assessment when she first met him, but also due to Kol and Rebekah’s experiences with him. Elijah was a mystery to her, she didn’t know what to think of him. And then there was Kol.
Whenever she was around him, she could feel her heart beat faster. Her skin warming up. Whenever he touched her, her skin tingled in all the right places. Kissing him was an amazing experience. Whenever Kol spoke, she felt butterflies in her stomach and he made her giggle by merely saying random stuff that didn’t make sense. Being with him was easy and comfortable, but she also knew that she couldn’t hog him, because now that things had calmed down for the sisters, the focus was back on the Cold Ones and protecting the family.
Bella and Myriam were part of the family now. Bella had learned through Kol and Rebekah that despite the long history the family had of fights, anger, fear and trust issues, that they fought together for a common goal. To protect the family, no matter the costs. And Bella knew that she and Myriam would do the same, if their heart wouldn’t be ruled by fear.
It was a nice Saturday morning when Bella awoke because she felt something on her bed, Kol wasn’t there, he hadn’t been sleeping and had left her alone, so she wondered what it was. Blinking, she was surprised to find a fox on her bed, looking at her in fear for a moment after getting caught, before burrowing itself underneath the blankets and making itself comfortable.
There weren’t any foxes in New Orleans, at least not that Bella knew of. She ducked underneath the covers and carefully felt around for the fox, curious if she was dreaming or if it was still there and she was surprised that it was – and surprisingly friendly, too. The fox sighed and touched Bella’s hand with its nose and Bella snickered, before making herself comfortable underneath the blankets too. “Okay, I’ll play,” she said softly before yawning. “You can share my bed with me, but only if I can draw you later, deal?”
The fox let out a noise that resembled a snort and crawled closer to Bella.
Something told Bella that this wasn’t an ordinary fox. “Did someone turn you into a fox, little fox?” She whispered. “A witch, maybe? There’s a witch here that could turn you back?” Bella then thought for a moment. If this wasn’t an ordinary fox, would she be able to pick up their thoughts? “Who are you?” she wondered as she tried to get into the animal’s mind.
‘Fucking finally. Now shut up, don’t let them find me.’
“Myriam?” Bella said surprised. She knew that her sister could turn into other people, but into animals? “What happened? Are you okay?” There was a bit of fear behind Myriam’s thoughts and that worried Bella. She pulled her sister closer. “Did you get hurt?”
‘I hid in the basement for hours before I felt brave enough to run to you, please stay with me here. I’m not hurt.’
Her sister was too scared still to talk about it and Bella nodded as she made herself more comfortable underneath the blankets, careful not to squish her sister. ‘If you do want to talk about it…’
‘Okay,’ Bella sighed as she closed her eyes again, only to be awakened by Kol poking her in the back. “I’m awake.”
“Lovely little fortress you have there, can I join?” Kol quipped as he watched Bella emerge from underneath the blankets, carefully as not to move the blankets. “You haven’t seen Myriam by chance, have you?”
“No, I haven’t seen Myriam,” Bella said truthfully as she rubbed the sleep out of her eyes. “What’s going on?”
Kol sighed as he sat down on the bed. “Remember I told you about Elijah? How he looks as if he’s the most stable vampire out of all of us but isn’t?”
“Bigger monster than you and Klaus combined,” Bella nodded.
“He gets these night terrors. Sometimes it cracks open that red door of his and those terrors get worse. He starts sleepwalking. And guess who was awake last night during one of his episodes?”
“Oh, no,” Bella said as she crawled into his lap. “He didn’t hurt her, did he?”
“I think that she hadn’t expected him to be the way that he was, it took Nik and myself to get our brother away from her and it was then that she vanished,” Kol tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear as he gazed into her eyes. “Nik is beside himself, can you… maybe… you know, look for her in your own special way? We found a heap of her clothes in the dungeons, Nik suspects she’s turned into a wolf and ran out.”
“Are you sure? Myriam seems not like the type to get scared easily, seeing as she went after Cold Ones and all…” Bella replied, as she pretended to think about his request.
