“Um, just so you know, humans don’t do well around those kinds, and I’m still quite human,” Ahvitahl spoke up for the first time since the hybrid awoke. “And I don’t particularly have the desire to be changed straight away. I like my magic, thank you very much.”
Bella leaned forward, resting her arms on the backs of the seats. “Then you better pray that KitKat will be able to ensure your life. We’re heading south for some true vampire fuckery. There isn’t a damn thing that my husband can do to convince the great Major or any of their allies to voluntarily walk their sparkly asses there.”
Alice sulked as she unwillingly followed the youngest Mikaelson brother through the small Virginia town. She hadn’t known about this other breed of vampires until Bella’s little reveal that eventually lead to the death of her brother and best friend, and now to experience their ability of compulsion was something driven right out of a nightmare for her.
Kol had dressed her up in an oversized, long-sleeved muumuu dress and an extra wide-brimmed sun hat. No amount of glaring would stop the man from being thoroughly entertained by her fashion fears.
“I look like a freakish old lady,” she complained.
“At least you look like a lady now instead of a prepubescent boy,” Kol remarked, his amusement quickly fading as he yanked her out of the car barely a moment after he put it into park. Making their way to the door of the house, his fist pounded until someone answered. “Hello mate! Care to put us up for a bit?”
Damon stood there, glowering over the Mikaelson. “I thought we got rid of your family.”
Kol shrugged a shoulder, a playful smile teasing his lips. “Most of them, yes. However, we still require the use of your witch. We’re still tracking down my sister and between Bennett and this minger, we might get somewhere with figuring out why she decided to pull a nutter.”
“What makes you think we’d even be willing to help your family with the shit you put us through?”
“I could call Nik back and tell him what an uncooperative lot you are. Also, suggest to him that he could bring the Volturi around. They have some randy gifts that work just as right on us as living, breathing witches,” the original threatened with a smile.
Alice hesitated as she raised her hand. “Um, Kol? I think someone already called them. I saw that they dispatched Demetri, Felix, Jane, and Alec not long ago.”
Kol’s face scrunched up at the information. “That had to have been my sister suggesting them. It’s a wonder we hadn’t thought it sooner. Nik’s probably gnawing his arm off at the thought of those blokes anywhere near Isa.”
Damon looked intrigued. “Marriage on the rocks?”
The original sighed and shrugged a shoulder, appearing troubled. “A possibility, but she still wouldn’t be interested in you. Alice, can you keep looking for the guard and update me on their progress. I need to see your witch. Now.”
“I can look but once they get to Bella, I’ll be blind again,” she sighed.
“And that is why we’re here,” Kol smirked, turning his attention back to the older Salvatore. “Don’t even deny she’s here because I can smell her.”
Damon scowled but stepped aside when Bonnie came to the door, looking less than pleased. Her eyes shifted to the creature in a senior citizen’s outfit and ridiculous hat. “What do you want Kol?”
“I have some ideas on how to track my lovely sister, but I need you to juice up this walking popsicle.”
The witch raised a brow as she stared back at him. “What the hell is she?”
Alice scoffed, petulantly crossing her arms. Before she could get words of objection out, Damon spoke. “She’s a Cold One. Inferior to our type of vampire in nearly every way. Just what is her ability that you think Witchy could help with?”
“This Cullen bitch gets premonitions,” Kol smirked, watching him as recognition dawned on the vampire’s face.
“You brought one of those squirrel munchers here? How did you get her away from the tight ass mind reader and pacifist ‘father’?” he asked, amused at the irritation over the girl’s face.
Alice scowled and narrowed her eyes at him. “If you must know, Edward is dead. Killed by the very person we are trying to track down.”
Damon smiled as he opened the door to Bonnie’s surprise, winking at her in response. As Kol and Alice passed by them to the sitting room. “So the eternal virgin is dead. Shame,” he dramatically sighed. “I was hoping he’d make it to 200. I lost a lot of money on that bet now.”
“There was a bet on my brother?!” Alice shouted and was ready to pounce but was held back by the neck by a bored looking Original.
“Anyone in our world that knows of Carlisle and his pets, or crossed paths with them, was quick to enter Whitlock’s bet,” Damon shrugged.
“Whitlock? Not Jasper, surely.”
“No. Peter, of course. You should know that already,” he snorted. “So how exactly is Witchy supposed to up the juju here?”
