A/N: Don’t remember the nurse mentioned in chapter 20? Check chapter 10! *grin* Or continue reading and find out the answer 🙂
“I don’t want them to hear this,” Bella said as she pointed at Damon and Elena. They were all gathered in the compound, still carrying all of their equipment. “They can reunite with Jeremy properly later, but we need to discuss this without their ears.”
Klaus was swift in breaking the necks of the two vampires. “First of all, you brought more idiots from Mystic Falls in this city, care to explain?”
“That’s not important, but they’re here for Jeremy,” Bella said as she watched the bodies drop to the ground. She walked over to the nearest table with alcohol and poured herself a big glass of bourbon and knocked it back in one go.
Klaus brow raised as he watched her drink, knowing she preferred wine. “This ought to be good,” he sighed. “Shall I call Myriam and the others back?”
“How about you decide after hearing this?” Bella looked at him. “Because this is important. Like… very important because I don’t think there’s anything we can do to stop her from popping up again and again and again and causing trouble for us. She broke through my barrier and I’m likely not strong enough to go head to head with this.”
The hybrid frowned at the fear that filled his young friend and looked to his brother, who also was not all that excited at the moment. In fact he looked downright, terrified. Or at least as terrified one of their family was capable of reaching. Kol had remained mostly silent, looking around with suspicion, but he was certain he wasn’t seeing spirits any longer.
“Alright, hit me with the bad news before I decide to murder some pains in the asses,” he said, standing over Damon and Elena.
“You know that when I was fifteen, my parents put me in a mental health hospital,” Bella started to explain. “Because of the stabbing and the things I saw, and we’ve established that it was around the time you’d all come back to Mystic Falls, right?”
Klaus nodded, “I got that information from your father, yes. What does this have to do with whatever you two are so…”
“I was put in a hospital in Virginia, close to Mystic Falls. When Kol and I took a trip inside my head, we were confronted with images from my time there. I still don’t remember much from it, it’s all still mostly blocked, but I know enough to… well… remember it as quite unpleasant. There was this nurse there at some point and she felt familiar to me and I thought she could have been my biological mother or something because it felt so real, there was a connection and I couldn’t explain it. She did some unspeakable things to me and wished for me to kill her family when I was older.”
He narrowed his eyes, feeling the story to have a much more personal aspect to his family’s lives than it should. Meeting Kol’s eyes, he could see the same expression and at the subtle nod from his brother, he closed his eyes and turned away. “Who was this woman?” he questioned as he went to his bar.
“Kol recognized her as your mother,” Bella replied softly. “I’m sorry.”
“So what does this have to do with why you’re here today? You are out of that facility and free from her manipulations. In fact we killed her not just once but again here in -. The Other Side is destroyed…” he realized, looking at his brother again. “No!”
“She was presenting herself as someone else so that it wouldn’t draw Bella’s suspicions, although she did stop her from advancing by putting a barrier around her. Bella wasn’t afraid, at first, in fact, she wanted to face it head on because she knows she can do more now. It wasn’t until these two idiots showed up that this spirit showed her true self to Bella and well…”
“She’s nothing like a ghost or an Ancestor,” Bella replied quietly. “She’s an entity at this point, I think akin to the Elementals, you can’t truly get rid of them. Hell, I’m not even sure if I can take her on should she start to cause trouble for us,” she was then quiet for a moment. “Oh. But that might actually work. Ohh… yes!”
“Care to enlighten the rest of us, Isabella?” Klaus growled. “If you cannot fight our mother in her new form, then what can?”
“I think we’ll have a great shot in Natchez,” she said with a nod, carefully looking around to see if there were new spirits hanging around. “Can’t say much in case she’ll hear it, but if she wants me, she can come and get me in Natchez, where we’ll go camping until she shows up.”
“Natchez?” Kol frowned. “There are plenty of nicer grounds closer here. I’ll take you to the Bayou…”
“Yeah, been there before, very haunted. Very elementally and they owe me, and they know this,” she looked at Kol with a smile. “No doubt they’ll have heard about our good work at that house by now, and I’ve been there before, they’re very… accommodating as long as you treat them with respect and make some sacrifices.”
Shrugging a shoulder, he looked at the unconscious vampires. “Sacrifices, we got in spades.”
“Not those kind,” Bella rolled her eyes at him. “They’re for Jeremy to deal with. Your mother is yours, Klaus, and my problem.”
