“Isabella?” Elijah questioned as he took a step forward, only to be stopped by Klaus.
“I don’t think that’s quite our Bella anymore…” Klaus whispered in disbelief.
She canted her head to the side, smiling coldly. “No. I don’t suppose I am. I think your Bella decided to take a vacation and give me the reigns. I think I’m going to go have some fun now,” she purred as she looked at her husband. “Catch me if you can…”
With that Isabella Mikaelson took off, disappearing into the woods, leaving everyone in fear and shock over what just happened.
Klaus remained frozen in place as the implication of what he’d witnessed meant. While he and his family were no strangers to vampires without their emotions, a thousand years of history never prepared him for how to anticipate his own mate once she decided to turn her own off. He underestimated the amount she’d come to care for the shifter wolves, the one in particular. If the child hadn’t been as smart as he was to accept his place and Isabella to reassure him of her feelings, he might have felt differently in that moment.
A wailing cry drew him out of his thoughts as he looked over to the Cullens where his old acquaintance held onto his wife tightly as she wept in his arms. Carlisle struggled to keep her from running to the burning flames where his first creation burned at the hands of the girl he thought might be a daughter one day.
“She murdered my son!” Esme snarled as she continued to fight against his hold.
The accusation forced the Original family to bristle. Klaus sneered as he turned slowly to face her straight on, his vampire face beginning to seep out from his eyes. “Your pitiful excuse of a son was first to murder the shifter boy,” he growled as he stepped closer. “I do not know what memories Isabella was able to see from his mind before he died but it was enough to bring us a much larger problem at hand! I suggest you compose yourself unless you share the desire to join Edward, Mrs. Cullen. I have no problem with granting that gesture for your participation in this disaster!”
Carlisle wrapped his arms around Esme more firmly, whispering in her ear to settle her down before looking up at him. “We are not even positive that it even was Edward that committed this travesty…”
“It was and if it wasn’t for the situation with the red-headed leech, we would be going after you right now. However, I’ll save that for later. Know that when your… creation bit Jacob, it violated the terms of the treaty. We have no obligation to your family any longer after the current problem is over. If you want to continue walking the earth, I strongly suggest that you leave Forks and never return.” Sam furiously stormed over from where he had gone to speak with one of the pack who’d shifted to human form to talk.
“Edward bit Jacob. I saw Jacob get ambushed by a vampire just before he shifted back into human form and saw enough of him to recognize who the guilty one was. That and the fact that his scent is all over him is enough proof,” the strongly built male spoke coldly, his eyes wet with unshed tears. “Sam is giving you a gift. Take it because I won’t hesitate to rip you to pieces if you stay around.”
“Embry – enough. They will help with what they caused. The Cold Ones leaving with Bella’s family are off limits too. Any remaining will be free reign,” Sam announced, glancing around to the others, nodding at the grateful and relieved looks from them.
“Okay, not that I’m unappreciative, but what the hell did Klaus mean about we all having bigger problems?” Rosalie piped up, looking as confused as nearly everyone unfamiliar with the family.
Jasper hesitated as he exchanged a look with the hybrid. “She doesn’t have her emotions. Bella was so angry, upset about what Edward did and whatever she saw that she turned them off. She’s completely cut off from her humanity making her a very dangerous individual.”
“Yes and as an Original, she also cannot be killed. While she can be subdued with a special dagger, something she has never experienced unlike the rest of my siblings, she is quite the cunning woman. Her humanity has been a core of her very being for over a thousand years,” Klaus shared softly. “If she takes even one human life by her own hands, when she does turn her emotions back on, it will hurt her so much more. Not only will she have to confront her feelings about the death of her friend, but she will have to deal with the lives she took that she swore against ever doing.”
Sam and Paul both eyed him with bewilderment. “Bella never took a life? She’s a vampire! She really is something of an oddity. Jake always said she was different…” The leader mused as he looked at the boy’s body sadly.
Elijah nodded as he moved to stand beside his brother. “Yes. Isabella was always a unique soul. She cared deeply for every living thing and saw more in Niklaus despite his… shortcomings. It is because of her that we managed to stay as close as we have as a family for so long. That is why we must do what we can to bring her back before it is too late.”
“Okay, so who do we go after first? Poppet or the stone bitch?” Kol asked, bored. “You all can putz around with this mess. I vote to be on Team Bella. The other wench should be the Cullen’s responsibility after all.”
