DISCLAIMER: Lost Girl and its characters are the property of Showcase and are used here for entertainment & not profit.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Huge, massive thanks goes to my best mate, Gemma, for providing me with the plot outline after season 4 ended. (back in 2014!) It took until the start of season 5 for me to get the spark to write it! Thanks, Gem, for your support & patience! For allowing me to run with the plot, play with it, tweak it and ultimately change it. That's been awesome. To stop myself being distracted, I had refrained from watching the second half of season 5, until this was completed. Thanks to Ralst for posting, and to anybody taking the time to read this story, many thanks.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To kajola63[at]yahoo.com
Lauren stared at Dyson as he stood before her in the lab. His voice was barely audible; his shoulders were slumped, and he looked smaller than usual; shrunken. His hands were balled into fists; his eyes were full of pain, wet with his tears.
She couldn't move. She wanted to; she wanted to reach out to him, comfort him, hug him.
"Did you hear me, Lauren?"
Her mind tried to register again what he'd said. "Kenzi's dead." She must have misheard him. There was no way this could be true. "Kenzi's dead." She looked at him again, saw his body language. "Kenzi's dead."
"Lauren?" Dyson softly enquired.
Lauren slowly rose from the chair, all thoughts of her experiments gone. Just a few hours ago, she had faced death at the hands of crazed Massimo, only to have Bo arrive in time to kill him. Afterwards, wearing Lauren's necklace, Bo had kissed her, and had left to face her father's arrival. Lauren had decided to stay behind; she'd chosen to protect the Dark leader she'd rendered human; had chosen that obligation, rather than go with Bo, and stand with her. But she now wondered, what if she had gone? What if she could have saved Kenzi? What if it had been Bo?
Her knees suddenly felt weak. "Kenzi's dead?" She finally found the courage to repeat the words, finding they sounded alien coming from her mouth.
Dyson nodded. She gripped the edge of the desk. Hale was bad enough, but this was hard to comprehend.
"How?" Lauren asked. Dyson was explaining, but she was having trouble absorbing. She realised she was moving about the lab, gathering things, and Dyson didn't seem to notice she was doing it either.
"Bo's gone crazy with grief. She's drunk, and tearing up the Dal. We can't calm her down."
"Hmmm." Lauren nodded. She wanted to ask Dyson, if it had been Bo, wouldn't he be doing the same right now. She looked around the lab, knowing if it had been, she'd have smashed everything into pieces. She suddenly felt angry, tempted to lash out, an attempt at vengeance for Kenzi, but right now, that wouldn't help Bo.
She grabbed her med kit following Dyson to his car. He used the squad cars lights to give them quicker passage, and she didn't mind the break neck speed he drove at.
Dyson continued to explain but Lauren was only half listening. Tamsin, Valhalla, the Hell Shoes.
Things were never ever straight forward with the Fae. There was never one simple solution to any situation; it always involved entanglements to get to the bottom and resolve it. Lauren knew that just as much as the rest of them did. For obvious reasons the Fae were shrouded in secrecy. She had been thrust into it from the start, aware that her own life was no longer a private matter where the Fae were concerned. She'd had to adapt to that fact, her supplication to the Ash's that had been and gone. It became the norm for her to accept, but Bo's arrival had thrown the Fae world wide open, amongst its own ranks, and she'd tried to liberate them all. Hale could see it too, and with his loss, Lauren's own human vulnerability was in even more danger than before, not least because of what she'd done to Evony. She tried not to think about it, there was too much to explain, and it no longer mattered now anyway; her priority was Bo.
"This is her biggest test yet," Lauren said to herself. "She's faced death, she's seen death, but not this close. This could push her over the edge." She closed her eyes. "We could lose her to...." She stopped her thoughts. She didn't want to think about the consequences this could bring to Bo. She knew that dark dormant side was kept under strict control, but this could bring about its release. They would have to keep her under watch now, help her with her loss, and grief; keep that side of her subdued. For Bo's sake.
"Fuck off! Leave me the hell alone!"
Bo shouted just as Lauren entered the Dal. She quickly glanced at Dyson, and as they rounded the corner into the bar, she saw the state of the place. Chairs and tables were over turned, strewn everywhere. Broken shards of glass from bottles and glasses littered the wooden floor.
Trick and Tamsin stood near the entrance, the target of Bo's anger. Trick attempted a welcoming smile, but the distress on his face at his grand-daughters condition was obvious. Tamsin stood rigid, her breathing was deep; ragged; as though she was fighting to keep her anger or emotions in check.
Bo was sitting at the furthest end of the bar, drinking straight from a bottle of whisky.
"How much?" Lauren quietly enquired.
"I've lost count," Trick whispered. "But for every broken bottle on the floor, that amounts..."
"To too much," Lauren stated.
"She won't let any of us near her now, we've tried, but she fights us off." Dyson added.
It was now, in the dimly lit bar, Lauren noticed Trick was holding his arm and Tamsin's lip was split. She opened her med kit just as Bo turned and saw her.
"Who sent for the doctor? I know I don't need one, but you all might if you don't leave!" Bo found it funny, laughing, swigging from the bottle.
Lauren placed her med kit on the floor, moving forward. Dyson caught her arm. "Do you think this is wise?"
"I don't know, but you must have thought I could help, or you wouldn't have brought me here?" she waited for him to answer; he let go.
"Be careful," Dyson said. "We'll be right here."
Lauren walked on.
"I'm surprised you're here, Doc. I would have thought Evony would have been a better bet tonight." Bo sneered.
Lauren chose to ignore the remark.
"You got plans to seduce me or sedate me, 'cos neither is gonna work!"
"No plans for either," Lauren held up her hands to show they were empty. "I have nothing to sedate you with."
"Well then, you might as well leave. Wasted journey, Doc." Bo held up the bottle. "I got all the help I need right here!" She drained the last of the alcohol, reaching for another full bottle.
"As your doctor, I wouldn't recommend drinking anymore." Lauren edged closer.
"Really? As my doctor?" Bo opened the new bottle. "What about as my friend? What would you recommend then? Joining me in a drink to celebrate?"
Lauren frowned. "Celebrate?"
"Sure! Jeez, Doc, don't you know? The hell portal was closed. Mankind saved from my father. Bo triumphed again!" Bo took a long draught from the bottle, some of it spilling down her chin. She wiped it away with her hand.
"Kenzi died though, sacrificed herself for me. So let's have a drink. To Kenzi!" Bo raised the bottle in salute.
"Bo," Lauren started, but Bo held up her hand to stop her. "I'd stop right there," she warned.
"I know you're hurting..."
Bo spun round on the stool, and Lauren saw the empty bottle hurtling towards her. She swung her body out of its path as it smashed on the floor. She sensed more than saw Dyson move forward, but signalled with her hand for all of them to stay where they were.
"Really? Do you?" Bo accused. "Are you saying that as a medical opinion, as my doctor? Or as a friend?....or how about as a lover?" Her eyes suddenly flashed blue.
Lauren halted for a moment. Bo was starting to lose control. Under the influence of drink, she had no idea of how much danger she could be in if she persisted, but she decided it was worth the risk. She continued slowly towards Bo, who slid off the stool, making her way towards her.
"What's your opinion as a lover?" Bo said again, drinking from the bottle. She reached out, caressing Lauren's neck. "How much am I hurting?"
Lauren was surprised at the touch but hopeful; maybe she could calm Bo down.
Bo leaned in to whisper. "You remember those nights, right? All night long sessions?"
Lauren felt Bo's breath against her ear. The words, slurred, were delivered in a low seductive tone. She remembered those nights, and other words Bo had spoken. At times that had been all it had taken to send her over the edge into ecstasy.
She gently placed her hand over Bo's, as it continued to caress her neck. "Yes, I remember."
Bo pulled back to look at her, smiling crookedly. "Medically, you've helped me, helped me to heal physically. As a friend, you've helped me to heal emotionally.... as a lover you've helped to heal my heart. But as for knowing how much I'm hurting right now? How much I hurt most of the time?.....you have no idea! But if you want we can go to the back room and you can do your hardest to fuck it away, if you think that will stop it! I'm open to any suggestions right now!"
Lauren balked at the words, as Bo removed her hand, walking away. Lauren knew this wasn't going to be easy; she needed to stand her ground; stand up to a drunk, grieving succubus.
"Is that what you want?" Lauren challenged her. Bo turned to look her, as she started undoing the buttons on her shirt, beneath her jacket.
Bo laughed. "I'm surprised you'd be so willing. Rumour has it, you prefer your Fae to be human these days. I no longer fit your preference!"
Lauren knew this was heading in the wrong direction; getting confrontational with Bo was not going to help her at all, but she was in as much shock over Kenzi's death, and if confrontation was what Bo wanted, then so be it. She dug in for the battle.
"That didn't seem to bother you before you left after Massimo. That kiss was certainly something else."
"Yeah, I regret that. I'm not talking about the kiss. I mean, having to waste time coming to save your ass, while Kenzi was more concerned with saving mine!"
The words stung and hurt Lauren, and as much as she knew Bo was lashing out, she couldn't let it go without an emotional response. Trying an intellectual tact was no longer an option.
The sound of Lauren's slap against Bo's cheek resonated around the room. For a moment she stood shocked by her own reaction, then Bo's eyes turned blue, and she grabbed Lauren by the throat.
"Did that hurt, Doc?" The others moved forward, but Bo's voice changed to its dark tone. "Back off!" she warned them.
Lauren grabbed at Bo's hand trying to ease the tightening grip. "Yes, it hurt, but I know you didn't mean it."
"Didn't I?" Bo tightened her grip, and Lauren found herself fighting for air.
"No, I know you. You wouldn't hurt me intentionally," she strained to get the words out, letting her hands fall away, no longer resisting Bo's superior strength. Bo's eyes were glowing even bluer.
"Fight it, Bo. Don't let it take control!"
"Why not, it feels good!"
Lauren knew that she couldn't take much more. She was trying to remain calm, but panic was setting in; her heartbeat was increasing and her breath was labouring. She needed to get both under control or she knew she would pass out.
"I love you," Lauren managed to say. "Don't leave us. Don't give in. We'll find a way. We'll get her back, I promise." She felt the grip start to loosen, and continued.
"Come back to us, Bo," she whispered. "Come back to me," she pleaded. "Remember, I love you."
Bo's eyes returned to their dark brown colour, and she let go. Lauren coughed as air finally rushed into her lungs.
Bo looked at her own hand, then at Lauren, mortified. She backed away from her. "I'm sorry....just go, Lauren, please, just go." She returned her attention to the bottle.
Lauren stood for a moment unsure if she could move; her body shook. She rubbed her neck to ease the ache of Bo's grip.
"I'm not leaving. You know I never will." Lauren's voice was hoarse. It wasn't said to placate Bo in the situation; she meant it unconditionally. She'd had opportunities to make an escape in the past. She'd stayed because of Nadia, trying to find a cure that didn't exist. But once Bo had shown up, and their relationship had grown, she knew she could never really leave her.
Bo looked at her, sighing heavily. She looked suddenly weary; tired. "You will at some point. You'll back away or just go...or worse, you'll..." Bo didn't elaborate. She took another drink from the bottle. "Nobody stays. They all leave one way or the other. My mother, Hale, Rainer, Kenzi....all I do is bring about destruction to the people I love. I think I'm doing what's right, but I don't know any more....I'm just so tired!"
Bo's shoulders began to shake, as her tears fell down her face. She sank to the floor, great heaving sobs racking her body.
Lauren went to her, sitting down beside her, pulling her into her arms.
"She's gone, Lauren! Why did she do it? It should have been me, not Kenzi! It should have been me!"
Bo repeated it over and over, hitting the floor with her fist. Her cries of grief were unbearable for Lauren to hear; she wiped her own tears away, holding Bo tightly. Sliding out the pen syringe from its hiding place in her jacket sleeve, she quickly jabbed it into Bo's arm.
It took a moment for Bo to register what she had done, and she looked at Lauren, confused.
"You lied," Bo said. "You said you wouldn't sedate me," Her eyes began to close. "You lied." She mumbled, before passing out completely.
"I know I did, sweetie," Lauren kissed Bo's forehead. "I'm sorry. I just couldn't stand seeing you in any more pain." She knew Bo hadn't heard but it didn't matter.
Lauren looked up at the others, motioning them forward, signalling Tamsin to bring her med kit.
Dyson picked up Bo, carrying her down to Tricks den, placing her on the couch.
Lauren gave her another injection.
"What's that for?" Dyson asked.
"An anti-emetic. With the amount she's drunk it will stop her vomiting in her sleep. She'll be out for several hours." Lauren felt drained.
"Are you okay?" Dyson asked.
She half smiled at him. "Yes, considering everything. Are you okay?"
She turned her attention to Trick, gently feeling his arm, and he winced.
"Nothing broken, but badly bruised. Elevate and rest it for the next few hours."
She moved towards Tamsin, about to examine her lip, when Tamsin stepped back.
"I'm fine. Nothing I can't handle." The Valkyrie's tone made it obvious Lauren was not welcome to examine it.
Lauren then gathered her med kit.
"You're not going to stay?" Trick asked.
"She's gonna hate me when she wakes up. I sedated her when I said I wouldn't, I'm probably the last person she'll want to see."
"I doubt that," Dyson added with a smile.
Lauren smiled awkwardly.
"I'll drive you back," he offered.
"No, stay here with Bo, I'll take her car. Come by the clinic tomorrow and pick it up."
"Will she be okay?"
"As I said, she'll sleep, hopefully with no bad dreams. But if you're worried, just call me, and I'll come right back." Lauren turned to leave.
"That's not what I meant,"
She saw Dyson's concerned look.
"My opinion as her doctor, as her friend, and as a lover?" Lauren looked at all three of them. "To help her, we need to get Kenzi back. So if you know where it's hidden, tell Bo where to find the other hell shoe. 'Cos as we all know Bo, she'll find the damn thing anyway, with or without our help!"
Lauren made her way out of the Dal, grabbing Bo's car keys from the bar as she went. She stumbled out into the parking lot, inhaling a deep breath of air, but it didn't help; she felt like she was suffocating. Sitting in the car, she went to turn the key in the ignition but her hand was shaking too much.
Realising she couldn't drive right away, she gave in, gripping the steering wheel. She rested her forehead against it, and broke down completely.
"Is there a doctor in the house?"
Startled by the voice from behind her, Lauren bumped her eye into the microscope as she examined the sample on the slide. She recognised the voice, turning to see Bo standing there.
"Hey!" Lauren went to her. "How are you feeling?"
Bo looked ill. Underneath her eyes were dark circles, and her normal healthy skin tone, looked pale on her face.
"This is neat," Bo indicated the lab of the clinic.
Lauren took Bo's wrist, feeling her pulse. "How are you feeling?" she asked again. She manoeuvred Bo to one of the examining beds.
"Like I drank too much last night," Bo didn't resist Lauren's wish for her to sit on the bed. "My mouth feels like an old wine cellar."
Lauren smiled. "That's a pretty accurate description of what I'd expect it to feel like." She felt Bo's forehead. "No temperature, that's good. Any headache?"
"There was when I woke up, but that soon went."
"You weren't there when I woke up,"
Lauren looked at her; she appeared sad or let down; Lauren couldn't tell.
"I wasn't sure you'd want me to be, I lied about the sedative."
"Yes, you did. Why did you?"
"If I'd offered that as a possibility at the time, would you have accepted it?"
"Are you angry or glad I did it anyway?"
Bo didn't answer straight away. "Glad."
"Cos it stopped the hurt for a while,"
"So you understand now, why I lied and did it anyway?" Lauren instinctively brushed her hand through Bo's hair. "It wasn't meant to cure it, just to stop it, and it was the only thing I could do for you. I couldn't bring her back. And I'm pretty sure, that as your doctor, that much alcohol really wasn't good for you."
Bo managed a small smile.
"You need to make sure you drink plenty of water today, your body needs to hydrate. Your cells will be screaming for it, and your kidneys will be acting like a distillery, trying to filter it all out. Your blood pressure is probably high." She went to get the BP monitor, but Bo grabbed her arm to stop her.
"I'm sorry," Bo said. "For the things I said last night...."
Lauren had hoped she wouldn't remember. "It's okay I know you didn't mean it." She reassured her.
"No I didn't, but I shouldn't have said them anyway. I took it out on you, on all of you, and I'm really sorry."
Bo reached out, her fingers gently pulling down the high neck sweater Lauren was wearing.
Lauren stilled her hand.
"Let me see," Bo said.
Bo pulled it down. She flinched when she saw the slight bruising on Lauren's skin around her throat.
"Does it hurt?" She asked, removing her fingers.
"No," Lauren wasn't lying. It hadn't even been painful the night before. "It's just standard bruising from impact trauma. Just the same as if I'd bashed my knee on my desk."
Bo closed her eyes, lowering her head. "Jesus! When I think....I could have killed..." she looked up again, tears welling in her eyes.
"But you didn't," Lauren quickly interrupted her. "That's the important thing. You didn't, and you weren't going to."
Bo didn't look convinced. To Lauren she looked devastated, and so she didn't hesitate, pulling Bo into a hug. The physicality of her gesture was meant as it was given; comfort, reassurance, friendship, an affirmation that Bo's words and actions hadn't meant anything; an affirmation that whatever it took, for however long it took, she would be there for her, to help her in her loss over Kenzi. She felt Bo's arms squeeze her closer, as Bo rested her head on her shoulder.
Lauren wasn't sure how long they stayed like that, and knew she wouldn't end the contact. That was for Bo to decide when she'd taken enough comfort.
One of the other medical nurses entered the room and Lauren shook her head, advising them to leave; to not disturb them.
Eventually Bo pulled back, and Lauren thought she looked a lot better than when she had first arrived.
"Okay?" Lauren asked.
"Yes, thank you." Bo looked around the lab again. "This place looks like it suits you, Evony really has splashed out on the equipment."
"Well, I pretty much have an open cheque book where that's concerned. She gets the glory of a state of the art clinic in her name and I get to call the shots on what equipment I think it needs." Lauren lowered her voice. "Most of it she thinks is to help me reverse her current human condition back to Fae." She winked.
Bo tilted her head. "Are you holding out on her, Doc?" she smiled.
Lauren placed her finger to her lips. "Shush," she went over to the lab sink, filling a glass with water to give Bo.
"You don't mind working for her?"
"That's not actually the case, more the other way round. I'm finally the one in charge, and right now it benefits all the Fae and humans."
With that Lauren's cell phone began to ring.
"Oh, that might be Trick. I kinda broke my phone last night. I told him to call you if he needed me," Bo looked at the screen but it wasn't Trick's number.
"Do you want me to answer it?" Bo asked.
"No, they can call back if they need me," Lauren said, making her way over with the glass of water, handing it to her.
Bo sipped from it. Lauren just stared at her.
"All of it? Now?" Bo asked.
Bo rolled her eyes and downed it.
Lauren smiled. "Good girl."
They were silent for a moment, but it wasn't an awkward silence. Lauren anticipated there was something Bo wanted to say.
"What are you thinking about?"
Bo took a deep breath. "Getting Kenzi back,"
Lauren nodded. "How can we help?"
"I need to get the other Hell Shoe, but I'm not sure how willing the others are for me to find it. You know their power, what they can do?"
"Are you worried you won't be able to control what happens?"
"Yeah, what if I go all Dark and nasty? Last night was bad enough!"
"You know we won't let that happen. I won't let that happen." Lauren knew as much as Bo did, this was a huge gamble for her to take. Once again, they would face an unknown element of what the shoes power could do to influence Bo's own powers.
"I think everyone will do what they can to get Kenzi back and support you," Lauren added.
"I think Trick is reluctant. What with all this being, the chosen one, the Queen. He's been pouring over ancient documents to do with the prophecy, but I couldn't care less about that right now. My priority is Kenz."
"You know he'll stand by you, he'll see how important this is to you first."
Another one of the medical staff entered the room, albeit reluctantly and Lauren could see by the look on their face, it was urgent.
"Sorry, let me sort this out," Lauren said.
"Go," Bo urged.
Lauren went with the nurse.
"Sorry, Dr. Lewis but we need help with this patient." The nurse handed Lauren a chart. She quickly scanned the information, prescribed the appropriate medication, instructing the nurse to monitor and advise her if their condition deteriorated.
Lauren headed back to find Bo with her with her cell phone in her hand.
"News from Trick?" Lauren asked.
Bo looked pained, troubled, and angered.
"No, it wasn't Trick. Sorry, I answered it. It was the same number as before and I thought maybe it was urgent, that somebody needed you."
"How long have you been getting these calls?" Bo slid off the bed.
"Lauren!" Bo pushed. "Don't. Don't lie! How long?"
Lauren sighed. "It's nothing. Don't worry about it."
"Don't worry about it?" Bo said incredulous. "I just heard someone threaten to kill you!"
"One of the cons of turning a Fae human; you can't please everybody!"
Bo's mouth fell open. "You can joke about this?" she waved the phone at her. "They sounded pretty serious!" she started to pace.
Bo was anxious and Lauren knew it was an extra burden that she could do without.
"Bo," Lauren stopped her. "They're just threats that's all. If they were serious, I probably wouldn't be standing here right now." Although without knowing what Bo had heard, some of the threats Lauren had been subjected to had been beyond vicious, leaving her feeling nauseous.
"It's just fear talking, trying to scare me off, because they have no idea what I'm capable of doing. And I'm sure Evony has a protection detail on me. I'm no good to her, if I'm dead, so she'll ensure no one gets close enough." Lauren hoped that would assuage Bo's worry.
"She better have, or I'll kick her scrawny little human ass to the moon and back!"
Then again, Lauren figured, maybe Bo would take a little convincing right now, not to be anxious.
"Please, don't worry about it. I'm not, so you don't have to be either." Again Lauren tried to dismiss it.
Bo looked at her long and hard for a few moments. "You call me, if anybody, anything....any..."
"I will, I promise."
Bo acquiesced and Lauren knew it was probably due to the fact she was tired.
"You should go home and get some rest. You're still in shock over what happened. Did Dyson bring you? Is he waiting?"
Bo shook her head. "Nope, I told him not to wait. I'll take my car and drive home. Trick wanted me to drop by the Dal, but I'll tell him to come to the house."
"Call me so I know you're home safely and haven't fallen asleep at the wheel." Lauren handed over Bo's car keys.
Lauren realised, without thinking about it, that they naturally moved towards one another for a kiss, like they would have done in the past; a simple quick kiss of parting, and she wondered if Bo had been aware of it.
As Bo got to the entrance to the lab, she turned to speak.
"Thank you," Bo smiled.
Lauren frowned. "For what?"
"For everything," then she turned and left.