Kol shrugged. “I need her to be able to get over the block she has with seeing wolves. She’s got the potential for her gift to expand more, just needs a little helping hand. We hopefully could see and track Isa from a distance safely, and guide my brother to her. Perhaps even see a way to get her humanity turned back on before she doesn’t something incredibly stupid.”
Damon sighed, scratching his neck as he peered between his witch acquaintance and the cold sprite. “You mean something more stupid than Katherine taking off with an unhinged psychobitch? Right. I think you’re a little too late.”
Bonnie let out a breath and shrugged. “It wouldn’t hurt to try. At least then Klaus and the rest of them could take her and stay away from the rest of us.”
“Then let’s get to work,” Kol replied with a triumphant smile.
“I’m thirsty!” Bella complained as she laid across the backseat of Ahvi’s car. She stuck her bare feet out the open window, annoyed that her traveling companions refused to stop so that she could find herself a new victim.
“We’ll be there soon enough. Just have another bag,” the witch suggested.
“I’d rather sink my teeth into your pretty little neck,” Bella replied, popping up in her seat, her breath warm against the girl’s ear. “If you want to survive this, I suggest you pull over otherwise you can say your last spell.”
Katherine rolled her eyes at her friend’s dramatics. “There should be a cantina coming up. We’re well over the border so we should start seeing something soon.”
“Great. I’ll have myself some Mexican blood and you can go track Maria down,” Bella happily said, sitting back.
“And just what do you expect me to tell her?”
The new hybrid smirked and reached over to pat her head. “I’m sure you’ll think of something,” she taunted as the witch pulled up outside a worn down cantina. “You could offer up your friend as a new recruit.”
“Not likely,” Katherine frowned. “I’ll go get Maria, but you don’t let my witch get hurt. Got it?”
Bella got out of the car and smirked as her eyes grew dark. “You really think you are going to give me orders? Maybe I should give you a nice bite to remind you who really is boss?”
The vampire’s frown turned into a scowl. “Always you, Isa. I’ll be back,” she said as she slid over to the driver’s seat once the witch got out and drove off.
Ahvi stood awkwardly as she eyed Bella, knowing other than her own magic, she had no defense now. “So, uh, drinks?”
Bella made her way into the cantina, pushing the door open with a bang and looked around. “Just my kind of place,” she announced, watching as the men present turned to look at the commotion that just entered. Sauntering up to the bar, she ran her hands over the old wood. Once the bartender cautiously approached, she gave him a demure smile. “Dos cervezas, por favor,” she ordered.
The man set the beer down, taking the money she tossed on the counter before moving to the other end of the bar to watch the women from a distance.
Taking her bottle, Ahvi sat down and eyed the hybrid. “How long do you think it will take before she comes?”
Bella glanced out the windows and shrugged. “A couple hours. She won’t come this far until sundown. Her kind isn’t fond of the sun. Makes them too conspicuous. Still, the best place to hide from my family and their new allies. No way in hell the Major will be willing to come back here.”
The witch glanced around, taking in the looks they were receiving from the local men. Even the ones that passed by them to go to the back to use the facilities gave them a wide berth. “Do they suspect something about us?”
Dark eyes met those across the counter and smiled. “The closest thing in their legends would be the chupacabra, but if any are well traveled or migrated, then they may carry stories from further south of pishtaco,” she murmured, her voice with a thoughtful lightness to it.
“From South America. Pale-skinned monsters of the Andes that kills and drains people of their body fat, but we know what it is in truth. As the sun starts to set, they will be making their way out. Very few will risk remaining here. Probably just the bar owner if he has a deal with Maria for his survival. I wouldn’t put it past her,” Bella shrugged as she noticed the shifting of the shade through the windows. Leaning over the counter, she grabbed a bottle of tequila and set it in front of the girl. “Just drink.”
Ahvi raised a brow and looked over at the bartender whom deliberately turned his back to them. The strangest behavior she’d ever witnessed from non-supernatural people. Witches, wolves, shifters, she could understand unusual reactions, but normal humans?
“Just drink,” Bella sighed again, rolling her eyes and glancing at the time. “Don’t make me have to pour it down your throat because I will.”
The witch looked at her with suspicion before she started to throw back shots with the vampire. While it took much more for her to feel inebriated, the girl was truly hammered by the time it was dark out and nearly all humans had left with the murmuring undercurrent of impending danger coming closer.
Bella smiled as she sat back, slowly sipping on her next drink as the brunette beauty of the south walked in, confident in her poise that she had control of the place. “Maria,” she greeted.
