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Without You, My Heart is Numb

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Chapter 1 - Satellite Heart


1913, New Orleans

The streetlamps glittered the wet streets of New Orleans in the black of night, giving incandescent twinkle to the deadened French Quarter. It was long past sunset, and trapped vampires had bled out from the woodworks, the streets of the city empty as humans, witches, werewolves and the like made themselves scarce.

Kol Mikaelson walked the street alone tonight, his overcoat unbuttoned and his top hat tucked under his arm. Any who saw him would think he was looking for trouble just based on his reputation alone, but tonight that was not the case.

He had, in fact, been drawn to a part of the Quarter that was witch-dominated, just as he had been for the past few weeks. Though he'd ignored the pull, there was nothing to do tonight. Klaus and Elijah were watching Marcel and Rebekah feign separation—though Elijah's efforts were mainly focused toward keeping their dear brother in line—and Kol was bored of all the bloody drama, funnily enough.

He'd been rather short-tempered the past few weeks, ever since feeling the pull toward the particular part of the Quarter he was now currently walking through. He had no idea what it was this pull was trying to direct him towards, but he was stubborn; so if he didn't wish to follow it, then he wouldn't.

Of course, many of the unsuspecting townsfolk had already fallen victim to his even worse temper as he, as usual, was ignored in his dark mood swings in favour of his brother, Nik. Elijah really would do anything for Rebekah, even trying to mediate a possible truce between Nik and Bekah with her little beau, Marcel. Kol wondered why he bothered, but then, with a bitter smile, he could definitely remember that 'always and forever' promise the three of them clung to like the shreds of their fractured family. Another thing he was excluded from.

A sound drew Kol from his thoughts, and he stopped mid-step and looked up. In a flash, his top hat was atop his head and he'd pulled the brim down over his eyes to make his face indistinguishable, just in case there were others lurking though he didn't know why that would concern him. Quieting his footsteps, he jolted forward and, using his vampire senses, he listened in on the growing angry disagreement from a house down the end of the street.

"Non, Belle," came the exasperated response, their voice firm and unwavering as they continued. "Je ne me soucie pas de ce que vous dites, vous ne devez pas sortir après le coucher du soleil. C'est trop dangereux." Kol's brow puckered and he stepped even closer, intrigued further when he caught the sound of the most seductive, raspy voice he'd ever had the pleasure of hearing reply. The tone was just as exasperated, and Kol moved closer to the home, intent on seeing the beauty. From the sound of her voice, he knew that she was aptly named.

"No, Belle. I do not care what you say, you are not to go out after sunset. It is too dangerous."

"Maman, je sais combien il est dangereux.  Je ne sortirais jamais si ce n'était pas important. Tu le sais."  The voice was pleading, desperate, and something in its tenor struck a deep resounding chord in Kol's chest. This was not just the rogue young one wanting to get out of the house, there was something about this girl's need that seemed far more substantial. And damn it all to hell if Kol didn't want to know why… didn't start presuming that perhaps…

"Mother, I know how dangerous it is. I would never go out if it was not important. You know that."

At last, the wild fox had made it to the house, standing in front of the window. Inside he saw furnishings far less ostentatious than those of the mansion he resided in, but with a charm that made it warm and homey.

Though when his eyes fell on the gorgeous Belle, they could not stray. She was indeed so very beautiful, but that was only the half of it. In that moment, Kol felt a sharp tugging in his chest and he swallowed against a pain that clenched his heart, his face tugged into a grimace as his hand flew up to press hard. With his eyes on the girl, a certain realization fell upon him as his slight suspicion—and long-abandoned hope—was confirmed; this was what the pull had been urging him toward, he was sure of it. Just as he was sure that Belle had felt that tug as well, her reaction identical to his.

The girl's mother eyed her wearily, sighing before she spoke, resigned, her voice quieter.  "Je ne suis pas à l'aise avec ça. Je ne veux pas que vous vous mettent en danger. Vous n'êtes pas assez fort dans vos pouvoirs et je ne peux pas vous aider. Ton père était supposé, mais…"  The mother's face crumbled and a sob escaped her, Belle's own face mirroring her mother's as she drew the woman into her arms.

"I am not comfortable with this. I do not want you risking yourself out there. You are not strong enough in your powers yet, and I can't help you with that. Your father was supposed to, but..."

