On the Fifth Day of Christmas, My True Love Gave to Me (Five Golden Rings)

 

Klaus stood with his arms around his newly turned girlfriend. They stood together staring into the bonfire, his family spread out around as they enjoyed the burnpile in their own way. For Isabella and Niklaus, however, they shared satisfied smiles gracing their faces of a past closed.

The fire burned bright in the cool air along the shore of the lake in the bayou. Hayley and Jackson’s wolves watching the Mikaelson vampires as they appeared to be enjoying the cozy fire. Despite the number of complications that persisted between their kinds, both sides could not deny tensions were significantly less since the arrival of the unostentatious girl, seeking out the big, bad hybrid.

As Bella’s gaze lifted over the flames to the rest of the family, she knew it would take time before she would fully grow to trust the elder vampire sibling. Especially after her human introduction to him. She wasn’t particularly fond of Freya, considering the underlying cause for her search for Klaus. Still, for all the reasons that set her on her path, she never found an ounce of regret in anything as it had brought her to that moment. She only wished she had met him first instead of Edward.

~o.O.o~

Bella had known of Klaus, she had met him a few times as he had some dealings going on with the Cullens. She had to hide her growing attraction. A stupid school girl’s crush. He had been intriguing and mysterious, his accent was alluring and his eyes drew her in all the time.

She hid her infatuation, of course. She was with Edward and it felt wrong. But he was the big, bad hybrid. Even the Cullens were more than cautious around him, afraid that he’d snap and kill them all. They had asked him to take care of Victoria, and she didn’t even know at the time just what the cost had been. She only knew later it would never be enough.

She wasn’t sure where to find Klaus when she went on the run, but a witch in Nevada pointed her into the general direction of New Orleans. She told Bella that he was also known to have quite the temper and that he rarely did something without an angle that would better himself in the process of doing it. So she was quite hesitant, but he really had been her only hope in resolving this.

Little did she know, she’d actually fall hard for him. Harder than she’d ever imagined.

At the Cullen house, Bella was never alone with him. Edward feared for her safety in his presence. Shortly after Klaus would arrive to discuss business, Edward would collect her and they would leave for her house.

Only he didn’t know that the Original vampire and human girl had their own accidental run-ins around town that the mind-reader was unable to prevent. The conversations between them flowed easily, to her surprise. Unlike her boyfriend, where he insulted a number of her interests, Klaus had expressed similar likes in novels or even suggested other writings based on titles or authors she had named, leaving her eager to visit the library soon after speaking.

While everyone was afraid of the man, she found him to be a breath of fresh air.

~o.O.o~

Jasper had explained to her that one of Klaus’ demands for helping the Cold Ones with their little problem was the assurance that the Cullens wouldn’t have any more dealings with humans in their family without turning them. It was Edward’s decision to comply, because he never wished to turn Bella in the first place.

Bella had hated it when Klaus sent some of his minions to take her away. Far away from the Cullens, setting her up in a great apartment with a job and everything she needed in a warmer climate. As time passed, she attempted to contact the Cullens, the family all ignoring her phone calls, her messages, and her emails. She soon began to grow into the life that was set up for her.

The time that passed was slow as she missed the friend that she made back home in Forks. Even though she had been told that she could not see her father or tell him where she was, she had been given a secure method in keeping in contact.

One day, almost three years into the new life, she returned home to find the door broken. Blood smeared over edge of it and the wall nearby. Cautiously, she entered, pushing herself forward as her heart raced at the scene.

Inside, two of her friends lied in the center of her living room, pieces of her broken furniture in their chests. Their bodies were desiccated and grey. One touch and they would fall to dust.

“Bella…”

She heard her name called. It was strained and painful, causing her to turn towards the kitchen, finding her roommate, also with a piece of the coffee table sticking out her. “Jessica!”

“Help me…”

“What happened? Are you alright?”

“Cold Ones. I’ll be fine. I just need blood,” Jessica grimaced in pain as Bella pulled out the piece of wood, her eyes flickering to the girl’s neck.

Bella noticed the motion and hesitated for a moment. Bringing her wrist up to the vampire’s mouth she nodded. “Just don’t kill me. Okay? I know your kind is different.”