Lauren allowed herself to consider just for a moment, that given time, there just might be hope for a future, if Bo wanted it too.
"Ta-dah! I've got the other shoe!"
Bo announced, waving it as she entered the Dal; Trick, Dyson and Tamsin were sitting at the bar.
Tamsin shook her head, looking at Trick. "You really want her to go there?"
Trick didn't reply, just smiled as Bo plonked herself down.
"Beer please, barkeep!" Bo slapped the shoe onto the counter. "Wow! You all look so thrilled," she said. "How about a "well done" on finding it, or "we never thought you would", which is no surprise, considering the bum information I was given on its possible hiding place."
She glared at Tamsin and then Trick. "Anyway, that don't matter anymore."
Bo had known about Tamsin's thoughts on her getting the other shoe and had done her utmost to convince Trick, as well as Dyson, that it was a bad idea.
It hadn't been easy, Bo conceded, when she had finally found it, hidden at the top of a mountain. She'd faced an attack from the last few supporters of the Una Mens, but they had easily been dispatched.
The only one who had stood firm, despite Tamsin's scare tactics on what it could mean for Bo, was Lauren, who urged them all to support her wish to find it.
Bo smiled as she thought of the doctor. They'd discussed strategy over the search and then the best option once she was in possession of both shoes. Her concern had centred more on the phone calls Lauren continued to receive, threats of harm and death. Lauren had brushed them off, but she couldn't stand the idea that this was a constant in Lauren's life and that at some point, the threats would become a real possibility. While eating a take-a-way at the house, Lauren's phone had rung and Bo had grabbed it, hurling a volley of abuse as well as her own threats at the unknown assailant, announcing who she was and describing in graphic detail what she would do to them.
The calls had abated somewhat. She had even offered to claim Lauren, just as an extra protective measure, but as Bo knew she would, Lauren politely declined, and she understood why. Lauren was finally free, able to pursue medicine as she saw fit, not because someone else called the shots and told her what she needed to do. Bo had seen a change in her, she was happier, more confident, and the role of "boss" suited her; she had the respect and admiration of those who worked with her, and they followed her example. Even Evony seemed a little in awe of Lauren, when Bo had been at the clinic and the Dark leader had popped in to check on progress. Bo sensed it had nothing to do with what Lauren had done to her, but more to do with the person Lauren had become.
"What's the next step?" Trick asked, breaking into Bo's thoughts. He placed the other shoe beside the one she had.
Bo knew he wasn't keen on the idea. Not to get Kenzi back, he was all for that, but just not using this method. And she knew his concern, and the others, was not unfounded. The shoes were powerful, but so was she, to the extent that she was the unknown element in the scheme. What affect they might have on her, could not be anticipated, and she knew Trick's concern was her future role as the Queen, the Fae's ultimate leader. He'd been spending more and more time, researching, delving into the archives, finding books he didn't even know existed. He looked tired, every hour he could spare, was spent collating information, on top of any duties as the acting Light Ash and running the bar.
He'd done his best to engage Bo in any information he came up with, trying to keep her focused on her ultimate destiny, gently reminding her that this was her future, what she had been born for. Bo had tried to show interest, but Kenzi was her only priority and she had done her best to assure Trick that she understood her responsibilities, despite the nagging twitch in her heart that prodded at her mind, that something about it all didn't seem right.
"The next step is to try these on and see what happens. Hopefully one size fits all," Bo answered Trick then took one of the shoes to put it on.
"No!" was the collective shout from all of them.
Bo laughed. "Jeez guys, you really think I'd just slip them on now!" She laughed at the shock on their faces. "There is a plan," she continued. "I'll do this at Lauren's lab. She'll have me hooked up to all kinds of equipment. If that doesn't work, she's figured out we could have a bond. If she has my blood in hers, like when we fought the Garuda, she's convinced that there will be a link between us that she can use."
Dyson nodded. "No offense to Lauren, but what if something goes wrong, as she's not Fae, will she be able to survive it? Wouldn't it be better if I was the blood bond to you?"
"Excellent question, Detective. Lauren's gone over all the risk factors, it's just a bond, one that she can break if she needs to. Hopefully I won't do anything stupid to put her life in danger."
"What if your life is in danger? If she has to severe the link, what happens to you?" Dyson asked.
"I'm a big girl. I can take care of myself. Plus, I'll have you guys," Bo smiled at him and Tamsin. "I need you to make sure Kenzi gets out once I find her. That's the first priority. I'm second to anything else. Once she's safe, if I need help, then you come get me!"
Neither of them seemed convinced about this plan.
"Deal?" Bo pushed, holding out her hand to shake on it.
Dyson conceded. "Deal!"
Tamsin sounded less enthusiastic. "Deal."
"So when?" Tamsin asked.
Bo looked at her watch. It was mid-day. "Tonight, 10 o'clock. Lauren's lab. Be there or be square!" She winked, sliding off the stool, taking the shoes with her.
Her three cohort's mouths hung open.
"What? There's no time for a rehearsal! Kenzi doesn't have time for us to pick a date! I already told Lauren I had the shoe, she's preparing the lab. We go live tonight, folks!"
Bo jazzed hands with the shoes and left the bar.
"This is insane!"
Tamsin indicated the lab. "You have no idea what you're up against, going there!" She shouted at Bo.
Lauren ignored the tirade that Bo and Tamsin had been engaged in since arriving, and carried on checking the heart monitor.
"Then tell me!" Bo shouted back. "What is it you're so afraid of, about me going?"
Tamsin was caught out by the comment, turning away from Bo.
"Because that's the real issue here, isn't it? You're not worried for me, you're worried about them. You know I can take on anything I face. Are you worried I might destroy Valhalla?"
Lauren glanced at Tamsin, and she looked relieved at Bo's assumption. Something about it puzzled her.
Tamsin folded her arms petulantly, turning back to face Bo. "Is that your plan? To destroy my home?"
"No!" Bo sighed then continued more gently. "That's not my intention at all. I just wanna get Kenz."
Tamsin took a moment to ponder. "Okay, but just watch your back!"
Bo smiled. Tamsin's attempt at concern was laced with teenage reluctance and defiance.
"Okay, are we ready?" Lauren said cheerily, forcing herself to smile; to appear confident in what she was doing, when really she had no certain idea of what might happen. She'd covered everything from a medical viewpoint, heart rate and brain activity monitors, from when they'd investigated this way before. But Bo wasn't actually wearing the shoes then. Their effect was the unknown quantative in this test.
Bo bounced over to the lab bed, sitting on it. "Hook me up, Doc!" She smiled, as though she was about to go on a thrill ride.
Lauren attached the brain monitor pads to her temples then reached for the heart monitor ones. She gently applied them to Bo's skin on her chest.
"Nice touch you have there, Dr Lewis!" Bo's smile was suggestive and there was no mistaking the flirting.
"I'll put your current state of elevated hormones down to an adrenaline rush over your obvious excitement at this adventure." Lauren said quietly.
"Maybe. But you've always had a nice touch." Bo whispered.
Lauren surprised herself by blushing. She could feel her face warming. She had no idea why she had reacted in such a way to Bo's comment, but analysed it as a shock reaction, given the situation. Bo's calmness over what she was about to possibly endure didn't warrant her own body being stimulated, to a sexual degree, which was exactly how it had reacted. In light of the situation, Lauren felt she should have maintained a level of reverence and seriousness. She mentally and medically scolded herself, for her lapse.
She decided that listening to Bo's heart with her stethoscope, as an added precaution, was no longer a necessity. That wasn't her medical assumption. It would just save her having to be closer to Bo; hearing her breathe, hearing her heartbeat, feeling the warmth and the smell of her skin.
"Focus!" Lauren told herself.
"Are we good to go, Doc?" Bo's tone was suggestive.
"Hell yes!" Lauren hissed. Her mouth hung open at the realisation that she'd said it out loud, and at the pleased look on Bo's face. She was only slightly less mortified knowing the others hadn't heard it.
Lauren knew something unusual was going on. This wasn't normal behaviour. She could feel her own stress levels were elevated, and the brain activity and heart rate monitor Bo was hooked up to, was also showing elevated levels.
"Chemistry!" Lauren concluded. She felt pleased as well as finally relieved
"You're damn right there!" Bo readily agreed.
"No, I mean it's just chemistry," she saw the deflated look on Bo's face. "Well, yes, of course I mean, there's chemistry," she signalled between the two of them. "Phew! and Wow! and Oh Boy! chemistry. But then there's other chemistry!"
"Hmmm," Lauren nodded. "I think both our slightly elevated stress levels are feeding off each other. I think the blood bond we have, is causing us to...errrr....feel a bit frisky." She said quietly. She'd only injected herself with a tiny sample of Bo's blood, enough to stay in her system for less than 24 hours before it would diminish.
"Really?" Bo said. "Then tell me. If this is what happens at only slightly elevated levels, what the hell could happen when our stress levels hit the roof?"
Lauren opened her mouth to answer, deciding it best not to suggest the obvious.
"I guess we'll find out soon enough." Bo winked. "And to think what we've missed by not being stressed before, when we've Phewed! and Wowed! and Oh Boyed!"
Dyson politely cleared his throat, to indicate that perhaps time was being wasted.
Tamsin was more forthright. "Can you two either get a room, or stop this not actually making out session, so we can get this over with!"
Bo rolled her eyes. Lauren had forgotten there were other people in the lab. Bo always had that affect. Her attention was always biased where Bo was concerned.
"So," Lauren addressed everyone. She attached heart monitors to her own chest then hooked that monitor up to Bo's machine. "There are two ways I've analysed this can play out. One; Bo puts on the shoes and it doesn't work at all,"
She pushed buttons on the monitors until they matched in rhythm. She signalled to Trick who had been holding both the hell shoes, to pass them to Bo, who removed her boots.
"Two. It works and Bo gets Kenzi back," She smiled at Bo and was about to attach the brain electrodes to her own head.
"I like two best,' Bo smiled, slipping on the shoes.
"Wait!" Lauren said, but didn't get to finish.
Bo was suddenly surrounded by an open vortex and before any of them could move, she disappeared through it.
"Or...three, that happens." Lauren mumbled.
"Three? You didn't mention a three?" Dyson questioned.
"I know! I hadn't planned for a three! There was no three!" She ran her fingers through her hair.
"Lauren!" Dyson grabbed her. "Why don't you have a plan?"
She looked at his panicked face. "Because I didn't know that would happen!" she pointed at the empty space where Bo should have been lying down.
"So what happens now?"
Lauren couldn't answer him.
"Think!" He urged her. His panic turning to support, pushing her to re-evaluate.
She immediately turned to the monitors and to her surprise, saw Bo's were still functioning.
"Okay, that's good. That's really good!" She smiled with relief.
Suddenly Bo's heart rate began to escalate. "Oh no! No, No, No!" Lauren grabbed the monitor.
"What?" This time it was Trick, in a state of panic.
Lauren suddenly felt dizzy, like she was falling. "Whoa!" She reached out for the bed, her legs buckling.
Dyson caught her. Lauren looked at her own heart rate monitor and saw that it was matching Bo's. "I'm feeling what she is, although I'm not experiencing it!"
"That's some blood tie!" Tamsin remarked.
"Chemistry!" Lauren yelled. She closed her eyes for a moment, taking deep calming breaths. Her heart rate started to return to normal, and so did Bo's.
"You think you can stay in contact with her, even though she's gone?" Dyson asked. He looked at the monitors.
"Yes, detective. Medically, I think there just might be a possibility to stay in contact with Bo".
"It's not possible! It's true!" Bo said.
"Bo?" Lauren looked at Dyson. "Did you just hear her?" He shook his head.
"Lauren, I don't know what you did, but boy that was some ride. I thought I was going to pass out!"
"Tell me you heard that?" Lauren questioned them all. They all shook their heads.
"Heard what?" Bo asked.
Lauren took a deep breath. "Okay, despite option three being unexpected, it seems it has a plus!"
"There was an option three?" Bo sounded puzzled.
"Never mind." Lauren said. "Bo, I can hear you, but the others can't. I'm not even sure why I can. It's not like I'm hooked up to brain wave patterns, it's only heart."
"Well, Doc, maybe that's 'cos the heart is stronger than the mind."
Lauren could sense Bo's smile. "How are you feeling? Were you falling? That's the sensation I had."
"Yeah, it was weird. Like tumbling over and over, but not really. Does that make sense?"
"Yes." Lauren sat on the lab bed.
"Is she hurt?" Trick asked.
Lauren realised they were only getting one side of the conversation. "No. She's fine." She realised she'd been able to answer that question without asking Bo herself, even though she knew it was true.
"Trick asked if you were hurt. I said no. I think with our connection, I'd know. Everything feels okay. Do you know where you are?"
I can't see a thing. It's really dark. It's not cold or hot. But it feels big around me, not like I'm in a small space."
Lauren relayed the information to Tamsin. "Sound familiar?"
Tamsin frowned. "No. But then souls that enter Valhalla have died. They don't tend to voluntarily gate crash while still alive! Perhaps Bo's got in via the tradesman's door!"
Lauren looked at her, along with Trick and Dyson.
"What?" Tamsin protested. "I'm a Valkyrie! I've never entered via a side entrance. I get VIP admission when I turn up! Straight through the main gates into the great reception hall! I take any souls I have at the time, and pass them over to the administration team."
"Administration team?" Lauren asked, incredulous at the idea.
"Okay, wrong terminology, but easier for human's to understand. The admin team," Tamsin quote signed. "They take over and look after fallen heroes of battle. Help them settle in....oh!" She snapped her fingers. "There might be a light. A lot of the souls mention seeing a light. I've never seen it, but then I'm not dead at the time. I mean you hear people say about a bright light all the time, but yada yada yada. Maybe there is something to it after all."
Lauren stared at her.
Tamsin shrugged. "Sorry, that's the best I can offer."
Lauren sighed. "Bo, look for a light and head towards it."
"You're shitting me? Really? That stuff is true for Valhalla too?"
"It's a possibility."
"Okay, guess I have nothing to lose. I'm just going to crawl forward slowly."
"She's crawling forward, slowly," Lauren told the others.
"Holy crap!" Bo shouted.
Lauren leapt off the bed. "What? Bo? What's wrong?" The others surged towards her.
"You won't believe this! There's only a fricking light! Small, but I can see it!"
Lauren smiled assurance. "It's okay, she can see a light."
Trick looked relieved and sat down on a chair.
"Well, well!" Tamsin said, smugly.
Lauren could now feel Bo's heartbeat increasing, a mixture of excitement and apprehension.
"What's going on?" Lauren instinctively asked in her mind, without actually voicing the words.
"The light, I'm getting nearer to it. I'm walking now. It sounds crazy, but it's like it's coming from beneath a door."
"A door sounds crazy? I'm now talking to you in my head. I'm not sure how much crazier it can get, on top of magic shoes, vortexes and the idea you're in Valhalla! A door sounds pretty sane to me. Of course, why wouldn't they have any in Valhalla!" Lauren threw up her arms, totally bemusing the others who watched her.
"I can now talk to Bo with my thoughts," she explained. She'd whispered it, realising that that was a pointless exercise, in trying to leave Bo out of any unnecessary commentary.
Bo chuckled. "Easy, Lauren. Don't stress okay. We know what that could lead too!"
Lauren laughed at the absurdity.
"Well it's definitely a door of some sort, no handle, but maybe if I just push it?" Bo said, as the only logical thing to do.
Lauren nodded in agreement. "I'm with you, remember that, no matter what's on the other side. I'm right here."
She'd said it out loud, so the others knew something was about to happen. She held her breath, waiting.
Bo exclaimed, shielding her eyes. She'd pushed against the door, and it had dissolved into scolding light.
"Bo? Are you okay?" Lauren asked.
"Yeah...I think. I can't see a damn thing. The light is so bright." Bo moved into it, rather than stand in front of it. As she did so, she came through it and found she was standing in a massive hall. It appeared ancient, yet modern, unknown yet familiar. She tried to describe it to Lauren.
"She's in the Great Reception." Tamsin confirmed. "It appears that way to people, some kind of ancient, yet familiar surrounding. It's what they expect after death, it's not such a shock for them."
"It's quite stunning, beautiful in fact." Bo told Lauren, who relayed it to Tamsin.
"You've just made Tamsin smile. I'd even go as far to say you've manage to remove her permanent scowl. She looks uncharacteristically happy!"
Bo laughed. "I guess she wouldn't know where the Admin Team would have taken Kenzi? That would make my job a lot easier."
"Kenzi will be somewhere very special. Not only did she die in battle, she willingly sacrificed herself to save millions. Tamsin said that kind of bravery is revered and rewarded with high status in Valhalla. Not even the Valkyrie's are awarded such status after their lives are over."
"Well it's pretty quiet here. I was expecting more activity. Do they stop for lunch?" Bo walked slowly, looking up and all around.
"Tamsin said that's not good! Bo, don't move!"
"Why not? There's nobody here." Bo had barely finished saying the words, when figures came flying and screaming at her. "What the....?"
"Bo, surrender! Tamsin said don't fight them!" Lauren told her.
Bo whirled round, looking at the Valkyrie's that now surrounded and outnumbered her, their weapons drawn. Keeping eye contact, she slowly knelt down in submission.
The Valkyrie's in front of her parted, and striding slowly through them came another. Bo was mesmerised. She was tall, easily 6 ft. Her hair, like Tamsin's and the others was blonde, but the shine on it was almost luminous. Her eyes, again like Tamsin's and the others, were blue, but whereas theirs were pale blue, hers were a darker, piercing blue. Her face was flawless, ageless and undoubtedly beautiful. Her movements were effortless and graceful, and the tight fitting leather trousers and leather sleeveless waistcoat was not lost on Bo. It highlighted a slender but strong athletic frame and legs that went on forever. This was Nordic beauty in all its glory.
The woman looked down at Bo. "How did you get here?"
Bo was surprised by how gently and politely it was asked. "Long story, but my shoes played a part."
The women tilted her head and glanced at Bo's feet. "I don't recognise the make. Unless Nike have a new line?"
Bo liked her immediately despite the fact the woman's expression remained impassive. And despite the fact she still had no idea what this woman had planned for her. There was a slight air of restrained force, a slight menace about her, that Bo knew could probably erupt at any moment, if Tamsin was anything to compare with.
"Mine are more the Hell line."
"Ah. The Hell Shoes." Still no visible reaction.
"So you know of them?" Bo smiled.
The woman didn't. She pondered for a moment.
"This is Valhalla. This is the great hall of slain warriors. This is a sacred place to me and my sisters. It's our sole responsibility, our greatest obligation, only we can choose those who have died in battle, to be brought here."
She knelt down looking Bo directly in the eyes. "You are neither slain, nor chosen, nor welcome. But one of those can be rectified."
There was no change in her tone of voice, but Bo felt chilled by the implication. She contemplated reaching out to touch her, to administer a shot of her succubus chi, but found that she didn't want to quell, if it was possible to do so, the control the woman exuded. Bo liked the challenge.
Bo spoke to Lauren through her thoughts, quickly telling her of her exchange with this woman.
"You have no respect for the sacred? You have no respect for tradition? You just think you can come here and do whatever you like?" The woman stood beckoning Bo to stand up with her.
She was still aware of the drawn weapons aimed in her direction and was in no doubt that a simple gesture from this women would result in her immediate death.
"Bo?" Lauren whispered. "Tamsin said is she tall and beautiful?"
"Go figure!" Lauren murmured. "Bo, you're talking with one of the greatest Valkyrie's ever known. It's Brunhilde."
"Thanks for the intel." Bo said back. "But I know another blonde who's more beautiful!" she added, assuring Lauren that her attention was not being swayed by the Norse woman.
She turned her attention back to her captor, as Lauren gave her more information about Brunhilde.
"Look, Brunhilde," Bo said softly, noticing a change in the woman's expression; a hint of surprise that Bo knew her name. "I really meant no disrespect, either to your traditions, or to the fallen. In fact the reason I am here, is because there's someone here that shouldn't be."
Brunhilde stared at her for a moment. She motioned with her head at the other Valkyrie, who withdrew their weapons.
"Go on." Brunhilde said, and started walking, inviting Bo to walk with her.
"Not that she doesn't deserve to be here. What she did was incredible. She sacrificed her life for so many, in battle. But she shouldn't have. It should have been me. It was my fight, to win or lose."
Bo waited a moment, before she played on the information Lauren had passed her.
"Do you know what it's like to lose someone, someone who means so much that you want to die? That life seems so senseless without them. She was so young, too young. She had a future, her whole life ahead of her. She was in love. She was going to marry the man she loved...."
Brunhilde's body stiffened; she looked at Bo with steel cold blue eyes. Bo wasn't surprised at her reaction. There were some coincidental similarities between her and Kenzi.
Brunhilde had been the Norse God, Odin's, favourite. But she had disobeyed his order and Odin had punished her for it. She'd deliberately chosen the wrong King of two killed in battle to bring to Valhalla: Odin's punishment had been to make her mortal; she was to lie sleeping, surrounded by a ring of fire, and could only be rescued by someone willing to cross through it. And a man brave enough had done it. They had fallen in love, but others conspired against them. It had resulted in betrayal and her lover's death.
Brunhilde had been so grief stricken, she had thrown herself on his funeral pyre. And that was how the story had ended, in myth. But in reality and known only to Valhalla, the story had ended otherwise. It was rumoured that Odin was grief stricken himself at Brunhilde's death. There was rumour that the two of them had been lovers in the past, and because she had dared to defy him, to challenge him, he had chosen to make an example of her and it had backfired on him. Odin did what he had done for no other. He had sent the Valkyrie out to find and bring back Brunhilde's remains to him. And he had restored her to immortal life, and more than that, he had made her a God. She was never to leave Valhalla, she was never to enter a field of battle again, so worried was Odin, that she would leave him. She had never disobeyed him again and had remained loyal. But she had remained distant from him and had become a legend in Asgard, so much so, that respect for her, outshone the respect Odin once commanded.
"Why, if she was going to marry the man she loved, did she sacrifice herself?" Brunhilde asked, her controlled air having returned.
"Because the man she was going to marry was murdered and where she couldn't save him, she made the ultimate sacrifice to save me."
Brunhilde nodded in understanding. "Then your friend does indeed deserve to be here."
"I know that and appreciate it. But I need her back. She's my best friend. She's got my back, and without her, I might just cause bad things to happen." Bo thought it best to keep things understated.
"For her to have been brought to Valhalla is a great honour and only a Valkyrie must have done so." Brunhilde stopped walking and faced her. "Do you know which one, Bo?"
Bo was taken aback that this woman had been well aware of who she was from the start. She pondered lying and saying that she didn't, but it seemed that would be a fruitless exercise, and if doing so would jeopardise her chances of getting Kenzi back, then honesty was her only option now.