Klaus and Elijah looked at one another. While their younger brother wasn’t wrong, it was obvious they were incapable of finishing the job. Even Jasper had admitted to having difficulty in pinning the bitch with his attempts. Heaving a deep breath, Klaus closed his eyes. “Elijah will remain to assist with the Cold One. Kol, Whitlock and I will track Isabella down,” he eventually let out.
“Shall I ask our sister to come assist?” Elijah questioned.
His face scrunched up in displeasure at the thought of their sister being added to the already large party. “Where is she?”
“Preparing our home for our arrival once we finish here.”
“And where is this home?” Klaus demanded.
Elijah merely smiled in response. “Where Isabella was most at ease,” he hinted.
Kol couldn’t help but grin at the implication. “That is fantastic! I cannot wait! You know, there is a good chance that if she decides to run from here, she may just find her way back home on her own. It may be easier to contain her there if we can get some witches on our side.”
Klaus’ fingers twitched at his side as he considered what they said, not liking having to play with his love’s mind in that way. “If she realized we herded her like cattle, she wouldn’t hesitate to attempt to kill us. Dagger you lot at the very least,” he smiled.
“It’s a risk that we will have to take to bring her back to us, Niklaus,” Elijah responded in a gentle voice.
Klaus conceded, nodding as he turned to Sam who had begun to gather Jacob’s body to return to the reservation. His eyes followed them as they left, a desire to offer them help arose, but he remained silent as he knew it was the humanity his wife instilled in the family. “Call Rebekah. She can help you with them,” Klaus sneered as he glared at Carlisle and Esme. He turned on his heel and stalked away from the group, body tense, the only thought on his mind dedicated to finding his mate. “Anyone that comes between finding my wife and myself won’t live to see another dawn. That is a promise, Cullen!”
Jasper pushed himself up off the rock he’d settled on as he watched over the tense situation, considering any possible methods of bringing his friend back to them, but unfortunately, he was at a loss. He merely looked upon Carlisle with disapproval as he started to follow his long time friend across the field, leaving the two remaining brothers behind.
Elijah stood still, hand in the pocket of his slacks as his gaze swept over the figures on the field. He glanced at Carlisle with his own glare as he turned to Kol who had yet to leave. He was eying the Cullens as well, but there was something in the way he did so that made Elijah worry.
“Brother? What are you thinking?”
Kol’s lips curved into a wicked smirk. “Well, my dear Elijah. I was simply thinking to myself how much Bella would love a nice present,” he replied as he eyed Alice speculatively.
The Seer looked confused for a split second before a look of terror crossed her porcelain features. Jasper, hearing Kol’s musings turned back and had already moved behind her, blocking in one escape route should she decide to make a run for it. Kol did not move from where he was but he was ready should the little fairy Cold One come up with another plan. Instinctively, Alice began to focus on what would come next, trying to see a way out of her current situation only to be utterly frustrated when she could see nothing that could help. The next thing she knew, she was literally face-to-face with the youngest living Mikaelson, the chests barely feet part and Kol’s large hand wrapped around her throat.
“Come now, Darling… you didn’t really believe yourself smart enough to escape me?” Kol’s boyish face was alight with a cheeky grin, one that only danger to whoever saw it. Alice tried futilely to struggle out of the stronger vampire’s grip, her short legs kicking being that she was about ten inches off the ground. He tilted his head as he watched Alice, an amused expression mixed with one of dark anticipation.
“I have plans for someone such as you and I cannot wait to start…”
Following his wife’s scent, Klaus started to track her the best he could. He was furious with the Cold Ones and if he had stayed behind a moment longer, he would have been likely to destroy those that remained. However, he knew that in his heart, he would not be able to take away the rest of his mate’s need for revenge for the death of her friend and the treatment she’d endured under the care he’d entrusted her to.
Breaking through the treeline, he looked around and found a sign showing he was near Mora Road. Focusing on her scent more closely, he frowned at another distracting scent that intermingled with it. He followed the path he was sure she intentionally laid out, stopping only when he figured it had all been for nought. He was right when he said that she was a clever one.
Pulling out his phone, he dialed Elijah. As soon as his brother answered, he filled him in on his status as he stared at the fork in the river. “She took to the water so that I would lose her trail. The river breaks into three parts where I tracked her,” he shared unhappily.
Elijah sighed audibly. “That does pose a difficulty. I will see if I can learn anything else of her life here that she might seek out. Is there anything or anyone you can think of that she might turn to?”
