Chapter 36

Izzy arrived back at the building the following afternoon, after gathering her stuff and doing groceries for her lasagna. She said she’d cook, so she was going to. Her night at the hotel hadn’t been that bad, but she’d wished she had been able to get a few more hours of sleep in to deal with the madness that her journey was taking her in. “Good afternoon! I’ll be in your kitchen!” she called out when she didn’t see anyone and went to find it after putting her travel bag to the side and only carried her groceries in.

When she did eventually found the kitchen, she was shocked to see that it was a professional kitchen, dated, sure, but these kitchens were everywhere back in the day, and certainly not in a building such as this one. Everything she needed could be found in a logical space and she was happily chopping away when Kol entered the kitchen. “What are you doing?”

“Your brother was disappointed that I didn’t cook last night, and as was I, so, I’m making dinner, it just takes a few hours.”

“Bella, you don’t have to cook, Nik will likely compel a chef to make us all dinner, but you’re not cooking.”

She slammed her knife down on the countertop before looking up at him. “Izzy. And I want to do this. Maybe it’ll help get my thoughts in a normal order or shake the sleep out of my brains.”

“Where did you sleep last night? I checked with the Cottages but you had canceled your reservation and they were fully booked?”

She nodded. “I stayed at some place on Magazine Street.”

Kol let out a snort. “That big old building next to that coffee shop?”


“How were the kids?” Kol asked her as he took a few steps closer. “Did the matron keep you awake by spanking you?”

“The kids were fine,” Izzy said as she got her statue out of her pocket. “And gone after I grabbed this, but I woke up with a few bruises. Not sure if that’s because of Myriam’s enthusiasm of last night or because I was hurt by the matron.”

He nodded and eyed the ceiling, thinking about his brother and his wife above them. “I need to remember to rip her heart out. It’s long overdue. I’ve just been lazy to have to think of Nik’s anger about it.”

“She meant well,” Izzy said as she put her statue back into her pocket and resumed chopping up the vegetables. “Although I must admit that I was scared of your brother for a second when he broke her neck. Thought she died.”

“We’re vampires and we’re hard to kill. A snap of the neck is nothing but a good measure to give someone a quick time out,” Kol replied as he leaned against a counter. “And I told you I’d get you in two days.”

She shrugged. “I’m a rebel. Besides, I thought you were alone and I felt like you shouldn’t be alone the way you were yesterday. I don’t know you and you think you know me, but nobody who’s in pain should be alone.”

“I’ve been alone for fifty years and every breath during those years hurt. Until yesterday when you came back and gave me hope. And then immediately crushed it because you’re not her.”

“Do you want me gone?”


Izzy was quiet as she continued her task and watched him from the corner of her eye. “You know that I may not ever get those memories back that you are hoping for if what you are saying is true. Sure, I may have gotten your name right on a whim, and that test you pulled last night certainly freaked me out, but it is still a lot that isn’t me.”

“Somehow I don’t even believe you were that freaked out.”

She sighed and nodded. “I just don’t like that side of me. I mean, I can’t help them. Just see… and see residuals and feel…”

“You could see? Like always?”

“Yeah. Mom and dad had the farm cleansed after me leaving the house a few times without the statue and me ending up in the worst places,” she replied as she put all the veggies into a pot and started to cut up some more. “So for some reason, it’s like a thing that blocks that. Keeps me safe. Of course, I was taught some things by a real medium to deal with the sensitivity but I prefer that thing.”

Kol blinked and nodded. “Of course you would. Myriam made that as a personal bubble to give my Bella a break from her abilities when they got overwhelming, especially here in New Orleans which is essentially a city of dead souls and battle ridden history of human and supernatural. If it hadn’t been for that and my apartment, she would have eventually gone mad.”

She nodded.

“But hold on,” he let out a chuckle. “You said you didn’t believe in that stuff.”

“People tend to look at you weirdly when you say you see ghosts,” Izzy replied.

“I’m a vampire, Darling. How much more strange can you get…. don’t answer that. We have Myriam as proof.”

“Still, you can likely kill someone with your pinky. I can only tell if people are haunted or not. Yeah, that’d scare them off,” she let out a chuckle. “No, I don’t like seeing things, and I’d rather be normal but with parents as mine normality is a skewed line as is.”

“Normality is overrated.”

“I suppose.”

“So, does your lasagna sauce have to bubble away for a few hours?”

“Yeah, when I start on it, why?”

“We can give Myriam stir duty and I could show you around in New Orleans.”