"Tamsin." Bo said. "Kenzi was her saviour too!"
Brunhilde said nothing for a moment, nor showed any sign of anything at all.
Bo nodded and sensed Brunhilde was trying not to smile.
"Look," Bo started. "I know you're probably pissed that I'm here, and I don't want to upset the whole Valhalla vibe, I just want my friend back. If not, can I at least see her? Make sure she's okay?"
Brunhilde indicated that they continue walking. Bo looked around, noticing the masses of golden shields that adorned the ceiling. There were countless doors that lead off from the great hall.
As if reading her mind, Brunhilde spoke. "In ancient times, there were 540 doors to rooms that could house 800 fallen warriors in each. They could fight during the day and feast at night. But Valhalla has changed since then. It's had to expand shall we say." she glanced at Bo.
"Battles have changed, wars have become bigger in the world. And as much as mankind has chosen to abandon its belief in their ancient Gods, the God's have not forsaken them. In the modern arena of mankind's war, we still go amongst the fallen and chose those brave enough to be brought here."
Brunhilde stopped at a door at the end of the great hall
"And we have to roll with modern times and demands. Women don't necessarily want to be sharing a room with hundreds of men, and neither do some men! So we are able to provide certain comforts."
She reached out her hand to the door and it opened, revealing yet another great hall.
"Your friend, Kenzi, will have a room that is suitable of the sacrifice she made. Tamsin's choice to bring her here would not have been based on any bias she may have felt towards her. As a Valkyrie, she cannot do that. It would purely have been made on the act of bravery Kenzi performed."
"What if Kenzi....isn't happy here?" Bo asked.
"You're asking can she return? In exceptional circumstances, she can be released. But it requires that if a soul is released, then one must be given up in return, to keep the balance. A choice was made and that cannot be undone. It will be up to you, to provide that soul."
"Is Kenzi your only reason to be here?" Brunhilde questioned.
Bo thought of Tamsin's worry about her possibly destroying Valhalla if it meant getting Kenzi back and assumed Brunhilde was asking for the same reason.
"Yes. I have no other reason."
"You're sure of that?"
She was puzzled by Brunhilde's comment, and didn't know why she was asking.
"Absolutely. I've no intention of causing trouble here."
Bo sensed there was something she didn't know, concluding there would be more to the bargain of providing a soul in return for Kenzi's. At the moment, she just wanted to see her friend, no matter the cost.
"Follow me." Brunhilde instructed opening another door.
Again the dazzling light blinded Bo, but as it cleared, she found she was standing in a bright, airy room, furnished just as Kenzi would have liked. Doors were opened to a sunny garden area, and her heart leapt, when she spotted Kenzi lounging on a garden sun bed.
She looked at Brunhilde, who nodded her encouragement for Bo to go out to the garden. She quietly crept forward, surprised by the warmth of the sun, surprised that it felt so real, considering where she was. The garden was lush with vegetation and there seemed no end to it. It was quiet, private, secluded and above all else, peaceful.
She stood by the sun lounger. Kenzi was asleep. Her feet were bare, and Bo smiled at the multi-coloured toe nails. She looked so peaceful that Bo was loathed to disturb her. She knelt down.
"Kenzi?" Bo said softly. Kenzi stirred slightly. She tried again. "Kenz?" she gently touched her arm this time.
Kenzi's eye's flickered open. There was a moment of uncertainty, before Kenzi's eyes flew open and she sat bolt upright.
"Bo?" Kenzi exclaimed.
Bo smiled holding her arms open. Kenzi collapsed into them.
"What are you doing here?" Kenzi asked. "Are you dead?" She suddenly looked concerned. She felt Bo's arms, looking her over, trying to ascertain if there were any fatal wounds.
"No, I'm fully alive and well." Bo laughed through tears. She'd heard Lauren's scream of delight when she'd said Kenzi's name, signalling that she'd found her, and now Lauren was telling her that everyone in the lab was cheering and clapping and telling Bo to tell Kenzi, "Hi".
She pulled Kenzi to her again, hugging her for all she was worth.
"How did you get here?" Kenzi asked.
"Long story. What's more important, is how are you?" Bo cupped her hands round Kenzi's face, looking at her hard for any signs of distress.
"I'm fine. Which I guess is weird considering I'm technically dead."
"Nope. Super weird, right?" Kenzi smiled.
Bo was relieved. "Everyone says hi."
Kenzi twisted to look around behind her. "You mean they all came with you?" she exclaimed.
"No," Bo said. "Again, long story. Just trust me, they know where I am and that I'm with you."
Kenzi accepted the vague explanation. Bo had quickly glanced at Brunhilde alerting Kenzi that it was best not to ask anymore.
"So, they look after you well here?" Bo sat on the lounger.
"Yeah. It's nice. You saw my room? I mean, it's just how I'd imagined I'd always want it to have been. And the wardrobe has all the clothes I like, and the food is all the stuff I like and have wanted to try. There're all the books I've thought I should have read, and its quiet here. This is the garden I'd always imagined I'd have...."
Kenzi's smile waned. "But?" Bo asked.
"But...it's not home, Bo. It's not our home. It's not that broken down old place, with all the holes, and leaks and noisy plumbing. That's the first time I ever really felt I had a home. All this is what I imagined my home would be, but it's not the same. It doesn't compare to that place. I miss it. I miss everyone. I miss you. I miss him. I didn't know you could still feel, being dead. And dead is a long time to keep feeling."
Bo felt a lump rise in her throat and swallowed hard to dislodge it. She waited a moment until she could speak.
"Have you seen Hale?"
Kenzi shook her head.
She squeezed Kenzi's hand, and went over to Brunhilde, who had remained back in the room.
"Kenzi's fiancé, when he was killed, do you know where he was taken? Would it have been here, somewhere?"
"As he was not killed in battle, then he would not have been brought to Valhalla. If he was protecting Kenzi, then it's possible he may have been taken to Folkvangr, for that act of sacrifice."
"Can Kenzi go there?"
Brunhilde tilted her head, questioning the request.
"I mean, just to see him. They didn't get a chance to say goodbye. And Kenzi didn't get a chance to tell him something important." Bo pleaded.
"Folkvangr is Freya's domain, a Valkyrie sister. What you are asking could have consequences, Bo. Not for either of them. But for you."
Brunhilde waited for Bo's response.
"I get it! You need a soul if Kenzi's leaves Valhalla. There's always a price for everything! But I'm willing to pay it, to get her back, or see her happy."
"Very well, if that's your wish. If it's also Kenzi's, then when you are ready...." Brunhilde indicated the door.
Bo nodded, going back to Kenzi, sitting down beside her.
"Are you sure about this, Bo?" Lauren asked her. "It seems too easy,"
She sensed Lauren's unease, aware that she was only getting part of the conversation.
"I know, I'm not sure either. I think there's more to this than I realise. I have to provide a soul, which I'm pretty sure will be mine. But no time limit has been mentioned yet. I need to do this for Kenzi."
"I know you do, and we're right with you. Whatever needs to be done."
Bo smiled. "I couldn't do this without you...without any of you."
She turned her attention back to Kenzi, telling her of her conversation with Brunhilde.
"Would you like to see Hale?"
Kenzi looked anxious. She wrung her hands nervously.
"How do I look? I mean, do I look dead?" she got up, rushing into the room, staring at herself in the mirror. Bo followed.
"More make-up, you think?"
Bo smiled. "You look great."
"Everybody looks great to you, you're a horny succubus!" Kenzi tutted at her reflection and set about applying make-up. "Wait! I can't go wearing this!" she flew over to the wardrobe, rifling through the clothes, flinging some onto the bed.
"This?" she asked Bo.
"Yep, that's nice..."
"Perfect!" Bo agreed.
"How about this one?"
"You're not helping! Which one?!" Kenzi yelled.
Bo held her by the arms. "Hale won't care what you're wearing, trust me. It's what was on the inside that he fell in love with. Not what it was wrapped up with!" she smiled reassuringly.
Kenzi took a deep breath. "Okay. This top and those pants, and a little extra makeup. Five minutes tops and I'll be ready."
"Great." Bo said, watching as Kenzi prepared herself.
Kenzi took one last look in the mirror. "Okay. I'm ready....I think."
Bo took her hand. "You look amazing."
Kenzi smiled nervously, not quite as convinced as Bo sounded.
Bo led her to where Brunhilde stood by the door.
"You're sure?" Brunhilde asked.
Kenzi squeezed Bo's hand. "Yes," Bo said. "We're doing this."
Brunhilde reached out to the door, and again a blinding bright light emanated.
As it cleared, they were standing in a massive field. Again the sun felt warm. Assorted football games appeared to be taking place. Guys shouting out plays, and balls being thrown; tackles, touchdown's, laughter, clapping; it was a happy, healthy scene.
Bo felt Kenzi grab her arm, and followed her gaze. She spotted what Kenzi had seen.
Bent forward slightly, catching his breath, hands on hips, with his back towards them. Wearing a grey muscle shirt, wet with sweat between the shoulders, training pants and barefoot.
He straightened up, his shoulders tensing, his hands dropping to his sides. Slowly he turned to face them.
Bo felt the lump reappear in her throat, as she looked at him, looking back at them. A myriad of emotions quickly played across his face as his eyes settled on only one person. He ran forward, scooping Kenzi up, twirling her round making her squeal with laughter.
Hale put her down to take a good look at her. Reaching up Kenzi touched his sweat laden face.
"It's yes. My answer is yes. I'll marry you."
Hale bent his head down to kiss her, pulling her as close as he could to his body. Kenzi hung on, her arms snaking around his neck.
Bo laughed and sniffed at the same time, wiping away her tears. "He's here Lauren," she said in her head. "She finally got to tell him!"
"I can feel what you're feeling, Bo!" Lauren also sniffed. "Although I don't think it's just your emotion. The whole lab's in bit's here. Even Tamsin's bottom lip is having trouble remaining stable!"
Bo laughed again.
Hale finally broke away from this kiss. "How? How did you get here?" He smiled at Kenzi, then looked to Bo. "How'd you manage this?"
She realised Hale hadn't contemplated the obvious. He'd assumed Bo had just managed to get Kenzi there.
She remained silent, her delight at seeing them together, began to shy away from her expression.
Hale continued to look confused for a moment, until reality kicked in.
"No!" He glared at Bo, then looked at Kenzi. "No!" holding out her arms he looked at her, trying to see where the damage had been done, that had brought her to this place.
"No! No! No!" Hale became more distraught.
Kenzi tried to placate him. "It's okay, baby, I'm fine." She stroked his face.
"How can you be fine?!" He was breathing raggedly. "You're not supposed to be here!" tears filled his eyes. He looked at Brunhilde, desperate.
"You need a soul? Take mine, again! Kill me again somehow! You people have the power don't you? Send me to hell or where ever you want, but don't accept Kenzi's, send her back!"
Brunhilde didn't respond to his plea.
He quickly wiped away his tears, then looked at Bo. He surged towards her.
"What did you do? How did you let this happen?" He shouted. Bo stood her ground, but let him rage at her."
"You're supposed to protect her! You claimed her for that reason! With everything else that you've done since you showed up, not taking a side, changing everything. That was your only Fae obligation and you failed?" he spat the words looking disgusted.
Bo jarred at the comment, knowing he was right.
"Baby," Kenzi said softly. "It's not Bo's fault. I made her un-claim me."
Hale looked at her. "Why?"
"You wouldn't have died if it hadn't been for me. Massimo was only there because of me, and my stupid idea to be some fake Fae!"
"That doesn't matter," Hale assured her. "Didn't you know I loved you anyway? You never needed any Fae powers, you were always special. You were the most powerful of any of us, just being you."
Kenzi gulped back a sob.
"But why are you here?" Hale questioned.
"She sacrificed herself, to save me!" Bo interrupted. "It should have been me that died. I went after Massimo, he'd taken Lauren. Kenzi chose to take my place, as my heart. I got there, but it was too late." Bo rambled.
"So you are responsible!" Hale accused.
"Yes." Bo simply said.
"Some friend you are!"
Kenzi stroked his face again. "She is. The best. She came here to find me. And she's given us this chance. Don't be angry with Bo, I made the choice to do what I did. I wish I could have done it for you!"
Hale pulled Kenzi to him, kissing the top of her head.
"Hale," Bo said. "I came here to take Kenzi home. I wasn't going to leave without her. I have an....agreement shall we say, that means she can leave." She looked at Brunhilde as she continued. "But I'm sure that if Kenzi wanted to stay, if the agreement was changed so that she could stay with you, there wouldn't be an issue?" she arched a questioning eyebrow.
Brunhilde looked at her again, as though her requests were starting to become tiresome and too much.
"Either request will be agreed to. But a decision has to be made quickly." Then she added sarcastically. "If that's okay with you?"
Bo bit her lip. It seemed Brunhilde had a sense of humour at least.
"Then you're going home!" Hale said.
"But," Kenzi said.
"No buts, little mamma! Of course I want nothing more than to be with you. But you should be alive, allowed to live."
Kenzi went to protest.
"Please, do this for us, do it for me. It's important that you go back. I need you to go back. I'll be fine and so will you. I'll be waiting, for when it's your proper time to come here. But you're needed more back in the real world right now. Your BFF needs you and so does someone else. You're the only one who can work it out, trust me on this!"
His plea was passionate and Kenzi nodded, stroking Hale's face to placate him. "Okay, baby, it's okay."
"And you're the only one who can really keep the succubus in line. God knows, she needs it at times!" Hale looked at Bo again. "You make sure you don't mess up this time. You look after my girl. If you don't, when we next meet, I'll kill you all over again, for eternity!"
"I'd expect nothing less." Bo assured him. "And I promise." She touched Kenzi's arm. "Do you want to come home?"
"She's going..." Hale asserted.
"Let Kenzi decide, Hale!" Bo told him.
"I....I...." Kenzi stammered.
"I love you, I always will. But please, do this for me?" Hale pleaded again.
Kenzi looked at his eyes, seeing his love for her there.
"I love you too, and I always will. And my answer is yes....I'll do this for you, for us." She kissed him deeply.
Bo looked away, her heart wrenching at the choices that were being made. She wasn't sure she'd have the strength to make the same ones if she faced the same situation.
"It's time." Brunhilde stated.
Reluctantly, Kenzi and Hale tried to break apart, capturing more kisses and touches.
Hale signalled to Bo, to help take Kenzi away from him, and she gently took Kenzi's elbow.
Brunhilde didn't prolong their agony. Reaching towards the lone door in the field, light flooded in, and when Bo was able to see, they were back in the Great Hall, but Kenzi was missing.
"Where is she?" Bo demanded.
"Home, as you requested."
Bo was relieved. "Where will she be?"
"Where you laid her to rest," Brunhilde tapped Bo's head. "If you let your friends know, they can go and get her. As long as you didn't choose cremation. Did you?"
Bo touched her head. "You knew I was able to communicate?"
Brunhilde just smiled as though it was obvious. Bo quickly relayed the information to Lauren, who advised her that Dyson and Tamsin were now racing their way to Kenzi's grave.
"So, I'm still here, 'cos you need a soul."
"No, you are free to go." Brunhilde indicated towards a door. "Obviously you could not go back with Kenzi, as you are not dead."
"There is still the agreement to be upheld."
"So now you have a choice."
"I do?" Bo frowned.
"For all your intelligence, Bo, you don't seem to rely on it too much at times."
She wasn't sure whether to retaliate to the insult, or ignore it.
"Your primary reason for coming here, was purely for Kenzi?"
"Yes, I told you it was. Look, if you're thinking I'm here to destroy this place, or...."
Brunhilde held up her hand to silence her. "Sorry to flatten your ego, but the powers you have don't quite extend to the ability to destroy one of the homes of the Ancients."
"My powers?" Bo wondered how much Brunhilde knew.
"What have you seen since you've been here?"
Bo thought it was too stupid to state the obvious, but did anyway. "A crap load of doors!"
"Ah. Not all intelligence has been lost. Indeed, many doors, leading to many things. As I said, you now have a choice. This door, to take you home."
Brunhilde pointed at one. "Or this door," she pointed at another. "To give you the answer you seek. You didn't stop to think that might be a possibility while here?"
Bo's mind raced. "An answer to what, here?" she sifted through her own confusion.
"Catch up, Bo." Brunhilde urged. "But it might not be the answer you were expecting. Remember, the choices you make will have consequences...for you. It's up to you if you want to accept them."
Bo tried to steady herself. It could only mean one thing.
"You mean choosing that door....will tell me who my father is?"
Brunhilde stepped back. "I will leave you to choose. But, we will see each other again." And with that Brunhilde walked away.
"Bo!" Lauren called out to her. "Come home, sweetie! Choose the door to come home!"
"You can feel me Lauren. You already know my choice!"
"Yes I can, but feel my choice, please! Lauren begged.
"I have to know, I can't let this opportunity go!"
"Then would it satisfy your curiosity if I told you that your real father owned his own brewery and a chain of pizza restaurants?"
"Tempting and nice try, but I think we both know that's highly unlikely. I have to do this Lauren, I'm sorry."
"Okay, sweetie. Just take your time, really think about this..."
"I have," and before Lauren could delay her any longer, Bo did what she always did. Took the bull by the horns and reached for the door.
"What the hell is going on in my clinic!?"
Evony said, flouncing into the lab.
"Quiet!" Lauren hissed. She paced the room, agitated. "Bo? Can you hear me? Come on sweetie, answer me?"
"What is this?" Evony looked around. "You're supposed to work overtime on my restoration!" She indicated the late hour. "Not play hide and seek with the succubus!"
Lauren marched over to a cabinet, yanked open the door and took out a rack of test tubes. "I swear, if you don't shut up, months of work on your restoration will be reduced in seconds, to me starting again!" She held them up, ready to let them drop to the floor and smash.
"Okay!" Evony agreed. "Quiet it is." She turned to Trick, speaking quietly. "I thought the Light had their own doctor's; rather surprising to see their acting Ash over this side of the tracks. You mind filling me on the late night emergency?"
Lauren answered before Trick could. "Bo's in Valhalla. She's got Kenzi back. But she went through the other door, and I think she blacked out. I felt it. I'm trying to bring her round!"
Evony stared at her for a moment. "Well of course, that makes perfect sense!" she rolled her eyes. "Medical aide by telepathy!" She looked at Trick for a more sensible and coherent explanation.
Lauren left him to it. She was more concerned with Bo. The heart rate and brainwave monitors were giving off constant readings, and from them she was assured by what she could already feel. It had been about two minutes since Bo had chosen the door to discover who her father was. Lauren had had the same dizzying sensation which had been stronger than when Bo had initially disappeared. Her only assumption, she hoped, was that Bo had passed out. The only other option was that Bo had entered a realm their connection could not bridge.
Lauren felt the sudden need to stretch, as though she was waking from sleep. "Bo?"
She heard a muffled voice. Bo sometimes made incoherent speech as she was waking up. Lauren smiled, as she remembered Bo snuggling up to her in the past, mumbling something unintelligible, after they'd finally fallen asleep. She had found it endearing.
Then she felt Bo snort, jolting, suddenly alert.
"What the hell?" Bo exclaimed
"Are you okay, sweetie?" Lauren asked.
"Yeah. Was I....asleep?" Bo asked, confused.
"Possibly. Whatever happened, I think maybe you passed out. Do you know where you are?"
"No. I mean, I'm in a room. In a ..rocking chair!" Bo eased herself up, looking around the dimly lit room. "I've seen this room before!"
"During my Dawning." Bo walked slowly, spotting the large baby crib. She ran her fingers gently along its edge, feeling a strange familiarity. Images flashed at her, and she couldn't determine if they came from the dawning, or were new ones. But she knew what they meant.
"Lauren, wherever this is, I was born here." She said it without reverence, or fear.
Lauren remained quiet for a moment, Bo's voice had sounded sad. "Is there anything else in the room that might indicate where you are?" she asked gently.
Bo broke her attention away from the crib, noticing something over in the far corner of the room. As she made her way towards it, she felt angered.
"What is it, Bo?" Lauren asked, sensing Bo's mood changing.
"It's a cage!" Bo yanked open its door, stepping into it. As if by instinct she was drawn to a small dark corner at the back, where the bars were replaced by a solid wall. She reached out to the faded wall covering, peeling it back, touching the childlike drawings there; scribbles of a mother figure and a baby.
"He kept her in there. She was only allowed out to feed you."
Bo spun round at the sound of the voice that had just spoken.
A gentle looking woman stood near the crib. Her smile was soft, but she appeared nervous of Bo's reaction.
Bo surged out of the cage towards her. "Who are you?" she demanded. "What do you know about all this? Who kept my mother locked up in that thing?"
"Who's there, Bo?" Lauren asked.
"I don't know who she is, but she's about to tell me what I need to know, or things could get bloody!" Bo spoke out loud, as she now stood face to face with the woman.
"I mean you no harm," the woman said. "I am Persephone..."
"Well, Persephone, harm or not, you got twenty seconds to enlighten me about this place."
Lauren frowned for a moment. "What name did you just say?" she asked Bo.
Lauren closed her eyes for a moment, recalling the stories of the ancients, and the story of Persephone came to her. She'd been quickly mumbling as she recounted it, and when she suddenly remembered the whole story she stopped, so that Trick or Evony wouldn't pick up anymore. Her concern was now Bo and she refrained from speaking out loud.
"Bo, you need to get out of there!" she urged. "Go back through the door. Get out of there now, please!" she grabbed the edge of the testing bench and her panicked state was not missed by Trick.
"Lauren?" Trick asked. "What's going on?"
She didn't answer him. She wasn't about to inform him, with Evony there, what she'd possibly discovered about Bo's father.
"Babe," Bo said. "I'm not leaving until I find out what's going on. And I can feel you're afraid, so tell me."
Persephone looked around to see who Bo might be talking to. "You should be afraid. And you'd be wise to leave. You don't want to be here when he arrives."
"My father?" Bo asked Persephone, who just nodded back.
"Bo, do you know anything about the Greek Gods?" Lauren said in her head.
"Some, from high school. Zeus, Apollo, Aphrodite, those guys."
"Okay, that's a start. So you know about Mount Olympus? You know about Poseidon ruling the seas?"
"Sorta, I kinda remember. But most of what I know comes from watching Xena!"
"Oh, wasn't that a great show? Guess they were the only two not to realise what everybody else had figured out about them..."
"Lauren? Your real point?" Bo guided her back.
"Right. There were three realms the Gods resided over. Zeus had the sky, his bother Poseidon had the seas, and his other brother.....he ruled the underworld. Do you remember who he was?"
Bo thought for a moment. "Hades?"