Jessica looked at her, confused at her knowledge but latched on hungrily, taking what she needed to heal. When she let go, she eyed the human she’d been tasked to watch over. “I was told not to let you know what we were. How is it that you know? You didn’t bat an eye when I said what attacked.”

“I used to date a Cold One,” she shrugged in response. She stood to go bandage her wrist, concern on her face as she thought about the attack. “Why would they attack you?”

“They were looking for you. They were strong and they probably thought they got my heart but I shifted just enough for them to avoid it to survive. Why would you have a those things looking for you?”

“I don’t know,” she murmured.

Jessica eyed her, trying to get a read on her before nodding. “I’ll call a witch that I know. See if she can tell me anything. In the meanwhile, go pack a bag because we need to start running. They will be back. That I have no doubt about. They were pretty determined to find you.”

Bella hesitated as she started for her room, blinking as she paused to look back at her friend that she now knew to be a vampire, a chosen protector. “What did they look like?”

“One had wavy blond hair, pretty strong and was a very good fighter. Another was a big guy, build like linebacker. Then there was a third male, red head with copper hair, fast. Why?”

The human girl smiled slightly and shook her head. “No reason. I thought it might have been someone I thought I knew, but I was wrong. I’ll go grab my things quickly so that we can leave.”

~o.O.o~

A year on the run from the Cullens changed Bella. By the time she met with a witch that was willing to help her, Jessica had been killed and she was left alone. To watch Jasper so cruelly shove his hand into her chest and rip out her heart, Bella thought that she might not be able to continue. That maybe she should just give in and surrender.

If she wasn’t so close to the witch that they had been seeking, she would have. One moment she was standing before them, in a state of shock. The next, the family was looking around for her, unable to see her. The witch had came up to her, pulling her away from the scene in a hurry.

“Come now. I have us cloaked,” the witch urged, her eyes wide as they remained on the vampires as the girls fled the area.

“Who are you?” Bella questioned as soon as they slowed down when they were safely away from immediate danger.

“Who I am is not important. I know why you came searching for me though, with the other vampire that they killed. The Cold Ones are in trouble with their kind for your knowledge,” she shared as she looked into Bella’s eyes, her hand bracing her shoulder to stress the situation. “You cannot trust them. They are not your friends any longer. They seek your death so that they may live.”

“Klaus took me from them when he came to kill another for them, they gave me up willingly as payment,” Bella admitted, looking around, unsure of what her heart was looking for. “Why now?”

“Klaus? Klaus Mikaelson?” the witch questioned.

Bella nodded wordlessly, unable to answer more. The witch took her hand and held on tightly, her eyes taking on a blank expression as she stared back at the girl, but not seeing her.

“Only he would be able to protect you now. The Volturi would be fools to go after you if you are with him. It would take time, but well worth the sacrifice if both of you are willing. You must be strong and steadfast for he would need you as you need him. Go south, to New Orleans and there you will find the hybrid,” she spoke so evenly, it started to creep the human girl out.

The witch started to come out of her vision and look at Bella, who nodded in response. “New Orleans. Got it. I’ll go straight there,” she whispered. “Thank you.”

~o.O.o~

Bella walked into her fifth bar in New Orleans, tired, hungry, and frustrated. Being on the run from seven Cold Ones, three of which were remarkably gifted, was difficult and taxing on her. Staying ahead of Alice, avoiding making significant decisions, especially about Louisiana and New Orleans, was the hardest.

Making her way up to the bar, she took a seat near the end as she waited to be served. She looked around the restaurant and bar, sizing up the crowd unknowingly. Her eyes would glance down to everyone’s hands, necks for a particular stone she’d been taught about. Sitting up straighter in her seat, her heart picked up its pace slightly as she counted four rings with the blue stone in it in the room. Three spread along the bar, drinking and chatting with humans amicably as if it were nothing.

Just as a man joined the bar closer to her, also with the familiar ring, though looking much older than the others, Bella was in debate whether to approach any of them or to turn and run. Perhaps to see if there were any witches in the city that could give her a more precise location that she needed.

It was then that the bartender came up to her with a friendly smile. “Sorry for the wait. It’s a little busy tonight, with the holiday coming up. I can give you a drink on the house for the trouble,” she offered. “What can I get you?”

