Hello everyone!

This was my contribution for Fandom for Autism. It was a wonderful cause and I am so glad I could participate and help. I have a lot of fun writing this and I hope you enjoy it, too...

THERE WILL BE A SEQUEL-just for those who may ask... I definitely wanted more of this Bella and Klaus after I finished, but it did not belong in this oneshot. Therefore, a sequel is a must.

Please let me know what you think... :D

Pairing/Characters: Klaus/Bella
Vampire Diaries/Twilight Crossover
I don't own any characters or recognizable plots, though I wish I owned Klaus.
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Title: Unconditionally

Penname: ncbexie25

Summary: This one day she wanted for herself. She was signing herself away to someone she did not love, after all. –Bella is experiencing the one day that is supposed to be the happiest of her life—her wedding day. But while she marries Edward, her thoughts are consumed by another... Will she be able to marry while loving someone else?

Bella looked into the mirror, taking in a deep and shaky breath, licking her dry lips as she took in her appearance. Red lips, thick lashes blackened and lengthened by mascara, and light makeup creating a succulent smoke eye effect around her café au lait eyes. The foundation was light, too—almost non-existent—especially through the sheen of the veil already acting as a shield between her and the rest of the world.

Her eyes trailed down her body, taking in her subtle curves in the 1918-style dress—a little too conservative for her, if she were to be honest. She sighed as she looked away from her image, lifting a hand to tuck the wisps of her curly hair behind her ear.

"You're perfect, love."

Her breath hitched, throat closing up, and she rubbed her ruby lips together as tears glimmered in her wide eyes. She swallowed in an attempt to control herself, letting the instinctive smile that had appeared on her face fall from her lips as she looked back up into the mirror. She forgot the sound of the British lilt in her ears, knowing it wasn't present in the room.

Her eyes fluttered closed, but her forehead ceased as she felt the phantom ghost of his arms wrapping around her thin waist, of his breath on her neck as he leaned in… and then his voice in her ear.

"Hmm… I don't want to share you with the others. Can't we stay right here?"

She let out a gasp and her eyes snapped open, breaking her from her reverie, her bottom lip already sucked into her mouth as her stress levels rose and that unbeatable feeling in her chest—that pang, that black hole that made her want to cry—grew larger as the sick feeling in her stomach got worse. She gagged, breath shaky as she bent forward with her hands on her hips, lips parted as she tried and failed to get more air into her lungs.

A glassy film overtook her eyes as she remembered the words that had followed the ones above, how she'd turned in his arms with a laugh and kissed him, arms wrapped around his neck as she assured him forever… just before everything went downhill.

Mikael had found them, and it was time to go.

"I'll find you, love… when it's time, when he's ash. When the time is right, you'll know… I'll be there."

Then he kissed her and, with a tear in his eye, he compelled her to forget him if any other were to ask about him. If she were to see Mikael, she was to leave and never come back to that place… so but a few weeks after he had left, she convinced her mother to move to Arizona, where they stayed for weeks before she moved on to her father.

Then she'd met Edward.

A knock threw her, and she left her thoughts early enough to hear Alice's wind-chime-like voice ask, "…you okay?"

Bella closed her eyes, her features screwing up but she took a deep breath and worked on calming down. When she spoke, her voice was calm and even, despite the whirlwind she was feeling deep down inside. The wrong she was feeling. "Yes, fine, thanks, Alice."

"Are you sure? Your heart was going crazy for a while there; surely that isn't healthy," she said, pressuring, but Bella shook her head and pursed her lips. Her nostrils flared with annoyance, wishing the pixie would just drop it.

"Fine, Alice," she pushed, hoping she didn't sound too aggressive but wanting to be left alone instead of prodded. The bunch of them were far too nosy as it was, this one day she wanted for herself. She was signing herself away to someone she did not love, after all.