"Correct. Well, his Queen, who he in fact basically kidnapped and held captive as his wife, she was called Persephone...so, at the moment, you're probably in...."
"....my father's realm. You're saying my father is...."
Lauren closed her eyes, as she heard Bo's voice trail off. She wished she could have saved her from the realisation. She felt Bo's heart pounding and her mind's conflict as she tried to assess what this could mean.
"Sweetie, just come home." Lauren said softly. "We'll figure this out. Now we know the missing piece of the puzzle, we can deal with it."
"Deal with it how?" Bo's voice rose and she started to pace. "I'm possibly the daughter of a God! A God that likes to hold women captive, for his own purposes, whatever the hell that is! No wonder my mother was crazy! A God that presides over the dead! A God that was ready to open the hell portal and bring about destruction! His blood runs in my veins, so what does that make me? You've seen what I can do, especially when I'm pissed off! How do you suggest we handle that one, Doc? What pills you got that can deal with it!"
"Listen to me, none of that matters. I'm not talking about medicine taking care of this, I'm talking about you being able to handle this, your human nature..."
"My human nature?" Bo laughed. "My human nature is made up of Fae and a God, there's nothing human about it!"
"Of course there is! You're more human than most people I know!" Lauren challenged back. "Your heart and soul is pure human. What runs through your veins has nothing to do with it! It's not what you are but who you are that counts, and I know that part of you very well!"
Lauren's passionate declaration had been said out loud by mistake and she saw Trick's face, filled with confusion and concern.
"Doctor, would you tell me what's going on?" Trick demanded.
"Your grand-daughter is having a crisis of self; self doubt and self worth! And trust me, now is not the time, she could be in great danger!" Lauren turned her attention back to Bo. "Please, just get out of there!"
"Danger? From who?" Trick pushed.
"Trust me, now is not the time for that either!" Lauren ran her hand through her hair.
"If you know me as well as you claim, then you know I have to find out about why I was born; what destiny my father had in mind for me! From what I know so far, he needs me for something, something he can't do alone!" Bo told Lauren, then went over to Persephone.
"If you know where he is, then you'd better take me to him, co's I'm tired of waiting for daddy to show up! If he's too pussy to show his face...."
From behind her, Bo heard amused laughter and spun round, her body ready to fight.
"You are magnificent. Just how I imagined you'd be!" His tone was of delight and his smile broad.
Bo stared at him warily. From what she recalled of the Greek Gods, they preferred to appear in corporeal human form, despite their ability to change into anything they desired. He'd chosen tall, over 6ft, and his body appeared muscular, a trait the God's found desirable, and it probably worked in terms of seduction. His clothing appeared modern; a black sweater and black pants. His face was also typically handsome, another vain God like trait; a chiselled jaw line, dark brown eyes and a dazzling smile. His hair was also dark, with a little grey in it, which she thought odd. God's didn't age, surely, but perhaps it was his way of appearing more fatherly in age. She could understand why her mother, and God knows how many other women, may have found themselves seduced by his appearance, but then that's not all he had to rely on to get what he wanted. He had powers to wield to ensure he got his own way.
"Fierce and strong. Passionate and caring," He kept a distance between them, as he slowly circled. Bo wasn't sure why; she figured it wasn't because of any concern he might have she could attack him, but he seemed to be sussing her out. The last time he'd seen her she'd been a baby, so he'd had no idea what powers she might possess from him or her mother. She liked the idea he was unsure.
"Just like your mother.....well, in the beginning." He smiled but she noticed it wasn't genuine. There was something cold in the way he'd said it.
She didn't react, just kept her eyes on him, as he continued to circle her.
Lauren noticed Bo's heart rate was very steady, which she found odd, given her recent state of anxiety. In fact, Bo appeared too calm.
"Bo?" Lauren said quietly, so as not to startle her. "Is he there?"
Bo simply answered yes with her mind. Lauren nodded to herself, and exhaled slowly. Somehow it made sense, that when finally faced with her father, Bo would need to be at her most calm state, to face whatever might happen.
"Who's there? He, who?" Trick asked.
Lauren held up her hand to silence him; she needed the tranquillity herself, to remain focused, to transmit her own calmness to aid Bo. "It's her father," Lauren said quietly placing her fingers to her lips.
Trick was about to enquire further but Lauren's request for silence, stopped him. She could see he was torn, wanting to know what was happening, but trusting that both she and Bo could handle it. Evony huffed, rolling her eyes, and plonked herself down on a lab chair.
"So, Hadea, you have finally come home." Hades held out his arms to indicate the room. "It's been a long while."
"It's Bo. Isabeau in fact. I'm named after my grandmother, not you. Hadea sounds a little egotistical, don't you think?"
Hades glared at her for a moment. "Your mother's choice for you has remained, I see. Her only piece of resistance. But if Bo is what you prefer."
"Her only piece of resistance? Not surprising, considering the odds were stacked against her." Bo indicated the cage. "But then, she must have tricked you somehow, to escape. Too busy looking after the image were you?" She looked him up and down, accusing him of being too occupied with his looks, mocking him. "Bad hair day was it?"
He seemed irritated by the accusation, but she decided it was time to get to the point; to take charge of the situation.
"Anyway, yes I'm here. But no, I haven't come home. So let's cut the pleasantries, and get to the point. How much is my inheritance gonna be?"
Bo heard Lauren cough back a laugh.
"And wouldn't you rather sit down?...Someone as old as you? it can't be too good to be standing all the time!" She indicated the rocking chair for Hades to sit.
Hades stood to face her, his irritation obvious now.
"You have no respect..."
"Oh not again! That's the second time I've heard that today! What's with all this respect crap? Tell ya what Pop's, you give me an idea of what you got planned, and I'll think a little on the respect part. Maybe we can meet in the middle?"
Bo decided to cut the distance between them, that her father seemed reluctant to do. She moved to stand right in front of him.
"Cos you know what? I got a feeling you need me more than I need you?" Her smiled faded, telling him playtime was over and that his daughter was someone to be reckoned with. She stood her ground even when, for a second, it seemed he might strike her.
"You are the child of a God. A God born of the Titans! I am the eldest son of Cronus and Rhea, brother to Zeus and Poseidon. Do you have any idea of the power into which you are born?" His voice boomed around the small room.
"Do you know, that we three overthrew our own father, overthrew the Titans, to take control of the universe? We divided it between us. I was given the Kingdom of the Underworld, to rule over. Do you know how powerful that Kingdom is? All that is remembered is Zeus's kingdom, his power, his children! His legacy is the only one remembered, the only one that matter's. But there was a time when man feared us all, feared my kingdom and respected it!"
His voice was still angered but no longer carried its force. "Now all mankind does is whine and moan about their irrelevant little lives. They have no understanding or respect for the forces that originally forged it, that gave it to them! They want it all, but with no effort. They laugh at what we once represented. We're just fantasy, myth. They no longer believe. The mankind of today, is nothing to the mankind we made years ago, they were stronger! Look at the civilisation they became, one of the greatest known!"
"And you take credit for that?" Bo laughed. "You ruled them out of fear! No wonder they appeared stronger! No wonder they appeared to be respectful. In fact, all you did was make them realise that you had no power at all, without them. Without them, you couldn't play your little games, or tricks; you couldn't lie or trick your way into women's beds, and leave them with your sons and daughters to raise. Those that did, raised them stronger. Raised them to no longer follow you. Hell, why would they, what was in it for them? They became the civilisation they did, not because of you, but despite of you!"
She looked at her father. "I think you'll find the mankind of today is a lot stronger than you think."
"And you're happy to live in that world?" Hades looked at her. "A world that barely knows of your existence? You're not able to walk among them; live among them, as though you are of the same flesh and blood. You know that will never be possible for you. You were born for greater things, daughter. Your destiny is to rule the realm of the Gods and mankind. Your blood? It can rewrite the whole history. It won't be Zeus that will be remembered. It will be Hades and my descendants. My legacy!"
Bo stared at him for a moment, her anger rising. "So that's what this has all been about? That was Aoife's only use to you? Because of the blood that ran through her veins and runs through mine?"
"Bo," Lauren whispered. "You're right about him needing you more than you need him. Hades could never leave the Underworld."
Bo started to smile. "You're not really a family kind of guy are you, dad? Didn't like your ma and pa; had to abduct the women in your life. Jealous of your siblings. Shit, you got some issues, and then you think that just cause I'm your daughter, a chip off the old block, I'm going to just go along with some crackpot plan to rewrite history, so you can have your turn at playing supreme God?"
She moved in closer, her smile fading. "Why was it exactly, that you didn't go after Aoife when she left with me? I mean, hell, you're the ruler of the underworld, you're a God. Surely you can do anything, go anywhere...." she stopped. "Ooops. That bit's not quite true is it? You can't leave."
She mocked him, pulling a sad face. "That's real sad." She stepped back from him. "And you know what else is sad? Your stupid ass plan and thinking I'd go along with it! Do you wanna know what I'd suggest for you? Some serious therapy! And here we were thinking my mom was the crazy one! She knew didn't she? But she got me out. She saved me from you!" Bo pointed at him.
"If I have a destiny, or a legacy, it will be my own! And it will not be swayed by what runs through my veins, or my ancestry! And whatever power I possess, it won't be used to get you what you want!"
Bo took a moment to steady her anger again. "Are we done here, 'cos I'm ready to leave?"
Hades stepped in towards her again. "Whether you like it or not, making your own destiny will include choices, some you may not like, but you will have to make them nonetheless. My way would be a lot easier."
"You know, I'll admit, I've had a bit of a complex over who my father was, but now we've finally met, I think I'm over it. It's been a bit of a disappointment really. I dunno how to put it, but you're really not what I expected, or hoped for in a father."
"Oh my god, Bo," Lauren exclaimed in her head. "I can't believe you just emasculated Hades. Get out of there now!"
Bo turned away from him. "Eat my di..." she didn't get to finish. Hades roared at her insolence, but when she turned to face him, he was gone.
Then there was a sudden screeching sound, and Persephone called out to her. "Furies! Quickly! Go!" before she too disappeared.
Bo made for the door but was suddenly struck down. She felt the pain in her upper thigh. The high pitched screeching continued mixed with manic laughter, and she felt herself being struck again. She used her arms to defend herself, while trying to see her attackers. They moved so quickly she wasn't able to see them clearly. She curled into a ball, trying to protect herself even more, while also trying to peak at how far away she was from the door. She could see she wouldn't make it, but the cage was closer, so she crawled frantically towards it, hoping it would provide some better protection.
Just as she pulled herself into the cage, there was the sound of another distant angered roar, and with that, her attackers fled.
She groaned, half in relief and half in pain. She looked down and saw the pants leg was ripped; a large wound was oozing blood.
"Shit!" she mumbled.
"Bo!" Lauren called out to her. "How bad is it?"
"Well, it's going to need a skilled sewer if I'm ever to wear these again!. Damn, they were my favourite pants!"
"That's not funny!" Lauren complained. "I can sense you're hurt!"
"Sorry. But yeah, it's looking a bit gooey and sticky right now. And there's a lot of blood!"
Lauren paced a moment, as Trick looked on ashen. "Okay, you need a quick feed." she said quietly. "That should be enough to get you back here and then we can deal with it properly."
"Fine by me, Doc, but just how do you suggest I do that? I'm alone here."
"Physically, yes, you are. But mentally, you're not. We're still connected." Lauren's voice was just audible; she could see Evony straining to hear.
"Are you suggesting what I think you're suggesting?"
Lauren could sense Bo's smile. She cleared her throat. "It's my medical opinion that it could work. Of course, it's not been tried before..."
"So it'll be like long distance phone sex? Lots of imagination; dirty talk? We've done that before."
Lauren spluttered. "Hmmm, well yes, I guess it'll be like....that!"
"Are you blushing?"
"I really don't think it matters if I am. I think we should concentrate on you right now!"
"I'm ready when you are. In fact, I'm always ready when you are, amazing how we managed to do that..."
Lauren interrupted her. "Okay, so do you want to...initiate...things?"
"Initiate? Can't we come up with something more sexy?"
"Oh shit! Not now!" Lauren exclaimed.
"What? What did I say?" Bo asked.
"No, it's not you. Dyson and Tamsin are back, with Kenzi!" Lauren rushed over as Dyson carried Kenzi into the room. Both he and Tamsin were covered in dirt.
"Dude!" Kenzi said. "I'm fine! Enough with this carrying me everywhere! Hey, Doc, tell Dyson I'm fine." She gently slapped Dyson to put her down.
"You've been buried. I think it's only natural Dyson would be concerned!" Lauren said to Kenzi. She noticed the young woman was shaking.
"Hey, tell Kenzi hi from me!" Bo said.
"Bo says hi!" Lauren passed on the message.
"Bo-Bo?' Kenzi looked confused.
"She's not here," Lauren said. "She's....stuck somewhere right now."
"And she's hurt!" Trick added.
"Hurt?" Dyson now looked as concerned as Trick.
"It's okay....it's being taken care of." Lauren said quickly. She made Kenzi sit on an examination bed.
"Hurt by who?" Dyson pressed.
"It would seem by her own father!" Trick said.
"Her father?!" Tamsin exclaimed loudly
Lauren looked at Tamsin's shocked face. She appeared mortified at the possibility.
"Where is she now?" Tamsin pursued Lauren, as she gathered instruments to examine Kenzi.
Lauren noticed her anxiety. "Safe-ish. But when she comes back, where is she likely to end up, do you know?"
Tamsin thought for a moment. "The gateway, where souls crossover to Valhalla. It only appears to the Valkyrie."
Lauren nodded at both Tamsin and Dyson. "Then I suggest you two go there. Bo's going to need some help healing," she looked at Dyson who nodded his understanding.
"Should we bring her here?" Dyson said.
Lauren looked at Tamsin to answer.
Tamsin shrugged her shoulders."The gate's location would be nearer the Dal....if she just needs you to bang..."
"I can meet you there," Lauren interrupted. "I'll bring my med kit just in case."
Dyson nodded turning to leave, with Tamsin right behind him.
"Lauren, I think it's time to initiate, there's more blood." Bo said.
"Okay, but I won't speak out loud, if that's okay. I'll keep it cerebral."
"In a weird way, that sounds kinda sexy." Bo's voice was low and it made Lauren shiver.
"You remember that night when we...."
Lauren listened as Bo recounted one of many nights together.
"....you remember when I touched you...here?"
Lauren felt Bo's touch. Although delicate it was very direct; it was also a promise of what was to come next, and she shuddered.
"Okay, so we're getting straight to it!" Lauren told Bo. "We're skipping foreplay!"
"You know that's my favourite part, but I'm a little pushed for time here." Bo answered.
Lauren took up a small spatula. "Poke out your tongue."
"You're really getting into this!" Bo said pleased.
"I'm talking to Kenzi," Lauren looked at Kenzi, who finally gave in and let Lauren look inside her mouth.
"Kenzi's joining us?" Bo sounded surprised.
"No! I'm examining her." Lauren then took her stethoscope to listen to Kenzi's heartbeat.
"Oooh, you're multi-tasking. How can you concentrate? What'll happen if I touch you... harder?" Bo chuckled.
Lauren tried to stifle a groan that sounded more like a squeezed cough.
"Hey, Doc, ain't I the one that's supposed to cough while you listen?" Kenzi removed the stethoscope from her chest and spoke into it."
Lauren winced from the sound in her ears, and the groan she emitted seemed justified under the circumstances, although it was mainly due to the sensation of Bo's touch. She could feel her knees weakening and couldn't believe the assault on her senses, just by the fact they were communicating with each other in this way.
Lauren quickly removed her lab coat, loosening a couple of buttons on her shirt. She knew she was breathing erratically and needed to steady her breaths.
Taking up her light pen she moved back towards Kenzi.
"Haaa-ha!" She couldn't help the escape of a surprised half laugh, trying to disguise the sound of pleasure she was feeling. She grabbed the side of the medical bed.
"You okay?" Kenzi looked at her suspiciously.
"Hmmm, fine!" Lauren struggled to say the words. She aimed the light pen at Kenzi's right eye.
"That's sooo good!" She said out loud, unable to stop herself. She steadied herself so she could continue the examination.
"Jeez, Doc, it's just an eyeball!" Kenzi said.
Lauren just smiled. She looked into Kenzi's left eye. "Oh my God!" she hissed, closing her eyes for a moment. Bo was dancing all around her with her tongue. She could actually feel Bo's breath, and wicked smile of pleasure against her.
Kenzi tapped her on the shoulder and she opened her eyes.
"Are you sure you're okay?" Kenzi stared at her intently.
Lauren managed to nod.
"And Bo? she's doing okay?"
"Yep, pretty much!" Lauren said. She could feel perspiration forming on her brow and that her whole body was exuding heat.
Kenzi's concerned look then changed to a look of semi-realisation.
"Are you two?....are you?...."
This time Lauren couldn't hold in a moan.
"Eeeeoooowww!" Kenzi started to flap her hands. She looked mortified. "Go get a room, please!" she pleaded.
Lauren nodded in agreement. "Just....one minute....I'll be back..."
Trick looked embarrassed and turned away, while Evony laughed out loud.
Lauren rushed to one of the small examining rooms, closing the blinds.
"How you doing Lauren?" Bo asked.
"Damn you, Bo Dennis! Don't you dare stop!"
"This sure is working, Doc, you're a genius. The bleeding has stopped. Now, where was I?"
Lauren flung herself against one of the walls with the sensation, deciding that reciprocation was needed. With no distractions, she set about concentrating on Bo's needs and it wasn't long before she felt the succubus responding to their joint telepathic touches. She felt Bo's heart rate increasing, could hear her stifled moans of pleasure. Lauren sank to the floor, tearing off her shirt, to rid herself of its constraint it felt tight and suffocating. Next she shucked her pants off quickly until she was just in her underwear.
Lauren knew what was about to happen to both of them, and to ready herself for it, she manoeuvred herself onto all fours. It seemed the logically position to adopt; a favoured one of theirs they'd used many times before, and considering what they were both imagining doing to each other, it was the most pleasurable option. When it did happen, it was colossal; she arched her back, her fingers clawing at the tiled floor. She hoped her cry of pleasure had been muted by the walls of the small room, although it echoed inside it.
She collapsed onto the floor, the coolness of it welcome. She lay for a moment trying to get her breath back.
"Wow! That was..." Bo said quietly.
"Wow!" Lauren smiled. "How is the wound?"
"Okay. It's not bleeding so much. I can make it to the door."
"Good. That's more than I can manage right now!"
"Thanks, Lauren, that has to be the best fun I've had with my clothes on." Bo laughed.
"Oh? You still have your clothes on?" Lauren asked surprised, looking at her dishevelled state.
"I'll see you soon...maybe we can continue this...?" Bo questioned playfully.
"Just get through that door! Dyson'll be waiting for you. You know what you need to do. I'll see you at the Dal." Lauren sat up.
"Thanks, again. For everything."
Lauren was about to say it was a pleasure, when she felt their connection sever. It meant that Bo had gone back through the door and they were in the same realm.
And the same reality as before.
That reality was brought home to Lauren as she entered the Dal. Trick and Kenzi followed her in.
In the back room, Bo and Dyson were busy. Sounds of their vigouors lovemaking didn't leave much to the imagination.
Lauren flinched momentarily, until she composed herself. The reality was that Bo was healing, and that's all it meant, and that's all that was important.
Trick wasted no time in heading straight for his den and Kenzi followed, swiping a bottle of Vodka and shot glasses on the way. Lauren had cleared Kenzi medically fit, although she knew there was bound to be some psychological trauma. She'd been trapped inside her own coffin for 30 minutes before Dyson and Tamsin had dug her out. Lauren pondered that a few Vodka's probably wouldn't hurt to drown that experience.
Tamsin sat at the bar, nursing a bottle of beer. She had another next to it and slid it along. Lauren dropped her medical bag on the floor, realising that it wouldn't be needed and sat next to her.
"Figured you could use it." Tamsin said bluntly.
"Thanks!" Lauren took a long draught from it.
"Long night." Tamsin remarked.
"Sure was. But worth it. Bo has Kenzi back. That's all that matters."
Lauren took another long swig and Tamsin did so at the same time.
"Dyson certainly knows how to find Bo's spot. Is there a medical term for it, Doc?"
Lauren smiled wryly, shaking her head. "You know Tamsin, there are times when you say the most prophetic things, that it blows me away. Then there are times like now." She rubbed her forehead, then looked directly at her.
"Were you ever going to tell Bo who her father was?"
"Oh, I know who he is," Lauren added. "I'll leave it to Bo to tell the others. I just wondered why, as her friend, you hadn't told her?"
Tamsin looked down.
"I saw your reaction at the clinic. I assume it was your responsibility to bring them together?"
Tamsin looked anxious. She picked at the label on the bottle
"You must owe him something big." Lauren slid off the stool.
"I was supposed to, but.....it's done now anyway." Tamsin's voice trailed off.
Lauren stood before her. "That in there?" she pointed to where Bo and Dyson were still in the process of Bo's healing. "That's something I had to get used to. You might have to as well. There might be times when she needs him more than you. Does she know you're in love with her?"
Tamsin's head snapped up. "What?"
"It's a major part of what I do medically; observation. It's essential in fact. I may not have the powers you all have, but I can see tell tale signs. Dilated pupils, breathing pattern, flushed skin. No matter human or Fae, powers or none; you can't hide love."
Lauren picked up her bag. "Thanks for the drink." Then she turned, walking out of the Dal.
"Hey, where is everybody?"
Bo asked buttoning up her top. Behind her, Dyson was doing up his pants.
Tamsin looked at her for a moment, as she sat at the bar. "Kenzi is currently sleeping with a half bottle of Vodka down in the den. Trick is pouring over books, and the Doc had to leave."
"Oh," Bo felt disappointed. She'd hoped to be celebrating Kenzi's return with more exuberance.
Tamsin gulped down the last of another beer. "Trick said he needed to speak with you. He's got more info on your future Queenie role." She slid off the stool. "I'll go move my stuff out of Kenzi's room. I can take the sofa." She passed Bo and Dyson without looking at them, leaving the bar.
Bo stared after her frowning. "Isn't anybody excited?"
Dyson was behind the bar, placing two beers on the counter. "Of course we're all happy about Kenzi, but it's been a long stressful night, Bo. A lot happened."
He sounded tired and as Bo looked at him, he looked tired, too. She'd been more enthusiastic during their healing session. Wanting to heal quickly so she could see Kenzi and Lauren, and she wondered if she had taken too much from him.
"You okay?" She asked as she sat on a bar stool.
He nodded smiling.
"Thanks, I appreciate you being so willing, back there." She indicated the store room.
"My pleasure. Always." He winked and drank.