Klaus growled at the one thought that came to mind. “If she even had the ability to get in contact, there is no way in hell that she would think of coming here. However intrigued she might be at the thought of an emotionless Isabella. She’s too frightened of me still.”
“I still am unable to understand her fascination with Katerina,” he admitted. “Although it is a likely possibility. I will make the calls and see if she has been in contact. Best it be me than you.”
“Katerina is nothing but a thorn in my side and I should have used her in the sacrifice,” Klaus hissed over the phone. “Get your confirmations. Make sure that if she is to be in contact, I am to be informed if she wishes to continue to breathe!”
He hung up the phone abruptly, not giving his brother the chance to respond and looked around. Not being particularly familiar with the area, he knew Bella would not have come this way if not for a reason. Giving one last glare to the river, Klaus turned on his heel and returned to the road, retracing his steps as he thought about his next move. His actions had been unconscious in their movement until he stopped and took notice when the second car passed by him on the quiet stretch of road after standing there for nearly twenty minutes.
The hybrid couldn’t help but laugh at his wife’s wit. Spinning in place, he looked up to the trees, wondering if she happened to be somewhere still within earshot. “We will find you and bring you back Isabella! Mark my words! I won’t give up on us. On you!” he called out. Hearing nothing but only the dull beat of his heart twist in pain of her disappearance, Klaus fought against allowing his own emotions to get the better of him. A tear fell over his cheek and he brushed it away as quickly as it came.
“I will find you,” he whispered to himself.
Another car had slowed to a stop while he was distracted, staring out into the trees and fighting his instincts to fight against some unknown threat. “Hey man! You lost or something? It ain’t good to be wandering the woods without any kind of firepower lately,” the kid in the vehicle said cheerfully. “I can give you a lift into town if you like.”
The man smiled slightly as the boy was naive of the true threat he invited into the car with him.
“I am appreciate it, mate. It is quite the walk back,” Klaus thanked him as he slid into the passenger seat. His nose was assaulted by the scent of moldy food and he resisted turning to investigate, to rid the area of the odor. However, there was another familiar one hiding underneath, closer to the boy. “You wouldn’t happen to attend the high school in Forks?”
The teen nodded, confused. “Yeah. How’d you know?”
“I hazard a guess,” Klaus smirked. “You are far too pale to be from the reservation… and small.”
The open and close motion of the human’s mouth almost caused Klaus to lose his composure, an almost reprieve from the damning emptiness in his chest. He straightened his features when the child began to speak, an offended expression filled his face and a red tinge visible.
“Dude, not cool. I offer you a ride and this is the treatment I get? I can put you out and make you walk the rest of the way home, you know. You’re lucky I’m a nice guy…”
“Yes well, I’m told quite often I’m an asshole by my wife, my siblings… and anyone else that’s ever met me. I do wonder what you know of Isabella though,” he questioned, his tone darkening and his eyes flashing amber for a split second knowing that the boy had failed to notice before he calmed slightly, breathing through his nose deeply.
Indignation now forgotten, the boy grinned widely at the name. Making a left turn, the human spoke smugly, as if he had been awarded a prize. “Yeah, I know her. She and I have been dancing around each other since she started taking classes. I would ask her out and she would say no, you know that typical girl response…”
“Is that so?” Klaus murmured, his jaw tense as his eyes narrowed. His fingers twitched as they rested on his knee, repressing the urge to reach across the vehicle to rip out the boy’s tongue.
Nodding, the teen chuckled, oblivious to Klaus’ rising anger. “Man, I’m telling you, she’s playing hard to get. But don’t worry! By the end of the year, I’ll have her all to myself!”
Running his finger over his lip, the hybrid peered out the window. Seeing no one or any potential witnesses, he turned back to the teenager, smiling darkly. “What did you say your name was?”
“Mike Newton, pleased to meet you,” he stuck out his hand toward the man in his passenger seat with his other hand still on the wheel. Klaus arm stretched over the console, grasping the hand that was offered him before he let out a low growl and twisted it backwards, the boy’s arm now resting painfully against his back. Grabbing his throat, he used his strength and catapulted him through the windshield.
He flashed out of the vehicle before it began to steer off course and stalked toward the injured boy, his face drawn into a deep scowl. As he stood over the groaning Mike, he cocked his head to the side. “Klaus Mikaelson. Isabella’s husband. Such a pleasure. Next time you should listen to your parents about picking up strangers on the side of the road, shouldn’t you?” he said as he squatted beside him. “Now… what to do with you?”
