“Who am I, mate? I am Isabella’s husband,” he smirked. “As to what I am…” He sighed as his hand slid down Bella’s body, holding her tightly to him as he made his claim to her in front of the boy that his brother had texted him in warning about. “Well, I am the original hybrid. Niklaus Mikaelson is my name and how about you give me a good reason why I should listen to my wife’s request to not end your life for attempting to steal my mate, mate?”
Edward’s face twisted as he tried to process everything assaulting him. The stranger’s scene and announcement that he was a hybrid. Carlisle’s whirling thoughts as they flew through his head and memories of when he was still with the Volturi. “What is a hybrid exactly?” he asked nervously as his eyes darted to Bella, concerned for her safety despite her familiarity with the man.
“She is more safe with Niklaus than she ever would be with you as a human Edward,” Jasper interrupted, causing him to jerk his head to him and hiss.
Klaus however was only amused as he had been watching the coven leader through the entire exchange. This wouldn’t be the first time meeting the famous vegetarian vampire and he could see that he had held his own family and race secret from his creations. “You have kept your coven quite naive from our world Carlisle. Shame on you,” he murmured, looking at him, though his eyes had strayed to take in everyone’s shock since no one had been introduced.
“It was not my intention to do anything but protect my family,” Carlisle answered cautiously, glancing to his children before stepping forward. “I shall correct them.”
“I am sure that you will Carlisle. However I can’t be sure that you would actually tell them the whole truth without focusing on the nightmarish parts to put myself and my family in a bad light. Although I shall give you the opportunity to do so now,” he smiled indulgently.
Bella, whom had remained silent and observant at his side grinned as she saw exactly where her husband was going with his actions and was certainly agreeable to his plan. “How about we have some drinks during storytime? Carlisle? Didn’t you keep some bagged blood in the house for me in case I was ever injured after the James and Victoria incident?” she asked, blinking her eyes demurely.
If the vampire could pale, he would have as his golden eyes looked up to her husband in fear before nodding. “I do, yes. I can get them for you Bella—”
“Nonsense! Just tell me where they are stored. My family has a particular taste for how we enjoy our blood so I can prepare our own drinks,” she smiled as she interrupted him.
He hesitated for a moment as he looked back at her before gesturing towards the hall that lead down towards the basement. “Downstairs I have a storage supply for emergencies in case you were harmed as we had believed you were human. I took precautions, fearing your safety for spending so much time as you appeared quite the clumsy girl.”
“All part of the charade, child,” she said patronizingly as she patted his cheek, passing him on her way to collect the blood bags.
In her absence, Klaus’ good humor fell from his face as he glowered at the coven. “What harm is it that she has insinuated that you brought onto my wife? I am very well aware that she won’t tell me every facet of her time here but she knows very well that when it comes to her safety, no man is exempt. Tell me Carlisle what did you do that she is avoiding in telling me herself? Or shall I ask Major Whitlock? Between the displeased expression on his face and the disgust and resentment he has been sending me since the subject rose, I suspect his expertise was ignored.”
“I didn’t think that that Victoria would be a threat. James, yes and we dealt with it but they never indicated that they were mates in their thoughts,” Edward said as he glared at the man, offended at the insinuation that they were at fault.
Unfortunately for the young vampire, Klaus was even less pleased by his explanation. By the bored expression on his face and the way he blinked lazily at Carlisle, it was clear that his patience was only for his wife’s benefit. “Do not take me for a fool, Carlisle,” he said in a low growl.
The coven leader swallowed as he looked over at his family. “I trust my son when he believed that he heard nothing in their thoughts. Between their thoughts and the visions that Alice get, we had no way of anticipating Victoria’s motives until later.”
“You had an empath within your coven who could feel the bond between them and I trust he informed you of their mateship. Our lives have always been a mate for a mate. If one of yours ever even thought to harm mine, you can trust that not even the ashes of your miserable body would satisfy my lust for revenge,” he announced coldly as he looked around the room. He didn’t need to turn around to know Elijah and Kol were doing the same. He eyed the blonde female and her own mate shooting glares at the penny head.