"You know, it doesn't mean..."
Dyson interrupted her. "Bo, I know. No strings attached. It was purely for you to heal. But I have to say, I get the better end of that deal."
Bo relaxed, smiling. She was relieved that Dyson still saw it that way. She worried that maybe he might still be hopeful. Too much had happened to both of them, for it to possibly ever be the way it had been, although she knew that for the rest of his life, his true mate would always be her.
"Besides, I think more is owed to Lauren tonight, than anything I did." Dyson added.
Bo was pleased at his admission. "She was pretty awesome, right?"
Dyson raised his bottle in salute to Lauren's efforts. He paused before he spoke. "Are you two...?"
Bo shrugged her shoulders. "I wasn't sure. I mean it's not been how it was, but after tonight, I think maybe we can try again, make it work this time. I want to give it another shot, and I think she does, too."
Dyson nodded in understanding.
"Plus," She continued. "After what I discovered tonight, I think I need Lauren's help in other ways. I'm tired of all this, Dyson. I don't wanna be the prophecy, I don't wanna lead the Fae. I just want a normal life. I'm tired of secrets and lies. I want some stability. I want to be normal. And Lauren has the know how to help me with that."
"I'm going to ask Lauren to do what she did to Evony. I want her to get rid of my powers,"
"Bo," Dyson interrupted. "You can't be serious! You need to think about this!"
"I have, believe me! But I can't see any other way to have what I want."
"What makes you sure Lauren would agree to it?"
"Because I think she wants the same life I do. Maybe it's our only shot at being free."
Dyson shook his head. "I'm not sure about freedom. But I can see it could bring you more danger!"
"I think we'd be prepared to take that chance, I know I am." She looked at him, hoping he'd see it from her side. "I know you've always supported me in my choices. Would you support me in this one?"
She knew it was a big ask. He'd gone above and beyond to help her in any way that he could, and for her to now choose to turn her back on her Fae life was something she knew he could never contemplate. He was loyal to his kind.
Dyson sighed heavily. "You know I would do anything to support you. And if this is really your choice...well, I guess we should all support it."
Bo reached across the bar, taking his hand, squeezing it. "Thank you," she smiled. "I plan to speak to Lauren about it. I was going to do it tonight, but I guess everybody's tired. I'll swing by the clinic later tomorrow."
She jumped slightly as Trick appeared. She hadn't heard him come up from his den. He carried a large book and looked disturbed.
"Hey, Trick," She smiled at him, but he didn't return her smile.
"I've found something, about the prophecy..." his voice trailed off as he made his way to one of the bar tables. Bo and Dyson joined him.
"There's more information about the Chosen One. I'm sure there must be other books in the Light archives, so I will keep searching, but this section mentions unusual powers, not all Fae."
"Trick," Bo started. "I think there's something you should know." She indicated that Trick should sit down, which he did. "I know who my father is." She took a deep breath. "He's not exactly Fae,"
Trick raised his eyebrows, waiting.
"There's only one way to say it I guess. He's Hades!"
Trick grabbed the table to steady himself as he turned visibly pale.
"What?" Dyson murmured.
Bo didn't say anything, as she looked at both their shocked faces.
Trick closed his eyes thinking. "The ancients?" he asked out loud, not seeming to expect an answer. "Why? What purpose?" again he didn't seem to expect an answer, he appeared to be trying to work out the ramifications.
His eyes flew open and Bo knew he had figured it out. "Blood line!"
She nodded. "He knew who Aoife was, and he knew who her father was; you. With his power, and that blood, he wants to rewrite history, in his favour. He was hoping I'd be the dutiful daughter. I put him straight on that one, for now."
She felt Dyson's reassuring hand on her shoulder. She figured he now understood even more the choice she wanted to make for her future.
Trick slowly nodded. "It makes more sense now. The Chosen One is very special. There have been many prophecies down the millennia where the Fae are concerned, but this prophecy about the Chosen One is more shrouded in mystery. I now know why, if it concerns the ancients. Bo," he looked up at her. "This is bigger than anything I expected, bigger than anything the Fae could have expected. I am in no doubt, that you are the chosen one. It all fits with the information I'm finding. The Leader is described as brave and caring, will unite and heal the Fae. There's even suggestion of descendants that are flesh of God, Fae, and human; even of a mate, sworn by fealty to protect and serve; brave, loyal." Trick looked at Dyson.
Bo shuddered. This was becoming too much to hear. She didn't want to know anymore.
"I need to do more research, dig deeper, but, Bo, you must see, this is your true destiny. This is your true fate!" Trick pleaded.
She had never heard her grandfather speak with such conviction and belief; he truly believed it.
"I can't depend on some old prophecy written in some ancient books. You know me, you know I live my own life, my own way and I won't be swayed into believing this is my path. I have a right to live my life how I want, and I intend to do that, prophecy or not."
Bo left Trick in no doubt this would be dealt with on her terms. She realised she had probably sounded harsh in her words, and she squeezed Trick's hand. "Look, we're all tired. Maybe we should discuss this another time? I need to get Kenzi home and I need to keep an eye on her for the next few days."
"Yes, of course." Trick readily agreed.
As though she had known she was being spoken of, Kenzi stumbled into view. Bo went to her.
"Yo, homie!" Kenzi slurred. "When's the party gonna start?"
"How 'bout we take this party home?" Bo suggested. "Strawberry Swirl or Rocky Road?"
"Oooh, I like your way of thinking! Why not both?" Kenzi said excitedly.
"You got it, bestie!" Bo winked at her.
With Kenzi hanging onto her, Bo steered their way out of the bar towards home.
Lauren quickly grabbed her robe, belting it as she made her way to her front door. Whoever was ringing the doorbell was insistent and obviously wasn't going to leave until she'd answered. She hadn't been in bed long, her mind not allowing her to sleep anyway, after the nights events, but she wondered what was so urgent at 3am, it couldn't wait. She knew this was a private visit; anything urgent and the clinic would have paged her.
She was surprised when she opened the door, as well as alarmed. "Trick?"
He looked anxious.
"Is it Bo?" she immediately concluded it must be.
"Can I come in?" Trick asked.
"Sorry, yes of course." She stepped back allowing him in. "Is everything alright?" she asked again.
"I just need to talk to you." Trick half smiled, and she followed him to the sofa to sit down beside him.
They hadn't chatted for long. In fact Trick had done most of the talking. He'd spoken very passionately about the prophecy, and his concerns, so much so, that Lauren had never known Trick to be so open with his thoughts and feelings; she'd felt almost privileged that the Blood King had confided in her, but she was also left in no doubt about his message.
Lauren closed the door slowly as Trick left.
"Is Doctor Lewis in her lab?"
Bo asked ones of the nurses, who just nodded.
She didn't really wait for confirmation, pretty much convinced that's where she'd find her anyway. She hadn't bothered to call Lauren either, to tell her she was coming by; she wanted some element of surprise to her visit, even though she knew security around the clinic would have advised she was on the premises.
Bo carried on into the lab, at first finding it quiet and deserted. Lauren then appeared from one of the small rooms, its blinds closed. She was pulling on her lab coat, running her fingers through her hair, before she did up some buttons on her shirt.
"Bo?" Lauren seemed surprised to see her. "Is everything okay?"
Bo smiled. Lauren was in doctor mode; concerned.
"Good." Lauren smiled, picking up a chart, scribbling something on it.
Bo was disappointed that Lauren hadn't come over to her. She didn't seem interested in any contact between them.
"How's Kenzi?" Lauren asked, still looking at the chart.
"Okay. She's sleeping. She's been that way all morning. Tamsin's keeping an eye on her right now."
"That's understandable. It might take her body a while to de-stress. Sleeping will help. It's nothing to be alarmed about. I can come by later if you're worried at all."
Bo frowned. Lauren seemed disengaged. "I wanted to talk to you, about something really important. I wonder if we can discuss it, away from here."
Lauren finally looked up. "Oh?" she questioned.
Just then, Evony appeared from the room, her body covered with a hospital bed sheet.
"How long is this going to take, exactly!" she asked Lauren in annoyance. She then spotted Bo. "Oh!" she looked surprised to see her. She pulled the sheet more around her body.
Lauren smiled walking over to her. "I need to run some more tests, but you can put your clothes back on now."
To Bo's great shock, Lauren kissed Evony, deeply, then squeezed her back side.
"We'll finish this later." Lauren whispered, stroking Evony's face.
Evony looked startled, but said nothing, going back into the room.
Bo found the whole interaction had rocked her to the core. She stood for a moment confused by it, trying to figure out if she'd really just witnessed it, or imagined it.
"So, what did you want to discuss?" Lauren nonchalantly asked.
Bo struggled to speak. "I...err,...I wanted to..." she closed her eyes for a moment. Then asked the obvious question on her mind. "Are you and Evony.....are you two...?" she didn't finish the question.
"Oh, I see." Lauren smiled. "Well, I wouldn't say rings are likely to be exchanged anytime soon, but it's a work in progress type of thing. I'm not really looking for anything permanent right now."
"You're not?" Bo tried to hide her disappointment.
"No. It's more casual than serious and I prefer it that way. I'm finally at a stage where I'm free to do as I please."
"What if," Bo lowered her voice. "She discovers you're delaying her restoration?"
Lauren shrugged dismissively. "She'd be foolish if she decided to get rid of me. Ultimately, I'm really the only one that can help." Lauren winked.
Bo was finding the conversation difficult. All that she was hoping for seemed to be slipping away. She was sure she couldn't be wrong about any of this.
"I kinda thought..." Bo said. Lauren tilted her head, waiting for her to continue. "I kinda hoped, that we could...you know, that we might have a shot at making it work. Have a life together."
Lauren hesitated a moment, as though holding something back.
"I'm sorry, Bo, I didn't realise that you were expecting something more."
Bo's mouth fell open. "Expecting?" She was devastated. "You're telling me, that what you said at the Dal after Kenzi died, and what we did to each other yesterday, was just my imagination? That I'm expecting that something exists, that isn't there?"
"Yes, I think maybe that's the case. And I'm sorry, that's been my fault. I shouldn't have..."
"Shouldn't have what?" Bo shouted. "Shouldn't have told me you loved me? You're saying that wasn't true? Are you saying what we felt in each other yesterday, wasn't true?"
"Bo, when I said I loved you, you did have your hands around my throat at the time. We both know appealing to your emotions and desires, whatever state you're in, is a win-win situation; it was the obvious choice to make, in order to get through to you. It worked; you released your intent to harm me."
Bo felt as though she'd been punched in the guts.
"And yesterday was purely to help you heal enough to get back here. You're right, it was fun." Lauren smiled.
Bo looked at her in disbelief. She couldn't equate this side of Lauren, with the Lauren she believed she knew. She knew Lauren's life had changed, and she did appear to have more freedom and confidence, but Bo was still confused, still convinced about their future.
"I really believed we could..." Bo mumbled.
"I think deep down, we both know we've changed." Lauren continued. "You have a major role to play in the future of the Fae. We know now why you have the powers you do. That's a pretty big factor. I'm not sure I'm really the one to deal with all that. I've realised I like things...uncomplicated. I'm sorry that for you, it will never be that way. I doubt me and Evony will ever be anything more than we are, but it's easy, with no strings attached, and we each take what we want from it. It's also open; she's free to see who she likes and the same for me. It's strange, but maybe human relationships are better for me in the long term. But, Bo, I will always be here for you, just not in that way anymore."
Bo felt sick. She wished for some kind of vortex to appear again, so she could be swallowed up by it. Her ears actually felt sore from hearing Lauren's openness and honesty. She half wished she'd never met Lauren, or that she hadn't found her new freedom, but Bo knew that was a selfish thing to wish for. Lauren deserved more than that.
Bo knew she had to get out of the lab. She felt lighted headed, bordering on nausea. She willed back the sensation. But the sensation that her heart was about to break, she couldn't control. She didn't know how to. With all the powers she had, this was a feeling of desolation and loss she couldn't fight. She was about to lose all her hopes and dreams, and the love of someone that would leave her life empty.
"I get it." Bo said. "I'll see you around." Was all she managed to say. As tears filled her eyes, she rushed out of the lab, blindly finding her way outside.
The sun was shining, it was a glorious day, a day that should have been for celebration, on so many levels, not least that Kenzi was back, but for Bo, it felt like the world was ending.
"What did you expect?"
Bo looked at Trick. "Did you expect announcing to the Fae Council and the clan's that in your opinion, I am the Chosen One, and that I'm also the daughter of a God, would be met with thunderous applause and delight?"
Bo slumped onto the sofa in Trick's den.
It had been a month since Kenzi's return and Bo had left Lauren's lab. For Kenzi's sake, she had staved off plunging into despair over what had happened with Lauren. She did her best to hide her pain, which manifested itself in constant irritation.
She had considered leaving, just disappearing, no indication of any destination; she had enough skills now to hide her tracks. If she could get away, maybe she could live a semblance of a life, one where she'd have to keep looking over her shoulder, until the Fae tracked her down. But going would cause pain to those who still cared for and loved her, and her priority was Kenzi. The thought had crossed her mind that Kenzi could leave with her, but the younger woman had been through enough, and Bo wanted her to have some stability.
Kenzi had been plagued with nightmares that Bo could only guess at their content; reliving Hale's death, her own, Valhalla, trapped in her own coffin until Dyson and Tamsin had dug her out? Kenzi didn't mention them; she either couldn't remember them, or didn't want to. So Bo stayed alert when Kenzi had slept, the first scream sending her rushing to her friends room, holding her through terror's unknown, until she calmed enough for Bo to be able to leave her. Some nights she didn't. Some nights, when Bo had lost herself to tiredness, she'd get to Kenzi's room, to find Tamsin already there, a perfunctory nod from the Valkyrie, "I got this, go back to sleep," and Bo would leave Tamsin to keep watch.
Trick had wasted no time. The day after the 'Lab-gate' incident, he had started his pitch in earnest over the prophecy; gently cajoling, coaxing, persuading her that this was her destiny. For days he had plied her with information, his enthusiasm growing, until she began to cave, and he slowly started to reel her in; to convince her. She began to wonder that maybe there was a place for her among the Fae; that maybe she could in fact make a difference, and so she gradually submitted herself to her so called prophesised fate, much to Trick's delight, although he didn't seem too surprised she had started to succumb to the idea. In fact, she hadn't, as much as she'd let on. A part of her was still so resistant, but it meant she was too engrossed to think about anything else, and that meant not thinking about Lauren.
Kenzi had been smart enough to know all was not well, and Bo had told her everything. Kenzi had mentioned, as she often did, about her various 'contact's' and that with one phone call, Lauren could be "dealt" with. Bo understood Kenzi's protective anger towards Lauren, but had persuaded her best friend, such measures were not necessary. She assured Kenzi she would get over it. She probably had many centuries to do so.
"They just need time to absorb all the information." Trick assured her.
Bo knew as much as she was trying to resist, so would they. Since her arrival she hadn't really ingratiated herself into the ways of the Fae and had generally upset most of them with her maverick attitude. They were not a group who embraced too many changes to their traditions. They couldn't see how a rule breaker, could be their ultimate leader, and that concern was only compounded by the shock announcement about her true parentage. The only one who hadn't seemed too shocked was Evony, who had barely contained a laugh at the revelation. Bo had concluded that she probably already knew via pillow talk with Lauren. She found that idea disturbing; she would never have entertained the idea that Lauren would have told Evony, but people change.
"We just need to campaign better." Trick said.
"Campaign? This isn't like some political election, where I have to have a major image overhaul, and say and do what they want to hear. I don't do bullshit, you know that Trick!" Bo's irritation was getting near its danger level. "I'll tell it like it is, and they'll have to deal with it. I didn't ask for any of this crap! I don't have a choice and neither do any of them. If I'm going to have to lead against opposition, then I will, but it might get ugly. Perhaps that's the best way to deal with it. Shoot straight from the hip, so they know I mean what I say and do!"
Trick went to appease her, but she held up her hand to silence him. "I'm not in the mood for this now. I'm going home." She told him. He looked disappointed.
"Keep researching those old books, perhaps I have some long lost sister we don't know about who's the true Chosen One!" She managed a smile, and he seemed to accept her attempt at humour as a good sign.
She kissed him on the head and left.
When she got back to the house, all she wanted was to be left alone. She just wanted to lie in her bed and wallow in self misery. Having Kenzi there meant she couldn't. Tamsin was still couch surfing at their place, so Bo knew there'd be little chance of some alone time. Tamsin was aware of the situation with Lauren, but had chosen not to engage in discussion with Bo about it, which she was relieved at.
Tamsin was stretched out on the couch, when Bo walked in. She'd been at the council meeting but had left when it ended. Neither she nor Dyson had gone back to the Dal.
"Where's Kenzi?" Bo asked.
"Is she okay?" she was irritated at Tamsin's lack of concern.
"Yeah, it was Hale's sister."
Bo calmed, glad it was someone they knew and Kenzi wasn't off somewhere alone. A part of her felt relieved. It meant she could go straight to her room and climb into bed.
"Council meeting was a hoot, eh?" Tamsin said sarcastically.
"Yeah, real barrel of laughs." Bo didn't want to talk anymore, so made her way up the stairs.
She took off her boots, removed her jacket, her eyes on her unmade bed. She couldn't wait to get into it.
"So, you gonna hide away up here?"
Bo sighed heavily. She steeled herself to come up with a polite request to ask Tamsin to leave; that would mean reigning in her irritation.
"Yep, if that's okay with you?" she turned to look at her.
"No skin off my nose. I guess it was pretty rough today. I can understand the wanting to sleep that off. But it's not gonna help with the other stuff is it? No hiding from that."
Bo glared at her. "Tamsin, I'm not really in the mood..."
"Oh I know that. You're so hiding from it you've practically disappeared up your own ass!" Tamsin stepped forward. "You know what you need to do?"
Bo closed her eyes, counting to ten; she half hoped it would stop her punching Tamsin on the jaw.
"You need to get laid!" Tamsin suggested.
Bo balled her hands into fists.
"You need to go out and bang that bitch from your mind!"
"Tamsin!" Bo warned with a growl.
"Dyson'll be happy to oblige. Or just any schmuck will do, let's face it. You just need to release all that pent up emotion."
"Stop!" Bo moved towards her, but Tamsin stood her ground.
"Or what? You know you need to! You're just avoiding it. What is it? Guilt? A sense you might be cheating on her? Jesus, she really caused some damage didn't she?" Tamsin half laughed.
"That's enough!" Bo grabbed Tamsin's throat. "Don't talk about her like that!" she hissed.
Tamsin pulled herself out of Bo's grip. It wasn't tight, more a threat. "You can't keep this up; at some point your desire to feed could destroy someone else. She's not worth you denying your basic need to survive!"
"Oh really? And what would you know about it?" Bo shoved Tamsin back against the wall. "You suddenly an expert on what I need?"
"I'm not void of desire myself. Plus, I've sampled the goods so to speak. I know you can't hold out for ever!" Tamsin challenged.
"You don't know what you're talking about!" Bo was breathing hard.
"Maybe not," Tamsin moved in closer and Bo felt the warmth of her breath on her face. "I guess Dyson does and I guess she does. But neither of them are options are they?"
Bo stalled for a moment. Surely Tamsin couldn't mean what she appeared to be saying.
"You don't know what you're offering," she shook her head walking away.
"Yes I do," Tamsin grabbed her arm. "But it's up to you to take it."
It was more than Bo could take. She pushed Tamsin back against the wall, pressing her body against hers.
"Don't play games with me!" Bo said angrily.
"I don't want this!"
"I know you don't. But you need it!"
Bo closed her eyes. Every chamber of her heart screamed no, but every fibre of her being longed to be fed. Tamsin was right. She'd been denying her basic need and if she did so for any longer, when she did feed, it could be the death of someone.
For whatever reason, Tamsin was offering her the chance to quench it. Bo knew her need was fuelled by Lauren's rejection, and that had made it worse. Her desire and emotions were overloaded because of it and they felt out of control.
"Trust me. I won't hurt you."
She heard Tamsin's voice above the rushing of her blood as it raced around her body like a raging river. Her heart thudded, pounding as if trying to escape her chest.
She tried to resist, but Tamsin forced her hand. She shoved Bo, hard, away from her, then grabbed her back, pulling Bo against her, before she kissed her.
Bo slammed them both against the wall. She grabbed Tamsin's shirt, wrenching it from her shoulders, frustrated by it, until it finally ripped.
Tamsin wasn't meek. She matched Bo's strength, as they tussled, crashing about the room. She watched Bo, never loosing eye contact; it was something Lauren did, an almost protective measure, making sure Bo was okay, reassuring her that nothing at the moment could come between them.
It was too much for Bo to handle. When they hit the bed, she closed her eyes; she didn't want to see what she was doing. She didn't want to feel what she was doing, but she couldn't stop it. She felt all of it. It wasn't gentle and it wasn't quiet, but she knew Tamsin could take it. The Valkyrie was as strong as her and had the stamina and the moves to match.
A part of her hated that this was happening, hated this weakness she carried, that she couldn't survive her true nature without indulging in something so carnal. A part of her was relieved that it was happening; that she was able to exorcise the demon that had been tormenting her; that she would wake up and it would be gone, until the next time. A part of her was grateful to Tamsin, though it felt so wrong to have accepted this offer, but it was offered with no strings. There were no feelings involved here. It was just what it was.
But more than anything, every part of her wished that it was different, wished that it was something it couldn't be.
She wished it was Lauren beneath her now.
"Kenzi! I'm so sorry!"
Hale's sister pulled her into a hug.
Kenzi had received Val's text, asking if they could meet, and she'd gone along to the coffee shop to meet her. Val was already there waiting, and had stood up when she arrived.
Kenzi was surprised by the embrace. She'd felt such an outsider where Hale's family had been concerned. She wasn't sure they'd approved of his choice, although they had been polite enough at the funeral. Val had appeared to be the more accepting, a very different attitude from when they'd first met.
"I shouldn't have waited so long to see you." Val pulled back to look at her. "Are you okay?"
Kenzi nodded. "I'm fine." Val didn't look convinced. "Really, I'm fine."
They sat down opposite each other. A waitress approached and they both gave her their orders.
"It's so wonderful to have you back. What you did for Bo, the sacrifice you made..." Val reached across the table taking Kenzi's hand. "She's very lucky to have you as a friend."
"And I'm lucky to have her as mine. She did a lot to get me back. And the Fae are lucky to have her, especially as the Chosen One. What do they all really think about that?"
Val smiled. "Oh, you know. It's going to take some convincing for some of them, others are okay with it, and others will go with the flow. I think it's probably what's needed, someone strong enough to take charge for a change. Maybe that will stop all the infighting."
The waitress brought their coffees.
