DISCLAIMER: Lost Girl and its characters are the property of Canwest Global, Bo Series Inc and Prodigy Pictures. No infringement was intended in the writing of this fanfiction story.
TIMELINE: This story takes place between season two and season three.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To LostValksy[at]gmail.com
DEDICATION: For Dee.
Chi energy. She felt it power her muscles and light up her nerves as it ran through her in pulses and made her tremble and sound a single gasping sob at the sensation overload. It was life, pure life, coalesced and given form.
Her intellect, battling to maintain control, noted that the pulsing was spreading through her body and bringing with it an arousal so complete that it verged on agony. And with arousal there was need, shocking in its urgency and threatening to brush away the last tattered remains of her reason and reduce her to nothing but primal desire.
Overwhelmed, and losing herself to a power she had not imagined, the woman called out in fear. "Bo, help me."
"Kenzi, knock it off will you?" the brunette sighed as the radio station was changed for the third time in less than a minute, the jumbled sounds from the decrepit and ever-crackling radio pushing her temper a step closer to breaking.
"Dude, no need to get all sandy," Kenzi grumbled, but slouched back in her seat and put her chunky boots up on the dash in front of her. Within seconds her quick and clever hands came to rest on raised knees and began to tap along with the music. "The doc is probably just catching up on some zees."
"Lauren isn't answering her phone."
"Duh. She's asleep." The imp added a flourish to her drumming. "We'll probably rock up there all concerned and shit, and she'll just be tucked up and trying to shake off that last session." Kenzi sniggered to herself. "Betcha she will be on a drip too. Got to replenish those fluids somehow."
Aware that her jibe had been ignored, Kenzi surveyed Bo's profile, noting the worried furrowing of her brow, the narrowing of her eyes and the absence of her easy-going smile. "We would have heard if there had been another Ash-apalooza. I'm sure she's fine."
The succubus drove in silence, resisting the urge to put her foot down and risk wasting time seducing a traffic cop out of a ticket. The survivor within her, the streetwise, savvy, sharp self, had been giving warning sounds since her last call had gone to messages. Bo had learned quickly to listen to her awareness, ten years of being as much prey as predator had taught her well.
Lauren's neighborhood was a smart, chic and upwardly mobile inner city development. Former warehouses had been rebuilt as blocks of fashionable spacious two-story apartments. Bo had always suspected that the whole block belonged to the Light, a question that Lauren had responded to with a mild frown but neither confirmation nor denial.
"Lights are on." Kenzi spoke confidently, her senses as quick and alert as Bo's and free of the need to concentrate on the road. "Game face?"
Bo gave a single nod in answer.
Kenzi dropped her boots back in to the footwell and then reached down between them, stretching her hand under the seat to reach for Bo's katana, and bracing herself as Bo drew the tatty car to a halt and then killed the radio and the lights.
The two friends needed no instructions, needed nothing more than the trust between them. Bo slipped off her snug jacket and tossed it back in to the car, freeing herself of encumbrance to movement and showing clearly the level of her apprehension. The succubus took the sheathed weapon in her left hand, testing that it would draw cleanly and revealing a few inches of gleaming edged steel.
"You gotta know," Kenzi began, as she hurried to keep up with Bo's brisk stride, "I am totally saying it's your fault if we bust in there and she's chin deep in bubble bath."
The apartment building was entered via a pass code number tapped in to a simple keypad. Without needing to exchange a word, they took the stairs up to Lauren's door.
Eight stairs from the top, Bo's natural athletic grace failed her and she stumbled, dropping a knee awkwardly to the concrete step and giving a short hiss of pain. One quick hand had spared her from a face first landing, her knuckles whitening as she gripped the chrome handrail, the other threatening to lose its grasp on her wickedly sharp weapon.
"Bo?" Kenzi murmured as she deftly caught the katana by its handle and sheath to stop it from clattering back down the steps and announcing them to everyone.
"Dizzy. It's passing," the succubus shook her head and blinked rapidly. "Do you feel that?"
"Nothing," Kenzi confirmed. "If you're the canary, not me, it must be a Fae thing. Wait here."
Shrugging off Bo's attempt to grab her arm, Kenzi travelled the last few steps to the top, pressed her back against the wall and risked a peek around the corner to the corridor outside Lauren's front door.
"Kenz," Bo protested as the smaller woman darted out of sight. The succubus battled to her feet, cursing at knees that felt weak and a mind that was swimming and threatened to spill her again. "Damn it, Kenz!"
"A little slack," Kenzi scolded as she returned to Bo's side. "You think I'd go up there if there was a horde of Berzerkers? Who do you think I am? You?" She caught hold of Bo's elbow. "I can't carry your leather-clad ass out of here. One more stumble and we call for help."
"I'm fine," Bo insisted.
Kenzi glanced dubiously at her friend. Bo was leaning in to the hand on her elbow and a fine sheen of sweat had broken out just below her hairline. Kenzi admitted to herself that her inner outlaw desperately wanted to run away, accepting the fear made it easier to cope with.
"All right, I've got your back," Kenzi smiled. "Although if we both get killed, I want my gravestone to just say Dumbass."
"I was planning on that anyway," Bo sniped with a sly grin.
Kenzi grinned in relief at the tease. Even a weakened Bo could still fight better than any living human, and if she had to put the sword in Bo's hand herself, she would. So long as Bo could stand, she could fight. And for her friends and her lover, Bo would fight on her knees if she had to. The key was just to remember to duck and get out of the way. The personal pep talk helped her urge Bo up the rest of the stairs.
The corridor was in semi darkness, discretely illuminated by a small shielded bulb and a little light spilling out from under Lauren's closed door. Bo knew that Lauren was capable of absent-mindedness, especially when her fierce intellect had locked on to a subject of interest, leaving the apartment without pause on a task or errand was not impossible.
"It's worse here," Bo admitted as much to herself as to Kenzi.
"What is it?"
"I'm not sure. I feel," Bo paused, frowning and moistening her lips with the tip of her tongue, "I feel it all over my body." Bo pressed her free hand against her sternum, and then down low on her abdomen as she found the discipline to resist the urge to slip her hand down lower and cup herself. "It's very strong."
"Horny?" Kenzi asked easily.
"Mmm." Bo listened to the wanton pitch of her own voice. "Something like that." She ran her tongue over her top teeth. "I can almost taste it." The succubus lifted her free forearm between them to see the rash of goosebumps as she noted the matching prickling at the nape of her neck.
Kenzi raised one plucked and sculpted eyebrow as she assessed the taller woman's physique. The tight black tank top that showed lean arms and strong shoulders also plainly displayed Bo's unashamed excitement.
The temptation to quip to avoid her own embarrassment faded as a chill struck the younger woman. Bo's features were sharpening, the confusion and the concern for Lauren were giving way to something far more primordial and dangerous.
"Fight it," Kenzi reminded, taking care to keep her tone warm and companionable.
"Trying," Bo responded. "It's powerful, but different. I can do it, just let me get used to it." Bo placed her hand on the door as if she needed to check for heat.
"She remembered to lock it for a change. I checked," Kenzi provided. "I think you're going to have to Tarzan it open."
Bo sighed and squared her shoulders, stepping back from the door a half pace and sending a silent word of thanks for whatever it was that was driving her body and making her ache so acutely that her temper was ready to flare out of her control. The succubus forced herself to concentrate and focused on the optimum point to strike the door. A human woman might simply bounce off and, if Lauren trusted a steel-cored deadlocked door more than she did the amulet around her neck, so would she.
Taking a deep breath to brace herself for the pain of impact, something that even she could not escape, Bo coiled her body, clenched both fists and drove her shoulder forward with all the force her inhuman muscles would allow.
The door slammed back on its hinges, Bo's strike ripping the wood around the lock into a bristling cluster of splinters. All chance of stealth gone, Bo's hand shot back, confident that the handle of her katana would be there for her, slick as any Olympian relay runner. The sword flashed from its rigid scabbard with a sinister sibilance, her legacy overriding her moment of frailty and making the weapon an extension of her arm and herself.
Bo's gaze moved swiftly around the living space, searching for enemies and friends alike, the sword poised in a vertical guard position, every movement of her body was graceful and deadly.
"Workbench," Kenzi called from behind her.
"I see it."
The apartment was mostly pristine. Lauren's taste for understatement and elegance bordered on Spartan so it was obvious to see if anything was out of place. In contrast the workspace was usually busy with paperwork, books, the binocular microscope and Lauren's computer equipment, but never so chaotic and disordered, even to the point of feverishness. More books littered the floor, cracked open on their spines, amid crumpled paper and broken glass. The tablet that Lauren linked to her big screen lay dark and broken. The laptop was open and issuing a single continuous droning beep of protest.
"Tossed?" Bo asked.
"Not by a pro." Kenzi moved in to the apartment, circling behind to keep the succubus as cover. "Does that noise sound like a flatline to you too?"
Bo edged a little closer to the bench to get a clearer view. The energy in the air that made her head hurt and her teeth ache was making it harder to keep her mind together on the task, her body making its demands known with increasing urgency. She reached out to the laptop with exaggerated care, almost expecting a spark to jump from her fingers to the aluminum casing. Closing the lid silenced the drone. Bo traced cables hanging from the side of the machine and found a pair of round heart monitor pads hanging free.
"Moment." The succubus let her eyes track over the material in Lauren's workspace, uncomfortably aware that sometimes the doctor seemed as strange to her as she must to others. Another world, in languages that she didn't understand, was arrayed in front of her.
Kenzi's voice was sharper, more insistent, this time. Bo forced herself to turn and give the attention that was being demanded. Kenzi's humanity, her life, was beginning to call to Bo's true nature. As she had done many times, in private and in secret, she repeated her mantra: I will not hurt Kenzi.
"Keys," Kenzi provided. "Phone." She held both items, her thief's deduction having lead her straight to them. "Upstairs?"
"She couldn't have slept through that," Bo replied, tipping her head back towards the door. "They've taken her, haven't they."
Bo felt the adrenalin of the moment dissolving and bringing the ache emanating from between her legs, and the molten heat in her breasts, into exquisite crystal bright clarity.
"Bo, focus," Kenzi snapped. "If they've taken her, we''ll have to go find her and take her back. OK?" She waited for Bo's warm, dark eyes to meet hers again, the menace still present but under control for now. "We'll get her back. But we should do the job right and check upstairs. We'd expect that if someone was paying us. Am I right?" The younger woman waited for a grudging nod of agreement. "And we might find out what's in here that's making you want to hump my leg like a cocker spaniel."
"Funny," Bo groused.
Bo moved her blade to back to a guard position as she climbed the stairs, alert to any sound that might telegraph an attack, relying once more on her awareness. The stairs opened on to a small landing with closed doors leading off it.
"Which one?" Kenzi whispered.
"Never been up here," Bo answered curtly.
"You haven't played doctor in the boudoir?" Kenzi challenged, easy humor in her voice to soothe Bo's fracturing nerve. "What's up with that?" Bo hesitated ahead of her, her prowling step uncertain. "What is it?
"Here. Do you see?"
Kenzi watched Bo drop to a crouch, her weight on the balls of her feet, fingertips touching carpet as she stared intently at the ground.
"Nothing," Kenzi replied.
"It's right here."
The bottom edge of the bedroom door was leaking a nimbus of flickering light. Bo wondered first at the chance of fire, so alarmed by it that she let her fingers brush the woodwork again, to check for heat that was not there. The shimmer of brightness was quite distinct but it gave no sign of physical presence, and was not visible to human eyes. It could only be other-worldly, it could only be Fae.
"Stand back." Bo eased the smooth handle down with careful fingertips and pushed the door open.
The light hit her first, blazing in to eyes that had adjusted to the dim landing, so bright that Bo rocked back on heels and raised her hand to shield herself. The second blow struck low and hard, non-corporeal but real and excruciating. Helpless in the dual onslaught, Bo dropped her blade and grabbed at the door frame as she shuddered through an pre-orgasmic quake, choking off a gasp that was part pain and part lust.