"Maman…"

Mother...

There was quiet for a while except for the sobs of the older woman, though Kol could hear in Belle's throat, how her breath hitched as she trembled lightly, not allowing her own sobs to escape. She was heartbreaking in her beauty, with her eyes clenched shut and the tears that had welled in her eyes spilling silently down her cheeks as she tried to keep her breathing steady. Kol watched, finding it oddly difficult to take in the girl's pain. Funny… he seemed to ache to comfort her.

And make whoever had killed her Papa pay.

Eventually, the older woman calmed, and Belle, voice now timid and gentle, asked once more.  "S'il vous plaît, maman. Je reviendrai en sécurité, vous verrez. Juste ce soir, juste une fois."

"Please, mother. I will come back safe, you will see. Just tonight, just once."

Belle's mother pulled back from her daughter's embrace, and looked into her eyes for the longest time before sighing and bowing her head. Still not giving a verbal answer, she withdrew from the younger woman's touch completely and went to a chest of drawers between the adjoined kitchen and living room area. Opening the top one, she retrieved an object and placed it in Belle's hand. Belle eyed it carefully, swallowing as she looked up to her mother, a gleam of hope in her gorgeous blue eyes.

With a small smile on her face, the older woman rolled her eyes and, resigned, she said,  " Bien. Mais vous revenez tout droit, et vous prenez cela avec vous. Si vous ressentez un danger, alors, vous revenez tout droit, vous m'entendez?"

"Fine. But you come straight back, and you take this with you. If you sense any danger what so ever, you come straight back, do you hear me?"

Belle smiled largely at her mother, squealing a little as she threw her arms around her neck. Her voice was jovial as she replied, " Qui maman, merci." Without another word, she skipped out of the room and thus out of Kol's sight to get her coat and leave.

Yes, mother. Thank you.

Kol swallowed, confusion tearing at him at the want he had in his body, singing for him to flit to a better vantage poin t to see the girl. He could not understand it. Of course, Belle was absolutely beautiful—her name was more than fitting—but he did not understand the overwhelming pull he felt toward her. She was surely just another pretty girl…

And yet she was not.

He could tell that already.

The sound of the front door of the witch's home rang through the silent night. Kol gave into instinct and used his vampire speed to stand a ways down the street to watch the girl before she reached him. With his excellent eyesight, he could see the amulet around her neck, most likely spelled to protect her by her mother or late father. He sighed. This would be difficult, it seemed.

Belle walked down the street slowly, her heart beating fast and eyes flitting over her surroundings, never resting on one place for more than a few seconds. She was on edge. The feeling she'd been experiencing the past few weeks had worsened tonight, had been even stronger inside the house when she had been begging her mother to let her leave despite it already being bad since the sun had set. Her heart and indeed her very soul could have leapt for joy when her mother had given in to her pleading.

There was something about tonight, Belle thought. There was something coming, and it was something extraordinary, something that would change her and her life course forever. But on the other hand, it felt strongly of fate, so perhaps she was merely meeting destiny on this night.

Her heartbeat quickened when her eyes fell on a tall, dark figure in the distance, merely standing in the middle of the street on the road. Licking her lips and stopping, Belle looked down at the amulet resting on her chest and walked forward, her pace now much slower than it had been.

"Relax, darling," a soothing, rich British accent reached her ears as the figure's head lifted, the top hat now much higher on Kol's head so he could get a good look at her and likewise for her. But as soon as their eyes connected and the powerful surge jolted through them, the words he'd been meaning to say were forgotten. In a flash, he was standing in front of Belle, so close their faces were only inches from one another, their breath, escaping through slightly parted lips, mingling, causing mist in the cool night. The proximity and the luminosity of the moon on her pale features made her all the more lovely, and Kol could not help the words that escaped his mouth in a low breath. "My, aren't you beautiful…"

Belle smiled in spite of herself, and swallowed. Her voice heavily laced with the French accent of her heritage, she smirked, "well, that is my name, Monsieur…?"

"Kol, darling," he told her with a smirk of his own, reaching a hand out to shake hers. "Kol Mikaelson."

Belle swallowed, gorgeous doe eyes glittering nervously with recognition. "Mikaelson, you say."