Oh, to be sure, she'd felt something for Edward in the beginning, but after a while it had just… dimmed. Especially after his leave of absence for seven months, only for Alice to tug her half way across the fucking world to bring him back—against her will, might she add; after that, the small hint of interest she felt was gone.

She had never played Edward. In the beginning when he vowed his love, she felt guilty. He had told her—and the others had confirmed—that she was the first he'd ever shown an interest in, whereas she was just looking for someone to take her mind off him. It was a bonus that Edward was supernatural as well. So when he started off about love, the guilt swarmed in her gut and, before she knew what she was doing, she had said it back.

She had agonized over that. She'd felt like she was betraying him, the man she really did love, and she was not sure how to get over that as yet. But then mere months later, a few days after her disastrous eighteenth, Edward trampled her heart by playing on her insecurities and any guilt she felt, any… anything she felt for that cold one left her in an instant.

So trapped in her thoughts was she, she didn't realize that Alice had opened the door to come in. The pixie-like vampire looked around the room, narrowing her eyes as she saw her best friend in front of the mirror, looking over herself with speculative eyes and biting her lip. Her eyes were clouded with doubt and a deep sadness, making Alice panic. Her thoughts went out to Edward for but a moment before she realized it and began to sing in Chinese. All the while, she forced a smile on her face, clearing her expression to one of joviality as she danced forward and clutched Bella's arms, standing by her side. Bella jolted, gasping as she looked down, a shaky breath forcing its way onto her face as she saw Alice there.

"Hey, Alice," she said in a soft whisper, the smile breaking down just as quick as she'd brought it up. She'd opened the floodgates; now that she was letting herself think of Nik, she couldn't stop. It was killing her.

Alice could see her struggle and her brows furrowed. "What's wrong?" she mouthed but Bella offered a mere shaky smile in response as she shook her head. When she looked down at her hands, she found why she felt so strange—her hands were trembling.

"I'm fine," Bella tried to tell her. She looked down at her hands with a stern look, almost trying to glare at them as though they were separate entities rather than attached and controlled by her own body, forcing the shaking to stop as she took deep breath after deep breath. "I'm just nervous," she said in as even a tone as she could manage. In her mind, she pushed away every thought of Nik and brought to the forefront every thought of Edward until his name was a chant inside her head.

"Okay," Alice said in a low tone before her whole persona brightened—though both knew it was false, Bella allowed it. She needed it. With a small smile, she felt herself relax—despite it all, Alice was a true friend to her. She may be far too concerned about her brother's happiness for Bella's liking, and may have abandoned her without a word… but she was the only one to come back upon seeing that false vision of her death. "So almost all of the guests have arrived, and your parents wanted to come and speak with you…" she looked her friend over and frowned slightly, "but you don't want to. Okay," she said with a nod and Bella relaxed a little further. It really was good having an omniscient friend, at times…

"Your father will meet us outside the door just there and you'll go down together. I have to go… the ceremony starts in five minutes," she said after a few moments and Bella looked back up to nod at her.

Then she was gone and Bella was alone, once more turned toward to the mirror as she tried to pep herself up to do this, to go through with this, when inside she felt like screaming. Two halves of herself warred with each other. This was wrong, she couldn't do it… but she had to because it was the right thing to do for Edward. But then what if Klaus found her later on in life, changed and forever another type of vampire—was it even possible to change her once more from one species to another using magic?

She shook her head and her heart pounded so hard she could hear it, feeling a little dizzy. She reached—with a renewed shake in her hand—for the glass of water, careful as she brought it to her lips to sip.

Her thoughts were at rapid speed in her mind, so fast she had no chance to keep up with them all as each and every thing she saw in the room stimulated another line only to be cut off by the next.

I can do this, she thought to herself as she put the glass down hard, a new determined gleam in her eye. If Nik wanted me, he would have found me by now. Gone was the thought that perhaps he didn't have the time, perhaps it still wasn't safe. She scowled, ashamed. Edward is waiting for me down there.