"Chi," Bo panted the word. "It's chi. It's everywhere. How can it be everywhere? And it's so bright, I can't see. I can't." A fresh wave of the energy broke over Bo's trembling body, dragging another throaty moan from deep within her chest.
"Bo," Kenzi called firmly, sharply, cutting through the fright and pain. "There's no light, Bo. There's nothing there."
Bo forced herself to open her eyes a fraction, squinting and trusting her hand to block the worst. The brightness rioted across her retinas as her light-seared mind struggling to adapt. There were separate colors, she saw warm reds and deep burnt orange, blush pink, a stained glass window array of blues and a regal purple swirling through it all like oil on water. The patterns were familiar; the intensity, impossible.
"Lauren," Bo breathed. "It's Lauren. It's so bright, so massive." Awe threatened to drive her to knees and make her weep from the beauty of it. She saw glimpses all the time, although her nature tuned in to passion and the halos of colors between lovers, as they reached out to one another and mingled. The warmer blends of desire and the chill of disinterest were always more clear, but never like this, never so complex. "It's an aurora."
Kenzi edged closer to Bo, alarmed to see her shaken to tears and shivering on the spot, robbed of all composure. Accepting the Fae world was to accept the unreal, let go of beliefs, be willing to walk to the edge of reason and take a leap of faith. Bo was mesmerized, losing herself to something that only she could see and feel. The small thief had only one plan in mind grab for the door, break the spell and shut in whatever had transfixed Bo.
Bo had witnessed the brilliance, the corona, she had missed the woman seated silently in the centre of the chaos. Only Kenzi's human eyes could see her.
"Lauren?" Kenzi said. "Lauren? What's going on?"
The doctor sat on the edge of her bed, bare feet planted apart, knees parted. She was leaning forward as if sick, elbows on her knees and her hands hanging loose between them. Her head hung low, loose blonde locks tumbling in to her face and masking her from view.
She was wearing tailored professional black slacks and a white button down shirt, the cuffs neatly folded up to elbow. Kenzi recognized it as every day workwear. It was as if Lauren had given up for the day, come to bed, sat down and been frozen in amber.
Kenzi took a cautious step forward and touched the older woman lightly on the shoulder, her wild and fanciful mind so struck by her stillness that it expected her to simply shatter under her palm.
"Is she all right? Is she hurt?" Bo's voice was weak and high, betraying the battle it was taking to find enough will to speak.
The sound of her lover's voice brought forth a quiet whimper from the otherwise catatonic woman. Lauren swayed forward, perilously close to tipping point, her arm stretching out for her, straining to reach Bo. Tiny blue sparks jumped between her spread fingers. In the dim light she was pale and her skin seemed almost translucent.
"I don't know," Kenzi admitted. She chanced touching her, expecting a finger-numbing crackle as the visible sparks jumped to her but feeling nothing but warm, smooth skin. "It is chi. Oh, Doc, what have you done?"
Lauren shuddered hard and groaned as the spasm shaking her lean figure from head to toe. Behind Kenzi, Bo echoed the sound, hers more sensual, more needy. Exposure to chi was triggering Bo's hunger.
The slight Russian girl nervously paused in thought. Getting used to catching occasional glimpses of Bo regarding her with frank interest had taken time and their friendship had guided her to never confront Bo with her slips of focus. The miasma of chi saturating the atmosphere, so complete that they were breathing it in and letting it wash over their bodies, was pushing Bo to the edge. So close to the source, close enough to touch, those slips were rapidly escalating. Bo could not be expected to fight it forever and, if she lost control, she would be a danger to anyone that she might encounter until she was sated.
"Wake up, Doc, tell me what to do," Kenzi whispered.
"Help me," the words were echoey, dreamy.
"I'll help you, tell me what you need," Kenzi urged, chancing a glance behind her to Bo and seeing that her friend was still blinking against the phantom light, the tendons and veins in her neck standing up in relief from the strain of it.
"Bo's here," Kenzi coaxed. "She's with you."
Lauren moved slowly, uncurling her back and bringing her slouched shoulders up. The plain white shirt she was wearing was unbuttoned to her midriff, untucked from her slacks, and hanging wide open to expose her collarbones, the hollow of her throat and the upper slopes of her breasts. Like Bo, she was blatant in her arousal.
"Tell me where she is," Bo demanded. The succubus stretched out her own hand, feeling blindly for her lover.
Kenzi caught her wrist to block her. "I'm not sure you should."
The grip was firm but the words stayed mild so not to tip Bo in to an anger that she could not recover from. The sound of her voice tripped another quake from the doctor and its sympathetic echo in Bo.
"I can't take much more," Bo warned.
The doctor lifted her head at last and let it fall back with an earthy moan, her loose hair falling away from her face. The blonde's features possessed a preternatural shine; Chi, the vivid electric blue stuff of life, was pouring from her, shining through her skin, lighting the back of her mouth and spilling down her chin. There was so much of it that Kenzi felt her own nipples tighten and her sex twitch in unwilling response.
Lauren opened her eyes. The warm and deep chocolate brown had gone; now there was fierce blue, the chi in possession of her. Cerulean eyes blazed with fresh surges of the energy. One unwavering hand reached out for Bo, the other dropped to her crotch and she began to unashamedly fondle herself through her clothing.
"It's chi. She is sweating the stuff," Kenzi said.
"You can see it?"
"Her eyes are blue." Kenzi's voice cracked with stress. "I think she's gonna blow if you don't do something quick." The younger woman's gaze darted shyly to the doctor's act of desperate masturbation, Lauren's hips starting to rock towards her hand to seek more stimulation and the chi pulsing harder in answer. If Lauren was getting ready to climax, Kenzi was sure that Bo would not be far behind. The arcane connection alarmed the young woman. "Bo, two steps to your right and straight on till morning."
The succubus followed, blind to everything but trust, and reached out her hand for Lauren. Their fingers brushed together, then clasped tightly, drawing one another closer in a duet of lust.
Bo was faster and stronger. She surged against her lover, driving Lauren back onto the bed, and covering her and searching out her mouth as the blonde's knees rose on either side of her to grind them together. Their kiss was firm and eager, lips sealing to lips and sharing a single breath before Bo lifted up and began to draw from her.
Chi had no flavor, but thrilled her to the core. Chi had no mass, but nourished her. What she took from Lauren seeped through her tissues, spreading its warmth through every nerve and fibre, flowing along her veins, entering every cell. Bo's eyes glowed as the energy enriched her, charged her, gave her its gift.
And still it kept coming, so rich and powerful that it felt like a tidal wave rushing in to her mouth, bursting through her chest and her belly before breaking between her legs. Bo's conscious mind called out alarm, that much more and Lauren would not survive, but her hunger was greedy and she gorged on power that sprang from her lover like a geyser.
Lauren wrapped her arms and legs around Bo and arched her back beneath her lover's familiar weight, releasing energy and climax together. In turn, Bo groaned and thrust against her until her own symbiotic orgasm erupting within her with such violence that she straightened her arms, broke the chi stream, and threw her head back to cry out in exaltation.
Gasping for air, Bo relaxed her arms and settled on her elbows to rest. Every muscle, tendon and sinew protested the rough treatment before the chi re-knitted the tiny tears and scrubbed away the bruise on her arm, which came from breaking open the door.
Lauren's rangy limbs loosened and fell away from their eager embrace. Panicking, Bo scrambled from her, her words strangling in her throat as her chest tightened in dread. Tears formed at the corners of her eyes and her belly squirmed anxiously as a soft keening of distress seeped from her lips.
"Bo, stop it," Kenzie ordered as she pressed her fingers first to Lauren's throat and then held them in front of her lips for a moment. "She's alive. You just chi-bombed the fuck out of her." She shrugged and folded her arms. "And I mean that in any way you want to take it." The smaller woman tilted her head in curiosity. "Can you see her?"
"The aurora is gone," Bo agreed, starting to relax once she saw the steady rise and fall of Lauren's chest. "Should I roll her over?"
Kenzi allowed herself a grunt of amusement. "At least let me get out of the room first, stud."
Bo took Lauren's hand in hers, first feeling her pulse and then clasping it tightly in relief. For a moment, she had pictured another dead body in her life with a rictus grin. Mortification at unleashing her most basic carnal instinct in front of her closest friend sent a rush of heat to her cheeks. "Sorry, Kenz."
"No biggie, babe. Forget about it," she smirked. "I'm certainly going to try to. It's not so bad, at least you both kept your pants on. What about the airborne chi that was making you loco? Better now?"
Bo closed her eyes and breathed deeply, stretching her senses and searching for the energy that she had felt from the moment she and Kenzi had first arrived at the apartment building. Away from the body and free of form she had only recognized it on a primal level. "I don't know. I can't feel it. But I'm maxed out on whatever it is Lauren gave me, so it could just be that I'm full."
"Should I open a window?"
"It's not a gas leak," Bo answered before she noticed the grin on her friend's face. "Jerk."
"Why don't I go and take a look downstairs. See if I can make any sense out of what she was doing, maybe there's an antidote or something," Kenzi added. "Probably a bottle of eye of newt on the table or something."
"Yes, go check," Bo agreed, tilting her head to watch the petite woman withdraw from the bedroom. Once they were alone she moved her attention back to Lauren, her fingertips brushed a gentle trail along her strong jawline to her chin. The brunette leaned close and touched a brief kiss to the smooth forehead. "I don't ever want to risk losing you. What have you done?"
Bo squeezed her eyes tightly shut as she slipped an arm around Lauren's shoulders and drew her close, finger-combing the silky golden hair as she remembered.
Glossy and rich, Lauren's hair brushed against her trembling thigh and made her muscles twitch. Bo panted a short and excited breath as Lauren nuzzled and teased her most delicate flesh, sending another raw post-orgasmic quake through her body. Lauren's touch was a question that Bo answered with a soothing stroke to the forearm that had come to rest across her pelvis. Lauren's arm had sought to ease the urgent rolling of Bo's hips and stop Bo from jerking away from the warm and knowledgeable mouth that had pushed her to the very edge, held her there until she begged, and then skillfully taken her over.
Lauren paused to ghost a kiss on Bo's closely trimmed crease before lifting herself up and resting her chin on the restraining arm. Her eyes slowly and confidently travelled the length of Bo's gleaming body, lingering for a moment on her breasts, before meeting Bo's gaze and greeting her with a broad grin that graced her generous mouth with laughter lines and dimpled her chin.
Bo welcomed the irresistible smile with one of her own. "You are incredible."
Lauren glowed at the praise. Her eyes, already darkened and dilated with pleasure, sparkled with lively good humor. "Bo, I," she began, before pausing to bite her bottom lip, "I just wanted to." The faintest frown shadowed her brow. "I mean, I had to."
"Come here," Bo interrupted, taking pity on her lover before she began to babble.
The doctor obediently scaled her lover's body at the invitation. The meandering path allowed pauses on the journey to nip at a hip bone and brush lips against a flat and toned stomach, teasing until Bo squirmed, before giving a feather light lick to the inner slope of her breast. She laid her weight against her lover as Bo's arms encircled her and pulled her close.
The succubus trembled as another aftershock raced through her, lighting up her nerves and drawing forth a groan of satisfaction. Her palms cruised a path across her lover's back to explore the smooth planes of muscle beneath creamy skin. Lauren's long lean thigh came to rest between Bo's, and she pressed up with her own in response. Bo felt immediate heat and arousal as Lauren's desire painted her.
"Bo," Lauren whispered, wonder and need lowering the pitch of her voice to one of naked sensuality.
Bo drew her lover to her, parting her lips in offering and tasting herself on Lauren as the blonde sank in to Bo's embrace with a sigh of sweet longing. The succubus sucked softly on the tongue that darted in to her mouth before stroking it with her own.