“Elijah can be scarier, trust me,” Kol let out a slight snort. “Mother did a real number on him and he’s still reeling from it after all those years. In all honesty, Elijah is sorry for his actions and wishes to apologize to Myriam and if Nik doesn’t find her soon, he might go on a murderous rampage.”
“I’ll see what I can do… but I’d rather not use my abilities to find her,” she said as she climbed off of him, still sensing Myriam underneath her covers as she hadn’t moved. “Let me get dressed, I’ll come help look for her in a few minutes.”
Kol eyed his girlfriend, curiously. “You’re not worried, why aren’t you worried?”
“Because Myriam is a big girl and she can totally get herself out of trouble,” Bella said confidently. “I’m sure she’s fine, but I’ll come look for her. Let me get dressed first.”
“What are you hiding?”
“Nothing,” Bella smiled at him as she got off the bed and started to get dressed. “I’ll be right out, I promise,” she said as she pulled him off the bed and kissed him before directing him towards the door.
She closed the door on him and quickly got dressed before grabbing a robe and peeked underneath her covers. “If you allow Elijah to apologize to him, you can make the rest of his day miserable as revenge. I don’t know, pee on his bed.”
‘Already done and I can’t believe you thought of that.’
Bella shrugged as she grabbed her sister and rolled her into the robe, cradling her like a baby. “You’ve been like this for hours and you’ve never told anyone you can be an animal now?”
‘I think I’m stuck,’ Myriam said as she wiggled around in the robe, but Bella made sure she had nowhere to go. ‘As in, I can’t turn back.’
“Sure you can,” Bella said encouragingly as she scratched her sister behind her ear. “You’re ridiculously cute like this.”
‘I am not cute!’ Myriam huffed.
Bella opened the door to the courtyard and grinned. “I would love to keep you as a pet, you’re house trained, you’re quiet, you’re cute…” She said as she scratched her sister behind her ear again. “Look at those ears!”
Klaus looked at Bella as she came out of her room carrying some sort of package, and was being all lovey dovey with it. “Bella, your sister is missing, now is not the time to play with a rodent!” he said slightly annoyed. He thought she was better, but this was insanity. Had she truly wrapped up some creature in her robe as if it was something precious?
Bella looked at him before narrowing her eyes on Elijah. “Ever thought about having one of your siblings locking your door from the outside? Oh, never mind, you’re a vampire, you’d burst through it anyway,” she said before looking back at the fox in her arms, still scratching behind her ears. “Could someone snap his neck please? He’s scaring this cutie.”
Kol scratched himself behind the head as he looked at his girlfriend. Had she truly lost all of her marbles during the night? “Bella…”
Bella blinked at him, before looking at the fox. “You’re right, they think I’m insane,” she let out a snort as she unwrapped the fox. “I didn’t find Myriam, she found me, look.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Klaus huffed as he crossed the space between them and took the fox out of Bella’s hands, holding it by the scruff of its neck. “You don’t get to see foxes that often in New Orleans, at least not in the city, but-” he then blinked when Myriam’s scent was all around the fox. “This is Myriam?” The fox hissed and snapped at him, trying to scratch him as she wasn’t comfortable at all.
Bella nodded. “She’s been like that for hours, she says. And she doesn’t know how to get back to her normal self, although I think she secretly likes being a fox. Oh, and she definitely does not like to be held like that so you’d better be gentle,” she said as she took Myriam back and held her like you’d hold a cat. “Like this,” she said before handing her sister back to the hybrid.
“Why didn’t she change into a wolf, she’s a hybrid, isn’t she?” Kol wondered. “I mean, I think I understand why she changed into a fox, but… she’s a werewolf!”
Bella shrugged as she put her arms around his waist. “To use your own words; magic is fickle? She was able to transform into humans when she was a Cold One, maybe she retained that ability but now is only capable of turning into an animal because of her werewolf side?”
Kol opened his mouth to say something before closing it again immediately before he found the right words. “That’s… actually a pretty decent theory!”