Bella’s tongue darted out, moistening her dry lips as she tried to find her words. Her eyes darted back to the vampire, who was just joined by one of the other ones that she identified that had been hanging out further down the bar counter. “Um, whiskey sounds great actually. Uh, what do you have to eat?”

“The kitchen is still open. So whatever you would like. My name is Cami. Just give me a holler when you’re ready,” she answered, setting a menu down in front of her. She gave the girl a peculiar look before walking away to get her drink, pausing by the vampires first.

Bella watched them over the menu and nearly panicked when the one vampire started coming towards her. Setting the menu down, she started to stand from her seat and look for the closest exit, but Cami had returned with her drink and grabbed her wrist. “He won’t hurt you.”

She eyed the woman suspiciously while the man slid into the stool beside hers. “My name is Marcel Gerard. You – appear to be familiar with us.”

“With what you are, yes. I was friends with a few until recently,” she admitted quietly.

“What happened?” he asked kindly. At her hesitance, he could also see suspicion hiding in her eyes as she stared back at him. “Look. I don’t wish you any harm. If you are in trouble, I will see what I can do to help.”

Bella was still not sure how much to say. Especially when another vampire joined the small group. “I know someone who can help me. I came to New Orleans to find him.”

“What is his name. I know almost all the vampires in this city. If I don’t know him, then I probably know someone who does,” Marcel smiled back.

She wrung her hands together, nervous and agitated. She barely offered Cami a glance when she set a bowl of food down on the counter that she hadn’t yet ordered, but she brought regardless. “His name is Klaus,” she whispered, her eyes glancing around in case of someone that shouldn’t hear, might. “I have to find him. Let him know what has happened.”

Marcel leaned back surprised, looking at the suited vampire who narrowed his eyes on her. “How is it that you know Niklaus?” he questioned, dubious of her story, and possibly her motives for seeking him.

She looked to him and was taken aback at his tone. Blinking, she swallowed hard. “I’m afraid that’s something between me and him.”

The two exchanged a glance and Marcel nodded with reluctance. The one in the suit turned to her, meeting her eyes as his dilated. “You will forget any relation to Niklaus. You will now know him as the monster he truly is. If you need assistance, we can get you help, but you will not seek it from him.”

Bella was silent as she stared back at him. Her first instinct had been to slap him, but dealing with vampires, taught her to count to ten. One. Two. Three… The audacity of this guy had her reeling. Four. Five. Six… He should wipe that smirk off his face. It reminded her of Klaus. Oh fuck it.

Her hand that had been fisted at her side pulled back and shot up, striking him square in his nose. It had been a lucky strike, blood pouring as he held it, looking back at her in pure shock. “Ow,” she squeaked slightly, holding her hand. Her eyes glared at him. “Damn. I thought I was going to miss, but at least I made it worth my while.”

“You have no idea who you are messing with girl,” Marcel warned her, concerned for her safety as he came to his feet at her side. “Elijah – she doesn’t have a clue…”

“No! He doesn’t have a clue! The fucker has no idea who I am or why the fuck I’m here and he has the balls to try to fuck with my head! I don’t think so! You two know Klaus clearly, so someone take me to him,” she glared at them.

“Klaus isn’t known to be the friendliest guy around. Why would he want to see you?” Marcel questioned. “You’re just a human girl. What’s to stop him from draining you dry once we take you to him?”

“So he drains me. It beats the alternative. I know that he won’t, and he will want to hear what I have to tell him. He will be pissed to all hell, but it won’t be at me,” she warned. “Take me to him now.”

Marcel looked to this Elijah, shrugging. “We’ll take you to him but don’t say we didn’t tell you otherwise.”

“I’ll take my chances…”

~o.O.o~

When Elijah and Marcel brought Bella to the compound, Marcel waited with her while the other left in search of the elusive hybrid. She had heard from Jessica while they were on the run that he had broken his curse not long after he had left her to her new life. She could not help but be happy for him, for his own freedom he’d been seeking for so long.

Looking at Marcel, she could tell he was straining to listen to the conversation that was going on elsewhere in the building while watching her. It wasn’t very obvious but a passive observation that she learned. “Let me guess. That Elijah guy is asking him if he was familiar with someone of my description?”