Lauren moaned deep in her chest and pressed more firmly in to her lover's lithe form. Searching for more, needing it, she rolled her hips to grind her sex against Bo's leg, feeling herself bloom and release a fresh glaze of moisture. Lauren's clitoris skidded against perfect skin and powerful muscle which tensed for her satisfaction. Bo's hands eased the length of Lauren's back, trailing fingernails down either side of her spine to make her shiver, before grasping hold of Lauren's firm backside to guide and aid the eager thrusts.
Losing the easy balanced cadence of their kiss, Lauren broke free and gasped, "Bo, please." Her animated features flushed with mounting pleasure that made her blaze. Her rhythmic rocking made her brace her arms and flex her finely sculptured shoulders.
"You're so beautiful," Bo breathed.
After hours Lauren did not blush or demurely drop her chin in response and her gaze did not roll to the sky to escape scrutiny. She dipped her head to the dark-haired woman and caught her lower lip, sweeping with the tip of her tongue and then tugging gently before kissing it.
"Bo, please." The repeated entreaty was carried on a husked breath. "I want you to."
The succubus cradled her partner as she rolled them both over with ease. Slipping her left arm behind Lauren's neck and the plush pillow beneath for support, Bo allowed her free hand to trace up Lauren's slender flank and then cup her full and shapely breast. Lauren arched in to her touch, unashamedly offering herself, and stifled a blissful sob as Bo bowed to her and laved circles around Lauren's stiff nipple before taking it in to her warm mouth to suckle.
The doctor's long and elegant fingers rubbed encouragement on the nape of the brunette's neck as she practiced her art, allowing herself to let go of the last shreds of restraint and melt in to hedonism. The deep draws on her aching peak filled her with luscious need and the light laps of a broadened tongue was a balm to the sting of tiny bites.
Lauren caught hold of Bo's hand and slid it down the length of her quickening body, and then pressed it between her thighs, their joined fingers parting her slick folds. "Touch me here."
Bo hummed her approval against firm flesh and lifted up to flash the older woman a sharp and wolfish smile. "You are hungry, aren't you?" She leaned close to kiss Lauren's exposed throat and feel her racing pulse with her lips. "I can feel you." Her voice was sultry and rich in timbre. "I can feel every part of you, everywhere."
Lauren blinked against the lust that was sweeping her away and battled to focus on her lover. Natural curiosity struggled to reassert itself despite their linked fingers stroked her most intimate self. "Bo?"
"I feel you. I feel your body, as well as my own," Bo explained. Her bashfulness in spite of her fingers caressing her lover's sex charmed the older woman. "I'm so aware of us." She frowned and narrowed her lips as she stretched for words. "It bathes us, surrounds us, passes between us." Bo's extended senses watched the bright shimmer as the aura languidly shifted and mingled from one lover to the other like a tide of liquid fire. "Am I scaring you?"
"No. Never." Lauren forced her mutinous impassioned mind to composure and took a moment to catch her breath. Raising her free hand to Bo she let her fingertips drift from her temple to her ear, then down along the angle of her jaw so that she could cradle her beautiful face. "I will never be afraid of you. Bo, look at me."
Sustaining eye contact against the first insidious shadows and wounds of shame was a challenge that the succubus met with obvious reluctance.
"I accept you." The doctor made no attempt to conceal the breathless hitch in her voice as Bo's touch sent an exquisite thrill along her spine. "I trust you. And I want this." Under her own guidance Bo's fingers dipped lower to dance around her opening and make her shudder through a tremor of anticipation. "I want you to, Bo. I want you to seduce me and feed from me."
The passion aura of deep red burned with volcanic fever as the sensual mutual ebb and flow became a tempest. "I can't," Bo whispered.
"You can," Lauren soothed. "You know you can stop. You're in control." Bo's sweet caress tempted another gasp from her. "And I am not afraid of you."
The doctor longed to take Bo's strong fingers deep inside, she could feel her body demanding it with an increasingly uncomfortable urgency which could not be ignored much longer. Together they could chase away the fear of what was to come but, even if it was to be the last time she was with Bo, even if it robbed them of precious time, she could not allow herself to leave Bo to her demons.
"Be with me, Bo, in every way that you can."
The memory melted into sorrow. Lauren had surrendered to her touch the night before Lachlan took her to be a pawn in his cruel test. Seducing her had taken no special power, and perceptive abilities to read passion had been unnecessary.
An echo of heat and passion flowed through Bo as she recalled claiming her lover's mouth in a commanding kiss and easing into her snug slippery heat with one smooth stroke. Only Lauren's rugged will had restrained her and granted her reason, and Bo had dismantled it with ease. Lauren had grasped desperately for Bo as her climax had raced through her body, her head had been thrown back to the pillow as her orgasm erupted from her in blissful elation.
That night, resting in one another's arms, Lauren had been true to her word. There had been no recriminations that her plea had been disregarded and no demands that she explain herself. Bo had felt nothing but calm acceptance in the embrace that had followed. The memory of it sent an uneasy chill to the pit of her stomach.
Unconsciousness granted Lauren's brow freedom from the furrows of fear and worry that had marred it for so long. Lauren carried so much on her shoulders with quiet patience and dignity, and bore her burdens with a stoicism which Bo admired and secretly aspired too. Even in her deepest grief Lauren had persevered and always been there when she was called.
With an aching emptiness in her chest, Bo leaned close and pressed a kiss to the clammy skin. "I'm sorry I let you down."
Bo uncurled herself from her prone lover and took a moment to lift Lauren further onto the bed and place her into a position of relaxed repose. Curious fingers brushed the neutral colored bedding and noted that Lauren favored quality high thread count cotton rather than satin and opulence. Bo felt like an intruder as she allowed her questioning eyes to explore the bedroom.
The welcoming space was elegantly decorated and furnished. A single framed black and white print provided a focal point, and reflected Lauren's appreciation for the lines and curves of womanhood. Bo noticed no clutter, no discarded clothing, no disorder. Her quick eyes rested on the nightstands beside the bed, one on either side. The nearest small cabinet was dressed with a reading lamp, a box of pastel-colored tissues, a hefty tome from the Light library, bound in dried and cracking leather, and a photograph in a modern brushed aluminum frame. The nightstand's twin on the other side was empty.
Bo's gaze lingered uneasily on the photograph. The image was of Lauren and Nadia caught in a moment of laughter and leaning against one another for support. The Lauren of the past was wearing ski goggles pushed up to her hairline and a vivid purple parka jacket. Her eyes were shining with joy and her cheeks were ruddy from cold weather and good humor. Nadia had been caught in the first moment of noticing the photographer and she was looking confidently in to the lens as a smile graced her handsome face. Another time, a happier time, before the Fae had torn them apart.
Bo's throat tightened as she made herself look away. A sly and cruel inner voice whispered a accusatory word to herself: Sleazy.
"Bo?" As lithe as a dancer, and sure on her feet, Kenzi had approached her with little sound and been unnoticed. "I'm going to turn the light on, OK?" She sat on the edge of the bed and spared a glance at the picture she had found Bo staring at. "Are you all right?"
"Did you find anything?"
"Fine," Kenzi sighed as Bo tilted her face away to refuse her query. "From the laptop it looks like she was monitoring herself until four hours ago." The younger woman gestured to Lauren's gaping shirt. "At that point she must have pulled the wires. If I'm reading the file right she was under so much stress that her heart was getting ready to bust out her chest and head for the hills. Could be that she was losing it at that point and knocked all that shit all over the floor."
Bo's averted eyes landed briefly on the text by the bedside. True to Lauren's precise nature it had been set perfectly in place with edges neatly parallel to the corner of the table. For her to have behaved with such disdain towards the knowledge that she prized come from a state of intense distress. The thought of Lauren frightened or in pain plucked at her nerves.
"She needs a doctor," Bo declared, preparing to rise. "We can't just sit here and do nothing."
Kenzi reached out and snatched hold of her arm. The confidence trickster stood her ground against the outraged glare burning from her friend. "You can't steam into the ER and say your squeeze went supernova on you."
"The compound then," Bo said. "We could take her to the lab at least, someone would help her."
"Shake it off, get your shit together and use your head," Kenzi warned sharply. "Listen, I found a clinical waste bin downstairs with her works in it..."
"She's not a drug addict," Bo interrupted
"But she has juiced herself with something. And it's not the first time she's done it." Kenzi released her grip on Bo and folded her thin arms tightly over her chest. "She's been experimenting and if she's doing it in secret maybe it's because she doesn't want them to know. There's no Ash to protect her if she's been breaking rules again. I'm thinking creeks and paddles and its not the guys with banjos that you have to worry about, it's the ones with swords."
"And if you're wrong?"
"Do you think I am?" Kenzi challenged as she softened her expression and smoothed her tone. "Think about what Lauren would want you to do."
"You don't play fair," Bo groused. If Lauren was working in private there was no other explanation than a wish to avoid answering questions and dodge the political uncertainty that made bringing the matter to the Light an unquantifiable risk.
"Playing fair is for suckers." Kenzi gave Bo a conciliatory pat on the knee.
"I'm sorry, Kenz."
"Dope," Kenzi scolded and leaned closer to rest her chin on her friend's shoulder and wrap an arm around her trim waist. "I've got your back." She smirked. "Someone has to, everyone else is checking out your ass."
Bo chuckled at Kenzi's indomitable playful side. "So what do we do now?"
Kenzi tilted her chin to the door. "We're as secure as we're going to get. The chain won't hold anyone off for long so I balanced a couple of pans down there, if someone comes in they'll fall and give us some warning. Best I could do." Her glacial eyes returned to the catatonic doctor. "Hole up here and see if she can sleep it off?"
Bo slowly massaged her temples with her thumb and middle finger. The shock of the brilliance that had dazzled and confounded her had left a thunderous headache in its wake that was so severe it soured her stomach. "I hope she does it quickly," she admitted.
"Because I'm seeing her aura again."
The first hints of fluid color were beginning to ripple from Lauren's chest, abdomen and groin. Not yet luminescent, the shades of crimson and purple reminded the succubus of the palettes of bruised flesh. The succubus exchanged an uncertain look with her friend. "I shouldn't be able to see it this clearly without really concentrating."
"Can you see mine?" Kenzi asked.
"I have done," Bo reluctantly allowed before hurriedly adding, "but not right now. It's faint most of the time." Answering Kenzi's questions on her aura could only serve to injure her. The small woman had made her choice and there was nothing to gain in saying that Kenzi's aura had bubbled a joyful vibrant pink cotton candy shade whenever Nate had been nearby.
"Anything on the Chi-dar?" Kenzi prompted as she eyed the acceleration of Lauren's breathing.
Bo allowed herself to take a deep and steadying breath before releasing the control of her most primal sense and letting herself feel for the life force. "It's here. Not as strong, but growing." Bo involuntarily dropped a hand to the seam of her pants as if she could protect herself. The chi was flowing to her as if she was its magnetic north.
"Can you take it from her?" Kenzi's question was frank and without apology. "Before she goes all critical mass again?" The young woman watched Bo cast an uncomfortable glance to the still frame of her lover. "I know you don't want this between you." She met the Fae woman's shocked stare with resolute confidence. "I don't miss much, you should know that by now."
"I can't." Bo did not try to mask the anguish in her voice.
"You can," Kenzi coached. "And you will. She's hurting and she needs you. Gimme a holler if you need anything else, OK?"
Appreciative of her friend's discretion, Bo waited until she could hear footfalls on the steps to the ground floor before bending to loosen the laces of her boots and slipping them off. The leather pants followed and were carefully hung over the back of an upholstered seat which stood before Lauren's mirror-topped dresser.
When Lauren had furnished her bedroom she had chosen a modest metal framed double bed. Bo understood that anything else would have been an extravagance given Lauren's habit of wanting her bedmates to be cuddled close as she slept. Bo had held her and comforted her before and found herself hoping that her arms would still be welcomed in this solitary place.
The mattress beneath Bo was firm and the bed covering felt refreshingly cool against her bare legs. After carefully removing the pillow from behind Lauren's head to lay her flat against the sheet Bo took a moment to arrange herself against her lover.