“I am not stupid, you know,” Bella countered, slightly hurt before looking at Klaus. “I think you should take her up to your room and talk to her about Elijah,” she said as she pointed at the person in question, who still didn’t have his neck snapped. “Myriam still wants his neck snapped.”
“She can do that herself when she’s back to her normal self” Klaus said as he blinked when the fox – Myriam – nestled herself against his neck. “Enjoy your breakfast, Myriam and I will return shortly.”
She looked up at Kol before letting go of him and took a seat at the table. “I know you can’t do anything about your problems, Elijah, and I’m the last one to judge, but you scared my sister pretty bad, and she doesn’t scare easily. If I were strong enough, I would have punched you.”
“Duly noted, Miss Bella,” Elijah replied with a sigh as he sat down. “I am getting better, it’s merely a slow process.”
“I’m not the one you should talk to about that,” Bella reminded him as she pulled a stack of pancakes onto her plate. “But don’t scare my sister again, please.”
Kol smirked as he sat down next to her. “Maybe we should see if your mind reading abilities can be used to hurt people, as a defense mechanism, seeing as you don’t have your shield anymore.”
Bella nearly choked on her pancake as she looked at him. “Are you crazy? I’m happy that while I have this inconvenient ability to read minds, I’m not capable of hurting people anymore!”
Elijah took a deep breath. “As much as it pains me to say this, but Kol is right. I know you understand the troubles of having some mental issues, Bella, but your misdeeds while under duress are nothing compared to what I can do when I’m not in control. Your sister has her way of escaping. She can even protect herself. You, while now immortal, won’t be able to protect yourself from me and I could seriously hurt you.”
“I’m not going to try and hurt people.”
“You have a lot of control now, you don’t have to be afraid that you won’t be able to control yourself,” Kol said encouragingly.
“You don’t get it,” Bella said as she rolled up a pancake and got to her feet. “I don’t want to hurt people even if that means I get hurt. I’m nothing like my sister. I wasn’t made to be strong or agile or good with weapons. I-I don’t have magic, I can’t be a vampire. I don’t want to hurt people with my brain.”
“You don’t have to,” Freya said as she came onto the courtyard and pushed Bella back down in her seat before sitting down herself. “I’ve been looking into mindreaders, the real ones, like you. You can communicate with others inside your own brain, or in theirs, what if you can force them to go to sleep? You won’t be hurting them and you’ve already proven that your ability can get through the strongest of barriers. Yes, it’s still manipulation, but you won’t hurt them. Think about it, because in our family, you’re going to need at least something to protect yourself with. Against one of us, or our enemies.”
“No,” Bella said, shaking her head. “That would make me as bad as Jasper. He could control others through their emotions, make their emotion less or different.”
“Seriously, stop being a goody-two-shoes. You’re an extraordinary telempath. Mental Manipulation is a sub-power of telepathy. You previously used it as your shield, and to ‘accidentally’ scramble people’s brains, but your shield is no longer functional, so why not find a different way to use it? Play tricks on someone else’s mind. Like… put them to sleep. Or if someone is scaring you, get inside their mind and scare them back. It’s a good defense mechanism. It’s a little like compulsion in vampires, really. You’ll be able to have this superpower without having to turn!”
“And, who knows?” Kol smiled at her. “You might be able to help Elijah to close that blasted Red Door of his for once and for all, use it for good.”
“Because you’re holding back, Bella,” Freya smiled at her. “I know you are, and that’s alright, you’re afraid, but you don’t have to be.”
Oh, she had promised to be a good sport and not to say ‘no’ anymore, because the people around her knew better. She needed to trust that they knew better than she did because otherwise there would be fighting and Bella didn’t want that. She wouldn’t be complaining anymore. And she just had been. “Okay,” Bella said softly as she took a nibble of her pancake. “But I doubt I’ll get it working before the Cold Ones arrive.”
“That’s alright, darling,” Kol smiled and moved in to kiss her on her cheek. “We can still protect you, but it’d be good for you to be able to protect yourself, too.”
Bella nodded as she took a sip of her tea. They had faith in her. It was time she had some faith in herself, too.