“Hey! I never said I’d go with you!” Klaus objected.
“Oh, but from what Kol told me, you’ll be great bait, too,” Bella grinned. “Pack your bags, we’re leaving tonight to make sure she won’t do us any harm.”
“Myriam and I had a date night planned!” he argued. “What do you expect me to tell her when she comes home and finds us gone?!”
“Who are you more afraid of? Your mother or Myriam?”
He scowled at her. “They are equally terrifying in their areas. You tell Myriam why I can’t take her out. I’ll be waiting in the car. Bloody fucking siblings and mother…” he grumbled as he made his way through the compound. “And I want those pests out before we get back!”
“You sure you want to do this now? At this second?” Jeremy questioned Bella. “Shouldn’t you give it some more time?”
“I think that if we give the bitch more time to gain more energy and become powerful, nothing can stop her,” Bella said, quite self-confident. “This is the best shot that we have to make sure she won’t do us any harm now, or in the future. Natchez is our best shot at this point. If that fails, well, we’ll have to think of something else.” She then paused for a moment. “Just imagine, she wasn’t powerful enough now to take me over, but if she would have been able to, what would she have done?”
“Best not to think about that,” Kol said as he stuffed the bags with equipment in the car. “Those are coming with. Your backpack is coming with, although if Nik gets possessed, I think you’re better off poofing out of existence until he’s back to his normal self.”
“What about the dagger?” she asked.
“It’ll only slow him down, not put him down like it does to me. Fucking hybrid and all.”
“I heard that!” Klaus’ voice could be heard from the car.
Bella let a breath out through her nose. “This will be fun.”
Kol smiled and shook his head. “Remember you once said you wanted him to join us on a haunt.”
“Yeah, a proper haunt, not to use him as bait,” Bella scowled as she followed Kol to the car and dialled Myriam’s number.
Jeremy sighed. “You are just as much bait as he would be. You said she is interested in you, and she hates him. Just be careful.”
“Yeah, she wants me to kill them all, we’ll be fine where we’re going, I promise,” she replied with a smile. “Have fun with your sis.”
“Can we trade? Please?”
Bella had settled in the passenger seat when Myriam finally picked up the phone. “I’m feeding here! Date night tonight! Need to be at my most beautiful!”
“You are always beautiful, Myr,” Bella replied, rolling her eyes. “But date night is cancelled. I’m kidnapping your boyfriend.”
“I never thought Kol would be willing to share you with anyone else, least of all Nik. He is a wild ride though. Where are you taking him?”
“It’s not that kind of a kidnapping. I’m going to use him as bait. Two baits are better than one.”
“Oooh, sounds like fun! Why wasn’t I invited? I feel so unloved…”
“Well, we’re currently driving down Bourbon Street, come and find us and join us.”
Klaus scowled over at his human friend. “You have no idea what you are inviting along.”
Bella shrugged as she disconnected the call. “I’ll explain the rules to you and her once she’s here. If she doesn’t abide by the rules, Kol has my permission to snap her neck.”
Kol glanced warily at his brother. “Uh, darling? That’s not quite what he meant. After Myriam feeds on fresh blood – she’s um…”
*crash – thud*
Bella let out a cry of surprise when something crashed down onto their roof. “What the hell!”
Klaus sighed as he rolled down the window for Myriam to climb inside. “Come on in, my love,” he greeted Myriam as she hopped in, immediately straddling him and smothering him with kisses.
“Sex in the back of a moving vehicle,” Myriam purred. “That’s been a long time…”
Bella scowled. “Hey, none of that!”
“Close your ears,” Myriam smiled at her as she looked over her shoulder. “Mommy and daddy will be done shortly.”
Bella rummaged through her backpack and grabbed her vervain before brushing it against Myriam’s arm, causing her to yelp and get off of Klaus in an instant with a pout. “Party pooper! That hurts!”
“It’s effective,” Bella shrugged as she put it away again. “It’s a four hour drive. Make that two, speed limits don’t count for Kol.”
Myriam was still rubbing her arm and angrily nudged the chair in front of her with her knee. “Why are you going to use them as bait?”
Klaus sighed as he started to explain the situation to her, grateful for Bella’s quick thinking, but also severely pissed at the interruption of date night. Myriam high on blood was so much fun and she never allowed herself to get carried away this much.