Izzy grew a little apprehensive. “Where were you thinking of going? Because I really don’t want to go somewhere really haunted.”

“I wasn’t going to take you somewhere haunted. I wanted to take you to the touristy places tourists like to see, maybe go for a boat ride.”

“No, I’m good, thanks,” Izzy shook her head. “I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do here in New Orleans anyway. It was only when I saw this building, this familiar building, that I knew that this was where I was supposed to be.”

He was somewhat relieved to hear that. He didn’t want her to go anywhere, at all. He could ask a witch to come and check her out, but he also knew that the answers both he and Izzy were looking for were inside of her. “Well, I could get some people to rid the flat of the dust and make it smell better and you could stay there if you’d like. No more hotels. I’ll stay here.”

“Are you staying?”

“Of course, for now, the witches don’t seem to mind three vampires in the Quarter, as long as we behave ourselves, I think we’ll be fine,” he replied. “Besides, I think the Ancestors will go easy on you this round, and we’re the best people to help you.”


While the girl cooked, Kol told her all about the witches of New Orleans and the Ancestors. She had hopped onto the counter to look at him as the put the sauce on in the pan and listened. Kol had a very pleasant voice, Izzy believed that even if he’d recite the phone book she wouldn’t get bored. “No offense,” she said after he was done. “They sound like a bunch of dicks.”

“They are, but the vampires left New Orleans out of our own free will to give it back to the witches. This is no longer our place.”

“Where did you go?”

Kol shrugged. “I wanted to stay close to New Orleans in case you’d come back, so I went to Mobile, Alabama. It’s almost a cheap knockoff of New Orleans although their Mardi Gras is older and it used to be the capital of New France back in the day. It’s only a quick car ride or run to get here from there. Myriam and Nik went to Las Vegas. Our other brother went to France and my sister… she travels around.”

“And what about your friend Jeremy?”

“He went back to Mystic Falls for a while, and then moved to Mobile. We were neighbors. I took care of him for the last few years of his life because his sister couldn’t,” he then let out a dark chuckle. “I swear, eighteen years ago he told me that I didn’t have to wait for longer, that you and I were going to be reunited and I never believed him, but he said he had that information from Jasper Whitlock.”

“I’m sorry that you didn’t get what you had hoped for.”

“I didn’t know what to hope for to be honest. Bella said she’d come back to me, instead you’re here. Not Bella. No memories. Nothing, apart from your drawing and poor life choices.”

“Poor life choices, what?”

“You run to danger, instead of walking away as you’re told. You stayed in a haunted hotel and now you’re making food for a bunch of vampires who think you’re someone else. We’re all letting you be someone else because to think of you as our Bella with amnesia is just too painful.”

“You’re angry with her, aren’t you?”

“Of course I am!” Kol blurted. “She left! She used up everything she had so we could kill a bunch of morons and then she just had to sacrifice herself to save my life and then she was gone! Of course, I’m still angry!”

“Fifty years is a very long time to be still angry with someone, you know.”

“Not when you’re a bloody vampire! She left me because she needed to desperately save me!”

“Maybe she thought you were worth saving, that you deserved to have a life.”

“No, she did.”

Izzy smiled then. “From what I can tell, you and Bella had an epic love. It’s beautiful if you get to experience that, because not everyone is that lucky. But you’re a vampire, surely you must have lost more people over the years you cared for?”

“They weren’t her, and that’s different. Don’t psychoanalyze me.”

“I’m not, I just want to help.”

“Don’t,” he said as he pushed himself off the counter and headed to the door. “I’m going to make sure the flat is clean for you to stay. I’ll be back in a while. Don’t get yourself killed, Myriam might not have the same patience I have when it concerns you.”

“Why don’t you want me to help? You kidnapped me yesterday and then let me go. You’re emotionally unstable and you expect, what? Exactly?”

“The only way you can help me is if you allow me access to your mind.”


“Something like that,” he sighed as he leaned against the doorpost. “I’m a vampire. With that comes certain perks, such as longevity, strength… we can tell people to do things for us against their will, such as giving us their blood or cluck like a chicken… and some of us are experts in telepathy,” he explained. “Bella and I went inside her head to help her and we learned new things about her. Together. Nik and I went inside Bella’s head and we learned more. I believe the answers that I seek concerning you are inside your mind.”

“Okay. How long would that take?”

“That depends. Sometimes minutes, or hours.”

Izzy let out a breath and nodded. “Well, if Myriam would want to be on stir duty, that’d be grand because I want to help you and what you need is inside of me, so, let’s do it.”

“Are you sure?”