Sighing heavily, he called his brother as he glared at the withering human that he was sorely tempted to drain. “I need a favor of you, Kol.”
“Do you now, brother? What do I get out of this particular favor?”
Klaus growled as he pushed down his temper. “I don’t have time for your petty games, Kol. I have a bloody human here I need you to handle for me.”
“Well, well, well, someone’s in a bad mood, aren’t they? Have you found our little Poppet yet?”
“No, but I found a disrespectful human that had plans to attempt to bed her,” he sneered. “I’m still debating on whether to let him live or not which is why I need you here, now.”
“And as I’ve said before, I require assurance that I will be paid for my good deed.”
“What do you want Kol?” Klaus sighed irritably. “I do not wish to have to give this insult any blood to heal.”
“Hold on a tick, he’s bleeding? Why didn’t you say that sooner, Nik? I’ve got a vegetarian Cold One with me – not counting Jasper. He can keep his distance surely, but I can definitely drag the wench with me for some good old fashioned fun. I’m on my way!”
Trying his hardest not to obliterate the phone between his fingers, Klaus simply closed it and tucked back inside his pocket, settling in to await the arrival of his dear brother. Mike was still groaning and he never spared him a glance. Hearing a scraping noise coming from behind him, he turned to see a figure in the far distance, quite a ways away. He stood to his feet, staring intensely because something didn’t look quite right.
As the figure drew closer, Bella walked out of the woods with a sly smile on her lips. Dragging behind her was the bound and gagged body of a certain blond teenager.
“Hello, Husband,” she greeted with a sultry voice, a wild look shining in her eyes.
In all his one thousand years on this earth, Klaus couldn’t tell you a moment when he had been struck speechless, yet here it was. He watched as his wife finally come to a stop across the street, dropping the whimpering body to the dirt. Looking over the scene in front of her, she noticed the wrecked car, it’s hood bent from the tree trunk it was wrapped around. She raised an eyebrow, the pathetic male by her husband’s feet making her smirk widely.
“Having fun, my love?” was the question that came from her lips.
Klaus shrugged, attempting to remain indifferent as he pulled from his experience with emotionless vampires. “He pissed me off; needed to learn a lesson.”
“I can only imagine what he did to earn such a lesson. A slow agonizing death to bleed out on the roadside like that,” she mused, turning her eyes down to him. “What are you still doing here, Niklaus?”
Klaus kept his gaze on Bella’s, her question causing a flash of hurt to cross his face. “Did you really believe that I would leave you behind, Isabella? Where would I go? I have no other choice than to make sure you are back where you belong. With us. With me.”
She let out a sigh, bored of his speech. “Where I belong? I always had wondered about how vampires could just turn themselves off. It truly is freeing. You should try it with me,” she smiled. “We can be free together. Isn’t that what you wanted? What you always wanted? Forget Elijah. Forget the family and their expectations of behavior. Just turn it off!”
His eyes softened as he yearned for was she was offering. He was tempted. So very tempted. Taking a step towards her, his desire drawing him to her; he could see her smile grow larger, more devious as he slowly made his way closer. He was the moth to her flame.
“Well it looks as if we’ve arrived at an awkward spousal moment,” Kol quipped cheerfully as he pulled his new pet alongside him. He glanced at the two humans on the ground and was mildly impressed. “They are both alive. No one has fed? I confess myself disappointed. If you’re going to waste… may I partake of the spoils?”
“The bitch is mine,” Bella snarled at him, taking her attention off Klaus. “Touch her and you will find yourself buried in the deepest recesses of a volcano.”
“A bit drastic, don’t you think, sister?”
“I really don’t give a flying fuck what you do with him. Fuck him. Feed on him. String him up by his nonexistent balls. I don’t care, brother,” she replied bitingly as she pulled the girl up to her feet with a smile. She held her tightly by her throat and breathed in the intoxicating fear that ran through her veins as she ran her nose over the sensitive vessel. “This one was particularly irritating since my arrival. It’s not like I could drain the one you have at your side, now can I?”
“He did take offense when I said he was small compared to the reservation boys,” Klaus admitted. “There was also the blatant disrespect towards you and I couldn’t have that, could I?”
Bella fluttered her lashes. “My hero…” Her expression changed once again to one of dark anticipation. “I’m hungry.” Her eyes locked on her mate as she bit down on the girl and drank deeply and greedily, moaning as she swallowed the velvet blood until no more flowed. Dropping the now dead-weight body again, she could have cared less about the crimson stains covering her mouth, dripping down her chin. She blinked as her eyes flashed a familiar amber hue witnessed in only one other vampire.