"Lauren?" She murmured. "I'm going to try and help you."
Bo's hand slipped behind the blonde's neck to support and anchor her before bowing to her to take her mouth in a kiss. She softly trailed the tip of her tongue along Lauren's lips to tease them apart, capturing the top lip in a light suck before sweeping her tongue along the bottom lip once more.
Kissing a slack and non-responsive mouth was disturbing enough but the alternative of simply pulling Lauren open seemed to be such a violation that Bo's eyes prickled painfully at the thought.
Bo sealed her mouth against Lauren's and allowed herself to savor the taste before capturing the nexus of her chi and deftly drawing it from her.
The succubus felt a sharp exhale of breath against her face as Lauren released a throaty groan of lust. The body beneath her tensed and twisted as thighs parted and hips rose up from the bed in base need. Bo leaned in closer to pin her in place.
A second groan, deeper and rougher this time, threatened to fracture her discipline. She fought to close her mind to the delicious sensation of breasts pressing against her own, and to the memory of scraping her teeth against Lauren's stiffened nipples before suckling firmly once more.
Near intoxicated by heady waves of potent energy, the Fae woman did not see Lauren's eyes snap open wide in fright. The panicking doctor strained against the solid form that held her in place and snatched at Bo's hair to jerk her away.
Bo's most ancient impulse reacted at once to her struggling prey. She straddled her victim to block her leverage against the bed and put pressure on her chest to stifle the deep breaths that fueled her fight. Once the need to support herself had been removed, the succubus pressed her hand against Lauren's forehead to hold her still for feeding.
Trapped and on the verge of blacking out, Lauren's own drive to survive lashed her hand across the face that she adored, twisted now by a feral and rapacious hunger, and she scratched at Bo with frantic fingernails.
The shock of sudden pain burst through Bo's ravenous fugue and shattered the chi connection between them.
Lauren choked out a wanton moan and bucked her hips as her body grieved for the loss of the coupling. One hand rushed to Lauren's mouth, as if she could hold in her essential energy, and the other came to rest on her breast and squeezed in an effort to sustain the craving that the bond had awoken.
The succubus collapsed to her side as her genetic gift battled to metabolize the overwhelming influx of unshackled power as she was still reeling from its traumatic loss. The bleeding grooves on her cheek glowed briefly before sealing and leaving the skin immaculate once more.
Bo forced herself to open her eyes as sensibility returned and brought recognition that Lauren was awake and shifting restlessly beneath the limbs which still laid draped across her.
Captivated by the fall out from her lover's feasting, the oblivious doctor slipped the hand that was fondling her breast beneath her gaping shirt and groaned to herself in satisfaction as she pinched her nipple through the satin bra cup.
"Bo!" In an act of uncharacteristic insecurity, Lauren jerked her hand from her shirt, then vainly tried to pull the garment closed before searching the succubus' features in puzzlement. "You're bleeding?"
Bo blocked the reaching hand. "Don't. It's nothing."
"I hurt you?" The bewildered doctor asked as Bo silently stretched over and grabbed a few tissues from the nightstand so that she could wipe the crimson streaks from her face.
"Do you know where you are?" Bo asked carefully.
Disorientated and disturbed, Lauren absently rubbed her palm across her brow and nervously moistened her lips as her throat worked reflexively to restrain thespiraling distress.
"Home," she answered, but not before taking a glance around the room to confirm the truth to herself. "We're in bed?" Sighing and rolling her eyes at herself for making such an obvious statement she pushed her hand through sweat-dampened hair.
"Do you know how you got here?"
"Did we?" Lauren dropped a questioning touch to the shapely bare leg covering hers and an abashed look down to her own exposed anatomy.
"That doesn't matter," Bo parried. "What's the last thing you remember?"
"Being confused. I didn't know what was happening to me," Lauren admitted as her attention drifted back to Bo's cheek.
"Before that?" Bo pressed.
Lauren's anxious frown increased and she cleared her throat once, and then again, to buy some time in front of Bo's unwavering scrutiny. "Working downstairs."
"And then?" Bo persisted.
Lauren faltered. "I'm not sure."
The memories that brushed at the edges of her consciousness were fractured and felt illusory. Lauren turned towards Bo on reflex, hiding her face and closing her eyes tightly to chase away the disconcerting images. Pressing closely to flawless skin and breathing in Bo's unique scent soothed the turbulent disquiet within her mind, and the arm that rested across her felt reassuringly solid.
Alarmed that Lauren's consciousness would fail again, Bo was direct. "You are producing a lot of chi. Is there anything you can do to make it stop?"
Lauren reluctantly raised her attention to Bo's eyes, searching her as her own vulnerability radiated freely. The doctor opened her mouth to speak before pausing to reconsider and then dipping her weary brow in a frown as she shook her head.
Bo let her play out the internal conversation without protest. Witnessing the familiar quirk gave her a moment of relief that Lauren's essential self had not been compromised.
"I need to rest." Lauren laid back against the bed and began to shift her body to her side.
Unwilling to restrain the gentle-spirited woman, Bo loosened her grip so that her lover could roll on to her flank and present her back. The strain was showing on the doctor's long rangy body and she took a long labored breath as she settled.
Lauren stilled for a long moment before reaching behind herself for Bo's arm and shyly tugging her closer, so that the toned limb was draped over her body. "Hold me. Please?"
Bo spooned tightly behind Lauren, tucking her knees up behind the fragile woman and nuzzling the nape of her neck. Lauren briefly gripped the forearm across her midriff in gratitude before softly stroking random shapes on the smooth skin.
"We will need to talk." Bo tightened her embrace and hushed Lauren's attempt to protest. "But right now I have to take care of you and that means I have to keep taking chi from you until your balance is back."
"I'm not afraid." Lauren's quiet tone was serious and clear.
"Yeah? Well you should be," Bo retorted sharply. "When the time comes, I'm going to call Kenzi."
Lauren tensed in her arms. "Why?"
"I don't want to lose you." Bo warned. "It's hard enough to make myself stop already. But this is different, it's not natural and it's so strong. I'm not sure, I need to know I can do it by myself."
Lauren closed her eyes to gather her remaining fortitude. Making herself relinquish the comfort of Bo's protection would have been difficult to bear and, even if she had the vigor to pull free, she was not sure that the Fae would let her go.
"Don't fall asleep," Bo said as silence stretched between them. "I need you to stay with me."
"I don't want you to." The words spilled from her before she could stop them and she hurried to clarify, "call Kenzi I mean." Lauren turned to show Bo the stoic set of her jaw and the serenity in her charismatic eyes. "I've told you, I'm not afraid."
"I could hurt you."
"But you won't."
"Don't you understand?" Bo was on the verge of baring her teeth in frustration. "I could kill you."
"But you won't." Lauren captured and held her lover's fiery glare with bold confidence, and allowed herself an indulgent smile at the doubt that the blaze struggled to conceal. "I believe in you, even when you don't." She leaned closer so that her lips brushed Bo's and they shared breath as she whispered. "Especially when you don't."
Lauren silently exhaled words that she longed to say out loud as she kissed Bo, trusting in her own power to banish the shadows and bring light. She feathered sweet and tender kisses to both Bo's lips before parting them with a delicate tongue.
Bo welcomed the deepening of their kiss by rolling her hips to push against Lauren's firm rounded backside. The golden-haired woman pressed back in to Bo's lap in offering, her own excited mind dimly aware that she was rhythmically flexing her thigh muscles in an effort to find some stimulation. They shared a luxurious kiss, tasting one another.
The mounting strain of twisting her upper body to reach her lover made Lauren reluctantly break the kiss to take a deep and steadying breath. Bo's gaze held her for a long moment and searched Lauren's face thoughtfully. The doctor battled the compulsion to disengage from the piercing stare and reminded herself that, while such an arcane and knowledgeable inspection would be unnerving from anyone else, she was safe with Bo.
Recognizing that she was still squeezing her legs together to try and ease the ache between them, and nudging against Bo in the process, the doctor made a subtle attempt to still her motion and try to ignore the voluptuous pulsing warmth that had settled low between her legs. Laboring to stifle a wince as her body made its demands known, Lauren let herself lie back against the bed.
Her fatigued mind mourned the loss of Bo's spellbinding gaze. She closed her eyes tightly to resist the profound craving to turn over in Bo's arms and lose herself one more.
Bo's hand came to rest on Lauren's midriff, to let her feel comforted rather than trapped. Once Lauren had settled again, Bo's thumb slipped through the gap in the wide open shirt and began to idly rub, her touch making the lanky blonde yelp as her abdominal muscles flexed.
"You don't have to stop," Bo's breathed against Lauren's rapidly blushing cheek.
"I'm..." Lauren paused and swallowed hard as she pulled in her stomach to try and evade Bo's questioning touch.
"Embarrassed?" Bo provided gently. "Don't be. I know what you're going through, I know how it feels." She pressed her breasts more firmly against her lover's back to be close enough to whisper in her ear. "Let me help."
Bo's thumb ghosted around Lauren's navel before gliding up her body, making her tremble and stifle a muted whimper. The back of Bo's fingers brushed the undersides of Lauren's breasts through her bra. "This will help," the succubus insisted.
You don't have to." Lauren gasped, catching Bo's wrist in defiance of her rebelling libido.
"No, I don't," Bo agreed calmly. "But this is the reality of what you have invited." Bo punctuated her words with sweet touches of her lips against Lauren's exposed collar. "If you'd told me what you were doing, I could have warned you." The succubus grazed the defined tendon in Lauren's neck with her teeth. "This is what chi is like." Bo exhaled against Lauren's skin, warm and comforting. "It will seduce and tempt you, it will turn you on and make you wet." Her profane words earned another subdued moan. "But, in the end, it tricks and tortures you."
How do you stand it?" Lauren beseeched. The backs of Bo's knuckles chafed the smooth curve of her breasts once more.
"Years of practice," Bo admitted as she nuzzled against Lauren's ear before trailing a lingering lick along the outer edge. "You don't have to suffer. You need to let me help you."
Bo kissed and sucked softly at Lauren's ear lobe as she firmly cupped the golden-haired woman's breast through her bra and delivered a robust squeeze. Lauren gurgled a groan in answer and pressed her curves in to Bo's palm.
Bo slipped her hand inside Lauren's bra cup to caress warm flesh and tease her excited nipple with bold fingers until the older woman was on the verge of sobbing her need. "Let me."
"It feels like I have to come." The confession choked Lauren's words and left her feeling bruised and exposed.
Bo's hand released her lover's breast and cruised down low. She unfastened the button at the top of Lauren's pants as her mouth traveled a path from Lauren's ear to the sensitive skin of her neck, teasingly nipping and dabbing tiny licks.
Lauren shuddered roughly as Bo opened her zipper. Clever fingertips danced light swirls on pale skin before Bo slid them down the front of Lauren's underwear. Lauren twitched her hips and whimpered at the first pressure, only to purr enjoyment as Bo curled her fingers and rubbed her through soaked fabric. "It's fine, let it happen," the succubus prompted.
Bo withdrew her nimble hand long enough to slide her beneath the waistband of Lauren's bikinis. Her first exploratory touch had told her, with no need for Fae senses, that Lauren had been in a state of acute arousal for some time. The temptation to tease her human lover by letting herself play with neatly trimmed fair curls faded quickly. Taking the chi from her would not be enough, desire needed to be sated.
Bo adapted to limited space effortlessly and relished that her nature made her ambidextrous and gifted as a lover. The powerful heat radiating from slick swollen flesh thrilled her and made her own blood sing.
Lauren tensed within her arms and caught her breath, trembling with anticipation of the first touch.
"You need to relax for me," Bo murmured, familiarity warning her that her lover was too stressed to be able to release. She focused on the graceful lines of her lover's exposed neck, kissing and sucking salt-tanged skin until the rushing pulse beneath her lips began to ease once more and Lauren melted back into her arms. "That's good," she praised.
