Sorry to everyone who was invested in the multi-chap story that this used to be. Unfortunately I had everything written down but after having read just wasn't as good as this original chapter. So I'm keeping this as a one-shot because it's still pretty damn good, if I do say so myself, as a one-shot. Hope you enjoy! (This should also be fixed now.)

The Christmas music was too loud. There wasn't even anyone in the bar other than poor ole' Bella Swan and the bartender on this dreary Christmas Eve.

You might be wondering why Bella was here, see she didn't have any family anymore. Charlie was dead, store robbery gone wrong. Renee didn't even give a shit now that she was pregnant with Phil's kid, a kid that she actually wanted. Jacob had his imprint, Vanessa, she thought with disgust. Jacob was such a fickle boy, it's a good thing she never entertained his infatuation.

Don't even get her started on that dickwad, Edward Cullen. He just up and left her when she was eighteen, and on her birthday at that. Bella had many a bad thought about Edweirdo, as her best friend called him.

Unfortunately, her lack of family led her to being alone. Sure, she could've gone to see her best friend in Mystical Falls, but Damon was popular in his own right, and then when they had spoken a few weeks ago, Damon had pretty much told her she couldn't come to town for some unknown reason.

Bella of course knew why. She'd been having visions since she was ten but just thought they were dreams. Her powers were always growing, and at fifteen she found out that she was a a witch, a siphoner to be exact. Those witches in Phoenix were pretty scared when they found out, but before they could even chant a single word, she had touched both witches and took their powers. Her mother's reaction was even worse. Bella told everyone she moved to Forks because she wanted her mother to be able to travel with Phil, but the real reason was Renee was scared and when Renee gets scared, she won't listen to logic or reason.

"Bella! What are you doing to her? You're going to kill her!"

"She was trying to kill me! I was only trying to protect myself!"

When Charlie found out she was a witch, he gave her the family grimoire and a glass of bourbon.

"It's tough being a witch."

"Dad, do you have powers?"

"No, but your Grams did. She was one scary lady when she wanted to be. She was a siphoner too, you know? That's where you get it from. Unfortunately, being a witch doesn't save you from heart attacks."

Bella smiled fondly at her father's acceptance. Charlie always lived in the black and white, but if there was any gray area he saw, it was magic. He was the one that taught her about magic and the family tree of witches. She learned so much even though he didn't have powers of his own. Grams had told Charlie about Bella's abilities. She had hoped she would be the one to teach Bella, but unfortunately her heart didn't want to beat anymore.

Magic was how she had found Damon. Witches don't always like vampires, but shortly after Edward had left her, Bella had gone to Seattle to hopefully track Victoria down before Victoria came after her. She found Damon instead. He was of course still looking for Katherine, the supposed love of his life.

"I love her, and I have to free her. Just tell me where I can find this stone, please," Damon begged.

"Sorry but Katherine Pierce cannot be freed. And we're not going to let you." The witch started an incantation while Damon writhed around on the floor, holding his head in pain.

"Why can't we all just be friends?" Bella whispered in the witch's ear and then grabbed her arms, siphoning the magic out of her. The witch passed out on the ground, while Bella helped Damon get up. The moment Bella touched Damon, flashes of his life went by along with flashes of Katherine's life. "I'm sorry to tell you this, but your Katherine isn't in the tomb."

"How do you know?"

"Uhh…I'm a witch who just stole that witch's powers. She'll be fine though, if not a little achey." Bella smiles at Damon. "I'm Bella. It's nice to meet you, Damon."

They'd been friends ever since, the best of friends actually. Friends with benefits on occasion, but Damon wasn't ready for anything more, neither was Bella. That meeting had been ten years ago. Technically, she was twenty-eight now, but she still looked eighteen.

She had been partying with Damon a few months after they met, when after deciding to get a breath of fresh air she was mugged. And since Bella was such a danger magnet, she got stabbed in the process. Right. In. Her. Neck. She bled out on the pavement that night. When Damon found her an hour later, he took her to his apartment and waited.

Why did he wait? Well, clumsy Bella still cuts herself when she's cooking. Damon being the gentleman he is, gave her his blood to heal her. "If you're not in top form to party, what's the point?" is what Damon would say.

She woke up to learn she was in transition. She chose to change, but didn't know that she would still have her powers. The upside to being a siphoner is you can keep your magic; the downside is she learned people like her are called heretics. She had to stay low if she wanted to stay in this world. She refused to be locked away in a prison world.

