During their trip back to Mystic Falls, Klaus had been uncharacteristically quiet as he mused on the information his brother had further provided him, after he had proposed to kill the girl before she had the chance to destroy their family. Kol had immediately protested against taking any action against the reincarnation, suggesting to befriend her instead.
An ally that strong would be beneficial, he acknowledged, but it was unnerving for someone equal or more powerful than the hybrid to be walking the earth that could bring down their family. And yet, knowing that this one girl existed for so long, simply surviving after so many deaths, even if it was that in another body, proved her to be a survivor. Much like a Mikaelson, and that had earned his respect before he had even laid eyes on her.
Elijah had his own concerns after his visit with the witches. Not one of the ones he met with were willing to discuss the reincarnation, beyond confirming that it was indeed one, with him. In fact, after looking into his question, they had all looked at him with a new fear that he hadn’t seen in hundreds of years. The witches were normally haughty, brazen even against the vampire race, but suddenly for them to turn and advise to avoid their involvement with the girl – he suspected there was more to her story.
As they grew closer to Mystic Falls, he looked over to his younger brother. “You may think me foolish, but I know you undaggered Kol,” he admitted.
Klaus’ fingers curled into a fist under his chin as he continued to stare out at the passing scenery. That was the only sign that he had heard him speak, otherwise he offered no verbal response.
“I imagine that he offered you some information that has you giving careful thought over since we’ve left Louisiana. More so than I have been able to ascertain from the any of the few friendly witches that I’ve made among the covens,” Elijah continued quietly.
Letting out a frustrated breath, Klaus’ anxiety only increased as he spoke about the girl. “Kol believes we must make nice with whomever she is. Supposedly, there were rumors he had heard when he was unboxed the last time he was loose in New Orleans about such a being. Possibly related to one of the original witches. Bloody nonsense!”
The elder Mikaelson almost froze at the theory as he continued to drive, crossing the border into town. He replayed the words over in his mind, going over the years in his memories as he attempted to find a connection to where such an outlandish prophecy might have been born in his old age. “Of the original witches, there was our mother, our aunt…”
“Ayana, from that Bennett line. She was in Mystic Falls,” Klaus supplied with a sigh. “There were more but dead from the famine and war before the family moved over here according to our wretched mother. Where exactly are you going with this?”
Elijah looked at him before turning back to the road. “What I am saying is that I need to see the reincarnation. Perhaps if I recognize her, I may know to what line she may belong to.”
“It is just another witch as far as I am concerned,” he murmured. “Fairytales that Kol and his precious pets worshipped in hopes of my demise.”
“This girl is likely in the company of the Salvatores,” the older brother mused. “Katherine anticipates her freedom to be granted as believes her values to you to be great. To her, she sees her as a competing doppelganger.”
“I haven’t a use for either. When I desire my hybrids, I will come for Elena’s blood. If this other manifestation is stronger, then I am sure I will find a suitable reason to keep her close by. Until then we trust nothing that lying bitch has to say,” Klaus growled.
Having nothing more to say regarding the doppelgängers, Elijah fell silent as they continued to drive through town. He glanced to his brother when he heard him let out an audible sigh. “Let us stop for a drink. There won’t be anything suitable to quell the mood I’m in at the house,” the hybrid muttered as he stared ahead at the grill.
As Elijah parked their SUV, he shook his head as his brother was already out of the vehicle, slamming the door in his haste to move. “If I wasn’t already familiar with your mood swings, I’d have thought you angry with me,” he called after him, causing the man to pause in his step.
Klaus shook his head, glaring back at him in warning. His already volatile demeanor had him on edge; jokes were not necessary to send him over.
They walked inside together, out of instinct, both of their eyes looked around to take in any potential threat. Elijah’s brows furrowed as he noticed the younger Salvatore brother in a heated discussion with Elena Gilbert.
Klaus’ lip curled back in disgust at the sight of them before he turned an ear to catch a few words of their argument. His eyes quickly sparkled with amusement, slapping his brother on the back and pulled him over to the bar. “It seems that our favorite doppelgänger has a bit of a lovers’ quarrel on her hands,” he commented.
