The burning of Volterra had been beautiful and Elijah made sure that the province of Pisa received a generous donation to the rebuilding of the old city, should they so wish. It had been liberating to destroy all the Cold Ones in Volterra. The Newborns, and the Volturi leaders and their wives, and Bella didn’t allow herself to mourn the losses of all those lives, because technically – and literally – everyone that had been destroyed had already been dead and some for quite some time.
They went back to Rome for about a week before Elijah decided to go back to New Orleans and Rebekah wanted to go back to France. Klaus, Kol, Myriam and Bella traveled south in Italy to the Amalfi coast, close to Pompeii and Naples, where they spent a couple of weeks enjoying themselves with day trips out, laying on the beautiful beaches, exploring. When Klaus and Bella went somewhere to practise their art, Kol took Myriam to a coven of witches to practise her magic.
And normally, both Klaus and Kol would get annoyed that they basically shared each other’s girlfriends in this way. There was no sex involved, of course, but to have a very good friend that was your brother’s girlfriend and your girlfriend’s sister was strange to have. But there was no jealousy, all was done without fighting and Kol couldn’t help but wonder if Bella had to do something with it. There was no way that he and Klaus could be this… peaceful together.
Bella didn’t get angry for him asking if she had anything to do with his and Klaus’ relationship, in fact, she was hurt. For a brief moment it looked like the question had shattered her beautiful heart in tiny little pieces before she found her composure again and thought for a moment before she replied. “Change is possible, even when you’re a vampire,” and she had then left him to join her sister at the pool, ignoring him for the rest of the day. Niklaus was amused by this behaviour, of course, and was doing everything he possibly could to remind Kol about the fact that she had finally grown into her own skin.
It was Elijah’s phone call that disrupted the bubble the four of them had created on the Amalfi Coast a few days later, that they had to urgently return for New Orleans. While Elijah was usually keen on elaborating as to why, this time he didn’t say anything which concerned both Kol and Klaus. Needless to say, they went back the first opportunity they got.
A very unexpected surprise was waiting for them when they returned to the compound. There was a large piece of dark fabric covering the top opening of the courtyard, and Marcel’s vampires were in front, like guarding the courtyard. “I’m not liking this,” Klaus said as he got out of the car and didn’t even wait for the rest to exit the car as he marched inside. “What the hell is going on here?” He demanded.
Bella flatout refused to get out of the car, and Kol was curious. “What’s wrong?”
“Oh…” she gestured to the building. “It’s filled with Cold Ones, I don’t know why Klaus is so eager to march into a place filled with Cold Ones. But then again, the normal vampires are there too… it’s… confusing… and- strange…”
“Cold Ones? Does that mean we get to kill more?” Myriam popped her head back into the car, a big grin on her face. It made sense to have the entire compound covered if there were many Cold Ones inside. Wouldn’t want to make their home a light nobody could turn off.
She sighed as she shook her head. “No… because… Elijah and Freya allowed them in and they’re not fearful or… Something’s not right… It’s almost… most of the Cold Ones are desperate? Or something? Hopeful? Fearful yet at ease?”
“Well then, we should definitely join Nik inside,” Kol said as he helped Bella out of the car. “Let’s see what’s going on, you don’t have to be afraid anymore, you know this, Bella.”
“I’m not afraid of them but of what reason they might have for being here.”
“We won’t know until we find out,” Myriam grinned as she looped her arm through her sister’s and pulled her along. “They must know by now what damage we both can do, so we could just destroy them all if we need to, saves us a lot of time hunting them down!”
The moment the two sisters set foot onto the courtyard, all the present Cold Ones turned to see them before dropping to their knees with their heads bowed, almost as if they were paying their respects. No. Worse. Worshipping. More Cold Ones spilled onto the courtyard from the spare rooms and the basement area, all behaving this strangely.
“Uh-” Myriam felt a little uncomfortable as she looked around, hoping to find Klaus. “What the fuck?” She found Klaus looking down from the second floor, standing next to Elijah and Freya. All high and mighty. “Care to explain?” She asked as she focused her gaze on Elijah.
“I will,” A familiar voice sounded. Both Bella and Myriam snapped their heads towards the voice. It was one of two Cold Ones who had remained on their feet. Peter and his wife. What was it? Charlotte? Myriam’s parents. When Myriam let go of Bella in favor of hugging her mother, and slapping her father, Bella took a step closer to Kol for safety.