He cocked his head to the side, amused by her level of comfort around them. She looked towards the direction of the main living quarters with a frown. “I don’t suspect him to be rather pleased at the moment.”

“He’s not. He’s actually on his way down right now…” he answered her.

It wasn’t long before Klaus appeared in the doorway of the sitting room where the two were waiting. His blue eyes raked over her body, taking in every change in her since he last laid eyes on the girl he’d taken responsibility over. “What has happened?”

“Jessica and the other two minions you sent to watch over me, were murdered,” she answered. “A witch sent me here. To you.”

He pursed his lips as he made his way closer to her, his hands on her shoulders as if to see if she was truly real before pulling her into an embrace. Only then did the facade of the brave, human girl break. The tears fell without any resolve.

“They found me. They killed my father to draw me out. The witch said that they are looking to kill me because I know about them and they let me go. You taking me from them evidently got them in trouble with their leaders because now they are set on hunting me down!” she cried into his shoulder.

“Shhh…” Klaus whispered into her ear, attempting to settle her down as she rambled her story to him. Anger blazed in his eyes as he held her tighter before flashing them into the living room, away from the shocked and watchful eyes of Marcel and Elijah. Settling her down on the couch, he pushed her hair out of her face, trying to dry her face of her tears. “Now, now. Let me see those brown eyes. You will be safe here. No more running for you. If you are to be turned, Sweetheart, it won’t be by one of their kind. We will deal with any that dares to cross us.”

“I’m just so tired,” she said in a whisper. His words had given her the sense of safety, she knew she was safe, but exhausted from running. Bella felt as if she could sleep for days, but on the other hand, she knew that safety was only relative and feared sleep.

“Then you will sleep,” he nodded. “We will speak more about what happened when you wake. But before that, I want you to do something for me.”

“What?” she sighed.

He bit into his wrist as he watched her, her eyes lowering to his bloody arm as he held it up for her. “Drink. You need to heal from your travels and it will ensure that should anything happen… You will have a choice of your own to make.”

“I hate blood,” Bella pouted, but wrapped her lips around his bleeding wound as she drank until it closed. He soon settled her into his room, claiming her safety as his concern, to rest before she succumbed to her body’s demands for sleep.

~o.O.o~

Nearly two weeks passed since arriving in New Orleans and Bella suddenly found herself involved more with Klaus than she had thought she ever would be. It was surreal to her.

Almost daily, he had insisted on feeding her his blood when they settled in for bed, and when she had last seen Marcel, he made a comment on how her scent was now heavy with Klaus’. It had pleased her to learn that little fact. He did not keep her confined in the compound the way Edward would have with her life in danger. Klaus only insisted on her to let him, or Elijah, who turned out to be his brother, know so that one of them could accompany her or arrange to have someone they felt capable of fighting Cold Ones of the Cullens’ caliber with her.

She never told him what his brother and friend had attempted to compel her to do, and failed. He knew from his own experience when they first met that she was unable to be compelled. Still, for all that he and his family were doing for her, she felt bad for their efforts while they were fighting their own demons. Fighting to protect Klaus’ daughter that he fathered with the wolf girl, Hayley.

Both girls were immediately hesitant around one another, mostly because of their shared history with Klaus. Only they were at different ends of the spectrum and they soon found a middle ground once he had locked them in a room together.

Bella knew that Elijah was not pleased by Klaus’ actions in that, but when the girls came out, they were more friendly with one another then when they went in. A new understanding had been made and the girl was hopeful that there might be a friendship that could be forged in the future. Especially once Bella met Hayley’s husband, she certainly became more friendly and less confrontational.

Territorial spats over boyfriends was something Klaus tended to avoid, and when Bella insisted she needed a woman to join her in town, Hayley was the only option for protection detail. The hybrid woman wasn’t pleased to be taken away from her daughter, especially so soon after the family finally was able to rid themselves of the threat of Dahlia. However, her heightened senses picked up a new, sickly, sweet scent lurking along the bustling street that had never been there before.

Grabbing Bella’s arm, she stopped her in the middle of the sidewalk so that they remained in the middle of the crowd of people and pulled out her cell phone, making a call. “Need you here now,” she said, her voice shaking as her eyes looked around. “I can smell them, feel them, but I can’t see them.”