Bo slipped one adept finger between slippery folds and brushed the lightest touches against Lauren's clitoris. The well-lubricated fingertip glided back and forth in a steady and measured rhythm, skimming the sensitized peak and jostling the delicate tissues until Lauren began to shiver in her arms once more.
"Bo. Oh, Bo," Lauren gasped as she clutched at her lover's forearm and rocked her hips to ask for more.
The succubus kept pace with Lauren's demands, matching the tempo of her gasps with warm breaths against her ear and cheek. Bo pressed herself against Lauren's firm rear in time with increasingly rapid thrusts and answered each throaty lustful moan with encouragement of her own.
Lauren curled her body, pulling in a lungful of air with a rasping sob, and froze on the brink of eruption. Bo leaned her head away to dodge the imminent spasm and pressed a little more firmly. "Come for me," she crooned. "Let go and come for me."
Lauren arched in her lover's arms, releasing air in rapid pants as she bucked and shook in ecstatic release. Frenzied energy blazed along her nerves like lightning and erupted within her as she cried out loud in naked pleasure until her throat was raw.
Bo held on tightly until the twitching had ebbed. Freeing her hand from Lauren's bikinis earned her a mild sigh of protest that she soothed with an amiable kiss to her exposed collar.
"Better?" Bo suggested.
Lauren nodded her agreement and absently rubbed at the crescent shaped marks her fingernails had left in Bo's arm. "Thank you." She rolled her eyes at herself, ridiculing the incongruity of insisting on proper manners after having an orgasm in her lover's arms.
"How many times have you been there for me?" Bo asked softly. "This is no different."
"I'm sorry, Bo."
"My decision, I offered." The words were kindly spoken but possessed an undercurrent of steel will. Bo softened them with a kiss behind Lauren's ear. "You mean the world to me. You know that, right?"
"I know," Lauren answered quietly.
"Good." Bo's easygoing smile sounded clearly in her voice. "It's a little late for us to be shy with each other." She gave a dirty chuckle. "Not that I've ever been exactly bashful."
Lauren felt an irresistible grin spread in response to Bo's self-deprecating tease and generous nature. The tawny woman luxuriated in her lover's comfortable embrace as her cluttered and disorientated mind began to find some equilibrium.
In her distraction, the usually quick-witted doctor did not immediately notice Bo's hand lifting from her midsection and pausing a few inches above her skin. Motion caught her attention. Bo had propped her head up on her elbow and was rippling her supple fingers as if dabbling in water in the space just beyond Lauren's pelvis.
Fascinated, Lauren craned over her shoulder to watch Bo staring at intently her hand, her pupils moving and tracking. "What do you see?" Lauren whispered, taking care not to shatter the enchantment.
"You," Bo answered simply.
"Can you touch it?" Lauren schooled herself to keep her tone mild and not fall in to her habit of relentless interrogation that had caused Bo frustration in prior lab sessions.
"No." Bo curled her fingers as if ashamed to have been caught in a private act. "It's growing again though."
"Have you ever seen anything like it?" Lauren pressed
"Of the magnitude you're capable of? Once."
Lauren knew her bedmate well enough to identify the menace of the past. The quick-witted doctor laid down against the mattress once more to grant Bo the illusion of concealment. She clasped her hand over Bo's and lifted them both to her chest, pressing them safely between her breasts in reassurance. "You can tell me anything, Bo."
The diner door opened to admit a young, dark-haired woman bundled inside layers against the freezing night air. She hesitated and pushed her hands under her armpits to warm them as she scanned the busy tables before judiciously settling on a counter seat. The woman kept her head down as she walked past the row of truck drivers who were taking a break and a meal, she turned her face away from them as admiring eyes tracked her movement.
"You look frozen, hun. Coffee?"
Bo chanced a nervous glance at the waitress across the counter, at her neatly pinned hair and broad and plain face which creased in an easygoing smile, and nodded. Two practical hands placed a cup in front of her and then filled it from a jug.
"Thank you." Bo clasped her hands around the cup and willed herself to stop shivering. The uniformed woman lingered over her, curious and concerned in equal measure. "The heater doesn't work," Bo provided reluctantly, as her instinct warned her that conversations tended to be remembered.
"That's rough. There isn't a cloud in the sky, it's going to be bitter tonight," the waitress added.
Bo agreed once more, hoping the woman would realize that she was not a good prospect for a tip and move on. "Just the coffee, please."
The strong brew banished the weary fog from the solitary woman's mind. Hours on the road, with no plan other than to head north, had pushed her limits and left her exhausted. She longed for a comfortable bed and an escape from herself for a few hours.
Bo unzipped her top two layers to make space to reach inside her pocket and fish out her few remaining bills; noting that there was barely enough to cover her tab let alone a night in the flea pit motel across the parking lot. Her lean shoulders fell and, as she had done many times, she asked herself why she was running so hard.
Lost in her dilemma, Bo blinked in confusion as the waitress set a plate in front of her. Embarrassed, she balled what little money she had left up in her fist and looked up to a kind and patient face. "I can't," Bo admitted.
"It's all right," the server nudged the hamburger a little closer. "On me. You look like you need it. You hungry, hun?"
Bo cringed at being exposed and pantomimed focus on the hot meal, as if it could sate her true appetite. The predator within Bo assessed the generous woman for exploitable interest until shame made her turn away.
Hoping that the waitress would see her act as one of pride Bo added, "thank you."
The older woman leaned across the counter to confide. "You keep your money in your pocket, and be on your way soon."
Bo struggled to ignore the clamor of protest from her body as she ate, wiping her fingers and mouth with a paper napkin between bites to try and delay returning to the decrepit car that she had parked in a dark spot amongst the big rigs.
Pausing only to re-fastened her layers, Bo stepped out in to the cold night and gasped out a breath as the chill made the skin on her face feel pinched tight. The asphalt beneath her feet crunched with frost as she hurried across the lot.
Bo pulled her cuff down over her hand and used her sleeve to brush away the spiderwebs of ice that had formed on the windscreen. She was so intent on her task that she didn't notice the trucker until he was behind her.
"Hey," the man said, in a voice made husky by cigarettes and the chill.
Bo glanced over her shoulder at the speaker and noted the heavy parka over a thickset body, trapper hat and thick fleece lined mitts which suggested that he knew the route well enough to be prepared. A lustful aura, like dirty smog, seeped from him.
"Junie mentioned you," he tilted his head back towards the diner. "She said you were a little short of cash."
Bo narrowed her eyes and swallowed hard against a rush of sourness in the back of her mouth. "Did she," she answered smoothly.
"I'll give you twenty," he continued.
Bo slowly ran the tip of her tongue along the edge of her front teeth. "Fifty." She opened the creaking car door and graciously gestured to the bench seat inside in welcome.
The burly man slouched in to the car, making the suspension squeak in protest, and slid along the bench to make space for her. Bo took a moment to confirm that they were out of line of sight of any witnesses.
Bo closed the door behind her and focused on her target. "Money first."
The trucker pulled up the hem of his parka to fumble at his belt, his movements hampered by his thick gloves. Clumsy and hampered, he drew out a billfold from his snug grimy jeans, fumbled and dropped it in to the footwell between them.
"Damn," he sighed. "I'm sorry, I'm nervous." He bent over to try and reach the dropped cash and succeeded only in brushing it closer to Bo's feet, puffing with effort as his clothing and bulk encumbered him.
"I've got it," Bo offered. The dark-haired woman's eyes fixed on the exposed strip of skin between his glove and cuff and she stretched out to him, her fingertips starting to buzz and tingle as she summoned her persuasion.
"Fuck," the winded trucker panted and slumped back in his seat, dragging his hand away from her grasp.
Bo quelled her revulsion and resigned herself to dragging her act out a little longer. She snagged the wad of bills from the worn and dirty carpet. Pleased by the thickness of it and already planning ahead, she did not immediately register the hiss of metal on leather.
"Stay down," the man sneered, pressing the flat of his knife against her cheek. His free hand dropped to his crotch and he began to lazily massage himself. "You're right where you belong, whore."
The blade against her cheek was broad and weighty, tilted so that she could feel the edge but not enough to cut her, not yet. "You don't want to do this," Bo warned.
He chuckled at the calm determination in her words and then frowned as his gaze alighted on the broken steering column in front of him and the exposed wires that dangled from it. "You're a thief?"
The incongruous outrage in his tone drew a quiet laugh from the dark beauty crouching beside him. "Something like that," she allowed.
A woman standing her ground against his threat confused him and broke whatever rules he had invented in his mind. He stopped fondling himself as his sexual interest struggled in the face of her defiance. His lust aura grew darker still and lapped lethargically around him.
"Unzip me," he growled. "Try to bite me, I'll cut your pretty face." The keen edge of the blade grazed against her cheek. "And you're not going to scream."
"No," Bo agreed evenly. "I'm not." A smirk lifted the corner of her mouth. "But you might."
Wickedly fast and fearless, Bo blitzed the startled man before her words were deciphered. Bo's savage self shoved his knife from her face and slammed his hand against the car window, pinning it there, before grasping the front flap of his parka and lunging at him. She pressed against him hard as if she intended to kiss him, her eyes searing with need.
His body stirred for the wildcat but his grunt of approval faded in his throat as her mouth opened wider in a feral snarl that bared her teeth. The brute felt his belly spasm and chest tighten as if a lead weight was pressing upon his sternum, stifling and obstructing his breathing. Fearing a heart attack, he tried to struggle but he was only able to lift his pinned arm a few inches before she crashed it back against the frozen glass and jolted the hunting knife from his grasp.
The panicking man realized that she was too strong, impossibly so, and that the blockage boiling up inside his gut and swelling through his midsection was constricting his lungs and throttling him. He opened his mouth to cry out for help but his body betrayed him and he gave a regurgitative heave.
Electric blue light swirled from his mouth like dense smoke. His most primitive senses, those of fight or flight and live or die, acknowledged that he was the prey now and he was being eaten.
Charged by horror and adrenalin he used his height and weight advantage to shove against the smaller woman. He braced his feet against the dirty floor for leverage and pitched himself into her.
Unprepared for his resistance and stunned by the termination of her link, Bo buckled beneath his superior bulk and tumbled back on the bench seat with her attacker on top of her. Cursing herself for failing to persuade him to yield, she scrambled for skin contact but found that her arcane touch was deflected by the thick winter gear that the trucker was wearing. He pulled his head back, afraid of her fingernails reaching his eyes, and locked his gauntleted hands around her throat.
Desperate and on the verge of a black out, Bo's hands skated off his nylon parka and gloves once more. He was too heavy and the length of his reach defeated her, she could not reach skin. Seconds from her own choking death, as dark spots obscured her vision, Bo stretched fingers for the fallen knife and lashed out with the blade, aiming low to avoid fouling the knife on his clothing, determined only to break the strangle hold before she succumbed.
The first jet of blood struck the windscreen, the second painted the ceiling of the car in lurid scarlet splashes and saturated the interior with warm wet blood.
Bo lifted her shoulders to try and reach the mortally wounded man with her mouth, opening herself to the remains of his chi as he exsanguinated on top of her. A faint blue mist drizzled weakly from his paling lips, and died as he did.
Gasping for air that had been denied to her, Bo pushed the limp hands from her neck and squirmed out from beneath his corpse. Instinct took control of her devastated mind. Dismissing guilt and terror, the shock of her own near termination, the disgust at a body that had released at the moment of death, she was filled with the singular imperative to escape.
Moving with speed and efficiency, Bo reached behind the seats for her duffel bag of possessions and hurried to replace her blood stained clothing. Experience told her that the car was a crime scene, and there was no way to conceal the body. Accepting that she had no choice, Bo slung her pack over her shoulder and ran.
Bo's gift made her fit and healthy, although her body begged for the energy that she had only been allowed to taste before her error had authored disaster. She ran with measured, even, balanced strides although cold air burned her lungs and stung her face.