Yes, it was odd behaviour, especially considering that Bella could protect herself quite well, but she’d rather not. She’d still rather not. She had been tired after Volterra, her head had been tired after Volterra for a few days, and while there weren’t as many Cold Ones currently in the compound, she’d rather not do anything that could wipe the floor with her again.
“You killed the Volturi. Bella and Myriam were created by the second coven under direct orders from the Volturi. Yes, you were born from flesh and blood humans, but let’s face it, you’re still the children of the Cullens,” he said, pausing for a moment. “Myriam ceased to be a Cullen when she supposedly died, but Bella… even with their very low opinion of you. The second family was always supposed to take over from the Volturi in cases like these; when they were murdered. With them and the Cullens gone, you have inadvertently replaced them as rulers of all Cold Ones. An option they had not foreseen, but I have,” Peter spoke slowly, making sure his daughter and her sister would understand. “They… we are at your mercy and grace.”
“Oh hell no,” Bella and Myriam chorused, both crossing their arms over their chests.
“What they’re saying is, that we’ve just returned from a lovely holiday, we are tired and we will have to have a read through of the laws of the Volturi,” Klaus said as he appeared next to Myriam. “We’re not going to make any rash decisions,” he added as he put an arm around his girlfriend. “However, for the safety of the girls, I do wish the Cold Ones out of my house. Surely we have an abandoned warehouse still?”
“Another?” Elijah asked baffled. “They came here in good faith, Niklaus.”
“I want them out,” Klaus said venomously. “We’ll question your judgement later, brother.”
It took Elijah an hour to find different arrangements for the horde of Cold Ones and once they were gone, Bella had the feeling that she could fully relax. However, she could feel Kol and Klaus’ anger towards their brother and it was hard to shut it out. She quietly went to her room while the vampires were going to fight – because that was going to happen, she could feel it bubble underneath her skin – and take a nice hot bath. Relaxing, and making sense of what she’d seen in the minds of some Cold Ones that she decided to poke around in.
Because it was true what Peter had said, at least that’s what she had seen, heard, felt, in the minds of the others. But it didn’t make sense. Not at all. Why wouldn’t the Volturi have amended the law after learning of the Cullen’s deaths? Had they been that preoccupied with everything? Or had their egos simply been too big to see their own demise? Did they truly believe that they would survive the onslaught?
Bella tried to push the thoughts out of her mind. To even entertain the thought to keep the Cold Ones alive sent shivers up her spine. Yes, it’d be a great thing for the Mikaelsons to have an army of statues at their beck and call. It’d be great to make new laws for the Cold Ones to live a different kind of life.
It was entirely possible that there were good ones, like Peter and Charlotte who took care of Myriam. But were those who had been at their compound just that? Good? Bad? Neither?
She let out a cry of frustration and tried to find Kol’s mind to get her own mind off of things. And even he was thinking about the possibilities while observing his siblings rant and fume. He was thinking of how Bella and Myriam could use them as a force of good, make a difference in the world either with money or time. He also realized that they were Cold Ones and could decide to overthrow the new government at a drop of of hat, so maybe they all needed to be killed. It didn’t matter whether or not the remaining Cold Ones were on the better side of life than their former masters.
Klaus wanted to kill them. Cold Ones were evil. Freya wasn’t too happy about the Cold Ones, either. Myriam wanted to kill them, like she had killed so many Cold Ones in the previous years, but on the other hand didn’t want Peter and Charlotte dead because those two had tried their hardest to redeem themselves, to be better than the rest of the Cold Ones. Nobody would know if they were all dead that Peter and Charlotte were spared, would they?
Bella withdrew from the minds of her family and decided that they could decide what they were going to do with the Cold Ones. It wasn’t as if Bella knew about politics or best things to do in situations like these. It’s was probably better to kill them all.
However, she couldn’t quite relax in her bath so she unplugged it and got dressed again, deciding to quietly join the discussion that the Mikaelsons were having in the presence of her sister and her sister’s parents. Nobody was going to get any rest until they’ve dealt with this. Bella found it strange to hear the Cullens being referred to as her ‘family’, they had always made it abundantly clear that she wasn’t part of the family, and she had thought of them as ‘her people’. The Mikaelsons, and Myriam, were her family. The Cullens never were. They had been her people and while she had been sad that they had died, ruined, even, it had been made clear to her, over and over again, that what they had done, was bad.