The Cold One commander looked at her, throwing the drunk female who barely was able to lift her head from the bar a withering glance. “Katherine Pierce dijo que había una oferta para mí,” she said, releasing a bored sigh. “No sé si estoy interesada.”
“Te he traído una bruja Bennett, que tiene una gran probabilidad de convertirse en un vampiro con poderes. Simplemente quiero un lugar para esconderme de mi familia y su Mayor un tiempo,” Bella sweetly smiled, waving her hand towards the drunken girl, now asleep and oblivious to her demise.
Maria stared back, contemplating the offer presented and could not help but be exalted in such a way. To have a potentially strong candidate brought to her for her army in exchange for something so simple, when she could tell that the being is much more cunning and deadly than she. Nodding as she wove her fingers through the hair at the back of the witch’s head, pulling it up until her neck was near her face, breathing her in. “Me gusta tu forma de pensar y acepto tu oferta. Será un placer trabajar con una Mikaelson,” she murmured, venom coating her lips.
Bella sat back with a smile, watching as Maria made Ahvitahl hers, enjoying the taste of fear of the bartender as he ignored the vampiric activity happening in his bar as he cleaned up. Yes, this will be a fun trip after all.
The family and pseudo hostages were seated comfortably on their flight, heading for New Orleans when Jasper’s cell phone vibrated in his pocket. Pulling it out, having forgotten to turn it off, he opened the message and his entire being tensed.
“What is it?” Klaus quietly questioned, as Elijah and Rebekah looked up curiously.
In a very human act, his tongue ran out over his lips nervously and attempted to crack his neck. “Peter. He has contacts still in Mexico and Bella’s been sighted there.”
Carlisle shook his head in denial. “It doesn’t mean she’s in danger of …”
“She was right at the border of Maria’s territory and seen going back with her,” he interrupted, eyes dark as he glared at the former coven leader. Turning back to his friend, he shook his head. “I’m sorry. I’d do a lot for you, but that is one area I will not return to. I just can’t.”
Klaus nodded, understanding the warrior’s position. “I would not ask that of you. I’m sure that is the exact reason she went there. At least we know where she is and that she won’t risk running elsewhere for awhile for that reason.”
“Isabella hates Maria and all she stands for,” Rebekah mused, her confusion clear on her face. “Why would she go to her willingly?”
“She’d go knowing that the Major would not follow her into the woman’s territory and the family won’t break apart again to chase her until we have a more concrete plan to secure her. I would hedge that Katherine and her friend may be on borrowed time because Isa would not hesitate to turn on them at this point,” Klaus answered, sighing. “It’s what I would do.” The exhaustion of the events over the last weeks was wearing on him and he genuinely felt his true age in the moment. He hadn’t been as afraid for his wife since his parents cursed him, unknowing if they would go after his bride after they were done as he recalled seeing her running into the clearing as Esther had finished her spell. He hadn’t seen so much fear and anger on his love’s face until that moment, but it returned when she entered the shifter boy’s dying thoughts.
The jealousy he felt for a dead boy was unfounded, and he fought against it frequently when the memory crept into his thoughts, but he could not help but think that there was something important he was missing. He knew she’d seen something, but his wife had been notoriously difficult to pin down to get her to speak of what she’d seen. Even then, without her humanity, she would be reluctant to admit any details.
Elijah considered his sister-in-law and nodded. “The witch at the very least. Katerina will find a way to come out alive and convince her of her worth. Her instinct for survival is quite strong.”
Klaus remained silent as he had agreed with his brother, musing on his own thoughts. His gaze shifted and focused on the remaining Cullens who had questionable loyalties, in his opinion. He was certain that they held knowledge of their creation who may have done something to drive his wife away the way she had, or the reason behind it. At the very least, point him to where he could find some of the answers but they were remaining obstinately silent.
Sensing the shift in emotions coming from the hybrid, Jasper looked up at his phone and eyed his friend before looking over at his former parental figures. Glancing at his watch, he figured that within the next two hours, they would land in New Orleans, and it would not be long before someone would be interrogated, painfully.
He had been waiting for an update from his brother and when it finally came in, he looked back over at Klaus. “She’s definitely with Maria. Peter’s source says he witnessed them leaving a bar, carrying a body he believed to be a newborn.”
“I can’t believe that Bella would actually be doing all this,” Emmett muttered to himself. It had become easy for the Mikaelsons to forget the couple as they’d remained quiet and to themselves.
