Chapter 23

Bella was confident that her plan was going to work by the time it was time to have some dinner. She didn’t want to leave the park, however, so Klaus went off to get them something proper to eat from a restaurant. Myriam had returned with some things that could be useful to compel a spirit to come to them from wherever they were, but she wasn’t quite sure if it would work on Esther, as her own spirits had confirmed that Esther had become something else.

Myriam needed to do some preparation as well, so Bella explained to the Elementals and the Native American spirits that she, too, was a good vampire and wanting to aid them into making sure Esther would show up. That she wasn’t going to harm them, only aid them and to enforce them even further. After getting the approval, Bella sat back down with Kol and Klaus and took a few sips from her drink.

Jeremy had been texting him every ten minutes, asking for help or to kill him or to kill Damon and compel Elena to leave him alone, but Kol had ignored them all. It wasn’t until Bella saw his phone light up from another text message that she was curious and noticed that Kol hadn’t been replying. “He’s your friend!”

“Yeah, but it’s his fault that Damon and Elena showed up! Let him feel the burn!”

“He’s my friend,” Bella said as she handed Kol his phone. “Be nice and tell him that we’ll be back in the morning and that I’d love to properly meet his sister and her boyfriend. I’ll be on my best mother hen behavior.”

“So you won’t tell them you put Jeremy up in a suite in a haunted hotel?”

“Oh, of course I will,” Bella huffed. “One; it’s not like he had to pay for it and two; who the fuck shows up like he did? It was bad enough I had to get used to you! Oh, and three, they didn’t hurt him.”

“Well, I kinda wished we had Jeremy here with us right now,” Kol said as he tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear. “Because you’re going up against my mother and she’s a wicked one. You’ll be the only one able to see everything. I can’t tell when something goes horribly wrong because I can’t see it. And what if you do pop over to the other side? We’d lose track of you completely!”

“Have some of my blood. Not all, but just enough to give you a short while to be my backup. I’m sure Myriam can keep everyone else at bay for you,” she turned in his lap and softly kissed him. “Hell, even Klaus can have some if he wishes.”

“That is actually not a bad plan,” Klaus replied thoughtfully. “If she truly wants to hurt you – and myself – I should be able to see her coming when needed.”

“I don’t like that idea,” Kol shot at his brother as he possessively wrapped his arms around Bella. “She’s mine,” he added before looking at her. “Sharing your blood freely with other vampires is a no-no, Bella.”

“He’s your brother and he’s in a well established relationship with a voodoo priestess. He’s not some mutt off the street,” she told him. “I trust him with it, do you?”

“Your blood is something special.”

“He wanted me gone this afternoon and now he agrees with having my blood to see things for safety reasons. I’m not remotely interested in him as my partner or whatever. It’ll also serve as a way for you to speak to your mother, say your peace if you want to.”

Klaus smirked as he held up his glass. “You can get it straight from the vein, brother, I’ll have it in here please.”

“I still don’t like it,” Kol muttered with a sigh. It was the only option they had right now, and he was stupid enough to bring it up now that Jeremy wasn’t here. He had made it difficult for himself. “When do you think you’ll be ready?”

“As soon as Myriam’s done, I think we’ll be ready to go.”

“Then you can keep your blood until Myriam’s done. The effect is quite instantaneous and I think I should prepare Nik for the worst.”

“Sorry to burst your bubble,” Myriam said as she skidded to a halt next to them and dropped to her knees with a big smile on her face. “I couldn’t help but to overhear while I was finishing up my spells and placing my objects all over but uh… Kol was only able to see the spirits after nearly draining you, Bella. I mean, sure, he may not need a lot now because I know he’s a biter and surely has some of your blood already inside of him, but Klaus is a completely different story. Not only doesn’t he have any of your blood inside of him, he’s also a freaking hybrid. He needs more than Kol would need.”

“I don’t like where this is going,” Kol muttered, pulling Bella even closer.

“Oh shush, you wuss, she can’t die, however, I did pop by that stupid tea shop run by Ann to get her this iced tea, it’s infused with herbs and shit that it’ll almost negate the effects of blood loss and Bella will continue to function.” Myriam then hesitated, knowing what she was going to say next was going to unnerve both Bella and Kol. “Klaus will have to drink straight from Bella.”