“Hm. That’s interesting…” she murmured, feeling strangely off. Looking confused, she disappeared from their sights.
Kol was staring with his jaw open. “Did she just…? Did you know…?”
Alice looked at the stunned brothers confused herself. “What are you two so shocked about? Weren’t you expecting her to kill someone? Honestly, I’m not surprised she killed Lauren. I can tell you that most of Forks won’t miss her.”
Shaking his head, Klaus ignored the impotent midget. “I hadn’t any inclination that there was the possibility,” he said quietly, shaken by the revelation that his wife appeared to be like him. A true hybrid. Only she was far more dangerous than he and that actually had him frightened. “When is the next full moon?”
“Thursday night,” Alice answered for him as after she used her gift quickly. “Why?”
“So we have less than three days to try to find where she is hiding around here,” he mused mostly to himself. “It will be a much larger bloodbath than I indulged in after the curse was broken.”
Extreme irritation suddenly covered everyone, forcing Klaus and Kol to turn to face Jasper, whom stood aside with his arms cross. “Would one of you like to share with us what just happened? Because if we’re going to be of any use, we need to know what we are dealing with here.”
A disgruntled huff escaped Klaus as he joined the Major’s side as the two walked away from the disaster site, sneering at the female as he walked around her in the process. “It would seem that Isabella had decided to make her first kill a spectacle before an audience. In the process, she released a part of herself that none of us in all our years together seemed to know about within her lineage.”
“And that would be…?” Jasper prompted, urging him to continue as the man was clearly stalling.
“She… is much more like myself than imagined,” he answered, giving him a heavy expression. His emotions were conflicted on the newfound knowledge. Fear and concern being at the forefront. But also hope.
It took a moment for the soldier to understand just what Klaus had told him and when he did, his eyes widened with shock and he shook his head, trying to deny it.
“No. There’s no way she could be a… it’s not possible.”
“It is,” the hybrid assured him as he looked off thoughtfully, recalling a time so long ago. “She was a small child when she came to live in our village. She was raised with another family whom ours was quite familiar with, as it was her sister’s blood that bound my curse and aided in our vampirism. We had no knowledge of whom birthed her, let alone left her to fend for herself in the woods that were infested with werewolves. So it would stand to reason that she had been abandoned by a nearby pack.”
Jasper was silent as he absorbed what he learned about the girl he had grown fond of over the recent months. Honestly, it didn’t change a thing; she was still the same girl they knew and loved… well, before all this shit went down. The only thing that really got to him was the fact that they needed to find her and bring her back to herself.
Klaus knew what heightened emotion did to a hybrid, having been in the same situation himself over a thousand years ago. But a newly turned hybrid with their humanity switch turning off? He could only imagine the path of destruction that would follow behind Bella and knew he needed to stop it at all costs.
“Niklaus? I know that she hates speaking of her given name but wouldn’t it have been indicative of what she might have become?” the Cold One suggested after several minutes of silence.
The man slowed in his steps as realization dawned on his face, exhaling harshly. His eyes rolled back as they closed at his own ignorance. “Of course. How bloody foolish of me,” he scolded himself, shaking his head. “She always was a wolf. Regardless of that fact, we need to anticipate her next move. She’ll be trying to piece together what’s changed but her emotions for the area will be distractive. Bella clearly disliked those humans, especially the female. She will soon be looking for another to… play with.”
Thinking on the options, Jasper shrugged. “The only other one I can really think of that she felt that level of irritation to like Lauren would be Jessica Stanley. The girl was unnecessarily jealous of Isabella.”
“Another human that Forks won’t miss?”
“Not particularly,” he smiled slightly. “Should I see if Rosalie or Emmett can go sit on her?”
Klaus hesitated before nodding. “If Bella should show up, don’t confront her. Just call me. I will deal with her.”
“Are you going to let your brother know about this?” Jasper asked, his voice cautious as he dialed his own adopted sibling.
Klaus considered the proposal, knowing that while he should let Elijah know the change in the current circumstances and threat, only he understood the way she was operating inside having recently experienced it himself. Recalling the short conversation he shared with his wife before she drained the human girl, he grinned to himself, hope that he might have an idea of a way to get to her. He turned sharply toward him, eyes intent. “No, we will leave him out of it for now. Do not say a word. I have my own plans…”