Her life hadn't been easy since turning but she adapted. Damon helped as much as he could, but when he found out his brother was back in his home town, Damon left with only a "see ya later, sweetcheeks!" She knew why he had gone. His brother had found Katherine's doppelganger.

Which is why she sat at in a bar, nursing her bourbon like the adult witchpire she was. (She refused to call herself a heretic. Damon would only laugh.) Bella was lonely, which led to her being a little depressed. She was already a loner when she was a normal human. She was even more of an outcast when she found out she was a witch. Being a witchpire didn't always go so well when other witches found out. That's why they were dead. She trusted so few people anyway, not even a full handful.

She knew that Damon was only trying to protect her, but he should know better. He might be 169 years old, but she was almost as strong as him. These witchy powers sure were helpful though. She knew that he didn't want her to get caught up in all this Elena bullshit. Elena didn't seem so great, at least from what all these visions of hers showed.

Elena was temperamental, selfish, vain, greedy, manipulative…sound like anyone we know? Katherine was at least mostly honest with everything; Elena was a backstabber. Now that she thought about it, it's probably a good thing Damon tried to keep her away from helping. Bella would've snapped the doppelganger's neck within the first two hours of meeting her, surely.

Speaking of the devil, the phone on top of the bar next to her tumbler started going off. Damon's smarmy face smirking up at her. Bella sighed and swiped across the screen.

"What do you want, Damon?"

"Why the bitchy attitude? Is this because I told you not to come to Mystic Falls?"

"I just wanted to hang with you, on Christmas of all days!"

"Listen, I'm up to my ears in doppelgangers."

"Yeah, dear old Katherine is in town."

"How did you know that? Oh wait, vision, right?"

"Got it in one! I could help, you know?"

"I was going to invite you to a New Year's Eve bash I'm having. Can you make that?"

"Yeah, that would be-"

"Hey, B, I have to go. Shit! Talk to you later!"

Bella sighed in frustration. She wanted to slam her phone down, but she had just gotten it via one Damon Salvatore. The door to the bar suddenly opened followed by a flurry of snowflakes and a man shadowed by the white of the snow that had been coming down steadily when she first arrived three hours ago, but it was coming down pretty hard now. The streets definitely wouldn't be walkable soon, but she wasn't done drinking her sorrows just yet.

"Hey Harry, can I get another?" Bella points to her empty glass. Harry frowns but fills it up anyway.

The newcomer sat a seat down from Bella with a huff. Bella could see that he was a handsome man. Tall, with blonde hair and scruff, and what could possibly be one of the grumpiest faces as of late. She could tell his inner Scrooge was coming out. Before Harry could take the man's order, Bella beat him to it.

"He looks like a bourbon man, Harry. The first one's on me, stranger." Bella smiled at the newcomer, hoping that even if she couldn't have a happy Christmas, maybe she could make someone else happy, if only for a little bit. She'd never had to turn off her emotions before, and she didn't want to now so maybe helping someone else could prevent her from doing so.

"Thank you for your generosity," the man replied with a British accent and smirked at her. He didn't seem so angry anymore. The smirk was kind of sexy knowing that he wasn't so angry. "Klaus Mikaelson. What kind of name should go with such a beautiful lady?"

Oh, Klaus was definitely a charmer. Bella put her hand in his to shake, expecting normal visions of a human life, but what she got was blood, a thousand years worth of blood. But behind all that blood she saw family, betrayal, curses and magic, enemies, and most of all, loneliness. Bella had never before seen such loneliness from anyone she'd met before. With her experience though, she knew not to show anything. Bella kept her cards close to her chest. She couldn't give away the fact that she knew this man so well before she could even give him her name.

"Bella Swan." She smiled his way but the ringing of her phone grabbed her attention. It was Damon again. Bella grew angry at the thought that she had her best friend's attention now that whatever mild crisis was averted in Mystic Falls. She set her phone to ignore.

"Angry at the boyfriend?" Klaus was looking at her with mild interest.

"My best friend. And god damn it, I am angry. How dare he abandon me on Christmas Eve just so he can try to win his brother's girlfriend over. She's not even that great. He deserves the best, I just don't get what's so special about her," Bella threw out quickly. "Sorry, I've drank quite a bit so far, and I shouldn't explode like that on strangers."

"Oh, we're not strangers, love. Not anymore, at least. We know each other's names. We know that we must not have any family, which is why we are the only people in this bar. And we know that your friend must have something to tell you if he's calling you again." Klaus pointed to Bella's phone, which had begun to ring again on the bar top.