"Yes, indeed," he continued uncaringly, not minding her reaction. Every witch in the Quarter knew their family name. Kol was more intrigued by the girl herself, her scent tantalizing, breathtaking. He had no idea what the little witch was doing to him, but he was enjoying it. "Belle…?"

"Swan," she replied without a moment's hesitation, lifting her hand and giving into the almost devastating desire to place it in his. They both gasped at the sensation that they felt together as they touched, the pleasurable heat encompassing their hand at the sight of touch and traveling through their body to wrap around their hearts. Without knowing it, they stepped closer together.

"What is this?" Kol breathed, looking into her eyes before allowing his eyes to traverse her delicate, gorgeous features. "What are you doing to me?"

Belle smiled, her full lips curving into the most beautiful smile Kol had ever seen. He wanted to see it more… perhaps forever. "I do nothing… but I think fate is doing something."

Kol swallowed and stepped away, hurting at the disappointment and pain in the eyes of the girl before him. But he didn't know what was happening between them, what any of this was… and he needed time to think… to find the answer. With a softened version of his classic smirk lighting his face, he reached for her hand and pressed his lips to skin. "I will be seeing you later, darling."

And, in a flash, he was gone.

2011, New York.

Belle leaned over the balcony, a tumbler of rum in her hand. Unseeing blue eyes watched the sun rise in the sky, its rays reflected in all their glorious power on the high rises surrounding her. Her impassively-set features only darkened as it got lighter out and she stole away inside when she heard the bustling of rush hour begin.

The hollowed out heart of the French witch-vampire hybrid throbbed painfully as she looked around her. Bare, clinical furniture was all her eyes could feast upon and she wondered once more why she had ever agreed to this.

It would not be the first time…

Ah, mon dieu, she sighed to herself, a small growl in her throat. She flitted to her office and sat in front of her laptop to see if there was anything any of her contacts needed. She needed to remain busy… even if it was mostly against Niklaus's rules. Her features twisted into a sneer at the thought even as she thought of him somewhat fondly. A hundred years had changed a lot of things.

Ah, my god...

Taking a deep breath and pushing away her thoughts—for now was not the time—she opened her email and perused the inbox. It was full and she rolled her eyes, clicking the first one.

Bonsoir, Belle, it opened with and her brow quirked, lips pursed. She was unimpressed but still, she read on.

I am sorry my email is so late, ma chere, but I hope it finds you well. We have missed you in the Hamptons.

Getting down to business as I know that is what you prefer, we have a business proposition for you. We have recently had a gang of unruly vampires infiltrate our town and we hoped that you, with your reputation and contacts, would help us in our endeavor to see them off?

Petit merde, Belle spat and she shook her head, clicking to the next email without finishing it. Surely there was something… Her eyes scanned the screen as she scrolled down, only to pause on an email with no subject, the sender's ID blank.

Little shit.

Eyes narrowed, she opened it, finding no greeting as she quickly read through only for her heart to squeeze and lurch in her chest. Reaching blindly for her phone, swallowing thickly as she found it, she pressed a key then brought it to her ear.

"What is it?"

The sound of Klaus's voice, urgent, caused her breath to hitch.

"Someone emailed me… they want me to 'elp them find Mikael," she answered faintly.

Silence for a split second was immediately followed by a growl, within which she could hear panic.

"You know I would not… but they also know that I am the mate of Kol… that is why they contacted me; they think I would be interested." A beat. "Which you also know I am not…"

"Who is it?" the blond asked and she went to speak at the fact that he'd not addressed any of what he'd said, but the tone of his voice made her stop.

She sighed.

"There is no name… just 'blocked sender' so I cannot tell at all."

She left him to think as he didn't respond, hearing an irritated growl that honestly didn't faze the witch hybrid after so long of being in his company.

"Reply to them. Tell them you are interested."

"And then?"

"Treat it as any of your other jobs until we know more."

She didn't like that, but didn't disagree. Instead, another thought came to mind and she frowned.

"Klaus, how could they know of 'im? 'e is an urban legend, no?"

"To but a select few, he is, yes…"

"So then—" she cut herself off as she heard one of the Original's lackeys speak, their tone so hushed she was only able to hear that they were rather distressed. Concentrating, she caught the name 'Elijah' before the sound of Niklaus's snarl and a curse drowned everything else out. And then he was talking to her.

"Reply to them. Keep me informed."