“Why else am I here? It might just be my purpose, the journey I’m on.”

“Are you absolutely sure?”

“Nothing is absolute or sure until I ask my jerk of a know it all father. If you’d give me your phone I’ll happily call him. But that’s cheating, is it?” Izzy hopped off the counter and stirred the pot before putting the utensil down, by the time she looked up, Myriam was in the kitchen. “You’re not going to squish me again, are you?”

“I’m on stir duty,” Myriam said happily as she hopped on the counter. “Off you go, kids. I cleaned your old room, Kol. You know, changed the sheets, cleaned the dust…”

“Thanks, Myr,” he smiled at her before motioning for the girl to follow him. They went up the stairs back to the courtyard and Kol pointed over to one of the tucked away bedrooms. “That’s mine. I was never worthy enough to have a top floor room. Well… my brothers and sister took up the entire top floor, I was never around long enough to claim a part upstairs.”

“But you have an apartment?”

“Yes, it’s where I liked to spend my days, because it was the only safe place from my siblings. They couldn’t enter. Myriam can, now, but Nik is still locked out.”

“It’s nice that they still allow you to have your room here then, too.”

“It’s convenient,” Kol replied as he opened the door and let out a deep sigh as it was still the same from the last time he’d be in there. It had been with Jeremy and Bella, discussing the scroll. But everything smelled fresh, even the bedding. “It’s easier if you’d lie down on the bed, it’s more comfortable for you and for me.”

Izzy eyed him for a moment. “You’re not going to take advantage of me, are you?”

“I’m honorable, I promise. I’m just going to go inside your head and you can join me if you wish,” he said as he pointed at the bed. “Despite me unwrapping that package in front of you yesterday and likely giving you the wrong ideas about me, I’m a one girl man and you’re not her.”

She nodded and sighed as she got onto the bed. “And you don’t have to take me with you. For some reason I have the feeling I’m not supposed to know or hear what’s going on in there.”

“Really now?”

“Yeah, that feeling started a few years ago, I can’t explain it without sounding like a weirdo.”

“I’m a vampire, you see ghosts,” he reminded her.

She laid down and shrugged. “I don’t know, like I’m not supposed to exist.”

“That’s ridiculous,” Kol laughed as he got on the bed himself.

“I know, right?”

“Last chance, Isabelle, are you absolutely sure?” He ran his hand through her blonde hair and looked into her blue eyes. She wasn’t Bella. There was nothing he recognized in those eyes of hers, and it still hurt.


“Okay, close your eyes, relax and take a deep breath,” he told her calmly and after she did as she was told, he gently put a hand on her forehead and slipped inside her mind. It had been easier, he hadn’t even had to work hard to push through barriers and her mind felt different. Far too human.

He was in a pasture with horses with numbers on them, the foal being 18 and then the horses seemed to mature as the age went down, and the whole herd was happy. Content. The sun was out and it was simply beautiful. The girl hadn’t been wrong about a happy life. It felt like it, especially when some of the horses approached him and touched him with their noses. He could feel her happiness. Her frustration with the drawings, her parents, the spirits, but mostly happiness. Safety.

But Kol knew he had to get out of there and find Bella. This was Izzy, and he hoped that Bella’s area was more or less still intact. He hopped over the fence and walked into the woods before emerging in Bella’s street, and what he saw, shocked him.

There was tape everywhere, signs with ‘keep out’ and the houses in severe disarray, except for the last one, house number 23, Bella’s version of the Compound, looking pretty and very much intact. He had to smile then, at least those were the better memories, it was a good thing she had managed to hold on to those.

He ducked underneath the tape and the moment he did, a pack of wolves rushed at him and they didn’t appear to be stopping so he went back behind the tape as the wolves barked and growled at him from the other side. “Woah, I’m just here to make sure everything is alright, good doggies.”

“Bella’s gone,” young Bella said as she made her way through the wolves and looked up at Kol. “Or most of her,” she said as she pointed at the broken houses. “This is all what’s left of her.”

“What happened?”

“The Volturi happened,” young Bella said as she ducked underneath the tape to take Kol’s hand and pulled him along with her, the wolves now leaving him alone. “She had to use so much energy in that castle that she had to pull it from somewhere else. So she pulled it from herself. Saving you cost at least twelve houses of memory, and she used the remaining houses to go nuclear and make the castle go poof.”

“Apart from 23.”

“It’s her happy place,” young Bella said as she lead him to home 23. “She’s still in there, but she doesn’t remember much of her time before you.”

“You said she was gone.”