This caused her pause. Frightened, wide eyes glazed over as she sucked in a breath at the harrowing thought. Edward was down there, expecting her—waiting for her—with the most perfect fucking smile on his face. Edward had no idea of the internal struggle she was fighting against right now; his mind was clear of them. Well, of most of them anyhow.

Bella refused to think of how open Nik had been with her about changing her, speaking as if it were an inevitability… whereas Edward clamed up and changed the subject at even a hint of it.

A softer knock than the previous one shook her from her thoughts and she jolted at the sound. The gruff tone of her father's voice did nothing to calm her. "Bella? It's time."

A jolt of hazy fire, like a poker pressing into her chest, made her heart seize and a hand came up to her lips. She felt ill, her face discoloring to a sick pale. A swarm of bees swam in her stomach and she pressed her other hand into her abdomen as it seized with pain at the distressing thought. It was now or never.

"Yeah, d-dad," she said and she took a breath. It felt like a ball and chain were strapped to her person as she made for the door, each step like torture, pulling her back—wanting her to run from the situation, but more than that to hide. Just as she did not want to marry Edward, she did not have the heart to face him and tell him why.

"You're far too forgiving, love," she heard him say, and she remembered why he'd said it with a small, wistful smile; he'd appeared for their date an hour late, a speck of blood on his wild face. But then that grin had undone her as he slowly leaned forward to taste her lips…

No! she shouted at herself, pausing with a locked jaw as she gripped the door handle. Klaus is gone—gone. I am getting married today… I can't… I can't…

The door opened for her, and her father's head appeared, his moustache pulled tight over his pursed lips. "Bells?" he asked, looking around the room.

"Fine," Bella breathed as she came out of the daze, nodding as she gripped her dad's hand. "I'm fine. Let's just…" get this over with, "get down there already."

"You're excited?" he asked dryly, his nose crinkled in distaste.

Bella rearranged her features into a grin and nodded once, looking straight ahead as she pulled her father along to the steps.

"Don't, love," she heard him whisper, voice hoarse and begging, and her back went ram-rod straight, feeling her father's eyes on her at the strange jolt of movement.

"Cold," she whispered with a roll of her eyes and she let go of his hand to wrap them around herself as she bit the inside of her cheek. Her eyes danced over every feature she could see, the anxiety within her begging for an out from her tight-lipped control.

"It's time," she heard Alice say from the bottom of the stairs. There was no time to respond as the music for her procession began.

Her hand tightened on her father's arm as he began to guide her down the steps. Her heart beat was quickening with each stair they descended, and the sick feeling rose as the bile did in her throat, deep breaths doing nothing to calm her. This was not what she had envisioned—she had always thought of Nik in situations such as these, he'd be the one she'd walk to.

She would run to him.

Her breath hitched and her eyes unfocused at his voice, the ghost of his caress in the breeze brushing her shoulders.

"You still can…"

She looked up as they hit the bottom, and almost stepped back.

Every eye was on her. With a breath, she looked down as she stepped forward in time with her father's measured pace, not feeling brave enough to look into Edward's bright eyes at the moment. She wasn't paying attention to anything other than putting one foot in front of another.

"I love you, Isabella."

She faltered, looked up. A mistake, she immediately noted, when her eyes connected with shining ones—but they were the wrong color… a thick gold, not stormy blue.

Her father glanced over at her but she steeled herself and stepped forward, tension in every single one of her movements as her eyesight tripped to someone else—her mother, smiling without meaning it. She was too young to marry.

She agreed.

The music slowed further, Rosalie having looked over and seen the slight commotion. At Alice's murmured urging, she added an extra harmony to the traditional music, aiming to relax with a slow tempo.

But all it did was remind Bella of the ball where he'd held her the first time. Cocooned in his soft embrace, tears pricked her eyes in mourning—for she knew if she tied herself to Edward, she'd never have that rightness again.