Whenever headlights illuminated her path, she eased her gait and held out her thumb to try and catch a lift. Car after car swept past her, either not seeing her in the darkness or unwilling to take a chance on a stranger who was out alone on a frigid night.
The passing cars became less frequent as night drew on. Barely able to see the asphalt beneath her feet, and agonizingly aware that even running for hours would not open a significant distance between herself and her kill, Bo's strength deserted her and she stumbled to a halt with her hands on her knees and her chest heaving.
The frozen night air hurt as she pulled in a deep breath through her bruised throat and her whole body felt weak and in dire need of the fuel that food could not give her. Sure that at any moment a police patrol would floodlight her and she would be caught and then condemned, Bo's legs buckled and sprawled her to the rough dirt at the side of the road. Cold, exhausted, starving and desolate, Bo fantasized simply lying back and surrendering to her fate.
A ripple of brightness made Bo squint in readiness for another set of headlights and turn her face away to protect her eyes from chilled air and grit as it passed her by. With eyes averted from the anticipated vehicle, Bo realized that the radiance lapping the road surface and the dirty scrubby roadside was green. Baffled, and in growing awareness of silence rather than road noise, Bo tilted her head back to regard to sky.
Fingers of emerald light, as clear and distinct as rays of sunlight through rainclouds, danced across the night sky. The illumination shimmered and flickered through shades from vivid lime, to crisp freshly mown grass, to the richness of jade. Eddies of color swirled intricately above her head. Threads of crystal blue and bright white braided with deep lustrous mauves and lilacs, rippling and fusing through unfathomable patterns of incandescent complexity.
At the heart of the whirlpool of light and iridescence a flash of red was born and bloomed with a corona of resplendent purple, before bursting across the sky from horizon to horizon as if the whole sky has been set ablaze.
Astounded by the majestic glory of natural spectacle and in awe of the immense and immeasurable the young woman, lost and alone at the roadside and overcome by wonder, accepted revelation and rebirth.
The doctor's agile mind pictured a younger Bo, shaking with dread, pushed to the limits of her endurance and alone in the night, being undone by the vision before her. Lauren laced her fingers together with Bo's as her heart broke once more for the forsaken and vulnerable young woman that Bo had once been. "You saw the aurora borealis?"
Bo unconsciously pressed more tightly against Lauren and the loving human gripped her hand tightly to offer an anchor. "I felt so small, but a part of something that was so much more. In that moment I was sure there must be someone else out there, looking up at the same sky, who was just like me. And they would be able to tell me who and what I was. I was so sure." Bo released the breath that she had not been aware of holding. "It sounds silly now, I guess."
Lauren kept a strong grip on Bo, her practical and caring hand binding them together as she shifted her shoulders until she came to rest on her back. The older woman waited patiently for Bo to reluctantly meet her eyes once more and greeted her with unconditional compassion. "You had to keep going if you wanted the truth, no matter where it took you?" Lauren concluded.
The responding nod was subtle, almost shy, the memory of the first moment of self-acceptance clear enough to shake her to the core. Lauren welcomed the wounded women into her arms and Bo stretched her lean body out against the doctor as the two women shared a slow and thorough kiss of soft lips and soft sounds. Lauren yielded, appreciating the Fae woman's need to be in control, and received Bo gladly as she deepened the kiss and delivered lush sucks first to Lauren's lower lip and then her tongue.
Lauren carefully brushed loose sleek locks of hair from Bo's face before cupping her palm against Bo's fine-boned features to maintain their bond as the succubus withdrew. "I look like an aurora?"
"Not yet," Bo admitted. "But when we found you it was as if someone had taken the northern lights and shut them up in one room. It was so bright it nearly blinded me, but I couldn't look away." Bo pursed her lips briefly and frowned, searching for the words before shaking her head in exasperation as she found herself lacking. When her gaze returned to Lauren her guard was down completely, deliberately leaving herself disarmed and exposed. "It was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. It was like I could see your soul."
Aching and unable to trust herself to speak, Lauren lifted their joined hands to her mouth and kissed the pulse point on Bo's wrist. Accustomed to her own scent, Lauren rubbed her cheek against Bo's palm and focused on the warm and womanly blending of sex and the natural aroma of her lover's skin. Small kisses and deep breaths centered her and gave her strength.
The succubus watched her with sultry eyes and the lop-sided wicked grin that was just Bo. "Are you ready?"
"Yeah." Bo leaned closer and kissed Lauren's forehead before disentangling herself from their embrace.
"Don't," Lauren pleaded. "Don't call Kenzi. Share this with me, just with me."
Bo slouched onto the edge of the bed and cast a hurt look back to the supine woman. "Is that why you did this?" She twisted away from Lauren's grasp as the blonde levered herself upright to sit beside her.
Lauren recoiled as if she had been struck. "Do you really think that?" She pushed a hand through tumbling fair hair and paused to rub her brow in exasperation as a shade of guilt chilled her. "I'm not sorry that I tried to protect you." Lauren defiantly lifted her chin to dare Bo to argue, and stood her ground before the bitter glare it earned her. "I will regret hurting you until the day I die, but I am running out of ways to apologize for it."
Bo narrowed eyes that were darkened by suspicion, her mouth forming a harsh and cruel line as old conflicts seethed beneath the surface.
"Listen to me, Bo." Lauren persisted, undaunted. "Do I want this? Of course I do." She touched Bo's taut shoulder carefully and observed the texture of iron beneath silk with concern. If Bo decided to bolt, there would be nothing that she could do to stop her. "Do you really not know that?"
Resentment and anger etched lines of stress on the younger woman's features. "Why then? An experiment?"
Lauren summoned her formidable will to pay her penance and stay tuned in to Bo's mercurial mood. Bo's impulse was always to fight and Lauren knew that it would harm them both if she did not intercede.
Lauren wrapped her words in calming velvet. "When we're in bed I want you. All of you. You will share your body with me; your mouth, your hands, your sex. But you won't share this and it hurts me that you will with others, with strangers."
"I didn't know," Bo protested.
"No, you didn't," Lauren agreed. "I asked, you refused, that was the end of the matter. I would never have tried to coerce you then and I'm not doing it now." Lauren rallied her mind as the mounting influx of energy challenged her concentration. "I was curious, I won't deny that, but this was never about me."
Lauren held her truth inside, as she had many times before, to save Bo from feeling cornered. For Bo, she could guard her words and let the love that she had long accepted shine in her eyes, her expression and her gracious smile.
Visceral and tactile, the succubus answered the best way she knew and took her lover in her arms to hold her tightly. The ferocity of Bo's embrace knocked the wind from Lauren's body, but she responded in kind, clinging as fiercely as she could to the woman that she treasured.
Lauren hid a twinge of pain and ignored the urge to press a hand over her sternum as perspiration beaded on her forehead. Pressure was building within her and making her body work harder to contain the energetic flood.
Sharing Bo's strength granted them a few more moments before Lauren leaned back from the enveloping protection of Bo's arms. She blinked rapidly to chase away a dose of dizziness and strained to not give in to the craving to lay her head on Bo's shoulder and sleep.
"This was not what I intended, it's a consequence of the choice that I made and you shouldn't have to carry it on your shoulders too." Lauren took a deep breath to steady her nerve. "But I don't regret it."
Outrage sent a core of steel to Bo's spine. "How could you say that?" she demanded.
"You can never share what you experience with me, or anyone else, and I know that it hurts you." The kindhearted woman gently trailed the backs of her fingers down Bo's cheek. "It doesn't have to be that way, you can let me in. Let me share this with you."
The eyes that Lauren lifted back to Bo had a corona of cobalt blue around the iris that was seeping towards the contracted pupils. The doctor's cheeks were flushing and her skin shone with sweat. "I'm not sure that I can fight it much longer. Show me who are you, Bo. Show me what it means."
"Kenzi!" Bo bellowed as she helped Lauren recline. She swept blonde hair from the stricken woman's face with a light touch and silenced her with fingertips touched to her mouth. "I can survive anything that you could do to stop me, that's not what I'm worried about. I don't want you to have any more of my blood on your hands."
Lauren bit her bottom lip as her unnaturally blue eyes widened a fraction in understanding. Naked sorrow showed on Lauren's face for the barest moment as her self-assurance weakened.
"What about my hands?" Kenzi's sly voice at her shoulder made Bo jump and curse, caught out by her friend's feline stealth and poise.
"I wish you wouldn't do that," Bo groused.
"Chill. Habit of a lifetime, can't pick your pocket if see me coming," Kenzi shrugged. The trickster's quick gaze travelled over both women in frank assessment, noting the blood streaked tissues, the trace still on Bo's cheek, the color change in Lauren's eyes and the white of her knuckles as she held on to Bo. "What are we doing?"
"Lauren is overloading. I need you to watch out for us," Bo answered quickly, stilling any automatic wisecracks with a sharp glare. "She couldn't get free, Kenz, she had to wound me."
"Break it up if I have to, keep you pretty. Got it." Kenzi's attention drifted to Lauren and a ghost of a smile graced her narrowed lips. "You can pay for my therapy when you're done." The youngest of the trio folded her arms tightly across her chest to hold in her embarrassment as her pugnacious nature helped her to craft a poker face.
Without a trace of modesty, Bo climbed back on to the bed and laid down beside Lauren. Bo disregarded both their state of undress and the intimacy of their position as her breasts rubbed Lauren's and her thigh slipped between her legs.
"Look at me, Lauren," Bo ordered and waited for eyes that were almost completely ocean blue to meet her own. "Don't struggle. If you fight me, you're in danger. Understand?" A single nod of assent encouraged her to lean in and slip her hand behind Lauren's neck to support her. "Open your mouth."
Lauren's breathing shortened to quick pants through her nose as her bravado evaporated and left her vulnerable and confounded. Every instinct within her wanted to reach out for Bo, but she could not sustain enough focus to deduce if it was to push her away in fear or to hold her closer. She grasped at the bed sheet beneath her hard enough for the tendons in her shoulders and forearms to stand out.
"Open your mouth for me, lover," Bo murmured, "and let me in."
The pressure behind Lauren's eyes and between her legs made the rich and seductive words impossible to resist. Lauren parted her lips for the succubus and Bo's mouth touched hers in the lightest of kisses before enticing the succulent chi stream to flow.
Azure energy flooded eagerly from Lauren's mouth, crossed the space between them, and burst within Bo to blend with her own innate source. Their eyes shone radiant blue for one another.
Lauren felt her body surge in elation. Linking with Bo to nourish and provide for her, coupling with her, opened a conduit to Bo's true self. The chi extraction rebounded a splash of desire that burst within Lauren; her nipples tightened and hardened, the muscles in her abdomen flexed rigid and she felt herself become wet and ready once more.
Bo kept the exchange short and broke free with a gasp as Lauren shuddered roughly beneath her. "Is this OK?"
Assured and practical hands cradled Bo's face as thumbs brushed flawless cheeks. "It's good, don't stop," Lauren breathed.
"Really?" Bo's brow creased.
"Really good," Lauren insisted as she softly finger-combed Bo's sleek dark hair. "I'm giving this to you freely, as my gift, maybe that matters." Lauren craned up to kiss Bo, and to silence herself.
The women shared a kiss that began as a sweet and tender acknowledgement, but quickly flamed to life as they nibbled, licked and gave soft kisses to each other's lips again and again. Lauren draped a welcoming arm around Bo's neck and brought her thigh up over Bo's hip.
Lauren bit gently at Bo's bottom lip as the succubus slowed the kiss and lifted up again, chi swirling between them as their eyes glittered like radiant sapphires. Bo took a second deep draught before melting back in to Lauren with a growl to seal their kiss once more, and then rock steadily against her lover's body.
Kenzi sat on the upholstered seat before the dresser, crossing her coltish legs, and affected an air of indifference that belied the clandestine awakening of arousal from watching the exchange between the lovers. Kenzi was used to seeing Bo as a sensual creature but the passion scorching from Lauren stunned her and brought hectic color to her milky pale cheeks.