Elijah and Klaus looked at one another, disappointment and dread filling them. “So she had the Bennett witch turned,” Elijah murmured. “Her relative in Mystic Falls, although only recently discovered, most likely won’t let that go without justice.”
“Kol will deal with it,” Klaus shrugged it off, concern for his Isabella growing more desperate. “He needs to focus on a proper tracking spell should she take off from Mexico.”
“Niklaus. Calm yourself,” his brother warned. “We will get her back.”
Klaus glared at him as he struggled with not leaving his seat due to the plane full of humans. “Had it not been for your repeated bouts of betrayals, I would not have had to have sent my wife so far away for her protection and counted on you while breaking my curse and dealing with our father. No. You share in the responsibility for this problem. You will take equal blame in this as Edward Cullen.”
Carlisle and Esme stared across the aisle at the Mikaelsons, remaining still as silent as mice. Elijah’s breath stilled in his throat at his brother’s words, not knowing how to respond.
As one of the attendants walked by, Jasper caught her by the arm with a charming smile. “Would you mind bringing something strong for my friends to drink. I think they need something to help mellow them out a little for the rest of the trip, thank you.”
The following time passed slowly as Jasper attempted to cool flaring tempers until they landed in New Orleans. The moment they were able to disembark the plane, Klaus and Elijah each took ahold of the Cullen couple before they had the opportunity to attempt an escape.
Rebekah had walked ahead of her brothers to open the doors with a smile and flourish. “Not quite home, but it does in a pinch. We will have to see to Marcel soon enough.”
Rosalie eyed Jasper as he followed the siblings, pulling him back for a moment. “Are you really going to let them torture Carlisle and Esme?”
The Major raised an eyebrow at her. “They may or may not know something, but they know enough that they could have stopped Edward a long time ago. His behavior with Isabella wasn’t the first time but it became his last. I warned them that they needed to put a leash on him years ago; they didn’t listen.”
The couple nodded, acknowledging the truth in his statement before quietly following the family into the house. Their scents led them down into a converted basement where the three siblings surrounded and blocked any escape by Carlisle and Esme. While she appeared nervous and fearful for their situation, Carlisle continued to maintain a stoic face. Seemingly ready to face their fate.
“You know more about what your creation’s behaviors and movements than anyone, excusing them against every reason and argument,” Klaus began, his tone soft but no less threatening with his ire.
“What we want to know is everything else that you have neglected to tell us about him and his recent activities in and around Forks and since you’ve met Isabella,” Elijah continued.
Esme shook her head in denial. “We don’t know anything. Edward never spoke to us like you’re assuming,” she pleaded. “All we knew was that he was interested in a human girl that later revealed to be one of your kind. It had to have broken his heart…”
While she spoke, Carlisle averted his gaze, making Klaus smirk. “What about you Doctor? What did Edward share with you?”
“I have nothing to tell you,” he responded before Rebekah zipped behind him and had her hands on his head while Jasper used his gift to make him more compliant with her mental intrusion.
Esme stepped away from them, horrified as she looked to Jasper for an explanation. “He knows more than he speaks and in order to get the answers, sometimes use of force is necessary,” he said to the point as he met her gaze without regret for his choice to turn on his so-called parents.
During the time Rebekah rooted around in Dr. Cullen’s mind, the brothers made small talk among themselves, Jasper, and Emmett and Rosalie about their plans for their move and stay in New Orleans once they are able to get Isabella back. While Klaus eventually intended to gain control of the city back from one of his own creations, his priority was his wife.
Soon, Rebekah released Carlisle, pushing him away from her in the process. Letting out a huff, she crossed her arms and faced Klaus. “Edward was a mind reader and he suspects that he was able to pick up some knowledge from the shifters. Knowing how his creation tends to go by his mood swings, he would have used what he learned to gain whatever leverage he could to claim Ducky back as his.”
Klaus readily dismissed the useless Cold One on the ground as he considered everything. Isabella had been inside the dying shifter’s mind before she flipped her humanity switch and killed the Cullen. Pulling out his cell phone, he dialed the shifters’ alpha. “Uley. I know you share a pack mind when in your wolf form. Were any of you around the mind reader up until your wolf was bitten and do you recall what anyone may have been thinking at the time?”
“Most of the pack was with you in the clearing at the time. I’ll have to ask everyone but you do know it is difficult to understand what random thought he might have picked up from one of us,” Sam Uley replied as Klaus put him on speakerphone.