Peter had gone to a Cullen family friend after the Cullen’s deaths – someone they trusted with making new passports, identities and keep valuables safe. This friend had undeniable proof that Bella was a Cullen in papers that this friend kept safe. Both Charlie and Renée Swan had signed away their parental rights and allowed Carlisle Cullen to adopt Bella as his own child. It was signed by Carlisle Cullen and Aro Volturi.
Bella wasn’t sure what was worse; to be the child of the birth giver and the sperm donor or to be a Cullen. She was trained and grown by the Cullens. Charlie and Renée only used her as their ‘daughter’ for formal events in town. The special-needs daughter. Sympathy votes. She’d rather not have parents or legal documents to tell her who her parents were. Like Myriam. It made things a lot less… icky. Myriam was free, despite Peter and Charlotte being her parents.
“What if I reject those papers?” Bella wondered out loud, all heads turning to see her stand at the doors, quietly. “Would that be possible?”
“Legal papers can’t be rejected like that,” Peter eventually said. “Especially not these, since this is under Cold One law.”
“Really? Because Charlie and Renée took me with them for pretenses and announced I was their daughter. There must be a human element somewhere, to stop people from digging.”
“Nope,” Peter shook his head. “It’s what the Cullens were for and Charlie used his position as the Sheriff to keep your documents secret. Whether you like it or not, you’re in charge.”
“I thought Myriam and I were both in charge?”
“Biologically, yes. Legally… she died. Don’t you understand, Bella? You inherit everything the Volturi and the Cullens had, or what’s left of it anyway. Their wealth. You’re in a unique position of power-”
“That’s what everyone likes, isn’t it? Power. It’s what made the majority of the Cold Ones the way that they are. They are more powerful than a human, so why not dominate them? Make them into science projects,” she replied angrily, her hands balled into fists by her side. She could feel her anger bubble underneath her skin and she was sure that it wasn’t just her own anger. No, it was that of her sister too. “Power allows people to do the strangest things, stupid things. Immoral things. Evil things. Power makes you dominate others, make them your… bitch.”
Bella entered the room further, she wanted to be next to Kol, safe. “Power is dangerous, the Mikaelsons can all agree to that. Power attracts the worst and corrupts the best, and while the Mikaelsons have learned, the Cold Ones haven’t. Either they never will or have a very long way to go before they understand this, and frankly, I’m not sure if we should allow them the time.”
“Bella, you don’t know what you’re talking about,” Peter chided her, where Charlotte wisely kept her mouth shut.
“I do!” She shot at him, her anger getting the worse of her, but she needed to reign it in. “I am already more powerful than you will ever be. I can get inside your mind, drain you dry, make you do things you don’t want to do. If I really want to, I can make your brain explode. That’s power. And power corrupts and it’s so hard not to give into the feelings because I know I can hurt people and I don’t want them to get hurt. I don’t need more power. The Mikaelsons don’t need more power.”
“We’re going to kill the Cold Ones that Elijah put in storage?” Myriam smiled at her sister. She wholeheartedly agreed with her sister. Who could tell if the remaining Cold Ones would like their new rulers? Besides, Myriam had always wanted to put an end to all Cold Ones because unlike the traditional vampires, Cold Ones hardly changed their ways. For the Mikaelsons, and her parents, to even consider all the power they could add to their already established foothold, was maddening.
“We are going to kill the Cold Ones that Elijah put in storage,” Bella agreed. “And those who are still roaming this Earth. No more Cold Ones.”
“Bella, you have no idea what you’re doing.”
“Listen up, mate,” Kol shot at Peter. “Bella’s made her decision and if she’s truly your new leader, you need to respect her ideas. You can be assured that she hasn’t lost all of her marbles, we all can attest to her intelligence and she’s autonomous in her own life,” Kol said as he rose to his feet to make himself taller than the Cold One. “Think of her as anything less again, and I won’t care that you’ve raised Myriam.”