“I suspect that judging from the tension among a few of your coven, that you may know of some other threat to my sister,” Elijah spoke, saving his brother the effort.
“Yeah,” Rosalie bit out, figuring that considering the if their father knew enough to be frightened and Jasper sided with this group, it would be wise of her and Emmett to remain as truthful as possible, hoping that they would come out of whatever conflict as unscathed as possible. “Bella is his singer. He damn nearly tempted to drain her and a classroom full of humans. Only none of us knew what she really was. Maybe he should have. We wouldn’t be here right now.”
“Rose!” Her mate hissed at her, causing her to roll her eyes. Despite his keeping a low voice, the Originals could still hear him. “Bella did nothing to you for you to be a bitch to her. You may not like her but she’s like a sister to me and I know that regardless of your treatment of her since Fuckward became obsessed with her, she likes you.”
“Enough!” Elijah barked out as his own impatience begun to grow thin as he rubbed a finger at his brow. “I had believed my own siblings were frustrating but the short time I’ve spent in the presence of this so called family has simply worn on my very nerves. Would you kindly end this squabbling and explain what it is we wish to know.”
Edward let out a hiss at the blonde female as he looked back to his coven leader in alarm before silencing. “Niklaus, my apologies for my children. Rosalie was just expressing some unpleasant thoughts that Edward did not like as he can hear thoughts. As to your questions – yes…” Carlisle answered hesitantly as he eyed his son with concern. “He was very attracted to the scent of her blood but had managed to refrain from giving into his natural instincts as they had met in a classroom of humans. She remained unharmed as he resisted, though he grew curious about her, believing she was his singer and later, mate.”
“Is that so?” Klaus frowned, clearly displeased by the information as he glared in the direction that the woman had disappeared to. “And my wife has since forgiven him?”
“No,” Jasper answered for him. “She merely tolerates him for the pretense of her situation. Alice and Edward had been pushing her into a relationship and she’s resisted. Her emotions are extremely controlled, more so once she learned of my gift which made it more difficult for me to have learned of her true identity to be able to do as you had asked of me from the beginning.”
“What?” he questioned incredulously.
The cold one rolled his eyes. “I tried to tell them that as accepting as she was of our nature, she wasn’t interested in Edward in that way but Alice had insisted that she saw her as one of us and that they would one day be mated. I personally believed she was full of shit from the beginning. If they were mates, Bella would have at least reciprocated something and she felt nothing except apathy towards him. But Alice knows best.”
Bella’s husband focused on the petite dark haired vampire who attempted to look as innocent as possible. “I believed that Edward and Bella were perfect each other. I did nothing wrong! I couldn’t see that she was already taken!” she defended herself.
“You lot are worse than petulant children!” Klaus laughed. “It’s a wonder how Isabella tolerated you as long as she did and has yet to kill anyone. Her temper can honestly rival my own when pushed to the limit!”
Kol chuckled as he stared at the cards in his hand, not bothering to give anyone more attention than they were worth at that point anymore. “This is beginning to look worse than something that bastard Shakespeare put out. Just waiting for someone to drop dead then maybe we can make this a real party. Speaking of which, what is taking Poppet so long?”
“You know how Isabella is. She’s giving us time to settle our strife with the Cullens,” Elijah replied calmly. “Once we have finished we shall return home.”
“Home? You really want to go back to Mystic Falls? Can you really see Poppet sipping brandy with those Salvatore brothers?”
Klaus frowned at the comment as he turned his glare back on his normally level headed brother. “I don’t want my wife anywhere near them,” he muttered. “I’ll compel those fools to stake themselves before they get anywhere near her.”
“Relax,” Elijah breathed out as he looked up to the skies for patience. “We are not returning to Mystic Falls. I have another location in mind so don’t worry. Let us just finish our business here in the meanwhile.”
Footsteps echoed the hallway, leading back to them as Bella’s bright and devious smile graced her face as she held a number of blood bags in her hands. “I hope you have behaved,” she remarked as she looked around, as if assessing each person for any damage. “Hm,” she hummed thoughtfully before making her way to where she learned where Carlisle and Esme kept their liquor for their human guests and began to mix some in with the blood. “So, what tales have been told so far?”