“So it would appear,” Elijah mused thoughtfully, turning as he leaned against the bar to watch on. “It would seem she is much more like her predecessors than we had thought.”
As the two observed from their distance, Stefan only finally took notice of their presence as he shook his head against Elena’s argument. His eyes widened as Klaus smiled back at him and waved cockily.
He looked back at the girl who he had loved deeply, but had hurt him just as much in the last few days. “I’m sorry Elena but enough!” he hissed at her, trying to keep his voice down. Stefan really didn’t want to give the Originals such ammunition to use against them, considering what he knew they were likely back in town for, but she had drawn the final straw for him. “Whatever problem you have, figure it out and get over it. Until then, we’re done.”
“Stefan!” Elena gasped, her eyes tearing. “You can’t let this girl do this! Things were fine until she came here and now-”
“She did nothing to you and you know it! God, Elena! She’s seeing Damon, or whatever it is they have going on. You know he’s crazy about her, has been since that first dinner. It doesn’t explain why you would attempt to seduce my brother, then show up in his shower. I can’t tell you how lucky you are that it was Bella that found you, and not Damon because I don’t think I would have been able to keep him from trying to kill you after that stunt. I was barely able to drag her out of there considering she wanted to strangle you herself!”
She reached out and tried to take hold of his arm, as if for one last attempt to keep him from leaving. “You don’t understand… She knows too much about them. I really think they sent her to spy on us!”
His eyes just about bugged out, not knowing how to respond to her newest accusations. Only this time, he wouldn’t be able to try to cover for her as Damon and Bella had just walked in the door and had started for them, overhearing her words. His eyes immediately shot across to the bar to find Klaus and Elijah still watching curiously, and seemingly with concern.
As Stefan turned his attention back to Bella, he saw nothing but pure anger in her eyes as she stared at Elena. Damon had his arm around her waist, a fruitless attempt to hold her back if she really wanted to attack the girl as they all learned over the previous few days of her growing abilities.
“Since the day that we met, you’ve pretended to be my friend. You’ve done nothing but gone behind everyone’s back to sabotage any kind of friendship I made with anyone,” Bella said as she made her way closer. Her voice dropped to a lower tone so that it would carry to the other humans in the restaurant, but eavesdropping vampires still heard clearly. “I’m sorry you feel you aren’t getting the attention you are so accustomed to, but I didn’t ask for this to happen to me. You may be important to some in the supernatural world because of what you are, but I wish you could feel how I feel. Every death I’ve been forced to remember over centuries, Elena,” she hissed in her face. “You think I’m here to spy because of a feeling I had looking at some cave drawings? I’m eighteen years old Elena. How the fuck am I going to know about a place that I’ve never been before? My recollection of past lives didn’t start until I moved here and was only exasperated every time that I was around you and your evil fucking twin who’s had it out for me for 500 years!”
Elena’s mouth opened but before she could speak, Bella sneered at her. “If I were you, I’d try to shut up and save face before someone stronger comes to kill you. I at least know better than to speak out of turn on the things I do know that can get me killed and they have nothing to do with what was written in that cave. If Damon and Stefan didn’t care so much for you, I probably wouldn’t hesitate to try to wring your neck myself with the way I’m feeling right now,” she warned in a low and even tone before ripping herself from Damon’s hold and making her way up to the bar area.
He stared after her for a moment, watching as Klaus and Elijah’s eyes followed her. He hesitated at seeing the brothers back but he knew it was only a matter of time before they their appearance after Katherine’s warning.
“I think I like her,” Klaus smiled as he looked to Elijah, but the man was staring at the young witch peculiarly. “What is it?”
He didn’t answer as she had gotten closer, resting her arms on the bar as she smiled and gave the server her order. The wise thing would have been to turn away, as Klaus had, to his drink, but he could not.
Elijah had hoped when he learned of this new being, that he might recognize her in some way through his thousand years. Never did he think her face would be someone much closer, and long forgotten. He knew that Klaus hadn’t recognized the girl, as he was not yet been born. He was not yet himself, just a babe in Esther’s womb, but Finn shared enough stories with him.
Mikael, too, even spoke of the daughter lost that pressed his decision to move to the New World. Esther had at first used magic to share her image to continue her memory until their father’s broken heart could not take the pain any longer and grew cold, demanding no one to speak of Ylva any longer.