Bella felt how the color drained from her face. “I withdraw my offer.” Kol was upset and Bella couldn’t help to be upset by it either, for different reasons. She trusted Kol, completely and without any thought, even after what happened in the Cullen House, because it hadn’t been him, although it were his teeth that hurt her. She trusted Klaus, but she didn’t really like the idea of him having to nearly drain her, too.

“It’s either that, or possess Klaus for like… a good 15 minutes,” Myriam shrugged.

“Oh hell no,” Klaus objected vigorously. “That’s not going to happen. I possess people from time to time to hide, but they will not possess me!”

“Seriously, you were inside her head,” Myriam pointed out before looking at Bella. “You allowed Klaus in your head, you could have thrown him out but you didn’t. He’s a gentle biter and with a little of Kol’s blood inside of you and this iced tea, you’ll be good to go. Not completely 100%, but you’ll be good to go. I, too, think it’s better if both brothers can see what you’re up to and keep an eye on Esther if need be. Consult with the Elementals if you wish, but I think they’ll agree. It’ll only hurt for a short while. Have them both drink from you at the same time will be even better and quicker.”

“And you’re sure this iced tea will work?” Kol spat at Myriam, still not fond of having to share Bella’s blood with his brother, especially with him drinking straight from a vein as well. They’d shared preys in the past without any issues, but Bella wasn’t a prey. She was his. And his alone.

Myriam shrugged. “With Ann you may never know. For all we know Bella could sprout an extra head or something, but as much as I dislike Ann, she does know her things and she thinks Bella is amazing so I doubt she’d have given me this if it wasn’t kosher.”

“I don’t like the feeling of being blind when it comes to dealings with our mother,” Klaus said gently. “I have excellent control, Bella, and I will stop when I feel the effects of your blood, that is a promise.”

“Nik, I swear-” Kol started.

“I don’t want her possessing me!” Klaus shot back at his brother, before both vampires looked at Bella in shock when she had quickly slit her wrists with one of the knives from the restaurant.

“Drink up,” she muttered as she leaned into Kol, wincing as the wounds hurt.

“You’re insane!” Kol blurted as he let go of her and put his hands on her wounds to stop them from bleeding. “Bella, you can’t do this.”

“I can and I did. I’m a tool, I get that, don’t worry, just drink and then feed me that tea and your blood and we’ll see what happens. Just hurry because this hurts.”

“She’s made her choice,” Myriam said, gesturing to Bella’s wrists. “Drink deep, Klaus.”

“Just don’t freak out when you see weird shit,” Kol muttered as he released Bella’s wrists and took one in his mouth after biting in his hand to feed her his blood as he drank. He could hear her heartbeat and how it started to beat irregular for a short moment of time before picking up again after she had drank a significant amount of his blood. Her body tried to crawl into his as he drank, but immediately stopped when he noticed Native American looking spirits stand at the treeline. “Uh, they’ll stay there, right?” He asked a bit apprehensively as he used his closing wound to close the wound on her wrist.

“Yeah…” Bella let out a deep breath. “Woozy.”

“You’re stupid,” Kol scolded her as he reached for the iced tea and helped her to drink it while Klaus still fed on her. “This is your own fault, you know. You don’t have to sacrifice yourself all the time. Sure, we just found out that you can’t die, but this is not what you’re supposed to be doing and granted, you’re doing this for us and we really appreciate it but no more heroics, got it?”

“We’ll see,” she smiled at him, her eyes slightly unfocused as she clutched the bottle and continued to drink the tea.

Klaus released Bella’s wrist with a gasp, his hybrid façade fading as he looked around in shock and fell back on his butt as he kept looking around. “We have all of this surrounding us and you’re not saying anything?”

“Why should I? I’m the only one who deals with them, not even Jeremy sees them all the time unless he tries really hard,” Bella replied and watched as the wounds on her wrist healed up. “Be glad we’re here and not slap bang in the middle of New Orleans.”

Myriam smirked as she put her arms around Klaus. “Don’t worry, it’ll likely wear off by the time we return to New Orleans and otherwise I’ll just have to fetch that little Angel statue to help you out. Welcome to another part of Bella’s world. What do you see?”