“None Poppet. They’ve been squabbling like children over you since you left but I’m sure you know all about it already,” Kol huffed as he threw his cards down and flashed over to her side for his glass that she held ready for him, without even looking up as she prepared the next glass.
“Very well, so I suppose I am to tell the truth of how things came to be of our family since my husband must prove he has the biggest dick in the world,” she said as she raised his glass to him while he smirked at her.
“You are lucky that I want you around for eternity at my side or I would have your head for that Love,” Klaus replied as he bent to kiss her neck, his tongue lapping at her pulse point so that Edward could see from where he stood. The Cold One growled slightly in his irritation earning an amused chuckle from the hybrid as he held his wife tighter to himself.
Bella only smiled in response as her eyes moved to look over the Cullens, trying to decide where she would begin in their story. She knew no matter what, it was a bloody one and while a few would be receptive and accepting, certain ones would be quite judgmental. As Elijah made his way over for his glass and settled in on the other side of her in his support of the couple, she rested an arm on her husband’s shoulder and ran a solitary finger around the rim of her own tumbler.
“Where to begin? It was such a very long time ago after all. I was only but a young girl growing up with one of the village families that had taken me in when they had found me abandoned. No one knew who my parents were. There were many speculations of who it could be as there were a few young girls who were rumored to have become pregnant around the time but were sent away before they could give birth so there were no one in the village to witness my birth. The family was kind. I had a sister of sorts growing up, though we weren’t always close. She was…” Bella trailed off as she thought about her and the drama that the girl drew to her. “She was like honey for the flies. Irresistible to many, but a few. Though she was special I will grant her that and she did have her moments.”
“Isabella, please,” Elijah pleaded as he looked away with a pained expression in his face.
She reached for his hand and smiled gently. “It’s alright. It wasn’t your fault brother. I promised you that one day you would accept that, and you will. Tatia had a husband that had been killed and we were all waiting for her to accept another. There were many that were expressing their interest. Our father had been waiting for the right bachelor to come to marry me off but no one had the right pig, so to speak,” she chuckled at the memory, along with her family.
“What do you mean? Your father was selling you to be married? You should have married for love!” Edward snarled in disgust.
“Just like you were trying to force me into a relationship with you that I didn’t reciprocate? How is that any different than what my father tried to do? Besides it was how things were done back then,” she shrugged indifferently.
Rosalie looked at her confused, but wasn’t as hostile as her brother, thankfully. “How can you be so uncaring about such arrangements? Didn’t you want to marry someone who you chose?” she asked curiously.
“Of course I would have liked to, and I eventually did as you can see. However, as I said, it was what was expected of the time. You see, we were born in the late 900s. The boys were from an area of Europe, but I was from a small village that is now known as Mystic Falls in Virginia. It was known as something else but I won’t bother you with the all those details. As I said, it was a long time ago and selling your daughter to her husband for a price was not unheard of. Often, it was what kept some villages or tribes strong, even alive to this day,” she explained with a firmness in her voice as she looked back at Klaus and ran her hand through his hair, earning a smile from him. “Still, this one toyed with me as he liked to do with much of his prey but he knew I would never be his prey.”
“Really now?” Emmett grinned as he listened eagerly, like a giant puppy waiting for his treat. He moved to sit on the closest seat to them, completely unfrightened by the Original vampires as he trusted Bella implicitly. “What did he do to you? Tug on your pigtails or something?”
Kol snorted on the sip that he had just taken, his amusement had overwhelmed Jasper, causing both men to struggle in holding back their laughter while the older brother glowered at them. “No. She became so bloody mad she’d rather tell him to sod right off. These two bloody nits decided to chase after the trollop that was her sister Tatia before Mother finally found a more suitable use for the cunt.”
“Must you use such language?” Elijah frowned at his younger brother disapprovingly, causing both Kol and Bella to glare back at him with equally unhappy expressions.
“I’d rather use such language than to bite my tongue all the time, darling,” Kol smirked at his brother. “You have such a stick up your ass, it’s unbelievable.”
