Bella was shocked when Kol drove them straight to Seattle airport. She could feel panic set in halfway through the trip and kept anxiously looking out of the window even though it was somewhat sunny outside. Kol told her to relax and that he could take on any Cold One coming their way, but she was petrified.
He wasn’t even telling her where they were going until the plane had taken off and Bella could breathe for a moment, taking the time to vent her frustration at him with some choice words and he merely smiled at her, allowing her to rant until she finally sat down.
“As I said, darling, you’ll be safe with me. We’re merely making a quick stop in New Orleans to get some of my belongings so I can teach you better and without limited resources.”
“You can’t just take me to a different city, Kol!”
“I can, I just did.”
“What about my dad?”
“Bella, you’re an adult. Who cares about your dad?”
Kol sighed. “Don’t worry, we’ll be back before dinner. I have some people who can help us get my stuff into the car,” he took a sip of his bourbon. “Just relax, darling, you’re not in any danger and New Orleans is quite the pretty city. I tell you what, after you’ve helped me to gain access to my belongings, you can go and explore for a while? Don’t worry, you’ll be safe from the Cold Ones, they don’t set foot in that city.”
“Because of the nature of your witchiness, darling. You can syphon the magic off the building I need to get into. I mean, I could do it differently and find a witch who’s from the same line, but why search when I have you?”
“I feel like I’m being used.”
“Only slightly. See it this way; it’ll be a teaching moment and you grant us access to the things I need,” Kol replied. “And as a bonus you can walk around the French Quarter for a while and see what it’s like.”
“Not without you,” she shook her head. “No fucking way.”
“You’ll be safe.”
“Fine, then we’re both going to stay at the cemetery.”
Bella blinked at him. “Excuse me?”
During the winter holiday and every single day after school for three months straight she spent her time with Kol, getting her ‘magic’ under control, so that when she’d touch something or someone magical that nothing would happen.
While her lessons were sometimes frustrating, she had to admit, she liked hanging around with Kol and his family. Apart from their feeding habits, they were like ordinary humans. And Kol wasn’t flaunting his wealth, much, either. He had bought himself a sensible new car, but that was it.
Well, and he hired cabins in the middle of nowhere where they could practice without hurting anyone. She couldn’t just travel in time, no, when siphoning magic off of Kol or another willing participant, she could do spells. She could set fire to things or throw them across the room if they’d come to close. What she liked the most was that she now had one spell to knock someone out after pressing Kol for something that wouldn’t hurt anyone.
Of course, all of the spells could only be done if she’d siphoned some magic from others. And she had it all under control now, even if she’d accidentally siphon from someone, she could keep it to herself.
She hadn’t told Kol, but she had informed Jake about what was going on because he had started to ask questions on why she was avoiding him, and she told him that he needed to tell everyone else that she was simply too busy with school to stop by but that once she was able to, she would.
Oh, she knew that whenever she and Kol were out and about together and either in Forks or close by, Jake the wolf was keeping an eye on her from a distance. And she was glad that he did, especially in the beginning when she wasn’t too sure about Kol’s intentions but everything turned out to be alright.
It was easy to be around Kol. He made things easy. No pressure, not deliberately trying to force himself into her life like Edward had done. Kol sometimes took her to the movies instead of trying to have her control her gifts or teaching her new things. Or the family would invite her, and Charlie, over for dinner. Charlie was always very impressed.
Rebekah had grown into becoming her best friend. They’d hang out together after Kol was done teaching or during lunchtime. Talking about boys, or Bella’s determination to swear them off for a while, or Rebekah trying to teach Bella some control over her motor skills for gym class but it always ended up with the both of them laughing when Bella would land face first on the ground. Again.
It was easy to be herself around Kol and his family. Even more so than around Jake and their friends, and she didn’t quite understand why. Maybe because there were no expectations and the Mikaelsons were great at hiding their true feelings. They took her concerns or ideas seriously and talked to her about it. She loved it.
She realized that the thing that surprised her the most that neither of the Mikaelsons wanted to use her abilities for themselves. She was still a free person, a free agent and ‘no’ meant indeed ‘no’.
She traveled back in time for short distances, and once to help out her father on a case he couldn’t wrap his head around and she gave him some ‘clarity’. And that felt good because she had saved a family from getting into trouble. She wanted to go further back and see what she could do but per her own rules, she didn’t.
One of her own rules about time travel was that she shouldn’t go back in history to ‘watch’ or try and change things. Everything that happened in the past had set her on the course to what she was now. So the general rule of thumb that she and Kol agreed upon that she wasn’t going to go back in time further than her first trip back to save the burning house.