The older brother of the pair found himself conflicted on what to say. Knowing enough from the witches that she was indeed a reincarnation, but after living so many lives, if she recognized or knew of the rest of the family. His attempt, however, was either saved or thwarted, when Damon arrived at her side. His eyes glaring an icy blue at the two despite the smile she had on her face as she looked up him.
As he studied her in that moment, he instantly saw a different kind of protection over her from the vampire. And a deep affection for him reciprocated. Perhaps even love.
“Let’s go,” he muttered to her, trying to pull her away, only for her to resist stubbornly.
“I just ordered my food and I won’t have petty jealousy run me off. Whatever problem Elena has, Damon, is her problem. Not ours. And I’m happy that Stefan is finally seeing the truth about her, especially after the stunt she pulled after the last time Katherine visited. She’s gone now so relax,” she reassured him.
“Gorgeous, you know I love you and all, but if you remember that morning, then think about that threat the bitch left behind,” he whispered to her, his eyes never leaving Elijah as he continued to stare at the girl.
Bella frowned as she looked back up at him, turning to follow his gaze. Recalling Elena’s concern about the hybrid that had been after her, she let out a cautious breath. Unlike the vampire at her side, she focused on the two and her own curiosity grew brighter at being able to meet them.
Feeling no sense of threat, she smiled as she held out her hand. “Hello. I’m Bella,” she greeted, looking to Elijah first as he was closer before shifting her eyes to the one behind him, whom was quietly observing her. “So one of you is the Klaus that has everyone so uptight around town?”
“That’d be me, Love,” Klaus spoke, a smirk on his lips as he sipped on his alcohol. The corner of his mouth twitched as her smile fell at his endearment. “And despite what Katherine may have insinuated, I give my word that we are not here to cause you harm. That is, of course, as long as you have no intentions of doing the same to our family. In which case, I can promise that we would retaliate-”
“Niklaus. We will not fight the girl,” Elijah voiced finally, his hand still holding hers. “Katerina had no knowledge of what she set in motion when she prompted us to return, but if any blood is to be spilled, it will begin with her.”
Bella’s eyebrow rose as she felt as if she was caught between two opposing forces. She felt drawn to the two powerful vampires, but her allegiance to Damon was strong in her spirit. She still felt the love that her last life held for him and it almost consumed with each passing day. Her attention was distracted as Matt set her order on the bar, his eyes glancing to the Mikaelsons with concern before leaving.
“Let’s go,” Damon insisted, now that she had her food. He wanted to be as far away from the Originals as possible.
“Damon. Behave. I believe they can answer questions that we’ve been wondering about what has been happening to me,” she scolded him. The two exchanged a long stare before he raised his hands in defeat.
“Fine, but don’t say that I didn’t warn you,” he hissed at her. “And I’m not leaving your side.”
She couldn’t help but to be amused by his posturing. “You did promise Charlie that you would help him and that Forbes lady with the council today. Isn’t that meeting in like twenty minutes? You wouldn’t want to disappointment him now. Would you?”
“Bella…” he warned.
“Go. I’ll be fine. I promise,” she assured him. “And besides. They also said they had no intentions of hurting me. All that we are going to do is talk. If I need you, I will call. Now shoo!”
Damon knew quite well that she wasn’t wrong, and if he didn’t show, her father would be another complication. He shook his head, not happy at all about leaving her with the two who he had no knowledge of why they were so interested in his girl. “I don’t like this and I don’t trust them,” he pleaded, whispering to her.
“Trust me then, Damon. I’m getting stronger. I’m remembering a bit more. I truly don’t think they will do anything. Now go deal with Charlie before he starts questioning everything,” she smiled as she pushed herself up onto her toes to give him a light kiss on the cheek.
Unable to resist her request any further, he melted to her affection and nodded. “Fine. Call me if you need anything. I won’t be far,” he murmured, his nose buried in her hair as his eyes glared over her head at the brothers. His possessive nature warring within him, fighting against leaving her to the opposing males. “I’ll be back soon.”