“Maybe Edward took the same classes that he developed,” Bella thought aloud as she looked over at the red headed vampire thoughtfully, her finger running over her lip, spreading the blood from her cocktail tauntingly.
“Very likely,” Kol grinned. “Get to the good part, Poppet. I’m bored.”
She rolled her eyes at him and sighed. “Then go outside and play. Just don’t kill anyone. There are some shapeshifter wolves in the vicinity that I have a fondness for that if you mess with I will stick you in a coffin myself.”
“Great, I shall poke a mountain lion then,” Kol said chipper before getting out of the house.
“Kol,” Bella growled at him threateningly, her eyes flashing in her ire. “I am not joking. I will put you in a fucking box if any of them are harmed.”
“Heed her warning,” Klaus said as he ran his hand over her arm attempting to sooth her, frowning at her protectiveness of the group. “I would like to meet with your friends before we leave. Would that be alright with you Love?”
“Of course. As long as your brother hasn’t done anything to them and he is still breathing by the end of this trip,” she murmured as she continued to stare after the dark haired Original with anger in her eyes.
“I can still hear you, you know,” his voice sounded from near the door. “I said I was going to antagonize a mountain lion and see who survives.”
“You’re an asshole!” Bella shouted after him.
“And you’re a bloody slag!”
“KOL!” Klaus roared and if it wasn’t for Bella holding him down, he would have gone after his brother to dagger him himself.
“And you’re a wanker!” The voice sounded further away, laughing as he ran off.
Emmett sat on the couch watching the exchange amongst the family with great amusement and wondering why such dynamics were missing from his own family. Looking around, his eyes passed over Edward, who was easily dismissed before glancing over Carlisle and Esme, who seemed more uncertain as their father figure seemed quite resigned about something unsaid. Looking over to his mate and wife, he spoke before he could even think. “Can we go with Bella and her family when they leave, Rose? They are so much more fun and act like a real freaking family.”
Esme looked at him alarmed as her hands went to her mouth in shock. “Emmett! What? Why would you want to leave us?”
Carlisle didn’t say anything as he looked from him over to Rosalie who stared at her husband for a long while as she seemed to be processing his sudden request. By the time he looked over at Edward, he knew that she was already in agreement with him by the pained look on his face. He reached out to pull his wife back to him and shook his head slightly when she gave him a pleading look to do something to fix the changes that these strangers were bringing to their family.
“I think that Emmett is right. We need to take some time on our own again. We will probably be back again in the future but he’s right. They are much more different and as much as I didn’t like Bella before because of what she represented because I thought she was human, I’d like to get to know who she really is now if she’d let me,” Rosalie said as she stared at her creator and parental figures.
The speech that she had given was a little more than Bella had expected from her and while she wasn’t all that sure about the woman, she looked over to Jasper, whom she knew would be joining them on the journey home for his judgment on their motives. With his nod of approval, she gave the vampire a small smile in acceptance before she settled back into Klaus’ waiting arms.
“Well since our idiot brother has decided to leave, let me continue,” she sighed as she rested her head against Klaus’. “So Niklaus and Elijah both attempted to vye for Tatia’s attention, but I knew she truly craved Elijah’s though Father had preferred Niklaus for her. There was some drama going back and forth between the three, though Elijah was mostly watching from the side. And yes brother, I know that as much as you didn’t interfere, I saw your longing for her and how much you cared for her.”
“Yes well, we all know how that ended,” Elijah replied as he frowned into his empty glass. “But please do continue for your friends.”
“Yes…This is where things begin to get – complicated,” Bella said as she pulled her eyes away from him as she had been looking at him concerned. She ran her hand over the back of Nik’s neck into the back of his hair as he smiled at her affections while she continued the story. “There was another village nearby. More like a traveling camp. These people we knew were dangerous on some evenings and we just knew to stay home on bright nights when the moon was full. We were told they were capable of changing into great beasts on these nights and Niklaus had taken his younger brother, Henrik, to see them during one of these changes. There had been an accident and Henrik had been injured. It was tragic and a lot of drama ensued after that. Nevertheless, their father was a prick and forced their mother, who was a practicing witch, to find a way to protect their family from the beasts. At this point, Klaus had begun to lose his interest but he was also dealing with his father because of the grief from the accident. I had befriended the family and their mother had taken a liking to me, for whatever reason at the time, I did not know. I still don’t to this day considering what she put the family through later…” she trailed off as she stared off while she gathered her emotions with the help of Jasper, whom she threw a grateful smile as he nodded without any further indication that he knew of anything of her unease.