Bella looked at her phone. She was actually glaring at it. Damon's face smirking up at her. She was hoping that maybe her witchpire powers suddenly developed heat vision. Nope, it's still sitting there. The phone goes black as Damon gets pushed to voicemail. Bella set the phone to vibrate. Maybe he would get the hint.

"He was an ass, and so he gets this bitchy attitude. What is it with guys thinking that women can't handle certain situations? I could totally help him out if he would just listen to me but he undermined my knowledge and expertise. So fuck him." Bella grumbled and then put her head on the bar top.

"I know the feeling. My older brother 'Lijah is such a pain. He thinks he knows best, and that it's always supposed to be his way. It's as if we're children again. You know I'm here in this city because I have a lead on someone we're searching for but he won't even acknowledge the fact that it's a legitimate lead?" Bella could see Klaus' disgruntled face and felt bad for him. She knew he was trying to break his curse, but knew that he was in the wrong place. She wondered who had sent him to New York to find the doppelganger. She knew that Elijah didn't want Klaus to lift his curse, so Bella figured that it must have been a false trail.

"Are you two detectives? That's cute, detective brothers." Bella snorted at the thought.

"Something like that. We're looking for an old friend who stole something from my mother. Very important." Klaus reached over the bar for the bottle of bourbon, then put down a $100 bill. "I think we can finish this between us. Unless you're going to pick that up?"

Damon was calling again. The screen went black, only to light up again with his picture. Bella shook her head; he could deal with whatever it was on his own. But what if he was dying? She scrambled for the phone and picked up the call.

"Ugh, are you dying?"

"Uhhh, no but-"

"Good." With that Bella hung up the phone and put it face down on the bar top. Grabbing her glass, she swallowed what was in the glass, refilled from the bottle and swallowed it all again.

"Not that I care or anything, but how many have you had so far?" Klaus asked with caution.

"I lost count. I'm perfectly fine though. I have a high tolerance." Bella's phone started to chime again. Damon.

"Are you sure that's not important?"

"If he's not dying, then it's not important. I couldn't care less about his girl troubles."

"Jealous?" Klaus smirked at the thought, but then frowned. He felt an odd kinship with this girl. Klaus thought she was beautiful, like a wood nymph, if they were such a thing. Maybe they could get a pity Christmas fuck out of this night. They both seemed so lonely, it could do them both good. Klaus might've been a horrible man, but he was an honorable one. He would at least make sure that Bella wasn't attached to anyone, and make sure she was willing. Or not, depending on how he was feeling.

"Oh, definitely not. Damon and I might've slept together in the past but he's my best friend. There are no feelings like that. It's been ten years since I've even loved anyone, let alone felt jealous," Bella answered with sincerity. Klaus could tell she was telling the truth, and it made him happy on the inside. He didn't know why he was feeling that way. He hadn't felt that way in quite awhile.

Bella and Klaus spent the next hour, or two, drinking and talking, about nothing and yet everything, without really giving away who they were. She knew that Klaus still thought she was a human girl, and that he didn't know she was aware of who and what he was. Bella started feeling compassion for this man who could feel so much, and was intelligent and funny on top of all the destruction he'd caused. He could keep up in her conversations about books and science, politics and religion. They had a lot in common, and Bella could feel the truth come off of him in waves.

When Bella gets a vision of a person, she usually gets surface level stuff. Things that have already happened and sometimes why, so she kept her guard up after seeing everything that Klaus had done the past thousand years. Talking to him though, she knew that he was a much more compassionate person than people got to see. He held love in his soul, but no one ever trusted him enough for him to show it, not even his family.

She saw the same things in Damon when she first met him and spent time with him. The same when after her transition she went back home to Forks and ran into one of the shifters, Paul Lahote. He was the same; dark past, angry present, but underneath all of that was agonizing pain. She helped him find purpose, and he helped her take down Victoria.

Of course, when Bella told Damon about Elena, he tried to persuade Bella that she only saw what was on the surface, went into detail about why Elena had done and said the things she did but Damon was blinded by the love he used to hold for Katherine and transferring that over to Elena. He couldn't see past it to see who she was.

Damon didn't know that Bella had already met Elena. It was about a year or so before Stefan had arrived in Mystic Falls. Bella knew the kind of person that Elena was, and it was all confirmed by the things Damon told her. To think that this human girl could possibly be worse than the original hybrid, it was crazy.