Klaus frustratingly motioned towards the treeline. “Native warriors, standing still, looking ahead. It’s unnerving. Can’t they turn around?”

“They’re just as frightened of you as you are of them,” Bella replied as she finished her iced tea and slowly rose to her feet. “Oh boy,” she said as she wobbled a little but steadied herself before falling over. “Uh… On top of everything Kol has no doubt told you about how I work and what I desire from you… I want to add the fact that I truly hope you are also in control over your emotions and keep them away from me. My blood is also enhancing the emotions that I feel from you.”

“That’s going to get mightily interesting when these two see their mother,” Myriam let out a snort as she curiously eyed Bella. “You need to eat some more before you do anything else.”

Bella took the banana Kol was offering and curiously walked towards the river bed. “Well that’s odd,” she muttered to herself as she tried to make sense of what she saw. “There’s something here that doesn’t have anything to do with the people that are here…” She took a bite of her banana and kept her eyes on the thing. “It looks like a person wrapped in plastic, obviously in distress. Uh, a woman. She’s definitely not a part of what’s here, they are ignoring her.”

“Bella,” Kol was next to her in an instant. “She could very well be a distraction created by Esther. I don’t see her.”

“I don’t think you’re meant to,” she replied as she circled the wrapped up spirit curiously. “This is a warning meant for me. I’m getting a ‘don’t help me’ message. The feeling as if she’s the barrier between me and something…” The spirit disappeared instantaneously. “It was Val.”

“And what did I tell you about her?”

“She’s in trouble, Kol. I still don’t think I’m strong enough to help her, but I will, eventually,” she sighed before venturing deeper into the woods, passed the flowers.

“For fuck’s sake, Bella, you need to eat something other than that banana!” Kol scowled as he followed her. “Magic or not, you’re walking around with not a lot of blood inside of you!”

“I feel fine, let’s get this over with because I’m so incredibly fed up with everything. Having to take you with me for protection and use Niklaus as an extra incentive for Esther to come around? I’m not what everyone believes I am, I’m a weak baby and no match for Esther,” she snarled as she stood frozen between several elementals. “Ah, and of course, use the Elementals. Tiny ball of energy can’t get rid of a simple Ghost Witch.”

Kol blinked and cocked his head. This wasn’t Bella. She never called his brother Niklaus and she was usually so self assured. Looking closely it was as if another person was pasted over her. “Bella, darling, you’re not yourself, come have some more food to make you stronger,” he said as he held out his hand to her. “Myriam can help you.” This whole ‘draining Bella so that they can see ghosts too’ had been a bad idea, despite Ann’s tea. “Come.”

Bella chuckled darkly. “Did you know that I could easily kill you now? So much damage energy could do…”

“Bella.” Before Kol knew it, Bella’s arm turned into a bright white light and she pushed it right inside of him. Klaus and Myriam were right by his side immediately, Klaus seemingly confused by what he saw before jumping into action and prying Not-Bella away from Kol. “Oh… that was unpleasant,” he groaned as he inspected the damage, seemingly there wasn’t any.

“It’s typical of mother to take advantage of someone who has been temporarily weakened,” Klaus muttered as he held Bella tightly, not caring at this point if he was holding her too tight. If he’d break her bones, it’d be an easy fix once they got rid of their murderous parent. “Stop it,” he told her and then looked at Myriam, shaking his head as she wanted to cleanse Bella from the possession. “Clean her now and we’ll have a more difficult time dealing with the bitch.”

“But now she’s capable of physically hurting you,” Myriam countered, but taking a step back anyway.

Kol sighed as he looked around them. The Elementals and the Native American warrior spirits had surrounded them, there was no place to go for Esther, even if she wanted to. “Oi, you lot,” he said, addressing them and feeling incredibly silly for doing so. “Bella came here for your help to get rid of this very twisted spirit that has now taken her over. She’s never done anything to hurt you or to disrespect you, please, for once, help her fight this possession and get rid of it for good.”

“The vessel might die,” one of the warriors, actually more like a shaman, replied as he stepped forward. “Are you willing to take that risk?”

“She’s immortal.”

“Her light may dim. The Telek’sen is evolved and the vessel is weakened.”

“I’m willing to take that risk.”

“But is she?”

Kol sighed as he scratched his head, helplessly looking at Myriam. “Do you think Bella wouldn’t mind sacrificing herself to get rid of Esther?”