"I would do anything… for you to be happy. But I am too selfish to let you go…"

Another step forward and then another. She did not make the mistake of looking up at him again, and she tried to shake the feel of Nik's arms, blocking out the music as she built a sky high impenetrable wall.

But just as he always could, Nik broke through. Just as it happened with her heart, her mind never stood a chance.

"When it is safe, I will find you. But… but if I don't, love…" He had then cradled her face in his hands, tears he refused to let slip down his face welling at her doe eyes widening in pain. "Find me, Isabella. I love you."

"Find me…"

She made it to his side, never looking at Edward as memories played like wild fire in her mind.

When they met—she had always appreciated art, but his was far more valuable, the mark of his pain in every brush stroke, captivating…

When they danced—the feel of his arms secure around her, guiding her in the best dance of her life, it was right… she was whole…

When they made love—all encompassing, he was as selfish as he'd said he was but also somehow tender… every move gentle even as he demanded more and more from her lips, from her skin… she was breathless as he ravished her body and imprinted an indelible mark on her soul…

When they fought—restrained every time, he could never hurt her so she wondered why he feared… even with his spider web veins and fangs, she was never scared… so why was he?

When they separated—unbreakable they had been, they were now fractured—the look in his eyes when he said goodbye, she felt as though she'd break… she knew he'd meant to take her every memory of him, but he hadn't the heart… it broke her to watch him walk away knowing he loved her with every bit of his sensitive, wounded soul…

Bella shook and Edward looked at her with a frown.

"Do you take Isabella Marie Swan for your wife, Edward Cullen?" the Priest asked.

Every moment they'd been away from one another—never whole, always needing distraction from his memory—his voice, his touch, his eyes never fading from her mind even as time passed and you'd expect the little things to drift into nothingness… but it never happened… it never would.

"Isabella Marie Swan, do you take Edward Cullen as your lawfully wedded husband?"

"You have marked me as your own, Isabella Swan. I could never forget you now even if I wanted to. Never…"

"Never," she breathed and then took in a deep shocked breath. Her heart panged almost painfully in her chest even as she felt her breath come easier than it ever had since she'd last seen her Nik. She stepped back and looked up at the Priest, her eyes beseeching. "Never... I…" she looked back at Edward, shaking her head as he came forward. "I don't love you," she whispered.

The devastation did not hurt her as she thought it might have; all she could think of was getting out, getting away—and never coming back. She needed Nik, she needed to find him…

It was clearer now more than ever before that she could never tie herself to another—she was not herself to give away to begin with.

She couldn't even be angry that the selfish love of her life had taken her soul, her heart, and her body from her own possession. She couldn't because she knew it was the same for him—something within her was screaming it. Niklaus Mikaelson, and the most feared of the Originals, was hers.

"I can't marry you, Edward," she said though the words were shaped by a smile, relief flowing and an anticipation filled her belly along with everything else she had not felt in so long.

Hold on, Nik, I'm coming. I'll find you.

"Perhaps you're confused, love," Edward said but Bella laughed and shook her head. "You're just nervous—"

"I'm not," she cried, and her voice trembled with tears. "Oh, god, for the first time in months, I really am not, Edward. I just… I can't marry you and more than that, I really don't want to."

She looked at Alice. "I need your help," she begged.

But Alice did not frown, did not think on it. All she did was give Jasper a look and kiss his cheek, nodding. "He's in Mystic Falls, Virginia," she told her, and at the questioning glance she smiled softly. "I'm your best friend, Bella. Your wedding day is to be perfect, and when there's the slightest chance it won't be… I know. I had an idea this might happen—probably would, so I looked for everything so you could leave as soon as you'd made up your mind. Jasper will drive you there; I'll will take care of everything else here."

Bella grinned and jumped into her arms, kissing her cheek. "Thank you… just… thank you so much. Please tell him I'm sorry, because I am sorry for hurting him but it's better now than thirty years down the line when he comes for me… I was always going to leave with him."