"Where did you go just now?" Klaus looked at Bella curiously.

"Home. My dad and I would talk like this. After all the awkwardness of course."

"Why would you be awkward with your father?"

"We're both quiet people and we hadn't seen each other for years, but when I came home he found out something about me and we bonded. After that, we joked around all the time and talked about everything. He was a great dad," Bella replied softly. She could feel the tears threatening to spill, and she didn't want to cry in front of the great Niklaus Mikaelson. Her tear ducts weren't listening to her though, and one broke through the barrier.

Klaus cupped her face and wiped away the tear with his thumb. He leaned closer and whispered, "at least your father was kind to you. My father abhorred me. He beat me when I was a child, and my mother never did anything about it. That was probably even worse than the beatings. Be happy that you had the time you did with your father, and that it was memorable. Sometimes I wish I could forget."

Bella knew what Klaus was talking about. His memories about his parents were not happy ones. She wanted to forget them too. She wanted to take that pain away and make sure he never felt that way again. If only her siphoning power could work that way. She saw the way he was tied up by his own father and brother, and how her mother placed the curse upon him so he could never access his werewolf side. She could feel the pain he felt every full moon, where the wolf clawed at his soul but he couldn't set it free. For a thousand years he's felt that, and she didn't want that for him anymore.

That's when an idea struck Bella. She lit up and Klaus could tell something was on her mind.

"You look like you just remembered there's a big present waiting for you at home."

"Oh this face?" Bella pointed at her face and circled it. "This is my 'I have to pee face.' No big deal. I'll be right back." Bella quickly grabbed her purse and phone, and went to the bathroom. In the last hour, Damon had called another thirty-seven times, left her twenty-nine voicemail messages, and fifty-six texts. After emptying her alcohol filled bladder, sad that even after being a vampire she still had the urge to pee, she listened to some of Damon's messages.

"I need your help. Katherine is up to something. Call me back."

"Can you tell me what a moonstone would be used for?"

"Did you know that werewolves are real? I just found out. I need to know more."

"The Bennett witch thinks that this moonstone is a key to our daylight curse."

"BELLA! Call me back. This is important."

Bella didn't bother listening anymore. Looked like Damon was getting closer. How did he even manage to find out so much in just a few hours? Katherine either has loose lips but that would only be if Stefan promised to be with her, or the Bennett witch was getting answers from the other side. Either way, the only person she was going to help was Klaus. She knew they could have something of the romantic and sexytime sort but right now Klaus needed to break his curse.

Klaus was sipping his drink, thinking of what he could say to convince Bella to come back to his penthouse with him, when she came up to him. The Christmas music was still blaring loudly, and he just realized that he never even thought of how she could have heard anything over it. Before he could put anything together, she slipped in front of him and grabbed his attention.

"I'm going to head out. I hope you find what you're looking for Klaus. Maybe we'll meet again." She gave him a secretive smile and a kiss on the cheek, then walked out of the bar.

Klaus was shocked at how quickly things changed. He couldn't even process proper thoughts, and now he had just lost a chance at something good. He sullenly turned back to the bar and found an origami swan. On one of the wings there was some sort of writing. It said 'Open me'. He opened the paper to find more of the same loopy handwriting.

You need to go back home, where it all started, if you want to break your curse. If for whatever reason you want to make more hybrids, make sure the doppelganger stays alive, you'll need her blood. Your mother made a bitch of a loophole in this curse.

Oh, and maybe you should undagger your siblings. I think Elijah would appreciate that. I know he's kind of a dick to you, but he misses his family. He might be less of a dick if he had them back. Your mother can stay in that coffin though. I'd keep an eye on Finn too.

When you're not so focused on your curse and your family, come find me. I'll keep my senses open for you, in case you need help.

Thanks for the distraction. Merry Christmas!



Klaus was astounded but he couldn't wipe the smile off of his face. He left another $100 bill on the bar top and waved to Harry on the way out. Bella had given him the best Christmas gift yet, making this the best Christmas he had ever had. Now he just had to follow through.

Standing on the sidewalk, all he saw around him was white. The snow was going stronger and it was getting colder, but all Klaus felt was a warmth. He finally had hope that his pain would lessen, that this curse would leave him, that maybe he could find love again. He needed to break this curse and make things right with his family, and fast. He had a Bella to find afterall.

A Merry Christmas indeed!

Thanks for reading!