She frowned, about to speak though what she would have said, even she didn't know. But the call had already ended. A bad feeling settled in her chest as she thought on the fact that Elijah was no doubt infiltrating Klaus's home right now, doing god knows what because of rumors he'd heard…

Shaking her head, she sighed and turned her attention back to the screen in front of her, clicking 'reply' and beginning an email to accept the person's offer.

"I think you'll find the list of people who might have sent you that email is rather short …"

Her fingers hovered motionlessly over the keyboard and she looked down, taking a breath before continuing her reply as she spoke, "Is that a confession?"

"Of course not."

"You say that as though you are offended. And considering it is Niklaus that Mikael 'unts, I do not know why you would feel so… it is not as though you care…"

"Of course I do."

She scoffed.

"Then why do you also 'unt your brother?"

A long pause, she tensed as she heard the man come closer.

"Sometimes there is honor in revenge, Belle," was the response murmured so close to her. She could hear the weight in his voice and had she been turned toward him, the speaker would have seen a flicker of surprise. It was gone when he continued, his tone bordering on disapproval or shame. "I should think you of all people would understand that."

"I do… but it is not something I would 'ave expected from you. After all, you were the one 'o stopped me from avenging Kol when you and your brother daggered 'im. A 'necessary evil' you called it. Do you remember?"

"I do, and it was. But that is different—what Niklaus has done is not necessary."

She scoffed. "Of course you would see only Kol's daggering as 'necessary.' But Rebekah, of course not her… non, anything that 'appens to that one is a travesty—a crime! But what do you know? You were not even there!"

"Do you not think I wished to be? Have you not considered the immeasurable weight that consumes me when I think of how wrong I was for thinking I had successfully led my father aw—?"

"I do not know what to think about you!" she shouted. "I 'ave expected none of this from you so what am I to think now? You send men after your brother, you send men after me—"

"I never intended for you to be caught in the crossfire."

Clearly, he'd heard the edge of pain and betrayal in her voice but the guilt in his was not believed and she rolled her eyes. Even then, she was no longer shouting as she replied.

"But of course I am. You 'ave not contacted me once; I 'ave 'ad to flee countless cities because of you. All because you are unwilling to think, to investigate whether or not what you 'ave 'eard is true… you just assume the worst about your brother, just as you did with Kol…"

"I—"

She held up a hand. "You 'ave no idea why 'e 'as done what 'e has done… or what it is 'e has done… But 'e is the one 'o 'as kept me safe—not you. You know nothing and you think you know everything. That is your problem," she growled bitingly.

Elijah swallowed. "I never once sent them to hurt you…" He paused. "I only sent them as a way of persuading you to change your perception of my motives, of my intentions…"

"Well apparently they 'ave different thoughts on their means of persuasion." She paused. "Oh, my apologies; I should 'ave said ''ad different thoughts.' I killed them after all… They were surprised to find I still 'ave my magic… I suppose you left that out… why?"

"If they had known, they would not have tried."

Her eyes narrowed, she growled, spinning in her chair to glare at the suited man in front of him, her tone hardened as she stood. "And now we come back to the point that you tried to 'ave me killed, Elijah—your brother's mate! What is it you think Kol will do should 'e wake to find me dead? By the man 'o 'elped dagger 'im, no less?"

The guilt he felt was in the way he swallowed as he looked away. "I would never—" he began, grave and slightly choked, but she cut him off.

"But you did! If Niklaus 'ad not warned me, I might 'ave been dead by now. And that, dear brother, would be your fault. And all because of your petty fight with Niklaus…"

"The fate of my family is not 'petty,'" he spat, stepping forward with a snarl.

A growl left her and she descended into a slew of French insults, her hands waving in the air as she ranted. The Original of course followed every word, his eyes narrowed as he wondered at the meaning of a certain line but he thought nothing of it as she took a deep breath and held it.

"'ow did you even find me? I am cloaked."

There was a small smirk on his lips. "From magic, yes. But not from modern technology, I am afraid, Belle. I was able to turn one of my brother's little minions against him. He put a tracker on his phone. I knew you were within this city, I just didn't know where exactly…"

"So when 'e called me, you were able to find my exact location. Well done…" she spat "sending men to their death like that. Condemning another that Niklaus 'ad promised safety to… You are not a stupid man—or at least not that much… you know that they will be dead soon?"