Alice nodded, though it was sad. "He's your mate," she said in a simple tone, as though those three words explained it all.

But as she nodded in her reply, Bella knew it did.

The honey-haired Cold One appeared at Alice's side then, a grin on his face. Bella beamed back then turned to her friend as she spoke. "Just… be careful and stay in touch?"

Bella smiled softly. "I love you, Alice. Tell Edward he will find her one day, and she'll be everything he ever wanted—everything I'm not."

She nodded, eyes shimmering with tears that would never be shed. "I will," she whispered and then she disappeared into the commotion she would save her friend from—a final act of friendship until they met again.

Bella turned to Jasper, who raised an eyebrow. "Come on, then," he said in that slight accent of his. "Let's get ya to your mate."

They slipped away with not a word more, into a waiting car. No questions were asked as Jasper started the car and they sped off toward their destination. It would be a long drive, though Bella knew it would be about a fraction of what it might have been with anyone else—human—trying.

It was some time before either spoke, Bella having somewhat calmed now that she was on her way—it was going to be a long drive, after all. She was half-wondering whether she should have changed from her wedding dress…

Jasper interrupted her. "So, Alice told me your mate is the Original Hybrid?" he asked, keeping his eyes on the road as he drove at double the speed limit.

Bella swallowed. "Yes, though when I was… with him, he wasn't a hybrid." She was taking his phrasing to mean that he'd broken the curse, and a smile lit her lips as happiness threatened to burst inside her. She knew how much it meant to Nik, breaking that curse.

She only wished she'd been there to see it, a thought that had her smile fading into a frown.

Jasper interrupted her thoughts once more to ask another question. "Why did you leave?"

Bella sighed, looking out the window as memories of the day came back to her. "His father, Mikael."

The blond Texan frowned, confusion coloring his tone when he spoke next. "Was he woken then? I hadn't heard…"

Bella, too, was confused as she looked over at him. "No," she replied slowly, her voice low, "he was never… Klaus was still actively on the run from him. He left me because his father had found him again." Though as she said the words, Bella herself slowed as a new feeling filled her, a cold doubt she'd never thought she would feel when it came to her mate threatening to choke her. Her heartbeat thudded as she waited for Jasper's answer. He wouldn't, she thought, though it sounded off even to her.

"Bella, to my knowledge, he was neutralized nineteen years ago," he said slowly. "He's been in a tomb in North Carolina ever since then."

"But…" her voice was faint, and the words that fell from her mouth dripped like acid, burning with disbelief she felt. "No, you're… you're wrong," she said as tears welled, the fact that her mate had lied to her a hard pill to swallow. She shook her head as her legs pulled up to her chest, the pain wracking through her frame, taking her breath away.

Jasper swallowed, looking away from her and back to the road. He cursed the whole conversation, hoping he hadn't fucked anythin' up. "The whole supernatural world knows his name, darlin'… if he was awake, we'd know it. That kinda news would spread like wildfire."

Bella's breath hitched at his words. She knew they were true; the fact of the matter was that the name Mikael would spring fear into the hearts of any who knew of him… and for as popular as the Original vampires were, their father was just as well-known.

But that meant Nik had lied to her, that he'd looked her in the eye as he left her and filled her with false hope.

It took all her will power not to persuade Jasper—beg, more like it—to turn the car around.

But then the anger hit her as the betrayal was realized, and her eyes grew cold as her jaw locked.


And fuck the wedding dress; her mate was going to see exactly what he'd almost lost.

Niklaus Mikaelson had some explaining to do.

In the entire time that it took for them to drive the rest of the way to the small town of Mystic Falls, Virginia, Bella had a lot of time to think.

So when they did arrive, she was determined as hell to not both get answers for Nik's true reasons for leaving her behind under false impressions… and also to set him straight on a few things.

Starting with how she was not going to be left behind again.