Elijah nodded his head in a silent agreement as often they themselves had numerous thoughts running simultaneously to be able to pinpoint something specific. “It would have been something that would give the mind reader some sort of leverage, or believe he would. Something that would cause Isabella to shift her emotions so in anger or fear that she couldn’t control it that she’d turn her humanity off completely,” he offered.
A sigh could be heard on the line as they believed he was considering some possibilities. “After learning more of your kind of vampire when Bella revealed herself and your family arrived, our shamans became more adamant about protecting a new tree that begun growing on the reservation a few years ago. They wanted no outsiders, no matter the reason to go near it because it would be a catastrophic unbalance and said nothing else as to why.”
Jasper’s eyebrows shot up as he eyed his friend and siblings. Klaus’ face had a sudden look of understanding while Elijah and Rebekah were more concerned. “Was it a white oak tree?” the warrior questioned.
“I don’t know much about trees except local ones but this one certainly isn’t native. I’d have to look it up,” Sam replied. “If it is what you said, what does that mean?”
“It means that Edward discovered a way to get rid Bella’s family in order to try to keep her and someone else knows if she freaked out that much,” Jasper replied. “I’d say burn it down, but then it would just grow somewhere else. Keep on protecting it for the Mikaelsons. At least we know where it is and it’s contained.”
“I’ll see if I can find out anything else for you and get back to you. Although I doubt it will be much more than I already know and told you. You know how our people tend to not care for vampires, despite your kind being closer to human-like than the ones of our legends,” Sam responded before ending the call.
Klaus had become unusually silent as he studied Carlisle and Esme as she knelt at her mate’s side. Though apparent that she did not approve of the way her mate handled the situation, he did understand there was little she could do to go against the man. He also felt she truly did not know all that had been intentionally hidden from her by the good doctor and his creation. He could only wonder what contacts Carlisle may know, that Edward could have learned of, that would work with him in relation to white oak.
The Volturi was an unlikely ally on their own side due to their infatuation with his wife. So if Edward had called on their assistance and learned of who they were trying to go after, they would turn on him quickly. And if it were that case, they would have informed them of such contact when they called for their resident bloodhound.
“I suppose we will have to wait and see what comes of his actions prior to his demise,” Elijah muttered, displeased by the news of a new white oak tree and a plot against the family – again.
“We need a bloody witch,” Rebekah complained. “At this point, bring the idiot back from the dead, interrogate him, then burn him all over again.”
While Klaus was not unopposed to crude torture or resurrections as necessary, he shook his head. “Whatever it was that Isa picked up was enough to set her off. While we should be concerned about this new potential threat, we should not give up on getting her back first. She’s the one with the answers to those questions after all.”
Jasper let out a sigh, allowing his head to fall to the side in boredom. “Then the question begs. Who’s gonna take the run into Mexico?”
“Well, whoever goes, better bring back some damn tacos. You can’t get anything decent around here,” Rebekah ranted as she stormed back up the stairs. “Send Kol. Let him charm the snake woman.”
“Kol is working with the Bennett witch on better tracking for Isa,” Klaus reminded her.
She huffed at the top. “You have Demetri on her ass now. You can’t get better than that. Kol is wasting his time in Mystic Falls. Send him to Mexico. She’s the closest to him of all of us, so he might make some headway.”
“If she doesn’t convince him to flip his switch and take off with her,” Elijah spoke.
“She wouldn’t do that.”
Klaus rolled his eyes. “It’s all she wanted me to do whenever I was able to catch up with her. When I wouldn’t she got pissed and put me down long enough to get away.”
Rebekah looked thoughtful. “She wanted you to run off with her. How was she with anyone else?”
“She hasn’t quite run into the rest of us yet. Why do you ask?” Elijah questioned, suspicion covering his face.
She raised a brow at him. “Just curious to see exactly which of us she hates more. My money is on you.”
Elijah was offended by the statement and was poised to defend himself when Klaus and Jasper quickly got between the siblings. “What makes you say that Bekah?” Klaus asked.
“Think about it. All she wants is you to take off with her, to share in whatever insanity she’s going through. But despite everything over the years, her forgiveness, there was always resentment surrounding her when it came to Elijah. I can think of one act of cruelty, at least in her mind, that is entirely unforgivable and she has yet to speak on that I can recall.”
Klaus’ eyes brightened with the recognition of what his sister was referring to. An idea sparked in his mind of a potential way to turn his wife’s humanity back on. They just had to get her home first.