Once he left, Bella watching his movements until he disappeared from sight before she turned back to the two, she let out a breathy sigh as her eyes evaluated their presence. While the one was quietly curious, the other older appeared to simply be in a state of shock. At least it looked that way to her. “Perhaps we should go somewhere more appropriate to talk? Personally, I’d rather be anywhere where Elena is not right now,” she commented, her eyes intentionally avoiding the direction where the human girl still lingered, watching them.
“Of course, Miss Bella,” Elijah answered after a moment, recalling the name that Damon had used. “Anywhere you would feel most comfortable.”
She nodded as she gave them one more speculative look before grabbing her bag. “Seeing as I had originally arrived with Damon, looks like I’ll be riding with you,” she smiled. “I’ll give you the directions.”
“Please. Allow me to carry that for you,” Elijah offered as he held his hand out.
Bella briefly narrowed her eyes on him, ready to deny his request but something inside her pushed to accept it. As she handed her bagged order over for him to carry, her hand brushed on his and she could not help but to close her eyes. A wave of dizziness overcame her and he reached out to grab her before she could fall. Only the increased contact strengthened her experience, causing her to look up at him with a blank stare, her eyes unfocused as she was listening to something faint beside her.
The ever familiar ghostly voice that she heard was cool on her ear, her eyes seeing the same man before her helping her to her feet on a bustling road where she had been pushed out of the way. Her face obscured by the scarves of the winter as she sought to find dairy and bread to feed herself for the the coming days. He pulled her up to her feet, giving her some pence and pushed her to the market vender nearby that offered a delicious assortment of fresh foods. When she turned around, he was gone.
“Fra familie kommer styrke og kraft…” the voice whispered.
“Fra familie kommer styrke og kraft…” she muttered, confused and weak before her head fell against his shoulder.
Klaus had already been on his feet, at their side as he looked on with worry. “Let’s bring her to our place. I still have ownership of it and it is in fairly good condition. I had called ahead to have someone check on its status before we left,” he said, grabbing the nearly forgotten food as Elijah scooped the girl in his arms.
“You should take her to Damon and her father. Or at the very least the hospital. They will both find a way to kill you if you do anything to her,” Elena spoke up from behind them.
Klaus turned to glare at the girl. “First, we have no intention of doing anything out of sort to the girl. Secondly, I doubt that they truly care of your opinions from the display that we’ve witnessed when we arrived. I would suggest that you mind your own, Elena, otherwise I will have no problem coming after you for your blood again,” he growled. “Now leave us before I break your neck.”
The two quickly escaped the restaurant without much fuss, laying the unconscious girl in the back of their SUV and drove quickly to their home in town. Neither spoke initially but both were reeling from what they had heard.
“Do you think they were aware that she is able to speak the old language?” Klaus questioned, his eyes glancing over at his brother who turned to give a thoughtful look to the girl.
“Doubtful, but it only give more credit to who I believe she may be,” he replied so quietly, Klaus almost could not hear. Even with his supernatural enhancements.
He attempted to remain focused on his driving, but grew serious as his hands gripped the wheel. “What are you keeping from me, Elijah?”
Elijah looked up with a small smile and a glint of hope in his eyes, but also a touch of fear. “I believe that she is our sister,” he admitted. “Our older sister, Ylva that we had believed died of the plague before we moved her. But now, I do not believe our mother was entirely honest in her tales of what had truly happened.”
“Of course she wasn’t! Our mother always was a lying-”
“Niklaus. Now is not the time. If we truly have our sister back, we need to confirm that it is her and then find out what had happened. Remember what we were told. It’s been a thousand years! Imagine the number of reincarnations she had to have endured, the deaths. Katerina admitted to killing her several times personally, but my question what drove her to do that? Then we return to see that next doppelganger suddenly changed and is so much like her predecessor. Think!”
Klaus’ mind had already gone into hyperdrive, the possibilities raging a new ire inside him. “We shall keep Elena Gilbert away from the girl until we know more. If she is our sister, as you believe, then we will protect her as a Mikaelson.”
“Fra familie kommer styrke og kraft. From family comes strength and power. That is what she said. What more can you ask?”
Klaus only looked at him before nodding his agreement, the girl was accepted until further would be known. He now wondered just who would put such a curse on her that would make her live and relive so many lives only to be killed. For what purpose?