“Anyway, she found a way to make their family stronger than the beasts…” she said when Edward interrupted.
“These beasts, what were they really? They sound something like the Children of the Moon stories that Carlisle spoke of that the Volturi eradicated,” he said confused as he tried to read the memories that ghosted through the man’s mind at the moment with the mention of the species.
Klaus snorted as he shook his head. “The Children of the Moon. What a ridiculous name. Werewolves are what we are and no, they are not extinct. Much to Cassius’ displeasure. I would happily pay him a visit to remind him of his place in the hierarchy of the supernatural. He managed to run the werewolves out of Europe until they were gone or fled to other lands but he hasn’t been able to touch the ones that lived here. It was my tales and search for doppelgangers that helped destroy many of them I’m sorry to say and I’d love to have packs make dozens of adorable puppies but their genes only carry on with the fittest.”
“As I was saying,” Bella said loudly as she dropped her arm down over his chest to settle him down as he grew defensive over his wolf heritage that she too, cherished, she continued. “I hadn’t known what she was doing when she asked me to join their family for dinner that night, but her and Mikael had given us all wine that tasted dreadfully off. The next thing I knew I saw him murder his own children in front of me with his sword that he used to go hunting with before coming for me. Their mother had blocked the door, barring me from leaving, even as I pleaded with her but she told me that she saw me as one of her children, that I would be the foundation that would center their beings. That they all would need me in their way. She was right of course, although it was difficult in the beginning.”
Carlisle and Esme moved over to the sofa and Edward finally settled down, watching them as they listened to the story of the Original’s change curiously. Especially since they kept the secret of Isabella to themselves. “Was the bloodlust difficult?” Edward asked as he swallowed, eyeing the blood bags she had left sitting on the counter.
“Very much so,” she admitted with reluctance. “But with each strength and gift we were given, they were countered with a weakness. We couldn’t go out in the sunlight as we would burn. Mother had to create protection rings for us. There were some others but I don’t feel privy to share.”
“Why not?” Edward questioned, his eyes narrowing on her. “You are a member of our family, or were meant to be. Alice saw it! Don’t you trust us?”
At the mention of the pixie like vampire, her eyes shifted to the normally exuberant one who had been unusually quiet through the most of the visit thus far. Bella raised an eyebrow as she saw the blank expression on the girl’s face as she was lost in her visions, seemingly searching for something. “Truthfully, no. I am sorry Edward, but I believe that Alice had lied to you when she saw me as one of you because I cannot become one of you. Even if it were a possibility, you would need a great deal of magic and a powerful witch to change me. Not just some Cold One venom. What James did was simply injure me when he caught me unaware and unfed because I was attempting to blend in with the humans too much. It was my mistake that I learned from and I won’t make again.”
Klaus looked up at her with his eyes narrowed in anger. He hated his wife injured in any way, and knowing that some threat had been against her once and was unable to do anything about it left him unsettled. He let it pass knowing that his acquaintance assured it had been taken care off though it was not fully completed as the rest of the coven had interfered. Now that she had openly admitted that there was some permanent damage to her from their time apart, Edward could hear his teeth grinding together as he studied the cooled scar tissue on the girl’s wrist.
“Carlisle, you best have your creation leave my sight if you wish him to continue tasting the air you cherish for this,” he warned in barely a whisper, his fingers delicate as he pulled Bella’s wrist up to his lips to press a tender kiss to it. The warning was enough, and in a quiet whoosh of wind, the young vampire ran from the room. “I am sorry my love for sending you here to deal with these horrors on your own. I should have just taken you with me where I could have protected you. I feared too much for your safety if Mikael had found you with us still.”