"You don't think that knowing who Bo's father is could be a problem?" Kenzi was trying to ascertain if Val had heard any indication from the clans since the meeting earlier; that Bo might pose more of a threat that could lead her into more conflict and danger.
"It was a shock, no doubt about that. Tales of the ancients have always been a fascination, not just for the human world. There have been rumours of their possible influence in the Fae world, but no real proof."
Kenzi licked the cappuccino froth from her lip.
Val hesitated a moment. "Apart from wanting to see you. I have some other news, to do with Hale."
Kenzi held the cup midway to her mouth.
"It's to do with his will," Val continued.
She lowered the cup back down, her hand shaking.
"I have the details here, along with some other documents, addressed to you only, and unopened. He left instructions in his will where these could be found and part of those instructions was that I was to personally deliver them to you and no-one else."
Val lifted up a small briefcase, passing it over.
Kenzi slowly nodded taking it from her.
"He loved you very much." Val said softly.
It was more than Kenzi could take. She started to tremble. She grabbed a napkin from the napkin holder, dabbing her eyes.
"I love him still," Kenzi blurted. Val moved to sit beside her. "He'd still be here, if I hadn't been so stupid."
"It wasn't your fault! Nobody blames you! Only you are doing that!" Val hugged her again. "If I know my brother, he wouldn't want you to feel responsible!"
"He doesn't. That's how wonderful he is!" Kenzi sobbed.
Val looked at her. "You've...seen him?"
Kenzi nodded and now Val's eyes filled with tears.
"Was he...okay?" Val asked tentatively.
"Yes, he's fine. He looked...sooo good!" Kenzi smiled and laughed a little. Val laughed too.
"Thank you! Thank you so much!" Val said. "I'm so happy you got to see him and I'm so happy he's okay!"
This time Kenzi hugged Val. She was pleased to think that she had somehow given Hale's sister some peace of mind in knowing her brother was fine. She had been so caught up in her own grief, she had lost sight that she wasn't the only one to mourn his loss.
They sat and talked for some time after, and when they said goodbye, it was with promises that they would meet up regularly, and Kenzi found she liked that idea very much.
Bo tied the belt of her silk robe as she made her way to the kitchen. She yanked open the fridge door, looking for something very alcoholic. She was disappointed to find there wasn't anything strong enough as far as she was concerned; half a bottle of white wine, a few beers, some cokes. She surveyed the other bottles in the kitchen. Bourbon, Vodka, red wine. She figured if she mixed them all, then that might just be enough to drown out how she was feeling.
Instead she chose a slightly sensible option, grabbing a beer. It was only early afternoon, but what the hell. It was never too early for a beer.
She'd almost downed it in one, when there was a knock on the door. Kenzi had a key, so she knew it wasn't her. Bo contemplated not answering, but another louder rap, meant whoever it was, wasn't going away.
Irritated she made her way over, yanking it open.
"What?!" she said ferociously.
Lauren stood there, startled at the fierce welcome.
Bo froze for a moment, unsure what to say.
"Hi, Bo. Is Kenzi in?" Lauren smiled.
Bo thought Lauren looked tired. And although she was smiling, she wasn't really. It was a sad kind of smile.
She stopped herself from asking if she was okay. It was none of her business anyway, not anymore.
"No, Kenzi's out." Bo said flatly.
"Oh?" Lauren said. "I told her I'd come by. I just wanted to do a medical check up on her. I thought here would be better than the lab. I know she's not keen on hospitals. Perhaps she forgot."
"Yeah, she probably did. I'll tell her when she gets back."
"Thanks. And how are you? Everything okay?" Lauren asked
"Just peachy. Couldn't be better." Bo answered. She saw Lauren's expression drop, then felt arms circle her waist from behind.
"I wondered where you'd got to," Tamsin spoke seductively, kissing Bo's neck.
Tamsin stared at Lauren as she said it and Bo winced. She knew what Tamsin was doing and why. Tamsin placed her hand inside Bo's robe, against her chest. She grabbed it, to stop her stroking, squeezing it to let Tamsin know that enough was enough. Lauren was getting the message loud and clear.
Bo wasn't sure, but Lauren's body seemed to tense for a moment, and she noticed Lauren's hand grip her medical bag tighter.
"Well, I can see you're...busy. Sorry to disturb you. Please let Kenzi know I came by." Lauren turned away from them.
Tamsin let go of Bo, kicking the door shut. "Now, that wasn't so hard was it?"
Bo didn't answer. "I'm gonna take a shower." She hoped Tamsin didn't see it as an invite to join her.
She hurried upstairs, her stomach in knots. As she looked at the bed, she wanted to cry. This had been a mistake. It hadn't helped at all. She had gotten out of bed, leaving Tamsin without saying a word. She was in desperate need of something to drink, to wash away the memory. But the whole time Lauren had been standing in front of her, all she could think about was what had happened upstairs, and all she wanted to do was beg Lauren for another chance. But that seemed futile. Lauren didn't appear to be affected at all by the knowledge of what she and Tamsin had not long been engaged in.
Bo finally tore her gaze away from the tangled bed sheets, closing her eyes. Lauren's face flashed before her. She stumbled quickly to the toilet, and vomited.
Lauren was grateful to be back at her apartment. She closed the door, leaning against it for a moment. She inhaled deeply, before pushing herself away. Wearily she dropped her medical bag by her desk, removed her jacket, leaving it across the desk chair.
She flopped down on her couch to remove her shoes, rubbing her forehead, feeling the beginnings of a headache; she closed her eyes, but that didn't help. Bo naked, except for a silk dressing gown, was all she could see. The image was marred when Tamsin showed up, her hands all over Bo.
Lauren sat up with a start. The evening would only be improved, medically, she concluded, by copious amounts of alcohol.
She was reaching for the bottle of wine, when someone knocked on the door.
Groaning, "Oh please, not now," she hoped they would go away. A louder bash against the door and she knew that was hopeless.
Opening the door, she found Evony waiting.
"Hi, Lauren" Evony said cheerily. She waved a bottle of wine. "I thought it's been a while since we've had a cosy chat!" She didn't wait to be invited in.
Lauren watched her fetch two wine glasses, resigning herself to the fact her evening would be spent discussing Evony's needs, issues, and her restoration.
Lauren took the full glass of wine Evony gave her as she sat back down on the couch.
"So, how are things progressing?" Evony asked.
"Slowly," Lauren took a long gulp of the wine.
"You don't say." Evony eyed her. "Interesting news today about Bo. That's some family secret."
Lauren looked at her.
"I assume from the escapade to rescue Kenzi, you knew who he was?"
"That's some loyalty you have in keeping it quiet. It's to be commended really."
Lauren decided it was time to end the small talk. "Why are you here?"
Evony put her glass down on the coffee table. "Okay I'll get straight to the point. Do you mind telling me what that was all about in the lab the other week, with Bo?"
Lauren sighed heavily. "Nothing."
"Look, I don't mind that I was obviously there to give Bo a certain impression. I don't care about hurting her feelings, but I'm curious as to why you felt the need to."
Lauren flinched at the comment. She knew that is exactly what had happened, and she had seen by Bo's reaction that it had had the desired effect. She hadn't slept properly since and she'd lost count of the times she picked up the phone to dial Bo's number, only managing to stop herself at the last minute. The excuse of visiting Kenzi at home, had given her the ideal opportunity to see Bo, to see how she was doing. It appeared she was in fact, doing just fine. She didn't blame Tamsin; maybe that had only been a question of time.
"Lauren?" Evony pushed. "It's pretty obvious you're suffering in some way. You look like shit to be blunt; you're distracted, distant. I'm not quite an expert on human feelings yet, although I'm getting a clearer understanding since my current condition. I can do without the mood swings, menstrual cramps, and body odour, but those human feelings are something else. They can be so overwhelming, so powerful, yet so wonderful too. Why are you so intent on denying yourself what you obviously feel for Bo?"
Lauren felt tears start to prick her eyes. An almost human feeling Evony was worse, than when she was Fae.
"You had your reasons for doing what you did to me, but you have to believe I'm not the enemy. I offered a genuine hand of friendship, and you chose to bite it."
Lauren stared at her, not quite believing the Dark Leader appeared so resigned to that fact.
"I don't know what your ultimate goal is, if you ever had one. But that offer of friendship is still there. Whatever choice you made over Bo, I believe you're going to regret it."
Lauren gulped down the lump in her throat, drinking quickly from her wine glass.
"It's not that simple. It's complicated. It always is with the Fae," she answered. "Just when I think it'll be okay, just when I think I've worked it out, something comes along to mess it up. I try so damn hard to make it work. I try so hard to keep her from harm. It's all for her."
Lauren smiled. "I know this doesn't make sense. Hell, half the time it doesn't even to me!"
"Well, I've nothing better to do this evening. Perhaps I can help make sense of it?" Evony raised her glass.
"It really doesn't matter anymore. It's too late now." She murmured. She didn't want to think or talk about Bo. She wasn't sure she could without falling apart.
"Then I guess drinking is the order of the night. Here's to drowning sorrows." Evony smiled, clinking her glass to Lauren's.
"I'll drink to that!" Lauren took another large sip of wine.
When Lauren woke up, she was on the couch, covered with a small blanket. She gingerly sat up, the room swaying. She waited for it to wear off, before attempting to move again. On the coffee table were four empty bottles of red wine. She moaned. Then she noticed one of the bottles had a rolled up piece of paper sticking out of it.
She removed it to read the note.
Trust me. I won't tell anybody. E
"Crap!" she groaned. She buried her head in her hands as the room swayed again, wondering if she'd make it to the bathroom in time to throw up.
"Oh my God! Oh my God!"
Kenzi jumped off the bed, shaking her hands, as if trying to rid herself of something stuck to them. She looked back at the papers scattered on the bed, taking a deep breath. Calming herself, she went back over, picked them up, and started to read them again.
It had taken courage for her to look at the documents Val had given her. Arriving back that night, she had placed the briefcase on her dresser and had left it there. She had sat on her bed staring at it, before finally lying down to go to sleep.
It had remained there all the following day, until the evening, when she had tentatively opened it pulling out the contents. The top folder had been clearly marked "Last Will & Testament: Hale Santiago", and that had been as much as she could take. She had left it there again. Bo had been on hand for support but had not pushed her to go any further. Instead they had ordered pizza.
It had been a further two days until she had sat down to read it, Bo by her side again. She had discovered that apart from leaving her some considerable money, there was a house and land in Spain that was also now hers. Hale had hoped it's where they would have spent their honeymoon and eventually lived when they were older. She had gone to pieces and Bo had had to stay with her for the rest of the night, holding her until she had finally cried herself to sleep and then had stayed, sleeping with her friend through a fitful night's sleep.
It had taken her another couple of days to get over the emotion of knowing what Hale had hoped for them, and now that she had felt capable, she had decided it was time to look at the other folder. It had been marked "Confidential" and was sealed.
Her grief at reading his will was overwhelming, but what she had been reading for the last hour was unbelievable and the cause of her excited yet stunned state.
"Your BFF needs you and so does someone else. You're the only one who can work it out, trust me on this!"
Hale's word's swirled around Kenzi's brain. She'd had no idea what he had meant at the time, except that he was adamant that she return from Valhalla. But now she had a much clearer picture of why he had been so keen.
"Oh my God!" Kenzi mumbled. She scanned the documents again. Hale's reports contained pages of very detailed information; it was like reading some thrilling detective novel. Considering he had been one, it was no surprise, but this information was off the Kenzi chart.
As detailed as it had been, in one of his reports, Hale hadn't been able to confirm a piece of information he was suspicious of, despite everything he'd found confirming that information was correct. It was the only part of this report that was incomplete, and it wasn't clear enough to Kenzi, what information he had in fact been trying to discover, other than he had hit a brick wall trying to get it. That was the odd thing. The Fae had contacts, ways of getting info, bypassing bureaucracy, but this had been off limits. It was a mystery to her, but she was smart enough to know it mattered, or Hale wouldn't have pursued it. It would be something she'd try to figure out and solve, if she could, but the rest of the information she couldn't immediately ignore.
She pondered who she should share this all with? Should she, in fact, confide in them? Her obvious choice was always Bo when it was a major issue, and this was major, but she had a feeling Bo wouldn't react well. That left Dyson. She knew he'd be shocked that his best friend and police buddy had never told him any of this, but once presented with the evidence, she was sure Dyson would understand, and perhaps help her discover even more.
But then she decided what the hell. This wasn't time to pussyfoot around. She needed to confront the source of the reports head on.
Lauren rubbed her forehead, trying to ease the headache she could feel building. She'd been working long hours, not just in the clinic but on various research projects, to keep herself occupied. She even slept at the clinic sometimes to save going home to a lonely apartment, and a lonely bed. Not that that stopped her from dreaming, however short she slept. The dreams were always the same; in bed with Bo; on the couch with Bo; on the floor with Bo; in the shower with Bo; up against the wall with Bo. Her dreams had a fertile imagination.
And she knew she was doing herself no favours; avoiding sleep to avoid the dreams and sleep deprivation was not a good combination where medical decisions needed to be made; research could equally suffer. She tried to remain calm, professional, focusing on her work, but an element of irritation sometimes crept in, and she had snapped at some of the other medical staff, apologising as soon as she had realised she'd done so.
She gazed at the medical chart again, as one of the nurses waited for her opinion. There were currently five patients, all the same Fae, admitted with severe abdominal pain and vomiting, and she'd discovered they'd all eaten something that their kind could not digest. It seemed a targeted attack; somehow at a Dark restaurant the food substance had been introduced. They were all university students, so it was probably a stupid Light prank as far as Lauren was concerned, and she was in no doubt the Dark would retaliate in some way. The fortunate thing was this was nothing fatal; just a serve allergic reaction, and one she assumed would amuse the Light university students.
Lauren nodded. "Keep the same medication, and I'll review in an hour. By then the meds should have alleviated symptoms. In another few hours they can all probably go home."
"Thank you, Dr Lewis," The nurse said and left.
As Lauren looked up she was surprised to see Kenzi. The younger woman looked pensive and anxious; troubled in some way. She made her was over.
"Are you okay?" Lauren promptly asked.
"Yeah. Is there some where we can talk?" Kenzi looked around the busy clinic.
"Of course, follow me. We can use the office in my lab."
She led the way, looking at Kenzi, trying to gauge what was wrong. Once inside the office she closed the door shutting out any other sounds she thought Kenzi might find distressing.
"Are you sure you're okay? You look...stressed." Lauren suggested.
"No, I'm fine," Kenzi sat down.
Lauren perched herself on the corner of the desk. "So, you're sleeping okay?"
"I know everything!" Kenzi blurted.
Lauren tilted her head, her heart rate increasing. She thought she had Evony's promise.
"I know about you and Hale!"
"Me and Hale?" Lauren was surprised at the accusation. "What are you talking about?"
"Don't try and deny it!"
"How can I? I'm not even sure what it is, that I'm supposed to be denying!" She stared at Kenzi.
"I know about Taft. I know about all of it!"
Lauren stilled for a moment, trying not to react. She smiled. "I'm not sure what you mean..."
"Lauren, I know okay! Hale, he told me. I have this report he left me."
Lauren's mind whirred for a moment. She had no idea that Hale would have kept such a report. The danger it could have put him in. But a part of her was relieved that he had. She smiled to herself at his tenacity, and how thorough he had been. She doubted the Light had any true idea of what they had lost, but then Hale had been happy to give a different impression. It had meant he had been able to stay under the Light radar.
"Okay..." Lauren said tentatively allowing Kenzi to continue.
"Hale knew something was up way before he was going to be elected as the new Ash. He'd had some missing person's reports come across his desk and he'd been looking into those on his own time, way before Dyson and Tamsin found that mass grave of Fae. You know this anyway! He came to you; a couple of the bodies you'd run tests on. He asked you to only give him the results. Even Lochlyn didn't know at the time. And you agreed. Some of the kills were similar to Succubus kills! I guess you wanted to make sure it wasn't Bo!"
Kenzi stood up. "So, Hale digs and digs. He's convinced there's something big going on. He finds an old report, about some kid and his brother. The kid swears a creature killed his brother, but no one believed him. They said he'd done it. But Hale knew the kid was right. He found out who he was, and he had a hunch. But now he was acting Ash waiting to be elected. He needed someone to get close to Taft, to find out. The guy had his own institute and Hale needed you to get in there. He lured Taft, with all that stupid Karen Beatey crap. Hale got all that set up, it was all fake! But Taft fell for it, and thought that would be his bargaining pitch with you."
Kenzi started pacing.
"Hale had told you his suspicions about Taft and what he might be doing, and you were more than happy to help. For all you knew, Bo, or any of the gang could have been the next victim!"
Lauren just sat, letting Kenzi ramble on.
"We all know what happened after. Hale knew you were in there. That's why when the Morrigan wanted it announced at the inauguration, whose name was on the vial that had poisoned Dyson, Hale warned her not to push it. He knew the implications. That's partly why he was trying to broker a peace with the Dark, although he knew that was pointless!"
Kenzi finally took a breath. "And you kept the pretence up didn't you? Even when Bo got into Taft's place. You told her you didn't care anymore, you finally had some freedom. That was all part of it too, wasn't it, because of what happened next, because of what Hale now wanted you to do. You disappeared, like he asked you to. And the Dark found you. Because he'd secretly told them where you were! He had asked another favour of you; to get onside with the Dark, to get them to trust you! He knew you'd have more freedom with them, than the Light. He knew, that whoever became the next Ash, wouldn't allow you to do what you then did next!"
Kenzi stopped pacing. "This all sounding familiar, Doc? Why didn't you say anything? You could have told us all this after Hale died. Why didn't you?"
Lauren took a deep breath, hoping Kenzi would understand. "What would have been the point? None of it mattered then. The most important thing was that Taft was discovered and stopped. That he couldn't maim or make the Fae do what he made them do to each other! That's what Hale wanted, and I wanted to help."
Kenzi just stared at her. "It wouldn't have mattered? Are you crazy? You had a death sentence hanging over your head!"
"I know that, but to have said anything at the time, would have compromised Hale! If the Dark had known why I was there!"
"But you still didn't say anything. Don't you think Bo and the others should know?"
"Why? What difference would it make? I made the choices I thought was best, for everyone!"
"And one of those choices back then was breaking up with Bo?"
Lauren bowed her head.
"Oh my God!" Kenzi mumbled. "Did Hale ask you....was that Hale's idea, too?"
Lauren sighed. "It was the right decision. We had no idea what Taft had in mind. It could have led Bo into direct danger. We didn't really know Dyson was his main target."
Kenzi's mouth hung open. "Jeez," she said under her breath. "I know from his report, he got you to play along when he threw his weight around, telling you what you could and could not do now he was acting Ash, but agreeing to that..." her voice trailed off.
Lauren's headache was starting to get worse. The sudden memory of all of this was starting to pound at her brain.
"You should have told Bo!" Kenzi suddenly continued. "She had a right to know, even after! She would have understood! But now you've done it to her again! What's the reason for breaking her heart this time?"
The words thumped into Lauren like a punch. She choked, inside, at the reminder that that's what she had done to Bo; broken her heart; effectively she'd broken two.
"There isn't one!" Was all Lauren said.
"Oh really? And why are you still working for the Dark? You could have come clean about that after Hale was killed!"
"I'm not exactly flavour of the month with the Light or the Dark, after what I did to Evony! I doubt I'd be welcomed back by the Light!"
"And that was Hale's idea, too? To render her human?"
"It doesn't matter anymore!"
"Why do you keep saying that! Hasn't any of this affected you?"
Lauren had had enough. "Of course it has! You don't think that what happened to Hale affected me? Things should have turned out so differently for you both. I just needed more time! And what had happened to Bo? Of course I'm affected! But things never turn out how we want them to, no matter how hard we try!"
"I don't know. They seemed to have turned out well for you! Look at this place. You got Evony...what did you need more time for?"
"Kenzi, you have no idea!" Lauren lowered her tone.
"So, who's next on the turning Fae human list? You got plenty to choose from! Now you got the knowhow, why haven't you changed more?"
"It was never about that!"
"No? So what was Hale's plan? I mean, that's why he wanted you here right, so you could work on it secretly?"
"Yes, he knew if I'd played my part convincingly, I'd probably have a lot more freedom to experiment and research. Despite Taft's agenda, Evony had a morbid fascination with some of his experiments, and knowing I'd been partly involved, intrigued her!"
"So she expecting you to do the same?"
"That won't happen!"
"So why only her then?"
"I needed a guinea pig that was all!"
"It no longer matters, Kenzi! Forget it!"
"You're really starting to piss me off..."
"Then leave!" Lauren indicated the door.
"No! I think you owe us the truth!"
"You won't want to hear it, not now, trust me!"
"Trust you? You know, I really want to, I've always tried to, for Bo's sake. But you don't exactly make it easy! So what don't I want to know?"
"Come on, Kenzi, think about it! You knew him! You knew he wanted change within the Fae. And I believe he would have done it. I think he would have brought the Light and Dark together. But more than anything, he wanted you. And he would have done anything for you. He knew how much you wanted to be like the Fae, but he loved you for being who you were, so he wanted to change himself!"
She could see it took a moment for Kenzi to understand. She took a deep breath, leading a shell shocked Kenzi to sit back down. "No one would suspect; I could get away with the research, but I needed a test case. I couldn't take the chance, it might have killed him. I just needed more time. But I failed. After Hale was killed, I still went ahead. I wanted to know I could have done it, for him. I proved it would have worked with Evony."
Kenzi sat still in the chair and Lauren knew she was in shock. "I guess he failed to mention the real reason in his report." she murmured. She could have kicked herself for letting her emotion, and irritation, be the cause of distress to Kenzi. She'd known Hale wanted it kept quiet, until Lauren knew for sure she was capable of succeeding. Only then was his intention to tell Kenzi.
Everything had become such a mess. Lauren wished it were medically possible to change events. She'd gladly do it. That ability only lay with the Blood King. She wasn't sure how much more any of them could take, before things fractured so much, that it would be impossible for them to work with each other, remain friends. She feared that events would lead to a complete breakdown in communication.
"He wanted to be human? For me?" Kenzi's voice was small.
Lauren tried to smile. She squeezed Kenzi's hand as she knelt beside her. "Yes, he did. I'm sorry I didn't make that happen."
Kenzi nodded in understanding. Lauren fetched some tissues, handing them to Kenzi, who hadn't yet realised tears were spilling from her eyes.
Surprised when Kenzi grabbed her hand, squeezing it, Lauren knelt down again and pulled the young woman into a hug. They had been angered with each other in their heated exchange, but that now disappeared. Sorrow and regret outweighed anger in its moment of enormity. Hale was gone, and Lauren knew very well that Kenzi's life wouldn't be the same again.