Bella tensed at her words, knowing what it meant. Her eyes closed and sighed. When Hayley hung up, cursing, the bad feeling she had, worsened. “Let me guess. He won’t make it in time. The witches?”

“Yeah. It’s just you and me for now,” she replied, looking around. “We just need to stay in the open.”

“It’s getting late Hayley. Places are starting to shut down. They will catch up…” the girl trailed off, her voice wavering. “Kill me.”

~o.O.o~

Hayley didn’t kill her that night. Remaining in the middle of the busy street, amongst the people where the Cold Ones couldn’t reach them in the daylight until Klaus and Elijah got to them was their saving grace.

It was later that night, at Bella’s insistence, and some arguing with the family, that she was able to convince Klaus to finally turn her. To make her more durable against her former family.

Once his lover woke up from her transition, he had a human ready for her to feed from and then with a shared look, they knew what would come next. Both had a certain bloodlust in their eyes. While they wanted to experience her newfound life in the bed, between the sheets, it would not be entirely enjoyable, less distracting, until the larger threat was gone.

And thus the hunt began.

The family came together against the Cold Ones, seeking them out in the bayou where Bella had suspected them to have gone to hunt. She shared every miniscule detail that she could recall about the family. Their gifts, their habits. Anything that could give them any advantage.

Elijah had been reserved in his dealings with her since their initial meeting, but was always openly observant of her and Klaus’ relationship and the change of his behavior with her in his life. “Any attack on a Mikaelson means war. No one hurts my family and lives. And you, Bella, are certainly a Mikaelson.”

“Uh, thanks?” she responded, unsure of his gesture, looking up at Klaus.

“It is a big compliment coming from him. Trust me,” he murmured as he pressed his lips to her forehead. “Come now. Let’s go hunt us some walking disco balls!”

~o.O.o~

The first one to find a Cold One was Hayley, ripping off Rosalie’s head before she could call out to warn any of the others. Bella was sure the sound of screeching metal from pulling her apart would be enough, though.

“Save her head,” the newly transitioned vampire commented, to everyone’s surprise. “In fact, save all their heads. I want them.”

“What for, Love?” Klaus asked from beside her.

“I have my reasons,” she smiled as she looked down at the blond. “You’ll see eventually.”

“I’ll, uh, just go put this in the cabin for safe keeping then,” Hayley muttered, slightly disturbed by the expression on the girl’s face but otherwise didn’t comment as she ran off.

Bella’s head shot up and looked off east of them, growling. She could feel the manipulation, or attempt, before Marcel started to grow sleepy where he stood. Her anger grew as she focused it back at it’s source. “Douchebag,” she muttered.

All of a sudden, it appeared as if that everyone that had been under Jasper’s influence was relieved of it and shared in her anger for his attack. “I think we know who is next,” she smirked.

“Allow me,” Elijah nodded, moving faster than the Cullens could react. Jasper had been a fraction fast to respond, throwing a punch up in attempt to throw the Original back but he deflected it smoothly and broke his arm off, throwing it off to the side. Jasper clumsily swung around with his remaining good arm, only to have it removed just as swift. His golden eyes grew large as he attempted to flood him with every emotion possible to subdue him.

“Don’t bother Jasper. Your tricks won’t work anymore,” Bella called out, standing still with her hands clasped in front of her, a smile on her face. “Seems my shield you all suspected me to have carried over in my transition. Perhaps you should have killed me when you had the chance. Instead you sold me to Klaus. I must thank you for that though. He is one hell of a beast in bed.”

Edward growled at that, charging forward at her taunting, heading straight for her and her lover, who was standing protectively before her. Klaus caught him by the throat, tsking him. “Your kind are all alike. So overconfident that you can take on my family. Why do you think that the Volturi refused to hunt Isabella themselves? Tasking you with your own mess, knowing that you have dealt with the Devil himself? Why don’t you search my thoughts, my memories of what you have missed out on, Mr. Cullen? I will allow you in, just this once, as you will be dead and dust before the night is over.”