There was not even a flicker in his eyes.

"And you don't care… I think you are more like your little brother than you think."

That got a reaction and he growled at her, visage flickering as he took yet another step forward. Belle smirked, hand flying up to her talisman which she clutched. As a being of magic, the Original was able to feel the surge of power, the threat of a spell that would bring him pain…

It was that which made him stop.

"What is your plan now?" she asked as she flashed back to the computer, sending the email after writing one final line, then closing the entire system down. "Am I to pack? Or will I be taken as I am? I 'ope you know Niklaus will come to find me…"

"I am not afraid of him," Elijah answered only for there to be a pause as he sighed. "And I am not taking you hostage, Belle. I am the one who helped Kol come to terms with your bond after all. I would not betray him any more than I would harm you. I merely came to talk."

"Ah, as you sent your men to me before? To talk?" She would not be letting that go anytime soon, no matter what he said about his reasoning.

He seemed to grasp that.

"I apologize for that."

"So it seems."

"It is more than Niklaus has given you. How you can forgive him so easily is beyond me…"

She glared at him. "It was not easy. It took years… which you would 'ave known if you 'ad bothered to find us. But you did not and then the next we know, you are 'unting us as your father does your brother. 'o you would not want to 'urt if you actually talked to 'im instead of believing the lies and rumors floating about which were created by 'im in the first place."

"I would not call something that he gloated about a rumor," Elijah growled.

"And does your brother not use false bravado to thwart 'is enemies? To make others fear 'im? Is he not a show off just as you can be—as Kol is? Even Rebekah…" she huffed, "all of you Mikaelsons, always showing off… But of course, you never tried to understand Kol and they are so alike…"

"I do not understand."

"You understand—you just do not want to admit that you could be wrong," she explained impatiently before she calmed herself again, patience returning to her voice, almost a hint of desperation. She hated the fighting; she wanted it to stop. "If you talked to him, Elijah…"

"He has not been open to that for quite some time."

"I wonder why," she snapped. "When exactly was 'e supposed to show interest? When 'is men were being killed by yours?" A sound of disgust rose in her throat. "'ow small your cocks must be to send others instead of face one another yourselves. You do not use sense. All this time—'as it never crossed your mind that I would never allow 'im to do what you think 'e 'as? Or to that wretched bitch because despite what she did I know Kol loves 'er? Or do you think I am not strong enough to oppose 'im? Do you forget it is magic that makes you strong and magic that weakens you?"

His lips parted but he stopped when her hand lifted as she picked up her phone. Pressing a single key, the phone rang once before it was answered.

"Must you call me when I'm in the middle of killing someone?" was the greeting she received as she stared at her nails, ignoring the screams of the vampire that he was obviously torturing.

"You are always killing somebody. This is important. Niklaus, your brother is 'ere. I demand that you talk to 'im and end this petty little fight of yours."

"I have nothing to say to him."

"Têtu putain de hybrides et leurs égos fragiles..." she growled, glaring at nothing as she snarled at the man on the phone, "You will speak to 'im now and explain that these ridiculous things 'e believes are false."

"Stubborn fucking hybrids and their fragile egos…"

"Elijah is free to believe whatever the bloody hell he wants about me. I don't care," Klaus spat, the words immediately followed by the cry of his victim which was cut off as he ripped out his vocal chords.

"Idiot boys and their idiot brains… merde…" she moaned as she rubbed her fingers on her forehead. "You care and we both know it. Perhaps 'e would be open to 'elping with this latest situation of ours should you tell 'im. Surely that is more important than your little ego?" She sneered.

Shit.

He growled. "We don't require help from our enemies."

"'e is not your enemy, you stupid 'ybrid man, 'e is your brother."

Her raised voice had an effect as there wasn't a response for a moment, and when there was, it was far quieter than before.

"I want proof of this change of heart."

Elijah was clearly unimpressed as he stood straight, his sarcasm and impatience in his tone.

"And what would you suggest, Niklaus?"

"Find Katerina for me," the blond replied, and Belle was thankful he'd ignored his brother's tone. "I want her for the ritual, as penance for her crimes five hundred years ago. Find her and bring her to me."

"For that I would need to know where you are."

"You already do, but you're right… I won't be here for long. You will find that out when you have her. Not before."