Kenzi composed herself. "You know I can't keep any of this from Bo." she stated.
Lauren nodded. "I'd prefer you did, but I know why you feel that way. I think she has enough to contend with right now." She sat on the edge of her desk again.
"Is there really no chance for you guys?" Kenzi asked.
Lauren chose not to answer directly. "How's Tamsin?"
Kenzi shot her a quick look. "You know?"
Lauren had hoped for a different response, but didn't say anymore.
"Doc, I'm not sure,....what they have, but it's something weird, and it sure don't seem to make either of them happy!"
Lauren really didn't want to hear any details. She changed the subject. "I know I've never exactly been on your favourite list, but you are welcome here anytime, no matter what it's for. For what that's worth right now."
Kenzi stood up. "Thanks." She'd said it quietly and Lauren felt it was genuine. As Kenzi got to the door, she turned back.
"By the way, that necklace you gave Bo? Where did you get it?"
Lauren was surprised by the question. It seemed at odds with their previous discussion.
"Is there a reason you need to know?"
"Just something Hale mentioned in his report."
"Really?" Lauren was even more surprised. "I never knew he noticed it. I didn't wear it that often. It didn't really go with the Light necklace I had to wear." She touched her neck instinctively. There was no such shackle there now, as a reminder of her place amongst the Fae.
"I've always had it," Lauren continued. "As long as I can remember. It was from my parents."
Kenzi took the news nonchalantly, then left the room.
Lauren sat down at her desk, rested her elbows on it, and her head in her hands. God, she felt drained. She'd wondered in the past how relieved she would feel, if they all knew the truth about Taft, but now someone did, she didn't feel relieved at all. It was just more complications. She questioned her loyalties and her judgement. She'd done it all in good faith, and all to protect one person. To shield them from the truth, to keep them from harm. But she wondered now was her judgement so skewed by her feelings for Bo, that in fact, she had caused the opposite. Could you love someone so much, you'd willingly throw yourself to the wolves, to save them. In theory, that's what she'd done, but it hadn't turned out how it should have. Those stories always lead to happy endings, but that's all they were. Fiction. This story had disaster written all over it.
Lauren sighed heavily. She really needed to find a way to stop thinking about Bo. The fact that she had something weird going on with Tamsin, but at least Bo had that. Lauren had nothing.
Lauren looked up to see Evony standing in her office. The Morrigan was wearing a deep maroon coloured dress, just short above the knee and knee high maroon boots to match. As usual her hair and makeup were impeccable and the whole image smacked of sex appeal.
"I saw the Resurrected One just leaving. This place really is becoming a magnet for Light and non Fae. You really must have a remarkable bedside manner!"
Lauren couldn't help herself. She got up quickly, stood in front of Evony, cupped her face in her hands, and kissed her.
Evony didn't react or reciprocate. She gently broke away from the kiss, removing Lauren's hands from her face.
"Unless that kiss has just restored me, we both know this is a pointless exercise. I don't think it's unfair to say, that our one, and only, night together didn't end too well for me, so I'm a little wary of such displays of affection, especially from you."
Evony delicately wiped her lipstick from Lauren's lips. "And it should be noted that as spectacular as that night was, despite the outcome, my preference is predominately for male company. So unless I'm required, again, to give a certain impression to Bo, which I can see is not the case, as she's not here, I will assume this is a bad time, and you've just been thinking about her?"
Evony raised a questioning eyebrow.
"Yes, it's a bad time and yes, I was thinking about her."
"I guess I should be flattered you felt the need to share."
"I'm sorry. It's not fair that I did that."
"I assume that's what friends are for. Although I recommend you seek further help. I noticed one of the nurses appears to have a bit of a crush over you. I'm sure she'd be very amenable...?"
Lauren managed a small laugh. "No, I mean I'm really, really sorry. For what I did. The reason I did it. It wasn't fair. It wasn't right."
"Ahhh. I see." Evony nodded. "If I was still who I was, you'd be a puddle of mush on the floor after that apology. I've never really been a forgiving soul. But perhaps I'm partly to blame for my current state."
"My Leanan Sidhe Fae powers do inspire greatness, normally amongst artists, but who is to say it didn't play a little part in inspiring you? That was a genius stroke of medicine, Dr Lewis. Now, as a human, I have to acknowledge that."
"And as a human, you are continuing to amaze me." Lauren said. "I'm not sure I could be so forgiving."
"Why? The ability to forgive is one of humanity's biggest traits, possibly one of its noblest. Perhaps, Lauren, it's time you gave yourself a break, and forgave yourself a little?"
Lauren stood opened mouth. "Evony Fleurette Marquise, you are quite extraordinary. Wisdom as well as forgiveness. When will it end?"
"Possibly when you restore me. I apologise now, if I do turn you to mush. But I rather think if you mute the Leanan Sidhe down a bit, and keep some human traits. I've found I rather like them. Just don't tell anybody that."
Evony winked and Lauren laughed.
"About us being friends, do you mean that?" Lauren asked.
"Oh my dear," Evony patted Lauren's cheek. "It's sad that you have to ask. I'm sorry too. Sorry that you've spent so much time amongst us, we've practically destroyed any trust you may have had. I meant what I said. I offered, and I still offer a genuine hand of friendship. The Fae don't realise, how lucky they are to have you amongst them. Loyalty like yours cannot be bought, but you give it so freely."
Lauren wanted to thank her, but the lump in her throat meant she couldn't speak. Instead she squeezed Evony's hand in gratitude. She was in no doubt that Evony meant it. She would have a friend in the Dark Leader.
Kenzi said, hoping Bo would.
Bo had been reading Hale's report and hadn't said a word during it or since she'd finished. Kenzi couldn't stand the suspense.
"What do you expect me to say?" Bo finally answered. She placed the folder on the coffee table
Kenzi looked disbelievingly. "Err, hello!" she picked it back up, waving it. "You read this, right? The whole thing? Didn't skip to the last page to see how it all ends?"
Bo sighed deeply.
"You don't happen to think this is the most incredible piece of undercover team work you've ever heard of? I mean, me and you, we've uncovered some pretty freaky shit, but this? This is like Mulder and Scully freaky shit! This is pro level shit! We're just...kindergarten shit compared to this!"
Bo knew Kenzi was right. It must have been many months of investigation and then meticulous planning. What a man, the Light had lost in Hale. She wondered if they had any idea; probably not. Both sides were always too preoccupied, too self centred, too busy in fighting, not just against each other, but within themselves. They wouldn't recognise a great leader if one bit them on the ass. They'd had a potential for the first time in a long while, to have someone to unite them, but she figured they'd have squandered it anyway. If only Hale was still here now. She'd have given him her loyalty, but not her allegiance to the Light her freedom was and would always remain her own. But she was realising that was becoming less of a reality. Becoming less of her choice. She was the prophesied one. And the future of the Fae was in her hands. Perhaps it was best not to fight against it. Perhaps it was time to seize the opportunity. Perhaps she could achieve what Hale might have. Perhaps she could bring harmony to the Fae. Perhaps she could finally bring a symbiosis between Fae and Humans.
And what of the human caught up in all this? It hadn't just been Hale alone. He'd had an incredible ally. Someone who had been willing, despite her supplication in the past, despite her treatment and captivity at the hands of the Fae, to risk everything in order to help save them. Why would she take such a risk? Bo knew the answer; it was simple. Because it's what Lauren would do. That's who she was. There was no question, no hesitation, when Hale called upon her for help. Lives were in danger. Fae lives, and Lauren didn't distinguish, despite what she'd gone through. She'd taken the Hippocratic Oath as a doctor. But she had gone beyond the call of duty this time.
Bo looked at Kenzi. "Yep, it's top notch shit." She simply said.
"Bo, that's not all....Hale...he asked Lauren...he suggested you two have a break....they weren't sure if you were the target....Lauren didn't want you in any danger."
Bo inhaled sharply. Her chest suddenly felt tight. It was a few seconds before she breathed again.
"She did it for you." Kenzi said softly.
"Then why didn't she tell me?" Bo asked standing up. "She didn't trust me enough, to tell me all this? She didn't stop to think of the danger she was putting herself in! Why doesn't anybody tell me the damn truth! Why is everything such a damn secret? That's all it's been since I discovered what I was, since we turned up here! And I'm tired of it! From now on, there will be no more secrets, no more lies, no more hiding the truth. All it does is cause trouble and pain! It's time it stopped!"
Bo rubbed her forehead. Why hadn't Lauren told her? Why hadn't Lauren trusted her?
"Bo-Bo," Kenzi stood up gently rubbing Bo's arms to placate her. "I think it was done with good intention."
"Yeah? Well good intention turned out to be Evony and a state of the art clinic. How could I compete!"
Bo made her way over to the fridge, taking out a cold beer. She rolled it across her forehead, hoping to alleviate the pounding sensation, before she flipped the top off and drank. She considered how many she'd need to drink to act as a painkiller, and not just from the headache.
"I think you're right," Kenzi sat on a stool at the kitchen table. "All this secrecy needs to stop. I know you can do it, Bo. I believe in you. I think you can make a big change, for the good. I think once the Fae understand that's all you want, for there to be some peace, then they'll support your leadership. You're the only one that can do it."
Bo smiled a little. Thank God for Kenzi. Without her she knew she would have slipped into a very deep, dark despair.
"Besides, the Prophecy says so, so it must be true." Kenzi rolled her eyes.
Bo playfully threw the bottle top at her. "Thanks!"
"So, this...thang with Tamsin. It serious?"
"It's nothing." Bo closed her eyes as she drank more beer. She found herself continually amazed as well as caught out by Kenzi's ability to easily shift from one conversation to another. And she always seemed to get straight to the point.
"It didn't sound like nothing the other night!"
Bo winced. She and Kenzi had had a girl's night. It had involved a couple of bottles of wine until she had fallen asleep on the couch and Kenzi had left her there, going off to her own bed. Bo had been dreaming about Lauren and its content was adult rated. Tamsin had gotten home to find her 'bed' occupied. She had gently tried to wake Bo, and in a semi groggy drunken state, she had mistaken it for Lauren standing over her. When she had realised it wasn't, her libido was too far ahead to be halted.
Again, it shouldn't have happened but it had, and as much as the first time Bo had needed it purely to feed, this time she just plain wanted it. Tamsin hadn't protested and didn't seem to understand why Bo had continually apologised afterwards, swearing it wouldn't happen again. The last couple of days had been awkward; Bo had barely managed to look Tamsin in the face, and had decided that the less time they spent in each other's company, would be the best bet, until she could find another way, or another outlet for her desires. Self gratification seemed the obvious choice at the moment. It was limited but would have to suffice.
"It just...happened," Bo said sadly. "I just lost focus. It won't happen again. Tamsin's a good friend and I don't wanna to ruin that."
"Glad to hear it. And as your best friend, just so you know....don't even think about it!" Kenzi warned.
Bo laughed. She couldn't remember the last time she had, but it felt good.
Yet another gathering of the Fae Elders and clans but this time Bo had insisted it be held at the Dal. The bar was neutral for both sides, and she felt more comfortable in it, than the previous neutral locations that had been chosen. The big surprise to her and the whole gathering was the inclusion of Lauren, who had accompanied Evony. Bo knew there was still a massive suspicion from them all regarding the Doctor, but no one dared to challenge her inclusion, especially as she had the backing of the Dark leader; they also had no idea of what punishment Lauren could exact if she felt so inclined. Bo knew that would never be Lauren's intent, but she had to acknowledge that it was masterstroke by Evony to bring her along. Anybody thinking of possibly usurping her might wake up to find themselves in the same state of human condition.
For all of them gathered, Bo also knew there was an element of uncertainty. The prophecy had been part of their folklore for so long, that no one really doubted it was fantasy. It was believed that one day, the Chosen One would indeed come, and the expectation was high. The issue was that no one had known that it would be a Demi-God; a child of Hades. It didn't exactly inspire adulation; more fear. The ancients had been powerful, and now they had one amongst them. She knew she had to assuage their growing concerns over what she might do to the Fae. There was a Doctor who could change them, but that was nothing compared to a leader that could annihilate all of them.
Bo leant back against the bar, trying to appear relaxed and friendly. Ideally she would have preferred to sit, but she was concerned if she did, she'd fall asleep. Sleep, these days, seemed a luxury and it was becoming sparser; whatever sleep she did manage, still left her feeling tired.
She waited until everyone had arrived. Not all members of the clans were there, but enough to relay onto those not in attendance, the outcome of the proceedings.
She looked at Trick, Dyson, Kenzi and Tamsin, standing with her, offering their silent support. She smiled at them before addressing the gathering.
"Thank you all for coming." Bo pushed away from the bar, walking amongst them. She hoped this would show them that she wasn't unapproachable, and that she didn't view herself as distant from them. She could see a few faces appeared pleasantly surprised at the gesture, and some suspicious.
"I know from the last few meetings, that many of you are worried about me. I know my attitude and deeds haven't all been in keeping with Fae tradition, but I believe some of those deeds have in fact been beneficial. Sometimes things need to change, things that can't be fixed, that are causing more harm than good. It's not about ridding traditions per se, but some needed to go."
Bo knew that all gathered were aware she was referring to the demise of the Una Mens. The outrage against her over that hadn't really lasted for very long, and appeared more an expected reaction. But it seemed the majority were glad they'd gone. They'd just never had the guts to do it themselves.
"I know many of you are concerned about my future intentions. Let me make it clear. My intention is not, I repeat, not to be ultimate leader,"
She continued to walk slowly around the room letting that statement sink in.
"What I want is transparency. I want us," she indicated all gathered. "All of us to work together. I don't want, and I can't, do this without your help. We need to make this work. Now is the time, to finally take an opportunity to bring some peace to both sides. The constant secrets and lies have to stop."
Bo found she was looking directly at Lauren, herself standing near to the rear of the room. But Lauren wasn't looking at her; her head was bowed, as she looked at the floor.
"They may seem to be a solution, to safeguard information or people, but in fact, they sometimes cause more harm. They can stunt a bright future, expectations, hope,"
Lauren finally looked up and Bo's voice hitched in her throat. Lauren's eyes showed nothing but sadness, and she looked distraught. Bo found she couldn't look at her anymore. Her words had obviously wounded Lauren deeply, which she found strange. Lauren had moved on, so why did she look so upset. But that's what happened, wasn't it? Truth can be just as painful.
"And I want a bright future, for all of us. I want us to all have hope, and great expectations. I believe, together, we can achieve that. But I don't want it to be exclusive to just the Fae,"
Bo took a deep breath, knowing her next statement would be met with resistance.
"We need to include the human world,"
Gasps went up around the room.
"Hear me out," she said. "We wouldn't exist without them and we have no right to believe we are so above them we have a right to claim them. To manipulate them. You cannot dismiss how important their influence is on our world, our lives. Many have secretly supported us, risked their lives, and some have even given their lives to save us. Can we say we have done the same?"
Bo looked across to Kenzi and smiled. "We have an obligation, we need to protect them just as much. The world belongs to all of us and we need to find a way to live in it with them. It's not inclusive to just us and we can't continue to exclude them. It needs to be on an equal basis."
Evony slow clapped her hands. "I can't quite believe I'm admitting this, but for once I find I actually agree with something you've said."
Bo gave her a gracious smile of thanks.
"But what about your father? How can we be sure Hades won't have some influence over your decisions? How can we trust you?" A lone clan member spoke out.
"I know that's another major concern," Bo answered. "And I know it's a big ask, to trust me when I say, that he won't have any influence at all. He maybe my father, but I'm not my father's daughter."
There were mumblings amongst the crowd.
"It's another thing you all need to do," Now Lauren spoke up and Bo spun round, stunned that she'd done so. "Trust each other. And you need to trust Bo. If she says she will do something, or she won't, then you can trust her word. If she was at all influenced by Hades, then we wouldn't all be sitting here now. I know for a fact, that Bo had a choice to make, one that many in this room would have killed for. But she choose you, she chose to walk away from a power that the ancients had used to control everyone. That's not what Bo is about, it's not want she wants for all of us. And she will do all she can to protect you from anything or anyone, that wants that kind of control. You all need to start believing in her."
It was an impassioned, confident statement and Bo wasn't sure how to react to it.
It was Trick that spoke up next.
"If any of you have concerns over this, then I have uncovered more information. More elements of the prophecy mention that the Chosen One will bring about the defeat of the Dark father."
Bo stared at him, trying not to show her shock. This was a new piece of information that she knew nothing of.
"The chosen one will unite us. And along with their warrior mate, their descendents will continue to do so." Trick had mentioned it before, but felt the need to reinforce this piece of information. He hoped it would show that a future, not influenced by the shock news of Hades, was possible.
The people in the room instinctively looked towards Dyson. It seemed collectively, and from what Trick had said before about the chosen ones mate, he was the obvious one. Even the Dark Fae had a grudging respect for him. His warrior style loyalty was without question, and of course many knew of his past relationship with Bo.
Bo still found this thought disconcerting, and as Dyson gave her an almost embarrassed smile, she looked away.
"But all this information about the prophecy has come from the light. How do we know it's all completely true?" A Dark clan member asked.
"A fair point," Evony answered before Trick could. "That's why I propose, from now on, a joint venture between myself and the Acting Light Ash," she indicated Trick. "We need to combine the resources of the Light and Dark archives. I'm sure that will help with any more concerns, and of course, would begin an element of transparency and trust, along with eliminating some of the secrets and lies that are so proliferate. Apparently?" Evony raised a questioning eyebrow at Bo. "Would you agree that that's a start?"
Bo nodded. "I think it would be a good start." She was surprised at the offer, wondering if it was influenced by her human state, and also by someone else who they both knew well.
"Good," Evony said. "I'll make this official," she announced. "Any requests for help from the Light, I sanction and will be adhered to by the Dark. I suggest that myself and Trick will review requests from each side. Some protocols need to remain in place, after all. Are you agreeable?" she looked at Trick.
He seemed unable to believe what he was hearing. "Yes! Yes I agree and sanction the same from the Light!"
"Well, if that's today's agenda over with?" Evony looked at Bo. "I suggest we celebrate. To a new future. Trick, I hope you have some decent champagne in that cellar of yours?"
Trick nodded eagerly setting off hastily to fetch it. Everyone else made their way to the bar.
Bo was relieved it was over, somewhat surprised it had gone so well. She knew this was a tentative first step, but it did appear that perhaps the Fae did want what she'd suggested for them. They knew they couldn't continue in the same vane; it would eventually finish them.
Bo turned towards the bar, almost bumping into Evony.
"Thanks," Bo said. "I appreciate what you said."
"Well again, strangely enough, I found myself agreeing with you. I think it's time for change. And change never really hurt anyone. Well, almost never." She smiled over her current predicament.
"How are you finding it?" Bo asked.
"Challenging and at times surprisingly pleasant. I have a more in depth understanding of the human condition." Evony glanced at Lauren as she spoke.
"You seemed inspired by what you said. Was that a human influence?"
Evony smiled wryly. "Possibly."
"You don't seem bothered by who my father is?"
"Should I be? You made it clear it's not an issue any of us should be concerned with. And from what we heard today, you chose this family rather than your own."
"I guess Lauren told you."
"Lauren? Told me what?"
"Who my father is. And the discussion I had with him."
"Lauren told me nothing. I assumed from what she said today, had something to do with you meeting your father? But she certainly hasn't told me anything about that!"
Bo frowned. "But at the other meeting, you didn't seem surprised when Trick told everyone who he was."
"I admit, I did know and thought it was amusing, but that was due to everyone's reaction. Why are you assuming Lauren would have told me?"
Bo didn't answer; she thought it obvious.
"Ahh," Evony realised. "You know, I'd have more chance of getting blood out of stone, than I would of getting Lauren to admit to any confidences she may be privy to. She's very discrete. She's really not one for pillow talk either, as far as I know. On the other hand, there are some who are happy to give information, without sexual favours."
Evony leaned in closer. "You forget, that one amongst you is aligned to the Dark, and despite her now rogue attitude, she still possessed enough allegiance to inform me, before that meeting, to save the embarrassment of my surprise. I dare say that if you hadn't been intent on transparency and trust, and kept your family history to yourself, Tamsin wouldn't have told me either."
Evony smiled at her. "Finally, I see Trick has the champagne. Excuse me, but I'm parched." And she walked away.
Bo felt very confused. Her assumption had been completely wrong and utterly unfounded. She was partly grateful; she'd found it hard to consider that Lauren would have said anything. Evony was right; Lauren was discrete. Very much so. With the recent revelations of Hale's report, she wondered if she'd ever really known the real Lauren. Had she ever given Lauren a reason to trust her enough, to do so? Was it some kind of security measure? Her head started to throb again. She couldn't think concisely anymore. The bar was now noisy and she just wanted a moment of quiet.
Trick's den and couch seemed a good a place as any.
Bo slowly made her way down the steps, the noise of the bar above, no longer audible. The fire in the grate was lit and she immediately relaxed at its warm glow. As she approached the couch, she tensed again.
Sitting on it, with her head in her hands was Lauren. Bo couldn't believe her luck. It seemed she was not destined for a moment of quiet time. She stood for a moment, wondering what Lauren was thinking about. Why she was down here, and not upstairs drinking champagne with Evony?
Suddenly Lauren became aware she was there, standing abruptly.
Bo looked at her; Lauren appeared drained. Her soft gentle brown eyes, were reddish in the whites of them. She'd never seen Lauren look so tired.
"Sorry," Lauren said, picking up her medical bag. "It was quieter down here,"
"Yeah, noisy up there," Bo agreed. "I thought you'd be having champagne with Evony. To celebrate the new alliance?" Bo couldn't help the insistent need to mention the Morrigan. It hurt her as much to say it.
"I'm on call. No drinking for me."
"Were you expecting a medical emergency today?" Bo indicated her medical bag. "Transparency and trust, no more secrets, likely to send some into shock?" Bo flinched at her own jibe, but Lauren appeared unbothered by it.
"There's a particularly nasty virus going around at the moment. Sudden onset symptoms. I thought I'd better be prepared at such a large gathering."
"I'll leave you in peace and quiet," Lauren said, making to leave.
Bo moved out of her way quickly, the movement making her feel dizzy. Instinctively she reached out for support, grabbing Lauren's arm.
"Bo?" Lauren immediately supported her, leading her to the couch to sit her down.
Bo shook her head trying to focus.
"Just relax," she heard Lauren say. "Don't fight it."
Bo's eyes focused on Lauren's concerned face. How many times had she seen that look? How many times had she been the cause of it? And even now, despite everything, Lauren's expression also meant that Bo was safe. Whatever was wrong, the doctor would fix it.