Because there was one thing she was sure of, and that was that Niklaus Mikaelson loved her. If he hadn't, he'd not have lied about his leaving. She knew her mate could be brutal; it was something he was renowned for—his very name could inspire the fear of the oldest Cold One in existence, a species far older than the Originals themselves.

Thus it was the one reason why she wasn't quite going to rip him a new asshole when she saw him.

Jasper stopped just outside a mansion, and a still-irate Isabella rolled her eyes. Typical Klaus. She turned to her driver as she opened the door to get out. "Thank you for driving me here," she said kindly, her smile sincere despite the burning rage still in her eyes.

Jasper chuckled; the Original Hybrid would have his hands full with that brunette terror and he did not envy him one bit. "You're most welcome, Miss Bella." He tipped his imaginary hat before his ears pricked at sounds coming from the mansion and he frowned, a wary look in his eye as he looked the human girl over. Even the mate of Klaus, with a racket like that he wasn't so sure it was wise to leave her here alone… Alice would castrate him if somethin' happened to her best friend. "Maybe I should come in…"

Bella frowned, irritated even more by the fact that Jasper had picked up on something she hadn't. "Why, what's wrong?"

"Disturbance in the house," he said in a flat tone, his concentration taken up by the house—the yelling and the crashes did not sound pretty. "Sounds like Niklaus made some people angry."

Bella didn't bat an eyelash. "Ah, so he's woken them then." She grinned as she got out of the car. "Glad I have some help," she mused. "Thanks, Jasper," she said once more, and she winked at the chuckling Cold One as she closed his door.

"Howdy, Bella; don't be a stranger," he beckoned and she nodded, watching as he spun the car and left the way they came.

She sighed and looked back at the house. She was half hesitant to go in there and face the lying—she bit the inside of her cheek. No, she was ready. Anger fueling her every move, a darkness encompassed her chocolate eyes as she stalked to the house.

"Niklaus Mikaelson!" she shouted as she opened the door with a bang and walked right through the house, looking ridiculous she was sure with her big dress. She didn't have far to walk until she happened upon the scene she'd expected; her mate on his knees, his family around him.

But as soon as her eyes fell on him, her anger melted. Confronted by his image again after a long near two-year separation, she was not prepared for the image he made. Blue eyes, wide and filled with tears his aloof fragility would not allow to fall just yet, and blond curls assaulted her senses and she almost cried at the sight of them. She'd missed him more than she'd thought, she realized.

"Bella," he whispered hoarsely. His eyes drunk her in just as hers were doing with him, the woman before him—and that was what she was now, a woman to be sure—one he had never expected to see again. The pain he'd carried with him every day since last he saw her fell away and he took in a breath.

"Nik," she whispered before her emotions propelled her into action and she surged forward.

A smack filled the ears of the four other Mikaelsons as her hand connected with his cheek, and Elijah, Rebekah, Finn, and Kol shared glances, shocked their brother had allowed such a thing to come to pass.

Bella shook her head as the man she loved look down, swallowing as his cheek stung. He could tell his petite mate now knew the true reason he'd left, or at least knew that he'd lied. Shame filled him.

"I was getting married today," she said in a hoarse voice as she stood over the Original Hybrid. The two ignored the others in the room, their eyes and attention saved for just the other—no matter the reason for their distance, their connection was starving against the pressure. It was a relief to be whole again.

Klaus closed his eyes as pain filled him. He had always known the day would come when his mate was claimed by another, taken from him and made unreachable. He'd tried not to think of it, his possessive nature as both wolf and Original vampire warring with the truly insecure part of him that knew she was better off without him, knew that he was unworthy.

But her next words saved him.

"And all I could think of was you."

He opened his mouth to speak, lifting his gaze to hers, but she shook her head, her own eyes filled to the brim with tears as well—though he knew they were angry ones by the trembling of her hand and the rate of her sacred heart. He clenched his jaw against the desire to speak.