“Oh! We’ve always wanted to go along with her on these kind of trips!” Myriam responded happily as she bounced in her seat.
“No, love, you always wanted to go, I am fine staying at home,” he pointed out to her. “You know very well that this doesn’t interest me.”
“Yes it does.”
“No, it doesn’t.”
“Bullshit,” she shot at him before leaning on the chair and blowing into Bella’s ear. “So, the Mikaelsons as bait, will they be undressed and tied up?”
Kol sighed at the image of his girlfriend naked. “No. Actually it’s Bella and Klaus that is the bait this time.”
“Ohh, a naked Bella? I don’t think I can keep my hands off of her, either!”
“Myr,” Bella warned her. “Esther wants me. But seeing as she hates Klaus, I figured it would be easier to get her where I want her if I brought him with me. For some reason she seemed disappointed in Kol.”
“Yeah, because I refused to do her bidding the last time,” he said with a scowl. “Once again, the unwanted Mikaelson.”
“You’re not unwanted,” Bella assured him. “I want you. You’re mine,” she ran a hand through his hair as he drove. “And Klaus is happy you’re back, too. Rebekah adores you and Elijah… well, it’s hard for him to like anyone, isn’t it?”
“That’s not what I meant…”
“Well, it’s what I mean,” she replied as she continued to ignore the horny feelings she got from Myriam. “And it says a lot about a parent when they don’t want you. It means that they’re rubbish.”
“Are you going to explain the plan to us now, love?” Klaus questioned her as Kol sped the car up even further.
“No, but we’re going over the rules, how about that?”
“I’ve been here before,” Bella said as they unloaded the car in the sunrise. “Did you know that leaders of the Natchez Native Americans were called The Great Sun and that when one died, his wives would perform a ritualistic suicide as they were expected to join him on his journey in the afterlife? A great honor was associated with this act,” she said as she adjusted her bag on her back. “Sometimes more people would follow in this act, mothers would even sacrifice their children and then that honor would be bestowed upon them.”
“That’s truly barbaric,” Klaus huffed.
“Not for them, and they were all honorable deaths with honorable burials. These spirits no longer linger around,” Bella said as she pointed at the Walmart across the street. “I’m going to get us some food, how about you guys plunder that flower shop over there? I want everything.”
“Everything?” Kol blinked in confusion. “Seriously?”
“Yeah, everything. We’re going to ask some very powerful beings for help, they need all the sacrifice we can give to them,” she then looked at the vampires. “You’re vampires, for fuck’s sake, you’re not afraid of a few flowers, are you?”
“Um, vervain? Wolfsbane? So…yeah…” Klaus muttered, with Kol and Myriam nodding along.
Bella scowled as she held out her hand. “Give me your credit card. You’re going to get us some food and drinks for the day and I will get those flowers, hell, even tip them well enough for them to deliver the truck where I want to go and leave the truck there for the rest of the day.”
“Wait, we can do that,” Myriam blinked. “I didn’t think of that, of course we don’t have to handle the flowers!”
“Doesn’t Klaus buy you flowers?” she asked her, confused.
“Well, the shop I go to definitely has no chance of cross contamination of the very plants that can poison us,” Klaus answered. “It’s owned by a vampire.”
“So you three won’t even set foot in that shop?”
“Nope,” Myriam shook her head. “Because cross contamination is real.”
Bella couldn’t help but to laugh uncontrollably. “Oh, look at that, three big bad vampires, afraid of a flower shop… jesus christ, just compel someone!” She threw her hands up as she gave up. “You know what? Come with me to Walmart, and I’ll come with you to the flower shop,” she shook her head laughing as she looped her arm through Kol’s and pulled him along with her. “You’re hilarious.”
“Glad our fears amuse you, darling,” Kol murmured as he followed her into the store.
After purchasing enough snacks and drinks for their day out – Bella was unsure how long this was going to take, but if all failed, they could try summoning Esther to the spot, she made arrangements for the flowers to be taken to the spot near the Mississippi river where she wanted to go to. It was close by anyway.
She was glad that Myriam had settled somewhat as they walked towards the area. Yes, there were shops near by and yes, perhaps it was all situated near a busy road, but at night, everything was quiet and the place more beautiful than it already was. “The first time I was here was a couple of years ago, my first experience with the Elementals and Native American spirits. It taught me a whole lot on how to deal with them.”