Brown-eyed once more, Lauren allowed her fingers to trace paths across Bo's back before reaching for the hem of her cami top. Bo braced her hands against the bed and straightened her arms to make space for the garment to be drawn from her.
Kenzi cleared her throat pointedly. "Are we done?" The young Russian crowed in amusement as the lovers scrambled apart. "Very nice, Doc. I was expecting boxers though."
Lauren's already flushed cheeks blushed harder and she reached for her zipper before the inference registered and she flared with irritation at the smirking woman.
"Better?" Bo asked softly, saving her lover any more embarrassment.
Lauren nodded and found herself staring intently at Bo's mouth in longing. "Much better. Good, actually."
"Bo, ready for me to go and finish up?" Kenzi interrupted. "Or do you need to bruise my innocence some more?"
Laughing affectionately, Bo snagged a pillow from the bed and launched it at her giggling friend. "Innocence? Yeah, right."
"Finish?" Lauren prompted warily. "What are you doing?" The chi drain had cleared much of the fog in her mind and the void filled with questions.
"The usual," the scoundrel answered easily. "Had a look around, opened all your cupboards, ate all your food, made some long distance phone calls." She flashed a mischievous grin at Lauren and sent an overt glance to the nightstand. "Nice bottom drawer collection, by the way." Lauren's widened and guilty eyes darting to the nightstand earned her another snicker. "Gotcha."
"Be nice," Bo scolded.
"Always," Kenzi answered primly and rested the thrown pillow on her lap as Bo made space for Lauren to sit upright once more. "And I was cleaning up, there was broken glass all over the place." The next smile was thin-lipped and insincere. "So? Are you going to tell us the truth?" She placidly held Lauren's questioning frown at her weighted word. "What have you done, Doc?"
Lauren's shoulders fell as she directed her attention to the hands she was uneasily scrubbing together in her lap. "I don't think you'll like it."
Bo ignored the sigh and eye-roll from Kenzi and stilled the doctor's nervous gesture with a kind touch. "Tell us anyway."
The doctor sat back from the microscope and took a moment to scrub at first her face and then her hair, rubbing with both hands, trying to chase away the fatigue and the dull headache from the harsh lights inside the well-appointed laboratory. She released a deep, almost sensual, groan of pleasure as she stretched to ease the discomfort of perching on a stool which offered little support and made her lower back feel full of ground glass.
Lauren glanced to her wrist to check the time before absently scratching at the bare skin. The Fae collected her from the apartment, brought her to the lab, and took her home again on their own schedule. Her protests to the gargoyle that supervised her, punctuated by irritated gestures to her watch, had been met with at first with indifference. When Lauren had persisted, her timepiece had been snatched from her with enough force to scatter links from the broken wristband and stun her to silence.
The same gargoyle stood in the corner of the laboratory. He was so solidly built that his dark suit strained over his chest, shoulders and arms. Lauren appreciated his species name; his chin jutted, his jaw was thick and heavy and his brow was a slab of granite. Small and deeply set eyes tracked her every movement without comment. The gargoyle watchman had damped the fires of her enthusiasm and eagerness to discover the Fae world quickly.
Lauren was so used to his presence that she did not immediately realize that he had left his post. One of his huge hands was pressed to the earpiece he was wore to receive instructions and he was approaching her work station with an obvious single-minded purpose
The doctor rose from her work, attentive and mentally preparing for whatever event had broken their routine. Her mind quickly reviewed the locations and status of emergency equipment and the state of the art instruments which would be available to her.
Concentrating on tapping in to her stalwart discipline, to control her adrenalin and keep herself steady, Lauren did not see the watchman take his swing.
The gargoyle's meaty hand cracked across the doctor's face with enough force to first stagger her backwards and then again to send her sprawling to her hands and knees.
With tears streaming down skin which burned with bright piercing pain, dizzied and disorientated, the doctor sat back on her heels and cradled her searing cheek with a shaking hand. Fright and shock shrunk her blurred vision to the gargoyle looming over her with his hand raised and a warning in his beady eyes.
The sting from her split lip and the taste of blood faded as she realized that he was standing as if ready to beat a troublesome and difficult cur, and would not hesitate to strike her again. She bowed her head in defeat and offered no resistance when he caught hold of her upper arm in a brutal grip and then hauled her to her feet.
The gargoyle strode from the laboratory with his charge hurrying to keep up beside him. When she stumbled, he jerked her hard to keep her upright and ignored the yelp that followed. They journeyed deeper into the Light compound, taking every downward path towards the catacombs.
The underground corridor of cells finally registered in the human woman's panicking mind. She dug in her heels and twisted to pull free, trying to prize open his fisted grip on her and squirming to avoid his free hand. The grapple was short-lived, they both knew that she would be exhausted long before she was ever free and that she was hopelessly out-matched in bulk and strength,
The gargoyle did not wait for her inevitable surrender. The blow was low and hard and blasted the air from her lungs as her abdomen spasmed. Her body jack-knifed and she cried out loud again in agony and confusion. As her mind struggled to accept pain and violence beyond her experience, the sentinel caught her by the collar and heaved her into a cell.
Bleeding and winded, she lost her footing and grazed open the palms that saved her from falling face first in to the freezing cold and damp stone cell floor. The cell door hammered shut.
Alone and hurt, Lauren drew her knees up to her chest and hugged them as she wept.
Kenzi surrendered her comfort zone without question, crossed the bedroom to sit beside the shaken woman, and touched her lightly on the shoulder. "I didn't know you did some time in the pokey, Doc."
Lauren studied the young woman who had reached out to her. Kenzi was a reliable friend and could be trusted to cover for Bo, as the incensed succubus formed her hands into fists in impotent anger at the past. There was a hint of genuine sympathy in Kenzi's dainty elfin features and Lauren inclined her head in appreciation.
"They hurt you." Bo's words were a bitter statement rather than a question as her impulsive nature urged her to come out swinging. "Even though you had agreed to join them."
"Humans have limited value." Lauren kept her tone mild and judiciously avoided reminding that her role had not been a joining. "You know that, Bo. And you know that there is nothing you can do to fix this, it happened and it's over. I was useful to them but I had to earn my place and prove that I wasn't a nuisance." She offered a crooked smile and shrugged. "It took some time."
"How long were you in there?" Kenzi asked. The depth and maturity in her voice, absent her customary humor, helped to still the fire within Bo.
"I didn't know," Lauren explained. "There was no way to tell one day from the next." Lauren caught Bo's hand and laced their fingers once more. "I had begun to wonder if they intended to lock me up for good. Then the Ash came for me."
Lauren pushed back a curtain of hair that had grown lank and greasy and lifted her head to squint warily against the glare. The little light spilling under the door had been a welcome relief from pitch darkness, but it offered little in preparation for the sudden brightness as it was opened wide.
The gargoyle that entered the cell was as ugly and massive as her jailer. "Stand for the Ash," he growled.
The slender woman shrugged off the coarse blanket and winced as chilled and stiff muscles protested her labored efforts to obey. Lauren endeavored to keep her back straight and her chin lifted, but the Ash filled the space with such power and presence, and she was so weak and weary, that she her fortitude failed her.
"I didn't do anything wrong," Lauren whispered. "Please, I didn't do anything wrong."
The Ash stood at rest before her, his crisp white suit a shocking contrast to the stark cell walls, and clasped his hands behind his back. "Doctor Lewis," he began, "your computers have been destroyed and your notes have been incinerated. You will not continue your current research path." His tenor voice sounded ominously in the cell. "Should you attempt to do so, the penalty will be severe."
"Kneel," the gargoyle ordered. The guardsman met her startled glance with a deep frown on his heavy brow. "Pledge."
Stunned by the loss of her work, reeling at the implications of the Ash's threat, Lauren's answer was too slow for the gargoyle. The brute seized a fistful of her hair and forced her to face the Ash's placid and serene gaze before driving her to her knees.
"I will have your word," the Ash admonished. "And your understanding that it is your choices that place your lover in peril." He inclined his head to the gargoyle. "Leave us."
The sentinel released Lauren with a shove that spilled her forward to already abused hands and elbows. Nauseated by the stabbing pain from her scalp and the reopened wounds on her palms, defeated by the insidious sense of humiliation, the injured woman hung her head and blinked away debased tears.
"You think I'm a monster," the Ash rumbled as he dropped to a crouch in front of her.
"I don't understand," Lauren protested, wiping her face on the sleeve of her dirty shirt before sitting back on her heels. "What have I done wrong?"
"Your research? I cannot allow it," the Ash asserted. "This is my duty."
"Why?" Lauren demanded, her theory lighting fires within her. "If I'm right, it could change everything." The guilt she had battled for months, that tested her reason and threatened to fray her sanity, eased for a moment. "Those who consume organs and tissues will have to, but those who feed on ethereal energy would not need to kill. If that energy can be stimulated they would not need to kill anyone." She canted her head to the side, curious, and narrowed her eyes at him. "Unless that is what you want."
"No," the Ash answered patiently. "I don't want to kill humans. It happens because it must." He checked over his shoulder to confirm that they were alone in the cell before leaning closer. "What you are proposing is an invitation to genocide. Do you wish humans to be farmed like cattle? Do you wish humans to be shackled, kept, bred and milked as and when needed?"
Lauren rocked back on her heels as if struck once more and her stomach churned and chilled. "You wouldn't."
"No," the Ash agreed amiably, "I wouldn't. But in time the Fae would rise and enslave your people for all time. And you would be remembered as the mother of the servitude and slaughter of the human race. I cannot countenance it, the natural order must stand for your good and for ours. What you propose would truly make us monsters." He rose to his full imposing height and towered over her. "Forget what you have seen, test me and she dies." He strolled from the grim chamber as if he had all the time in the world. "Another week, for you to think on what I have said."
The cell door slammed shut on an anguished scream; humiliated, horrified and lost.
"I gave him my word," Lauren said quietly, creeping shame seeping through her bones at the memory of making her obeisance before the ruler of the Light. "But I couldn't forget." The doctor's clever fingers clasped Bo's elegant and strong hands. "And then I met you." She swallowed hard and took a deep breath before looking into Bo's paled features. "And you were so different."
"I was free?" Bo answered warily.
"Yes. And you wanted to choose." Lauren rubbed her thumb over the backs of Bo's knuckles before taking in another steadying breath. "I used what I had learned in reverse. Suppressing and generating chi are just two sides of the same coin."
"Did the Ash know?" Kenzi asked.
Lauren gave her a shy half-smile. "No, I learned my lesson. I covered my tracks and made my notes in cypher." The smile faded as she considered that the lesson had been the hard way; leaving her filthy, hungry and weeping over Nadia's life support system.
"You crafty dog," Kenzi grinned and gently bumped the doctor with her shoulder.
"It was worth the risk. And I would do it again," Lauren declared firmly. She turned Bo's hand over and frowned mildly at the palm as if she could see the future. "Not just for you. And not just for me." She closed her eyes for a long moment. "I thought that if I could save just one..." The doctor's voice trailed off to silence.
"Lauren, it's not your fault," Bo protested.
"You were just the first," Lauren continued without acknowledging the brunette's words. "I was able to help some of the other light Fae, those who came looking for hope and alternatives."
Bo's quick and intuitive mind rushed ahead. "I let you experiment and that gave you what you needed to help others?" She watched Lauren's apprehensive nod. "And because you were succeeding, you thought you would reverse your work again and experiment on yourself?" Her voice sharpened. "Even though you gave your word and even though the Ash had warned you?"
"The Ash didn't keep his word," Lauren countered.
"Did you have any idea how dangerous it would be? How unstable?" Bo challenged.
"I had to try, don't you understand that?" The golden-haired woman met her lover's fierce onyx glare with faith and certainty. "I did it for you, Bo. I did it so that you could choose."