“Shhh,” Bella murmured as she placed her hand on his face to force him to look up at her. His blue eyes fought to hold back unshed tears as he stared into her brown orbs. “None of this is your fault. We will stay and assist Jasper in taking care of the Cold One problem before we depart. Victoria has been creating havoc in the region since Jasper and Emmett destroyed James in my name but she believes I am Edward’s mate and is seeking to kill me in his. We will do what our family does best and seek our own revenge,” she whispered in his ear, her lips grazing the skin causing pleasurable shivers to run through him which in turn made Jasper chuckle and Edward groan with disgust from where he fled upstairs in his room.
Elijah stood from his seat and made his way gracefully to the makeshift bar and slowly prepared himself another drink before he spoke. Eyeing his siblings, he had a small anticipatory smirk on his lips. “Well then, shall we table the rest of our family story for another time and get on with planning the bloodshed that Niklaus is absolutely dying for? While I do not normally condone killing, I must say that I do not completely oppose the torture and death of a creature that is intent on inflicting such measures on a member of my family.”
“Oh Kol is going to be so miffed that he is missing this conversation now,” Bella sighed with a smile on her face as she laid her head back on Klaus’ shoulder, a mischievous look on her face as she pulled her cell phone out of her pocket and began texting someone.
“When did you get that?” Klaus asked.
“Not long after I moved here. Jealous?”
He frowned slightly as he looked at her then the phone. “Depends. Who are you messaging?”
“A friend. Don’t worry Nik, he’s just a friend,” she grinned as she sent off her message and waited for a response. “If anything, he’s really a jerk so you have nothing to concern yourself about, but I trust his judgment.”
“I trust you and if you trust this person then I will give this friend of yours a chance,” he nodded, though she knew he would continue to be wary until he met him himself. When she got her text back and read it, she deleted it quickly and looked up at Alice through narrowed eyes.
“You can continue to try to see the future all you want for the decisions that Carlisle, Edward, or you make to change what is happening right now but it won’t change. Emmett and Rosalie made their decisions of their own free will Alice. You can’t force them to bend to your desires. They are not your puppets and I certainly am not. I am not going to be a Cold One. You never were able to see me so do not pretend otherwise,” she announced, causing everyone to look over at the petite vampire who was startled out of her daze.
Alice shook her head clear as she opened her mouth to speak, to object to the words spoken. Looking around for Edward to support her but found that he had disappeared while she was trapped in her attempt to search for a solution to their changing family, she was alone. “Why is everything changing? Why are you letting them ruin our family Carlisle?”
“I’m not letting them. I just cannot stop anyone from making their choices. Bella was never meant to be ours,” Carlisle told her sadly. “If I realized what she was from the very beginning I would have told you that and stopped you and Edward from pursuing her but I didn’t. It was my mistake. As far as Rosalie and Emmett – it is their decision if they wish to explore their lives away from our family. I’ve never stopped them from leaving before, or you. You’ve known this. They are always welcome back should they wish to return.”
“But I don’t see them returning except just to visit! Never to stay!” Alice cried. “Jasper doesn’t ever come back to me! He’s supposed to be mine!”
“I was never your mate,” Jasper said. “I told you this in Philadelphia. I loved you as a friend, we were companions but we were not mates. I am sorry to hurt you and I thank you for the gift you’ve given me with the animal diet as it was what I needed but this lifestyle, it is not who I am and I cannot live like this anymore either.”
“So you are going to go back wherever Bella and her family goes?” Alice asked. “I see them somewhere in the south. Where it’s sunny.”
He nodded as he looked over at the Originals who raised an eyebrow but said nothing to him in response as they already anticipated his return with them. “Darlin’ I’m from Texas. I know the sun. Ain’t nothin’ I can’t handle. I’ll be able to take care of myself just fine but thanks for worryin’ ’bout me,” he smiled.
Bella clapped her hands loudly, drawing the attention back to herself as she grinned madly. “This is all lovely and absolutely syrupy, however there is a bitch running around the Olympic woods here that I’d like to rip her head off so that we can be on our merry way so can we get on with our murderous plotting now?”