“At the Cullen House you were stopped by Native American spirits,” Kol pointed out.
“Yes, because they were protecting the house. Or me, us, from getting hurt in that house. And I was stubborn. But I always treat them with respect. I wasn’t really nice last night, but those ghosts weren’t nice, these people are completely different.”
“What are Elementals again?”
“Oh, I know this one,” Myriam piped up. “They can be anything, ranging from animal spirits or water spirits or…”
“True, but the guys I’m referring to are as tall as the trees, black as the night and all you can see are their eyes sometimes,” Bella smiled. “More like big protectors rather than cuddlers, they keep the spirits safe and give warnings to the living.”
Kol thought about Bella’s words before it finally clicked inside his head. “You think they can deal with Esther?”
“It’s worth a shot,” Bella shrugged. “Hence why we need all those flowers, I’m likely going to be talking to these guys all day.”
“And what are we supposed to do all day!” Klaus exclaimed. “Sit around, doing nothing?”
“Yep, enjoying the scenery and shit. Try to refrain from snacking on people, the Elementals will not like that and will be less likely to agree to try and help.”
Myriam pouted. “We can always go out of the immediate area for a snack.”
“Haven’t you had enough?” Klaus blinked at her. “We could, however, give these Elementals a show while we romp in the woods…”
“Oh boy,” Bella groaned as she sat down on the grass and spread out her little blanket that she bought so they wouldn’t look out of place from other people enjoying a day out in the sun. It was still early, but blending in was the best way for now. “Breakfast time,” she smiled as she set out the assortment of fruit and sandwiches.
“Shouldn’t you try and take a nap, Darling?” Kol asked, moving to sit beside her.
She nodded as she popped a berry in her mouth. “I’ll nap after breakfast, I’m hungry.”
Kol pulled her into his arms and pulled her down with him. “I’m hungry too, but something else entirely. My brother and Myriam may not have had a bad idea in running off. You do know there is no one around to find us,” he grinned.
“I’m going to have to talk to the Elementals, Kol,” she let out a snort as she settled beside him and reached for the strawberries. She grabbed a handful and fed him one.
Chewing the fruit, he kept his eyes on her. “Are there any around now?”
“Yeah, of course, they’re always around. Just wary, quietly observing us,” she replied as she nodded towards the tree line. “Some of their fallen warriors are around too, they never got a proper burial, it was likely that they were killed by the French army and their bodies dumped in the river. Looking for ghosts is always done in the dark, but I don’t need the dark for it. Never have. But it looks better and creepier on camera.” She took a bite of her strawberry and closed her eyes. “By showing them that we are peaceful and come in peace, we’ll be able to gain their trust more easily. It’s been awhile, you know. And these people present here aren’t doing anything hurtful unless we provoke them. The warriors are restless, but that’s because they didn’t get the burial they deserved and no shaman has returned to move their spirits on. They don’t like it that there are shops nearby though. Disturbs the peace a little, but they’re sentient enough to know to stay away from the area, and follow the river to other places they can gather.”
“Are Native American spirits different from the others?”
“A little. But that’s because they’re a very spiritual folk, they’ve seen conflict, they’ve been evicted from their own houses… there are some deranged spirits out there, don’t get me wrong, but they usually only do bad things when they have a good reason for it. Like… they’re confused and think the land still belongs to them, they’ll haunt a family living on the property much to the point where they get sick or die. It’s an endless cycle, but no matter what, who or how, I always make sure I pay the right respects to these spirits and their protectors. Because that’s what they deserve. It’s also the reason why I work the way I do with the normal spirits, they get bothered enough by people who do this for a kick and a rush.”
“People like Drew,” he let out a snort.
“Well yeah, especially his buddies. Drew is actually the calmer sort, just highly excitable like a puppy. I mean, he did brilliant things for us at the House and his footage with Jeremy is great. Totally different from when he’s with his colleagues. Jace is this showboat with a big mouth and Hugo is his puppy who does things when Jace is too scared, the whole energy of that group is unbalanced, which isn’t good for the spirits, either. What Astaria does, helping families in haunted homes, is something entirely different, because she’s actually a clairaudient and stuff. She doesn’t need equipment,” she opened her eyes and popped another strawberry in Kol’s mouth. “She doesn’t go in screaming and yelling like… ‘show yourself! Hurt me! Use this equipment to communicate with us!'”