It was tempting, of course, mainly because of Edward, but if it hadn’t been for him and his family, she wouldn’t have met Kol and his family… in a roundabout way. But then again, she wouldn’t have been in the position she was in now, with the Cold Ones and her stupid agreement.
But she had thought long and hard about it, if she’d change anything, her future self wouldn’t have traveled back in time to tell Klaus about her and all of that had given her a headache.
“So,” Bella said as she looped her arm through Kol’s as they walked down the school corridor. “I’ve been a good girl lately, I’ve got myself under control and I think…”
“We should stop seeing each other?” Kol asked with an amused smile on his face.
“No,” she let out a snort. “They have this thing on the rez tonight and I was asked to go,” Bella looked up to him with a hopeful look on her face. “So I’m going.”
“You don’t have to ask me for permission, darling.”
“Well, I kind of have to?”
“If you feel in control, you’re in control. You know what to do when you don’t feel like you’re in control,” Kol shrugged. “I think this would be an excellent opportunity to see how you’d do around other magical beings. I never forced you to stay away from your friend, I merely said it was a good idea if you kept your distance for a while, until you got things under control.”
“I know, but still, it feels like I needed to ask permission or something.”
Kol shook his head, laughing. “Don’t be daft, darling. You’re a free woman, you don’t need me to tell you that you have pulled yourself together beautifully in terms of your abilities. I’m well proud of you.” In fact, he was so proud of her that he wanted to kiss her every time he saw her. He wanted to claim her as his, but she wasn’t ready for that. Like Myriam and Rebekah suggested, he was going to be patient.
While patience wasn’t his forté, for things he wanted the most, he could be very patient. And for Bella’s affection, he could be too. He only wished he could come with her to the reservation because that experience was likely going to be very different from her dealings with him and his own family.
After school they joined Bella’s friends for their weekly cup of coffee and he dropped her off at home after. Kol wanted to tell her that if she needed help, that all she had to do was call him but he didn’t want to come across as controlling while he genuinely was concerned for her well-being.
He was still just a friend.
“Can I call you when things don’t go so well?” Bella asked him as she turned around to face him. “I mean… I trust them, but not quite myself.”
Kol smiled widely then. “Of course!”
“I mean, I could ask you to come with but I don’t want to be rude towards them.”
“I know, darling, they don’t like vampires very much even with Elijah trying to make nice with them.”
“But you’re different from them.”
“In some people’s minds we’re all the same, and that’s alright. Have fun tonight.”
“Thanks,” she smiled at him before she headed inside and started to get ready for her night at the Rez. Warmer clothing was a must despite all the warmth radiating from her friends. They basically functioned as space heaters but Bella also wanted to have girl time with Emily. It had been far too long.
Charlie wasn’t home, instead, he was at a meeting with different police chiefs from Washington somewhere in Seattle to talk about the disappearance of so many people in the last few weeks and what they could do about it. It was almost as if they were being taken, so it was very important to be at the same page with everyone.
She drove to Jacob’s house and after parking the car and getting out, she found herself swamped by her friends, all having big grins on their faces.
“Where have you been, Bella?”
“We missed you, Bella.”
“Don’t ever leave us for something dull as education again!”
“We missed you!”
Before she could duck away, she was being hugged by all the puppies, except for Jake who was leaning against her truck instead, knowing what he knew. She could feel her body absorb the magic and when they finally let go of her she simply smiled at them. “I’m truly sorry, but you know, I want to graduate with some actual grades,” she grinned before looping her arm through Jake’s. “What have I missed?”
“Nothing,” he shrugged. “Pretty much nothing, I mean… Nah, you’ll see for yourself.”
“What? Tell me!” Bella laughed as she tried to contain the magic that was now inside of her and behave. She was regular Bella. Not weird Bella.
“Nope, you’ll see, but first, let’s go to Emily’s to have some food before campfire tonight.”
“Great, I haven’t eaten anything yet.”
The big surprise was that Emily was showing. Bella had already known that her friend had missed a period, but to see that she was actually pregnant with a little cute belly made it exciting. Bella was going to have to go to Port Angeles to get Emily something for the baby.
It soon felt like old times. Fun. Drinks. Bella was completely at ease around the wolves because she could control herself. She liked running after Seth and Leah before falling flat on her face because a) she was drunk and b) not graceful at all.
She had missed the high energy of the younger people at the Rez. And joking around with the wolves, but it had been for their own good. Bella didn’t want them to get hurt by accident. They were good people and she knew what she was doing now.
Bella loved the campfire stories late at night, near the full moons, but tonight was something different. It was going to be a ritual to bless the unborn child of Emily and Sam. She’d been to several of these happenings before, but now she was really into it and understanding of why it was important. Besides, Sam and Emily were her friends. She wouldn’t have wanted to miss this in the world.