“Peter and Charlotte can live, of course,” Bella said as she looked at her sister. “Because they saved you and raised you. They just can’t be allowed to create new Cold Ones. Unless you want them gone too.”
“I’m with Kol on this one, unfortunately,” Myriam muttered as she looked over at Peter. “My father smells power and changes his stance from you being competent to being incompetent to make sure he can get said power. Never thought of him being power hungry, no matter how he wants to use it, even for good.” She truly was disappointed in him, and her admission to Bella changed Peter’s mindset immediately. “Maybe he and Charlotte should travel the world to find the last remaining Cold Ones and send them here so we can take care of them.”
Bella definitely liked that idea and nodded. “Good, then can we please now relax and sleep off the travel from Europe to New Orleans without having to think about what we’re going to do?” Bella asked as she looked at her family. “Please?” She still wanted to give Peter a taste of what she could do, but didn’t. Because of Myriam.
Kol scooped her up in his arms and softly kissed her. “Yes, let’s get you all relaxed and sleepy so you can sleep some,” he teased her. Kol had already suspected that Bella’s mind was swimming with the new information and feelings and he really didn’t mind getting her off. And her mind off of things that weren’t really important, but mostly getting her off. That was so much fun! In all honesty, her forcefulness and her resolutions had made him horny. He wanted to get off as much as he wanted to get her off. Oh, they were going to have a blast!
Bella and Myriam decided that sitting around doing nothing wasn’t for them, and with the help from Klaus and Kol they had opened a small cake shop where they sold cupcakes in all tastes and with cute little decorations. Myriam mostly did the baking, Bella created every sign, every folder, by hand and when she didn’t have to do anything, she helped Myriam to bake and to sell the cupcakes.
They sold coffee too and people usually lingered to drink their coffee at the shop. Both Myriam and Bella loved their little shop, their own little bubble that they had created. They ran a successful shop, and every dollar earned went straight to a foundation that helped mistreated people. Children. Women. Men.
Kol had joked that the girls were being idealistic hippies, but Bella knew that he was proud of them.
They hadn’t seen a Cold One for over ten years. Peter and Charlotte did continue to travel the world to find Cold Ones and to destroy them, and it worked well. It was rather strange that one found himself in Bella and Myriam’s shop in full daylight wearing a dark hood, scaring the customers. After quickly ushering the humans out of the store and closing the blinds, the Cold One lowered their hood and revealed a man.
“Please,” he said as he fell to his knees in front of Bella. “Don’t hurt me, hear me out, please.”
“Oh, don’t do that,” Bella said as she leaned against a table. “Who are you and what do you want?”
“My name is Amun. Peter and Charlotte sent me. We are but a few Cold Ones in hiding, and we are well aware of Peter and Charlotte’s mission,” Amun said, not moving an inch. “But it has to stop. You are upsetting the balance.”
Myriam was curious. “Upsetting the balance? Of what?”
Bella narrowed her eyes on Amun as she searched his mind. He was lying to save his own ass. He was the oldest Cold One in existence and had created newborns quite recently. He’d also killed Charlotte. Peter was on a warpath because of it. Amun just happened to come to New Orleans quicker. “If you’ve come here to plead for your life, Amun, then you will be disappointed,” Bella said as she stepped away from him and let out a groan as she looked around. “We’re not going to kill him here,” she said as she nudged the Cold One to sleep. “I’d hate having to repaint our shop!”
“Lies? Why am I not surprised?”
“He’s yours,” Bella sighed as she looked at her sister. “You may ask him yourself why he has earned your wrath, but not here.”
“Bella,” Myriam’s voice made it clear that Bella had no choice but to reply. She didn’t want to find it out for herself, Bella had to tell her.
Bella was quiet for a moment as she never averted her eyes from her sister. “Amun killed Charlotte.”
Myriam blinked for a moment before emotion washed over her face as her face changed in to her hybrid one. “Call Peter. He and I are going to fuck this guy up together!” Myriam said as she pulled the hood back over the now sleeping Cold One and lifted him up. “I’m taking him home. There are reinforced dungeons with his name on it.”
“Change your face back, silly,” Bella laughed as she grabbed her phone. “It’s not Halloween yet!”
“No, it’s fucking Christmas and this fucker is my present, thank you, sister!” Myriam had a delightful look on her face underneath her grief as she bounded out of the store.