His tone was not one to be argued with and despite the growl that left Elijah and his locked jaw, he nodded, a moment later grudgingly accepting.

But then…

"You must tell 'im that they are safe, or else 'e will not want to 'elp."

"Oh, bloody hell," Klaus snarled, losing his patience. "Our family isn't dead and nor are they at the bottom of an ocean or sea. They are daggered and will remain so." There was the wet sound of something more being removed from the vampire. "Does that satisfy you?"

"It is not me 'o needs satisfaction," she murmured as she looked up upon registering Elijah's movement as he stood straight, his expression becoming stone but not before Belle caught the look in his eye and she knew Niklaus was already forgiven. It almost made her smile.

"I want proof."

Klaus sighed. "And you'll have it. When I have Katerina."

Elijah's mouth opened to argue but the witch cut him off. "Niklaus, you know that is not going to work. I will give 'im the proof 'e wants before 'e leaves, yes? Good. Now go and kill your traitor. I will be in touch soon."

"Finally…"

"Not yet," Elijah murmured, his tone pensive as he straightened as though bracing himself. "I want to know just one more thing."

"What?"

"Will you release them, Niklaus?"

The frustration that had been heard in his previous reply was absent, replaced by a surprising moment of almost tenderness. "When it is safe."

Elijah said nothing, but his body seemed to lax slightly with something like relief. Taking that to mean the answer was accepted, Belle asked both brothers for a moment. She put the phone down and flashed through the apartment, the brunet following. They arrived in a small room where she walked to the cupboard in the corner. She pulled out a few candles, which she lit, and a map. Nicking her thumb, the blood dropped onto the paper and, with a few murmured words as she again clutched the closed talisman around her neck, the blood was drawn close to Klaus's location.

"They are there. They move with 'im wherever 'e goes… they are safe."

There was no verbal response but she watched, seeing his expression clear and he was noticeably calmer as he nodded. Then he was gone from sight, the sound of him whooshing away to begin work on his task making Belle sigh. She flashed back through to the office, picking up her phone, voice lower now.

"I suppose I am to go now?"

"Yes."

"Very well… I will call you in a few days with my new location."

"Actually, I need you in Mystic Falls."

The witch hybrid frowned. "But why? You swore we would never 'ave to go back… that you did not want to once the ritual was complete."

"I did, and I will keep that promise. Let me finish," he insisted with the hint of a growl as she began to interrupt. She fell silent. "Stefan and I will be returning to Mystic Falls as well. I can't make hybrids."

There was the final splatter of blood and a snarl from the Original Hybrid as he ripped the vampire's head off, letting it drop to the ground.

"And 'ow did this 'appen?"

"Stefan has already confessed that Elena did not die in the ritual as she was supposed to," he said, obviously furious. "I'll have to remedy that."

"'ow could she survive? You drained all of 'er blood, I 'eard 'er 'eart stop… is she a vampire?"

"No… apparently they were able to find an elixir that would return her to life."

"Well then, this does not make sense… If she died and you are now an 'ybrid, then it is not 'er death that you need to make 'ybrids… but something else…"

"And why should I not kill her anyway? A punishment…"

"Because they are not at fault for wanting their love to live…" she answered, daring him to defy her.

He did not.

"I will try to discover the reason why it is not working… not that you deserve as much," she murmured under her breath. She flashed into her bedroom, putting the phone on speaker and dropping it on the bed as she flashed around, beginning to pack up. It was only when she was done that she picked it up again, hesitating as she remembered something, her voice quieter. "What you said to Elijah…"

"I said many things; you'll have to be specific, love."

The aloof response frustrated her and she growled. "About undaggering them…" She swallowed, meekly continuing with "you will do it?"

"I will. When it is safe," he reiterated, but he was no longer frustrated, his tone even softer than it had been with Elijah.

Her shoulders sagged, a lump in her throat. "It is never safe," she whispered.

"It will be…"

The determination made her lips twitch.

"I have to go."

"Hmmm…"

"And Belle?"

"What?"

"Get some sleep."

She opened her mouth to respond, but the call had already ended and she rolled her eyes, dragging herself from her pessimistic thoughts as she looked around her pristine apartment. She packed only the things she needed and couldn't part with before, not an hour later, walking out the door. Clutching her talisman, she murmured a few words then never looked back as she flashed away from the burning apartment.