“In what way?” Myriam asked worriedly. “As if not being with us anymore?”

“No, the shaman here is talking about her light. That it may dim because she’s weakened by the blood loss. Ann’s tea is only barely keeping her up.”

“We both know that it has several meanings, Kol, that doesn’t mean that she’ll be taken away from you. If she loses her powers, or at least the intensity of them, then I think she’ll be alright with that, because Esther is a downright menace and a danger.”

“I’m not sure though.”

“What do you want to do, Kol? You want to force feed her so not only Bella gets stronger, but at the same time Esther does as well? She could have killed you!”

“Chances are that Bella IS strong enough and she’ll pull through,” Klaus said as he was still holding the girl, her mouth covered with his hand as she barely struggled. He didn’t want to hear her speak, his mother’s words out of Bella’s mouth was just wrong. Kol had been right, Bella had been up too quickly and had needed more; she was barely alive as it were. “She likes to keep us on our toes, remember? Perhaps Bella is the one holding mother down, we all know she can escape possession, even in her weakened state she’d be able to do so. There is no movement coming from Bella right now.”

Kol scowled at that. “No warning, nothing whatsoever, and our bitch mother takes her over.”

“Weakened Bella,” Myriam reminded him. “Just tell the shaman to go ahead, it’s what Bella would have wanted anyway.”

“I swear, I’m going to force food on her next time, tie her up if need be,” Kol scowled, still, before addressing the shaman. “We understand the risks, please, help Bella help us.”

Kol wasn’t sure what happened next. Bella was ripped out of Klaus’ grasp by a handful of warrior spirits and dragged off towards the direction of the Elementals. The other spirits blocked their path when they wanted to go after Bella, and all Kol could see from the distance is one bright light. All he could hear were Bella’s cries for help before everything went dark and the warrior spirits opened their ranks to allow Kol through to fetch Bella.

He found her unconscious on the ground with the shaman standing next to her. “What you did, allowing her to give the sight to you and your kin with the aid of magic, was wrong,” the shaman said sternly. “You are supposed to be her protector, not the one who endangers her. You are fortunate that it ended well, aided by her love for you, Bella was stronger than she appeared and held the Telek’sen hostage in her own vessel.”

Kol scooped her up after making sure she was physically alright. “My apologies,” Kol said, a hint of spite in his voice. “But the resident voodoo priestess thought it would be safer for all of us if my brother Nik could see you, and Esther, too. I was opposed to this.”

“For the wrong reasons, yes,” the shaman replied. “She will sleep for a day or two, perhaps longer, she needs to recover in a safe place but I understand you have one. She fought the Telek’sen valiantly with the containment of our brethren. Be prepared, soon, you will be tested. You, Bella and your companion the Hunter. The Volturi will be watching. Keep her safe.”

“I always do, she gets herself into trouble!”

The shaman smiled before disappearing.

Kol took Bella back to the clearing and found that Myriam had already packed up their things. “She’s fine, she’s recharging. We’re going home and I’ll take her to the apartment.”

“I’ll drive,” Myriam said as she lifted up the bag. “I’m not going to have to fear for my own safety when a ghost decides to pop in the car and startles the driver.” She looked at Klaus, who was still looking around in wonder. “I think we have a convert.”

“You certainly do not!” Klaus huffed. “I don’t wish to experience this again!”

Myriam let out a snort as she opened the car. “But Esther is gone?”

“I believe so, yes,” Kol replied, letting out a breath as he got into the car with Bella in his arms, shifting a little to make sure she was comfortable. “Hopefully for good this time.”

“She’d better be or your girl is a hack!”

“Nik!” Kol growled at him. “Honestly!”

“Don’t fight,” Myriam said as she got into the driver’s seat. “Fight and it will take us longer to get home because I will go for detours until you two play nice! Klaus, you’re merely paranoid and freaked out by your experiences today and there’s nothing wrong with Bella, she’s the same Bella was we came to know her. Stop it,” she said angrily as she looked over to him as he got into the car. “Do I have to take the scenic route home?”

“No, sweetheart,” Klaus muttered as he closed the door. “I’ll play nice.”

“Good,” Myriam said as she started the car and drove off.