“And here I thought you never badmouthed others!”
“Not where I can get quoted and it can be used against me,” she laughed. “Seriously though, people like that piss me off because I’m usually the one cleaning up their messes. It’s easy to tell when they’ve been somewhere. Asteria too, she doesn’t like them either and will try to fix things but sometimes she calls me for a favor. The Sanatorium has been trampled over a plenty. Amy said something about the second floor being bad, and the third floor even worse. The first floor where we were hanging out is filled with so many zombie ghosts that it’s heartbreaking. And I’m sure you didn’t miss all those exes on the floor in duct tape.”
“You do worry me sometimes,” he said as he nuzzled her neck. “I love how self confident you are with this part of your life even after all the nasty experiences, but you’re only one person, Bella, it’s not your duty to fix everything.”
“So… you’d rather I allow your mom to become more powerful and able to hurt all of you?”
“That’s not what I mean, that’s something entirely different. I meant what you did at the Sanatorium, moving on an entire room of people and then having had to deal with my mother. Wouldn’t the barrier have held if you hadn’t used your energy to move those spirits on?”
“Likely, but not for much longer, though,” she said after having given it some thought. “But I want to practise it though, to do mass passings. If we’d ever come across another house as bad as the Cullens, I want to be able to protect us all. Wouldn’t it be neat if I were able to cleanse an entire building with a simple thought?”
“Yes, but it’ll also burn you out so no,” he sighed. “It’s good to feel powerful, but even you have your limits, you just don’t know them yet.”
She turned around in his arms and looked at him. “Something like that house will never happen again,” she assured him, kissing his lips softly. “Especially now that I’m working with what I’ve previously lost… all thanks to you,” she then smiled as she pushed another strawberry into his mouth. “I’ve been thinking… we still have so many questions about who or what I am, what I can do… we need to have another source other than that scroll to confirm everything… what if it’s inside my mind? What if it’s been inside of there all along?”
“You want to go for another trip?” He asked with a full mouth as he chewed.
“If you want, yes,” Bella nodded. “Not now, of course, but once we’ve dealt with Esther and had some rest.”
He nodded. “Very well, if I say yes, will you please go and take a nap now?”
She let out a chuckle and nodded. “Yes, I will take that nap now and have more food later.”
“Then yes. I think it’s an excellent idea,” he replied as he pulled her closer against him. “Now nap.” When he was absolutely certain that Bella was down for the count, he looked around to find his brother, who was just returning with Myriam. “Had fun?” he asked quietly.
“Oh yeah,” Myriam giggled as she sat down on the blanket and started to devour the strawberries. “You got her to nap?”
“Do you have any idea how hard it is to have a serious talk with someone and try to get into their mind at the same time to make sure that they’re taking the rest that they need?”
“You didn’t!” Myriam gasped.
“Payback, because she kept a tighter emotional leash on me last night,” he replied with half a shrug, before explaining to Myriam that Bella likes to keep light emotional tabs on the people she’s going in the field with to make sure that they’re alright, and how deeper she was connecting with him after their experience at the house. “In any case, I’m glad you both have returned, at least now it won’t look awkward when I’m going for a stroll inside her mind and we won’t be unprotected.”
“Aren’t you supposed to do that with her, brother?” Klaus questioned as he buttered a roll for himself. “It’s her mind, after all.”
“And she’s terrified of what’s inside. I’m going in, and I’ll leave the memories of what I’ve learned when I go out. Easy like that. She’ll understand.”
Myriam curiously eyed him for a moment. “Very well, proceed, but Klaus is coming in with you.”
“What!” Both Klaus and Kol exclaimed, causing Bella to stir in her slumber.
“Whatever her link to Esther is, affects the rest of the family. At least having a second pair of eyes in her head to witness everything, would give more credibility to your idiotic older brother when he second guesses everything Kol and Bella claim,” Myriam explained. “Plus, I think she might be a little more accommodating in regards to her fears inside if two of the deadliest creatures that she trusts are in there to protect her.”
“But Bella won’t be there, I made sure of it,” Kol said, defensively. “She hates her head.”
“A piece of Bella is always present, you know this as well as I do, besides, I think that with Klaus’ help, you won’t be kicked out easily, either.” Myriam winked at him. “So, proceed, but take Klaus with you.”