“The Bella you knew is gone. What you’re going to meet is a Bella who hasn’t gone through hardship, betrayal and loss. Uncomplicated. Happy. But everything that made her who she is prior to 23 is gone.”

“Isn’t that a good thing?”

“Not really,” young Bella said as she pushed him through the door.

Kol blinked at the intensity of the light, the purple and pink light. “Bella?”

“You’re here!” she said excitedly as she let herself fall from the chandelier she was sitting on, right into his arms and hugged him tightly. “Wait, why are you here? Is something wrong with who we sent you? Can’t be, we made sure she was with the Whitlocks, have a good life. She’s not dying, is she?”

“Slow down,” he let out a chuckle and squinted as he looked at her. Her brown eyes looking back at him and he felt home. “Izzy is alright, but she doesn’t remember anything. Just fragments and even that feels like pulling teeth.”

“She’s human.”

“I know, and she smells really nice,” he sighed happily as he kept looking at her. “I’ve missed you, my love. It’s so good to see you again.”

Bella shook her head. “I’m broken. You have Izzy now.”

“You said you’d come back.”

“I can’t,” Bella replied as she shook her head. “You need to talk to Ylva.”

“I’m going to kill that bitch.”

“Noooo! She saved me. This.” Bella waved her hand around her. There were many memories floating around them and she smiled. “I love watching us, we were great. If it weren’t for Ylva, I’d be gone completely. Now I’m still here and I’m broken. But still here.”

“How are you broken?”

Bella seemed to think hard for a moment. “Do you remember when you and Klaus were here and Klaus suggested to knock down all the houses? Little me said that I wouldn’t be able to pee, right?”


“I can’t just come back with one intact house, no matter how much you’d want me to. I wouldn’t be able to walk, talk or take care of myself. So, Ylva and I sent you Izzy, because I can’t leave you on your own for too long.”

“But she’s not you, nor does she remember me.”

“Kol, we put all of our efforts in making her human. She has this tiny brain that won’t be able to hold the most important information and we would have been giving it her when she was a baby, that would have been so wrong and could have gone so wrong, and now she’s found you, that’s great! That means we can try to give her some more memories but she’ll never fully be able to remember.”

“She’s not you.”

“She could be,” Ylva said as she stood in the doorway. “But it’s a choice of morality that you’ll have to make. Izzy is her own person. She’s had a great life and she’s human. We had to give her a personality because otherwise she wouldn’t have been a person and had the opportunity to thrive.”


“If you’d turn Izzy, she’d be able to hold Bella’s memories of you. Mostly feelings, though, as those are the strongest memories.”

“Okay, so I’ll turn her. No big deal,” Kol shrugged.

“But she still won’t be Bella,” Ylva reminded him. “We could use whatever we have left to swap Bella with Izzy, so that Bella takes over Izzy’s body. Bella will retain Izzy’s happy memories, and also her own. But that means that we’ll be destroying ourselves, and Izzy is a person of her own, after all. That’s the morality question.”

“The choice is simple,” Kol said as he looked at Bella. “I already told Izzy I was going to be selfish for once. She told me just now that she feels like she wasn’t supposed to be. I will turn Izzy and I want my Bella back.”

“She’ll still be a different Bella than you’ve grown to know and love,” Ylva replied. “She won’t have her abilities anymore, you’re going to turn her into a vampire so she’ll lose all of that, or perhaps retain a slight sensitivity. She won’t remember her life before she met you, and will take Izzy’s life instead. Izzy is eighteen, you need to ask her parents if you can do what you’re planning to do after talking to Izzy. If all parties agree, then we can proceed.”

“Oh, so now you decide to be all moral, Ylva?” Kol shot at her.

“I, too, have learned from my mistakes.”

“Hey,” Bella said as she made Kol look at her and softly kissed his lips. “Talk to Izzy. Ask her parents. If they agree, then turn Izzy and I’ll come back, but broken.”

“Bella, if you’re going to be able to walk, talk and pee on your own when you’re in Izzy’s body, you’re not broken. You and I have unfinished business,” he returned the kiss and sighed. “If we do this, all of you will be gone. No more Ylva, no more little you, or the wolves or having to keep the balance.”

“And that would be such a relief,” Bella sighed as she put her forehead against his. “One more life, and a real one.”

“Are you sure?”

Bella nodded. “You still need to unwrap that package I bought you.”

“I did, in front of Izzy. She freaked out, but in my defense, I thought she was you.”

She laughed and kissed him again. “Go back. We’ll see each other soon.”

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