Edward’s face twisted as he saw Klaus’ most intimate thoughts of him and Bella’s first meeting, innocent flirting and later his true attempts at giving her a normal life. All before they truly became involved and she became his in every way that mattered. When Edward looked over to Bella, longing in his face, Klaus’ growled possessively over her, taking the mind reader’s head from his neck and threw it at his woman’s feet. “The head you requested.”

“Such love,” she quipped. “My hero! When we get home, I expect you to take me. Hard.”

“I’ll be at your command, Love,” he smirked, the sound of tearing metal causing his lips to pull back into a brighter smile. “I think this is one Christmas that will be for the books.”

“Yes. It is. How about you and I start building a bonfire for the body parts while everyone has their fun?” Bella suggested.

“Why exactly do you wish to save their heads?”

Bella smiled as she stooped to grab Edward’s head before making her way to Klaus’ side and taking his hand. Leading him down to the embankment, she had a devious glint to her eye. “Their heads are still conscious and fully functional from what I understand. They can see, think. Just can’t speak. We can put them up on the shelf and let them watch me live my life as their eternal punishment and not be able to do anything about it.”

“Or watch me take you every single night, claim you as mine,” Klaus added suggestively.

“Oh, you can just open your head to Edward for that. That will certainly be torture for Mr. Prude. But that works for me,” Bella grinned. “Bonfire time!”

Klaus pulled her back to him. “Before I forget. I have something special for you,” he said, pulling out a trinket from his pocket.

“You better not be proposing. We haven’t even been together two weeks Klaus!” Bella stared at him, aghast and fearful.

“Love, if I was proposing, you would certainly know it, and it would be with a much more expensive ring than this. No. This is for your survival now that you have transitioned,” he smiled slightly, slipping it onto her middle finger. Glancing up at her curiously. “Are you against marriage?”

“I don’t know!” she responded. “Don’t ask that again. Not for a long time!”

“But you would like me to ask?”

“Niklaus…” she growled, her eyes glaring at him in the moonlight. “We have Cold One parts to burn tonight. You and I will discuss this subject another day. Far from now,” she told him. Possibly never, she thought.

“Fair enough. Let us finish off this culling of Cullens. Perhaps our lovely sister Freya could enchant your ring with more protective spells should the Volturi be stupid enough to come after you.”

“I don’t trust her to take care of my puppy,” she muttered as she started drag wood over for kindling.

He could not help but to smile at her countenance. His eyes raked over her form and let out a sigh. “Oh, Love. You are going to fit in so well. Elijah could not be more correct when he said you were a Mikaelson.”

Dropping what little he had gathered in his hands, he zipped behind her, grabbing her and took her into the small cabin, slamming the door behind them. Pushing her against it, he buried his face into her neck. Inhaling her new scent, he grinned at finding it still mixed heavily with his own.

“Klaus…everyone is going to be waiting…” she murmured, but let out a moan as his hands slid along her body, his mouth pressing open mouthed kisses on her neck, having her wanting him to sink his teeth in to drink from her.

“Let them wait. I need you now,” he said, pulling back just enough to she may see his want for her in his eyes. Surging forward, he claimed her mouth possessively, her fingers burying in his hair. His hand wrapped around her leg, hoisting it up around his waist as he ground himself into her.

With a growl, he quickly shed themselves of their clothes and had her laid back on the table. Pausing, he blinked at their position and their location, shaking his head. “Oh bloody hell. Not here,” he muttered, taking her back to the door, leaving her confused and breathless as he thrust himself into her at the same time.

It was fast, rough, and animalistic. Bella was not going to complain one moment as she cried out when he brought her to pleasure. Her inner desire was satisfied when his teeth broke her skin. Only the unexpected came, a searing burn from his wolf venom surprising her. His hand pushed the back of her head to his neck as she felt him draw her blood from her. Drinking his blood was nothing new, but the blood sharing was.

She had forgotten about the rest of the family in that moment and it wasn’t until someone began banging on the door for their attention that she recalled that there were other matters to attend to.

“Niklaus! Isabella! If you would be so kind as to join the rest of the family! We do have a Christmas ritual to complete now that the Cullens are dead!” Elijah called to them.

She smiled a bloody smile against Klaus’ neck. Bella certainly had some new wishes to make.