Stunned by the words, Bo forced herself to pause and take a breath and resist the urge to lash out once more. "Lauren, this is who I am," she retorted, "I would never have wanted you to hurt yourself for me."
"That was my choice, mine alone to make," Lauren protested fiercely. "I have never judged you. I have only ever tried to change your body and the way you live your life because you asked me to." Deep frustration creased her brow and squared her jaw. "All I ever wanted was for you to have the power to make a choice, a real choice. Anything less was nothing but illusion."
"Never risk yourself for me again," Bo demanded, her voice growing rough and sharp. "And the Ash was right."
"Would you listen if I said the same to you, Bo? You're no more immortal than I am," Lauren fenced. "And the Ash lied about a lot of things."
The two women, equal in drive and determination, tested their resolve against one another. Bo pitted her fire and grit against Lauren and found herself countered by balanced and unwavering composure.
"This is nuts," Kenzi groused, interrupting them both. "Why don't you argue about it tomorrow?" She stood her ground before their astonishment and shrugged. "It's happened, you can't change that now, so make the most of it. Why are you wasting a single minute?" She spared a cheeky grin for Bo before briefly gripping Lauren's shoulder. "I'm outta here."
"Spare room next door," Lauren offered.
"Yeah, that's going to happen," Kenzi scoffed. "See you in the morning. I'll be downstairs on the couch." She ambled from the room slowly enough for them to hear her mutter, "with my fingers in my ears," before she closed the door.
Once they were alone, the human asked the question that had been crying out within her. "Bo? Are you angry with me?"
"No, of course I'm not," Bo insisted firmly. "I think you're wrong, and you really scared me. But no, I'm not angry." The doctor's deep brown eyes were so worried and pensive that Bo found that she could not help but smile in affection. "Are you ready for bed?"
The answering keen grin dimpled Lauren's chin and lit her vivacious face. Bo cradled the angular features in both her hands and drew Lauren close, joining their mouths once more in a kiss. Lauren's lips parted for her, inviting her, and she exhaled a soft sound of longing as she met Bo's tongue with light licks of her own.
Moving with natural finesse, Bo slid the shirt from Lauren's shoulders and arms and let the garment fall forgotten. Quick fingers unfastened Lauren's bra and slipped the straps from her shoulders before Bo broke the kiss so that she could lean back and watch her lover's curves be revealed to her eager gaze.
Lauren chuckled as Bo's smile became distinctly wolfish. Bo's eyes widened at smooth creamy flesh and dusky pink nipples that were still hard from the chi exchange. Lauren brushed a light kiss against Bo's mouth as she slipped her strong fingers to the nape of Bo's neck and sat up straighter, arching her back in offering.
Bo cupped her lover's breasts in her hands and reveled in the feel of satin skin. A first touch of her thumbs over sensitized nipples made both women groan softly in need. A humid erotic rush pulsed fiercely in Bo's veins. Her inflamed libido, fueled by Lauren's potent energy, gave Bo a fiercely intense command to ravish and consume her lover.
Bo's appetite manifested on her fine features. "Go on, I need you to," Lauren urged,
granting permission before doubt took hold and flourished.
Bo bowed to her lover's body and traced a feverish path from her neck to her breasts, breathing harder as she took in scent and taste. She took one of Lauren's nipples in her mouth and indulged her lust by suckling firmly before filling her mouth with pliant flesh. Lauren trembled under her touch and sounded wordless approval for the strong pulling at her breast.
Bo was voracious in her desire and allowed her senses to swim in pure sensual pleasure as molten arousal swelled within. She sucked, licked and bit at Lauren's straining nipples as her hands roved Lauren's body at will. Smooth palms stroked Lauren's hips and flanks, drifting around the lean form to explore the small of Lauren's back and dip fingertips lower to caress the upper curve of her firm behind.
Frustrated by their remaining clothing and too overcome by passion to articulate her urgency, Bo released Lauren's now blush-red nipple to flash her a predatory smirk. Lauren countered with a playful lop-sided grin and lifted eyebrows in answer Bo's unspoken question.
Bo's figure and build concealed her true strength, but Lauren had felt her power before and thrilled to it once more as Bo wrapped both arms around her and bore her easily to the center of the bed. Bo grasped Lauren's pants and underwear and tugged them down briskly, barely giving the older woman time to lift her hips in assistance.
Naked and aching with desire, Lauren propped herself up on her elbows to watch Bo strip off her top and panties and reveal her lush feminine form. In return, the succubus was transparent in her own brazen appraisal of the athletic form stretched before her.
Lauren delighted in seeing Bo involuntarily moisten her bottom lip in anticipation and flare her irises an exquisite ultramarine for an instant. The odd tingle in Lauren's eyes told her that her own surging sexual energy had reflected the same, she felt herself become warmer and wetter.
Bo laid the length of her body down against Lauren's, trusting that her human lover could bear some of her weight as she took her mouth in a heated kiss and swallowed Lauren's quiet sigh of praise. Melting into one another, kissing slowly and deeply, Bo allowed herself to rub steadily against the cherished woman beneath her and relish the contact between firm flesh and hard nipples.
Lauren's hands roved freely across Bo's back and shoulders as they shared their kisses. The freedom to touch Bo's exquisite body was a privilege that the kind-hearted woman treasured. Lauren committed her exceptional will to re-learning every inch of skin and shapely curve with her fingers and her mouth. Determined in her quest, she flexed against the sheets and twisted her body to roll Bo on to her back.
Bo's bemused query was silenced by a rough shiver as Lauren slowly trailed fingernails down her ribs, across her waist and over the flare of her hips. Lauren followed the path of her touch with eyes that sparkled with nothing more than lively intelligence, indulging and smiling to herself as the whisper-light contact made Bo's muscles twitch.
Lauren's caress drifted lower, traveling the sweep of Bo's pelvic bone before dipping down between her thighs to cup her sex and give a mild squeeze which made Bo thrust hard into her palm. The gaze that returned to Bo's face was lustful, unapologetic and human.
Accepting that Lauren's single-minded and purposeful nature tended to remove any negotiation in bed, Bo parted her thighs and bore down against the hand that steadily massaged her. Bo demanded more with her body and purred her excitement at the soft stroking as she spread her legs wider to accommodate the loving hand.
Lauren tested her and found her warm, slick and ready. Sensitive and dextrous fingers patiently explored Bo's delicate slippery folds until she trembled.
Eager to watch Bo's face as her fingers drifted lower to tease her lover's opening, the honey-haired woman lifted up from their lavish kisses and held Bo's captivated attention as she slowly glided in to her snug heat. Groaning throatily in satisfaction, Bo's eyes fluttered shut and she arched and rolled her head back into the bed.
Lauren's arm flexed in time with the rhythmic rolls of Bo's hips, pushing into her and twisting her wrist smoothly to stroke deep inside. Her mouth mapped a path down the brunette's exposed throat, nipping and then salving with dabs of her tongue, before sketching random loops across Bo's sternum and the inner slopes of her breasts. She varied the duration and ferocity of her kisses against tender skin, pushing her to bruising point and back again.
Bo's quickening body thrilled to the knowing expertise of Lauren's mouth and the smooth brushing of tumbling blonde waves whispering over and around her nipples and down across her stomach. Lauren journeyed lower still, tickled a route around Bo's navel before nuzzling the close-cropped neat patch of hair at the apex of her thighs.
Lauren stilled the pace of her thrusting hand for a moment and flashed a sophisticated glance to Bo that was bright with carnal excitement and innate desire. At Lauren's urging, Bo first spread her legs to make space for her lover to settle, and then rested one trim thigh over Lauren's shoulder as the other stretched wide.
Relishing exotic and spicy hints, Lauren paused to savor Bo's unique and heady aroma. She breathed in deeply and keened quietly as her own sex clenched hungrily. Deftly parting Bo's outer lips, Lauren flattened her tongue and dragged a long and luxurious lick from her own fingers to the top of Bo's crease, feathering the tip of her tongue either side of Bo's clitoris before taking it in her mouth to suck sweetly.
Lauren kissed Bo's sex with the same thorough dedication that she had engaged to kiss her mouth. She bathed every part of Bo with dainty laps and sweet nuzzles, and hummed against her clitoris as she held it in her mouth once more, adding layer upon layer of sensation as she tasted.
As Bo began to relaxed beneath the skillful attention, Lauren began to thrust her hand once more. Curling her thumb and loose fingers into her palm to clear her own chin, she switched at random between deeply penetrating Bo to stretch her, and mild swirls just inside her tight walls. Lauren's fingers did not still and her lips, teeth and tongue danced confidently over her beautiful lover's sensitized flesh.
Lauren felt contractions ripple deep inside Bo. The succubus was moaning consistently and grasping at the sheet with one hand while tugging unashamedly on her pebbled nipple with the other as pre-orgasmic tremors rushed through her body and made her tremble in delirium.
Lauren began to pump her fingers steadily, and quickly found a tempo that raised the intensity of the responsive passionate groans. Frantic muscles tightened, straining as Lauren softened her tongue and laved orbits around and over Bo's stiff clitoris.
Bo balanced on the brink for an exquisite moment, every nerve and sinew alive and shaking with unrestrained joy, before her climax blazed through her whole body and erupted from her mouth in cry after cry of pure veneration for her lover.
Her own name still ringing in her ears, Lauren prowled the length of Bo's body and enveloped the panting woman in a grounding embrace as she breathed through the aftershocks of her orgasm. Straddling Bo and painting her skin with her essential moisture, Lauren shared the glaze of Bo's own flavor on her lips in a deep and luscious kiss.
Newly charged chi flowed between the lovers, voluptuous and invigorating, weaving together bonds of trust and acceptance. Bo wrapped languid arms around Lauren's lean form and allowed the resonant chi discharge to reach a natural end, enriching herself and releasing pressure from her lover to restore her balance.
Lauren rested her weight on forearms that she had slipped beneath Bo's shoulder blades and reluctantly withdrew from the kiss. Bo watched Lauren shake her hair back out of her face, and reflected the human woman's puckish grin back to her. "I don't know how you do that," Bo conceded.
"You inspire me," Lauren answered with calm assurance, applying every ounce of her courage and will to hold in the words that her heart and soul pleaded with her to say.
Bo stroked Lauren's back, sensing her conflict and seeking to comfort. "Lauren?" Warm mahogany eyes met her own. "Tonight is just for us. Whatever comes, whatever choices, we have tonight. Share this with me, be with me."
Lauren creased her brow in a mild frown, yearning to stand her ground but knowing that Bo was the one yielding.
"Be with me," Bo repeated patiently, and welcomed her lover back into her arms.
Silhouetted by gasoline flames licking from an old oil drum on abandoned lot beyond their dilapidated home, Bo tossed in the last notebook and stepped back against the halo of burning particles that rose. Staring in to the blaze she told herself that the prickling pain in her eyes was heat and smoke.
Kenzi stood shoulder to shoulder with Lauren to watch the summary cremation of years of labor. The two women stood with Bo as silent witnesses to the end of the ever-constant threat of discovery and the punishment that would follow. The doctor was stoic in her grief, shining with tears that she refused to shed.
"Is this all of it?" Bo asked firmly.
"Yes, Bo," Lauren agreed, aware that her voice cracked in sorrow, "but you can't make me forget."
Bo bowed her head briefly to summon her strength against temptation, against the impossible talisman of choice and the freedom that it would bring. "No more secrets, Lauren." She lifted her eyes to Lauren's, captivating her with a covenant of warmth and love. "We're in this together."
"Together," Lauren vowed.
Bo rested her palm on the hilt of her dagger and returned her contemplative gaze to the flames, needing to see her duty done in the destruction of a tool for the subjugation of the human race and the death of a future that it might have granted her.
Kenzi caught the exhausted doctor's elbow and guided her to withdraw to grant her friend space to mourn. "One day she'll tell you," Kenzi said softly.
"When she's ready." Lauren tilted her eyes up to the spreading orange glow in the warm dawn sky. "I can wait."
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