Bella sat wedged between Jake and Seth – and Leah – around the campfire and she was cosily warm. The heat of the fire, the warmth of the wolves and her pleasant little buzz. All was well in the world.
She nearly nodded off but made sure she was awake for Emily and Sam, but it wasn’t until Bella heard Emily call for her that Bella saw a glimpse of whatever it was and fire and dead wolves all around her. Consumed by fire, by her doing. The smell of burnt flesh in her nose and it was all because of her.
This wasn’t right. She needed to get away from here. She needed to find Kol and ask him what the hell she’d seen and smelled, she needed to get out.
Bella felt the now familiar sensation of the magic pulling her into the ‘time tunnel’ and she found herself falling, stumbling, uncontrollably. When she landed on solid ground, Bella felt her stomach churn and fell to her knees to throw up. Too much food and booze.
Once she felt better, she looked around and noticed that she wasn’t at the reservation. Not at all. She found herself in the middle of a town’s square that wasn’t Forks. Upon closer inspection, she was on a school campus. One of those big ones. Telling from the clothes that people around her were wearing, she hadn’t gone too far back. But this was the first time she was actually somewhere else, and not sure how or why.
Well, she had thought of Kol in her panic, but wouldn’t that have taken her to the Cullen House instead?
“Day drinking, classy,” a voice said as he helped her to her feet. “You okay?”
“Yeah, thanks,” Bella smiled at the boy as she wiped her mouth with her sleeve. “Could do with something to drink though.”
“Well, follow me, I was just heading to the cafeteria to meet up with my friend.”
“Oh, I don’t know, I don’t tend to stay long…”
“Come on, you look as pale as a sheet,” he said as he motioned for her to follow him. “The name’s Jeremy, by the way.”
“Nice to meet you Becky,” he grinned. “It’s not far, I promise.”
“Where are we?”
Jeremy eyed her for a moment. “You must have been drinking a lot to forget you’re in Denver.”
Denver? As in Colorado Denver? Wow. “Guilty. What year is this?”
“Are you taking the piss?”
“It’s October 27th, 2016.”
Two years. Well, nearly. A year and a half. She blinked then, remembering the stories she was told by Kol and his family. Was this Jeremy Gilbert? Kol told her that after Klaus had retrieved all stakes that could kill his family they’d gone into hiding and eventually came to Forks last year. Kol was keeping an eye on Jeremy for ‘leverage’ against the doppelganger, Jeremy’s sister Elena. “Right, I remember.”
“You go to school here?”
“Nope. Not sure what I’m doing here, either,” Bella said as she followed Jeremy into the cafeteria and followed him to a table at the back where she saw Kol sit. His hair noticeably longer, annoyance etched on his face. He wasn’t liking pretending to be nice to Jeremy. He called him a nuisance, Bella remembered.
“Kol’s new to Denver himself, just like me,” Jeremy explained as he sat down. “You don’t mind Becky joining us for lunch, do you?”
“Of course not,” Kol replied and Bella found him looking at her with a stranger’s eyes. It was unnerving. He actually looked as if she was his next snack. “What happened to you?”
She still hadn’t gone back yet. Usually her trips lasted five minutes, or longer if she really focused, and with this being an accidental trip, she was unsure of things now. Bella really needed Kol’s help. “Alcohol,” Bella replied with a groan. “And other stuff,” she replied before shifting to look at Jeremy. “Could you please get me something to drink?”
“Yeah, of course, I promised, didn’t I?” Jeremy smiled widely and got to his feet. “Anything else?”
“Something fatty with bacon to eat?”
“Sure,” he laughed as he walked off.
Bella then turned to Kol and smiled at him. “I need your help, Kol Mikaelson,” she said in barely a whisper, to make sure that Jeremy didn’t overhear them.
Kol immediately narrowed his eyes on her. “Who are you?”
“A friend in need. Can we ditch Gilbert and go somewhere?”
“A friend? I don’t even know you!” He spat as he grabbed her hand and squeezed it, his vampire visage bleeding slightly bleeding out before it retreated.
“For Christmas your favourite family tradition is to burn wishes, you haven’t done that in a very long time,” Bella said softly. “Please, Kol, I need your help.”
“Fine,” he scowled, withdrawing his hand and getting up before pulling her along with him, taking her away from the cafeteria and out of reach of Jeremy. A few blocks away, he pushed her against the nearest wall. “I have given it a thought. I’m not going to help you. Did Nik send you to check up on me?”
“No. And don’t try to compel me, it won’t work.” She then realized that this Kol didn’t know anything about time travel. At all. He couldn’t help her, could he?
“Fine, then I’m going to have you for lunch,” he said as his vampire visage bled out and sunk his teeth into her neck.