~o.O.o~

Kol didn’t leave Bella’s side for the four days that she was out, only to get some blood from the fridge, but he stayed with her in their apartment. When she finally started to wake, he let out a sigh of relief. “Welcome back,” he said softly, smiling at her as she opened her eyes. “You’ve been out for four days.”

“Did I miss Jeremy’s sister and her boyfriend?”

“No,” he let out a snort. “They’re already gone, they’re easy to miss, not important. How are you feeling?”

Bella let out a groan as she sat up and pushed her hair out of her face. “Icky. As if I was hit by a truck. I’m never ever going to do that again. Have you both drink from me and then fight with your mother. What a bitch.”

“You could have warned us.”

“I didn’t see her coming,” she sighed as her stomach rumbled. “I’m going to take a shower and freshen up, what do you want to do today?”

“I want you to take it easy today,” he replied as he lifted her out of bed and carried her to the bathroom. “I’m going to arrange a lovely spread of food and you and I are going to stay indoors.”

“But I feel fine.”

“And you’ve been unconscious for four days, I want you to take it easy. No discussion.”

Bella grumbled as he set her down in the bathroom. “Fine,” she replied. Granted, this was a new experience for her but most certainly for him, that she had to recharge as much as she had. She was definitely not human although she appeared to be in every shape that she was. However, she was feeling quite like herself, ready to face the world and Kol wanted her to stay inside. Maybe she could entice him to go outside later. Or perhaps she could persuade him to finally open that damn package that she had bought him so they could have some fun in bed! “But I want you to open your present so we can play with it after you’ve fed me.”

“Very well, darling, whatever you wish,” he smiled and kissed the top of her head. “I’m going to inform Jeremy and Myriam that you’re awake again while I take care of our food and you take a nice shower.” Kol was wondering why she was being a little grumpy, she had always accepted his help, but he wasn’t sure what was wrong now.

“Thank you,” she smiled at him.

Unsure now, he cocked his head. “Why are you being a little out of sorts?” He felt stupid for asking now, of course she was grumpy because she’d just been down for four days!

“Because I’m fine and you don’t believe me,” she said as she gently tapped on his cheek. “But that’s alright, you had a fright and your immediate instinct is to go into smother mode, it’s adorable, in a way.”

“I’m not-”

“Yes, you are. And if you tell Myriam I’m awake, she’ll come over and do the same.”

“No she wouldn’t!”

She raised an eyebrow. “I dare you. If she does what you’re doing, you’re taking me out to dinner. If she doesn’t, I’m staying inside, with you.”

In the end, Bella came out victorious. Myriam was waiting for her, quite impatiently, to leave the bathroom after she was done, using her totems to cleanse Bella and making sure she was physically alright. Told her to sit down and rest up. To eat something. It got to a point where Bella was so annoyed that she managed to poof out to the other realm and get out of the house, going to the predetermined restaurant to wait for Kol.

When he arrived, finally after nearly 30 minutes, she was on her second appletini and just looked at him.

“You’re right. I’m sorry. I’ll try to be better,” he apologized. “I honestly didn’t realize it was that bad.”

“You all need a puppy. I get it that you were all afraid of what had happened, and so was I, but this behaviour is a little over the top, don’t you think? We’ll get everyone a puppy. You can all go on doggy walks together.”

He laughed. “Do you honestly believe that Niklaus, or Elijah even, would be caught dead walking a dog?”

“We’ll get them a pretty poodle,” Bella mused as she took a sip of her drink. “Myriam will get a fluffy St. Bernard.”

“How about we don’t give the family puppies and just have a meal together?” Kol laughed as he took the menu and started to read it. “I’m glad you’re feeling alright, though. You had me worried.”

“I know, and it’s likely not going to happen again if I watch what I’m doing. Not to express too much energy. Like… cleansing an entire building or something. Not going to do that. Not all at once… and I’m certainly not going to allow someone as powerful like your mother to enter me anymore, either. Holy shit, she was struggling against my energy, it was insane. Next time I’ll just force them out, no matter how hard it’ll get to get rid of them.”

“Good to hear,” he smiled at her and flagged down a waiter to get their orders. This was a day to celebrate. His Bella could have everything she wanted, even another appletini. It was five o’clock somewhere, wasn’t it?