The girl laughed, the sound hysterical as she shook her head. "I believed you, you know… when you said that your father was after you again and you had to leave… that you didn't want to and that you'd find me. I was sure you would… I held out for it even as I moved up north to live with my father after your warning," she spat. She blinked and tears dispelled, streaking down her cheek and dripping to her feet in between them—the first of many.

"Imagine my surprise," she whispered, the words drenched in bitterness, "when my best friend's mate—because I couldn't get you out of my head, Nik, I actually found my next partner in a cold one!—told me that your father had been decimated nineteen years ago… before I was even born!" She sniffled, raising her gave to above his head as she tried to regain control.

"Suffice to say, it hurt like a bitch," she whispered, her tone now dark and rasping as she turned her gaze—a glare, now—down onto him once again. And oh, how heavy that gaze was on him… his head and his shoulders dropped even lower, to the amazement of his siblings.

Bella's fingers played with the fabric of her gown. "Do you like the dress, Nik?" she asked faintly, a small smile gracing her gorgeous face and he drunk her in. he frowned; she was beautiful but the dress… it wasn't her. She scrunched her nose. "Not really my style, is it? Well, I was going to change but after that little bombshell I thought it would be a good idea for you to see this… the true evidence that you almost lost me."

Klaus swallowed, a frown on his face as he still said nothing. "Love—" he began.

"No!" she said with a decisive shake of her head. "It's my turn now." She sighed, rubbing her temples with the tips of her fingers. "I… I was hurt and angry. Thought that perhaps our whole relationship was a lie but then I remembered how fucking brutal you can be and I knew that you did, in fact, love me so there was a reason behind your leaving that was so dire as for you to lie like that. I got to thinking… now why would you never tell me your father was decimated, hmm? Couple that with the fact that you're so… insecure and you have your answer."

She knelt down and took his hands in hers, their eyes watching her every move as she traced lines on them then lifted a hand to his jaw. She tilted his head back and leaned in close as she looked into his shimmering blue eyes and she smiled sadly, swallowing the thick emotion in her throat. "You're afraid," she whispered, leaning her forehead against his.

Klaus's breath intake was shuddery and he closed his eyes as his hands moving slow as they encompassed her waist.

"You're afraid and that's okay, Nik," she continued, sniffling as she took his face in both his hands. "It is," she said, voice growing stronger at the shame in his eyes, a frown on her face. "Because like it or not, I'm not leaving. I love you," she said, and she felt him shake as, at last, the tears fell from his eyes and joined hers on the floor in the space between them. "I love you!" she cried louder. "Without reason, without condition—unconditionally, I love you, Niklaus Mikaelson… my mate."

"Bella," he whispered, his tone begging as he looked into her eyes, his hands clenching her waist. Is this real? his eyes beseeched hers.

She smiled and leaned in. "Acceptance is the key to be truly free," she started. "All of your insecurities never scared me, Nik; they never made me blink even once. I saw them and I loved you all the more for them—I love you all the more for them."

She sniffled. "I really hate Mikael. He taught you that you're unworthy and you're not… you're not. You are worthy, Nik, and I don't want you to change for me—I want you as the rest of the world has you. Without apology, just as you are. I won't walk away when you give me that, when you let me see that side of you; I'll take your bad days with your good and I'll do it because I love you. All you have to do is open up your heart to me because mine's already wide open for you. Can you do that?"

Klaus's eyes flickered like crazy over her features, his eyes overwhelmed as he took in the acceptance and love in her eyes while he lifted a hand to trace his fingers just lightly over her features, always scared to touch her and mark her. But she leaned into his touch just like she always had, and he closed his eyes and leaned his forehead against hers.

Bella gasped as she felt it, felt their bond in ways that had always been closed off.

Her eyes were light and happy as she pressed her lips against his with a sigh, a smile tugging at the corners of her lips.

He let her in.

Hi, loves. So what did we think? Please let me know in a review... :)

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