"Do you feel sick?" Lauren asked.
Bo shook her head.
"No aching joints or muscles? Any severe headache?"
"No," Bo mumbled. "I just feel real tired."
Lauren placed one hand on Bo's forehead while her other hand held her wrist, feeling her pulse.
"It still beating, Doc?" Bo managed to smile.
Lauren gave a small grin. "Yep, good and strong. Just like I remember."
Bo gazed at Lauren knowing that the words weren't meant how they sounded, but they're inflection had changed the whole atmosphere. And she knew Lauren had sensed it too.
Lauren swallowed hard. "No temperature." she murmured.
"Thanks for what you said earlier. I really appreciate it." Bo continued to stare at her, trying to gauge what Lauren was thinking.
"No problem. As I said, I will always support you." Lauren avoided eye contact. She reached for her med kit, opening it one handed, still taking Bo's pulse.
Bo, aware of the contact between them, gazed at Lauren's slender fingers, felt the semi firmness as she applied pressure. Bo's skin almost burned from the contact. She felt her heart rate start to become excited; felt her body tingling from the neck downwards.
Lauren removed a long swab stick from its clear tube casing; as she looked at Bo, she faltered for a moment.
"Open your mouth," Lauren requested, staring at Bo's lips.
Bo parted them, opening her mouth slowly. Lauren's grip on her wrist slackened, until her fingers reached out for Bo's, clasping their hands naturally together.
As Lauren held the swab with her other hand, Bo noticed her hand was unsteady.
"You're shaking." She said softly. She reached out to help steady Lauren's hand, guiding it towards her mouth.
"I know," Lauren whispered. "I just need to swipe some cells..." her voice trailed off.
Bo felt the delicate sensation of the swab around the sides of her mouth. She fought with herself, to stop her eyes turning blue. Lauren's eyes flickered too, but no longer with concern. The usual professional, geeky style, medical practitioner, was showing obvious signs of desire, and Bo knew that look. Lauren's body tremored with it, and Bo felt it, like a vibration between them; it was like a mutual throb.
Lauren withdrew the swab.
"What is this?" Bo looked directly at her.
"It's not the virus. But I'll run some tests anyway."
"That's not what I meant." Bo said. "I meant, what is this?" She didn't need to explain, she knew Lauren knew exactly what she meant.
Something was happening between them. This wasn't just a doctor and patient encounter. This was ex lovers, fighting against desire. This was feelings being suppressed. This was in control and whatever this was, they were having trouble stopping it.
"I...we're..." Lauren stammered, fumbling to offer an explanation.
"Lauren?" Bo almost moaned her name, her voice now husky. She was still holding Lauren's hand.
"We...can't..." Lauren closed her eyes, tormented.
Bo's heart was pounding. She wished she had the power to read minds, because right now she couldn't figure out what the hell Lauren was trying to say, let alone what she was thinking. And why was she even trying to? Whatever this was, was going nowhere; Lauren had made that clear that day at the clinic, although everything about this encounter screamed otherwise. Bo could only conclude it was her imagination; imagining something that wasn't there, that wasn't possible. She was extremely tired, and that meant that none of her normal instincts were working as they should. It was the only possible answer.
But damn this felt good. It always did with Lauren.
Lauren opened her eyes, "Bo...."
Bo held her breath. Lauren's expression had changed. She no longer looked confused or torn; she looked on the verge of saying something important, unsure and hesitant that she actually should.
Just say it! Bo stopped herself from saying it out loud, from urging Lauren to speak. Give her time, she thought, don't push her. She knew that with a certain touch she could extract it from Lauren, but she didn't want to use that power. That would be taking advantage, and she'd only ever done that to Lauren once.
"So this is where you are!" Tamsin stood looking at them both, her smile forced.
"Shit!" Bo hissed under her breath, screwing her eyes shut, flopping back into the couch.
"Hey, are you okay?" Tamsin spotted Lauren's open medical bag.
"I would say severe exhaustion," Lauren said, gently releasing her hold on Bo. "But I've taken some swabs for testing just in case." Lauren was back in medical mode.
Bo opened her eyes, noticing that Lauren looked as she did when she found her in the den. This time, there was disappointment in her eyes.
"You need to rest." Reaching into her bag, Lauren pulled out a small bottle of pills, emptying three into another empty pill bottle. "These are non- addictive sleeping pills. I know you don't like drugs, but trust me on this. Take one as soon as you get home. Then another tomorrow night and the night after. If that hasn't helped, then come and see me."
Tamsin leant forward, taking the bottle before Bo could. "Perhaps I'd better hang onto these, just to make sure you take them."
"And don't hate me, but no alcohol with those. You shouldn't need it!" Lauren added, trying to smile.
Bo weakly smiled. She didn't care about the pills and not drinking alcohol. This, had just been lost; it had died a death and appeared to have no chance of resurrection. Tamsin's timing sucked.
Bo rubbed her forehead. "How it is going up there?" she decided to change the subject.
"Okay, so far," Tamsin said. "Evony and Kenzi are getting hammered together and swapping fashion tips. That's just weird! There's a buzz, though. They were pretty impressed by your ideas for the future. Dyson's a big topic also; the whole descendents thing; he's probably a more popular choice as a mate, than you are as the Chosen One."
Bo couldn't help groaning. "Well, maybe that part of the prophecy is wrong. Hopefully, no descendants!"
"Really?" Lauren asked. "I thought you wanted kids?" she sounded pained at the idea that Bo might not.
They had talked about it in the past. Lauren even had names all picked out, and Bo knew how much Lauren had hoped to be a parent herself at some point. She wondered if she and Evony discussed it.
"Yeah, I do. But the whole warrior mate expectation....and the assumption everyone's making over who it is."
"Perhaps that needs to be looked at from another angle," Lauren said.
"It doesn't mean it's Dyson. There's someone else who is a warrior, proven on the battle field, brave, and despite their alliance, has your back; allegedly." Lauren's gaze shifted to Tamsin.
Bo realised it was back to reality. Lauren snapped her medical bag shut and straightened up.
Tamsin nervously laughed. "How do you suggest that happens?" she tried to dismiss it, but Bo knew what Lauren would say next.
"You have heard of IVF?" Lauren let the comment hang there, then slowly walked passed Tamsin, her mouth hanging open, and went up the stairs out of the den. She didn't look back.
Tamsin looked at Bo and it was the first time she had seen the Valkyrie totally unsure of what had just happened.
"That's insane, right?" Tamsin asked. But there was no mistaking her look of excitement.
Bo groaned inwardly this time. What had happened between them had been a mistake and had meant nothing and Bo had hoped that Tamsin had seen it that way, too. She had agreed and said so, but now Bo knew what she had sensed and hoped wasn't the case, in fact, was. Tamsin was hoping for something more. Something Bo couldn't give her.
She eyed the bottle of pills Tamsin was holding and wondered what would happen if she took all three. Maybe she'd wake up and find this had all been a dream.
But that wasn't going to happen. Before she took a sleeping pill tonight, she and Tamsin would need to talk. And knowing the Valkyrie's volatile nature, that conversation might not go too well.
"Welcome to the Dark side!"
Evony said with relish, smiling broadly.
Kenzi wondered if this was actually a good idea, as she followed Evony through the Dark mansion house. It had seemed a good one at the Dal, but drink had heavily influenced the decision. Evony had been happy to offer the invite, just before her advisers, as she called them, or bodyguards as Kenzi would have termed them, had whisked her away from the meeting.
Kenzi needed the Morrigan's help, and likewise Evony was open to working with her, too. Bo's request for transparency had obviously hit a chord with the Dark leader, although Kenzi wasn't sure how much transparency Evony was truly willing to offer.
Opening a door, Evony invited Kenzi into the room. It was a small, cosy snug, with dark wood panelled walls and a deep sea blue carpet. The only furniture in the room was a drinks cabinet and two large wine red wing back chairs that looked out through French doors onto the garden. As the sun was setting, it gave a glow to the wood panelling. The room felt peaceful, and at odds with Evony's modern style.
"This is a cute room," Kenzi said.
"Isn't it?" Evony agreed. "Of all the rooms in this place, it's my favourite. I've started to appreciate it more in recent months. There's something calming about it; safe. It's like a protective womb in here."
Evony invited Kenzi to sit down. "Would you like a drink?" she offered.
"Yeah, whatever you got will be fine."
"Something to eat? I can have the kitchen whip up something?"
"Yeah, thanks." Kenzi felt unsettled at the hospitality.
Evony picked up a phone on the drinks bureau. "Large pizza please." She looked at Kenzi. "Extra cheese and pepperoni?"
"Just how I like it." Evony grinned. Placing the order, she poured out drinks.
Kenzi sipped the dark amber liquid Evony gave her. It was smooth, decadent, like nothing she'd tasted before. It warmed her body as it went down.
"What is this?" she asked.
"A very old, rare, cognac brandy. The finest year made. The Dark tend to indulge more in their extravagances and luxuries. I find the Light are more...restrained in their tastes."
Kenzi took another sip.
"That little glassful you have there is worth about ten thousand dollars."
Kenzi choked, managing to stop from spitting it over the floor.
"Don't worry, we've another thirty bottles in the cellar. And they're the last remaining ones. No one else in the world has any, and no one knows we have them."
"Thirty? That's..." Kenzi attempted to compute.
"...an obscene amount of money for brandy." Evony grinned. "Obtained a few hundred years ago, during the Napoleonic War. They fell off the back of a wagon, shall we say." She winked.
"The Dark are a wealthy organisation then?" Kenzi asked, sipping the brandy with more reverence.
"In terms of assets, yes, but so are the Light, believe me. Monetary wealth is also equal. Their image is more trustworthy, chocolate boxy. They're more folkish, whereas the Dark are more rock and roll. But don't be misled by that Middle Earth quaintness. They're just as ruthless underneath; the Dark just don't tend to hide it."
"If you're so similar, why don't you all get on?" Kenzi asked. She was enjoying Evony's openness, not something she would have considered in the past. Perhaps Lauren had done her a favour.
"Centuries of conflict. It's the same the world over. Even human's are the same. Someone, somewhere, always wants the power. It's like a permanent hunger, you feed it, but it's never full. It becomes greedy for more. Whatever noble or moral intentions there may have been at the start, they soon fade. There's no greater power, than power itself."
Kenzi was surprised at her frankness. "You enjoy being powerful?"
Evony tilted her head. "How was it being a fake Fae?"
"Probably the same as being a fake human."
Evony laughed. "Touché!"
Kenzi was relieved. She expected her insult to warrant a harsher response.
"But you enjoyed it?" Evony continued
"I guess." Kenzi swirled the brandy round the glass. "But I knew it wasn't permanent. It wasn't real."
"Why did you want it to be?"
Kenzi sighed. "I felt left out, worthless. I know the others didn't think that, but I wanted to...belong, to show I was just as capable."
"Was it worth it?"
Kenzi closed her eyes. "No, the cost was too much." She said softly.
Evony's voice was gentle. "Power isn't all it's cracked up to be. It can come at a high price."
Kenzi stared at her.
"Hale was a good man, I liked him."
Kenzi huffed. "You had a funny way of showing it! You made that clear at his not inauguration! And you sanctioned my death sentence!"
Evony waved it off. "That was nothing. It's expected at inaugurations. Mine was explosive. Literally. Inaugurations in the past have lead to the deaths of both leaders. We've become a little more civilised since then, but there's still a lot of posturing that takes place." She sipped from her brandy.
"Besides, it played into Hale's plan nicely." She added.
Kenzi frowned, about to ask what she meant, when someone knocked on the door. Evony gave them permission to enter, and one of the kitchen staff rolled in a cart with the pizza on it, leaving without saying a word.
"That looks yummy!" Evony grabbed a piece, biting into it. A strand of cheese dangled from her chin.
Kenzi handed her a napkin. Taking a slice herself, she sat back in the chair. "What did you mean, it played into Hale's plan?"
The pizza was as delicious as the brandy, and Kenzi didn't want to think about the extravagant ingredients that might have gone into it; probably cheese from ancient Greece and Roman pepperoni. For all she knew, she could be eating a million dollar slice.
"Taft." Evony stated.
Kenzi choked again. Evony handed her a napkin, smiling.
"You knew?" Kenzi exclaimed through a mouthful of pizza.
Evony rolled her eyes. "Well, duh!" she mocked. "What have we just been talking about? As much as Bo wants to be rid of the secrets and lies, it's a big part of the Fae. Secrets are always meant to be found out. Lies just make it harder." She grabbed another slice.
"We knew," Evony said, chewing. "That something was going on. Fae were disappearing, on both sides. Hale had picked up on it before we did. But then we had our own Dark detective secretly on the case."
"Tamsin." Kenzi stated
Evony nodded. "What we didn't know about was Lauren. Hale did a masterful job of misleading us there. And she played along convincingly. I never understood why he kept it all so quiet, until recently." She stopped, pondering.
"Anyway, but then we'd also discovered Taft, not long after he did. Getting Lauren in there was a genius move. We weren't sure how to get someone on the inside. Again wonderful planning," Evony mused. "No offense to you, but it would have been tragic if he'd gone ahead with his plan. I wonder if becoming human, would have affected his intelligent abilities."
Kenzi swallowed down a lump of the pizza. "You knew he wanted to be human?" she murmured, wondering if there was anything that Evony didn't know.
"Not until very recently. Your visit to the clinic the other day? That was a massive guilt trip for Lauren. She apologised for what she'd done to me, and then told me the reason."
"She told you everything? Hale's report?"
Evony frowned. "Report? I don't know anything about that, but I assume that's how you know all this. No, she just told me about Hale's wish. Of course I'd have preferred she'd chosen another guinea pig, but considering the pressure she'd been under with getting Taft, and us holding her captive for a few days after all that. We had to make that intel seem genuine."
"What do you mean?"
"We knew where Lauren was already, despite Hale believing he was passing that info on to us secretly. We just played along. I had no idea why he wanted us to take her in, but I wasn't about to argue. She's a brilliant doctor and to get her, I was prepared to take the chance. I believe it's actually been more beneficial to Lauren, and to all of us. There's no supplication here, no wearing medallions of ownership. She'd always deserved better than that."
Kenzi was surprised to hear it. The Light hadn't exactly treated her well over the years. No wonder Lauren was now happy to stay. The Morrigan was obviously more respectful of Lauren's abilities; perhaps that's why their relationship worked, although Kenzi still found that hard to fathom. They didn't seem an obvious match.
"Anyway, that's all the secrets out in the open," Evony said. "You mentioned at the Dal, you needed my help?"
Kenzi nodded. She'd been hesitant but now felt Evony would be a good ally; the Morrigan had resources and money at her disposal; perhaps she would find getting the answers less restricting than Hale had.
"Speaking of Lauren." Kenzi started. "What do you actually know about her?"
Evony's eyes narrowed. "You need help with Lauren? Why"
Transparency, Kenzi said to herself. Trust needed to start somewhere.
"Something in one of the reports Hale left me. Something he was looking into."
"Really?" Evony moved forward in the chair, excited. "What was he investigating about her?"
"I don't know, he hit a brick wall trying to get it. But it's to do with this. This is important." Kenzi reached into her jacket pocket. She'd asked Bo's permission to borrow it.
She opened her hand showing Evony what she held.
Evony smiled with delight. "How I love a mystery! Although something tells me, we may have a secret to unravel?" she questioned.
Kenzi smiled, grateful that Evony was willing to help.
In her palm was the necklace Lauren had given Bo.
"We've been over this! Many Times! Enough already!"
Bo stood abruptly, agitated. They were back to the same conversation, again!
It seemed the only thing that mattered. Not even the inauguration was given as much time, and Trick was doing his best to sort that out. He was trying to get the Council and clans to agree on the date. It meant Fae, worldwide, would be flying in for the occasion. A desirable venue was another matter, one that would suit both Light and Dark, and considering Bo was aligned to neither, it needed to be neutral. It also needed to have enough grandeur, to convey the importance. Bo's preference and suggestion had been the Dal and Trick had been mortified at the idea. She wasn't interested in all the pomp and circumstance, but Trick was. Nothing like this had ever happened to the Fae before, and the prophecy dictated that this occasion needed to be marked with as much spectacle as could be mustered. It bordered on the crowning of British Monarch.
They were all gathered at the Dal, at Evony's insistence this time.
"These ancient books and texts need to be studied properly. With our new combined efforts, and some scrolls found in the Dark archives, it doesn't hurt to be sure." Evony said. "I'm sure there's more to be found and I have my team working on it..."
"....but it still doesn't change anything!" Bo fingered the necklace at her neck; a natural, unconscious reaction. It calmed her to do so.
Evony and Kenzi quickly glanced at each other.
"What?" Bo questioned them.
"Sorry I'm late." Lauren strode into the bar, flustered. "Cabbitt birth caught us by surprise, a little earlier than expected."
"Don't worry. It's not like you've missed anything." Tamsin said, bored. "Bo's right, is there a point to all this? We got books and scrolls coming out the wahzoo, but it's pretty much the same shit."
Evony gave her a dismissive look. "Trick? If you wouldn't mind?"
Trick went to speak, but Bo beat him to it. "For the one thousandth time! The Queen, who will unite the Fae, will bring about peace, supported by warrior mate, descendants, blah, blah," she said, flippantly. "And who, according to the latest findings, will bring about the defeat of the Dark father!" she glared at Trick.
Bo had not taken this revelation too well; not so much what it inferred, but the fact that Trick had dropped this bombshell at the meeting a couple of weeks ago, without telling her first.
"Do we know how this is accomplished?" Evony asked.
Bo huffed. "Well, as yet, we haven't managed to find the book or scroll, entitled How To Kill a God! What we do have are centuries old books that might as well have been written by Shakespeare! If anybody can understand what that guy was on about half the time, we might have a chance of deciphering all this stuff a lot quicker!" she indicated all the books and scrolls scattered on the table.
"Once more unto the breach dear friends, once more!" Lauren spoke. "Or close up the wall with our English dead. In peace there's nothing so becomes a man, as modest stillness and humility. But when the blast of war blows in our ears, then imitate the action of the tiger. Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood, disguise fair nature with hard-favoured rage!"
All of them stared at her, as she lent enthusiasm to the speech. Nobody said anything.
"Shakespeare's Henry 5th, encouraging the troops before battle." Lauren quietly explained.
Bo nodded. "Thank you, Dr Lewis, I know we can always rely on you for our lack of cultural understanding. It seems Shakespeare had a pretty good idea of these matters. Perhaps he was Fae?" She tilted her head, smiling.
Lauren always had the knack of adding some geeky intellectual bent to a situation, whether it be medical or cultural, and not always necessarily important to the situation, but Bo knew it was one of the things she loved her for. Then she realised and corrected herself; had loved her for.
"It's a possibility he could have been. A very prolific play write for the time. Much the same as Mozart." Lauren answered. "And numerous others I can think of." She half smiled.
Despite the semi smile, Bo sensed something was troubling Lauren.
"Well, if this part of the prophecy is correct, then we need to find out why he has to be defeated and how." Kenzi said.
"Exactly!" Bo agreed. "It can only mean he finds a way through to this world again. We need to research about any other known hell portals, or any portals that might need permanently filling in!" She slumped down, heavily, onto a chair, rubbing her neck. She tried to ease the tension building across her shoulders. It felt like concrete.
"How are you feeling?" Lauren narrowed her eyes, looking at her, concerned.
"Take a break for a minute. Trick's den." Lauren stood beside her.
"I'm fine," Bo waved it off.
"It's not a suggestion. As your doctor, I'm telling you. The den now!" Lauren said more forcefully. She motioned with her eyes towards it.
Bo stared at her for a moment, noticing Lauren was holding her medical bag. There was a reason for Lauren's insistence, so she did as she was told.
"Let's take five, folks. Doctor's orders." Bo headed off with Lauren behind her.
In the den, Bo sat on the couch. "More sleeping pills?"
Lauren sat beside her, opening her med kit. "Did they help?"
"Yeah, a little."
"I can prescribe some more, if you want them?" Lauren reached into the bag.
"Is that what this is about? More sleeping pills? Jeez, you could have just said so, upstairs!" Bo went to get up, but Lauren gently held her in place.
"No it's not. This is about doctor patient confidentiality. I wasn't about to discuss this in front of everyone else," Lauren said sternly.
Lauren sighed deeply. "That swab sample I took the other week? I ran some tests on it, just to make sure you didn't have that virus. Not a pleasant thing to get; violent vomiting, diarrhea, chills..." she saw Bo waiting for her to get to the point. "Anyway, there was no sign of it."
Bo raised her eye brows.
"But there were signs of something else. Something...not good," Lauren steeled herself before continuing. "The cells showed signs of very slow degradation; decay."
"And that's not good because....?" Bo prompted.
"Because it means the cells are dying. You're dying..." Lauren's voice weakened. "But, I've developed a kind of antidote. I can slow it down." Lauren produced two syringes and a small vial of liquid.
"I want to take a blood sample now, and give you this, and then I will take another blood sample in a couple of days to compare."
Lauren wiped Bo's arm with antiseptic, ready to take the blood.
"What's causing it?" Bo asked.
"I've researched all of the Fae medical journals, for instances of this happening to a succubus. But then you're not a typical succubus."
"So could it be due to my blood, inherited from Trick? Or something from my father?"
Lauren placed a cotton pad from where she had taken the blood, and bent Bo's arm to hold it in place. Then she injected the serum in her other arm.
"I don't know." Lauren didn't look at her.
"Can you fix it?" Bo knew Lauren was hesitant.
Lauren finally looked at her. "No. Because I don't know, medically, what's causing it."
"Okay," Bo said slowly.
"In fact, I don't think it's anything medical that is causing it,"
Bo frowned. "Then what is?"
"When you were in Valhalla, what, exactly, did Brunhilde say?"
Bo wasn't sure of the relevance, but Lauren wouldn't ask, if it wasn't important.
"Obviously, I needed to replace a soul in exchange for Kenzi, but there was no time frame for it and it didn't appear it needed to be my soul. There would be consequences, not for Kenzi or Hale, but more for me, over the choices I made...."
"That's what she said? consequences?" Lauren's eyes widened.
"What are you thinking?" Bo asked.
"I think it's why I can't cure it. It's not medical. There's an imbalance in Valhalla, and you caused it. It's a consequence of that choice and it's affecting you! The longer the imbalance remains, so will your condition."
"So the only way to stop it, is to give back a soul?"
"Yes. If I thought it would be that easy, I've got a couple of terminal cases at the clinic. But Kenzi's sacrifice was special, and it was made for you. I suspect the circumstances would have to be the same. Someone is going to have to die, again, for you."
The weight of the realisation hung in the room, like dark foreboding thunder clouds.
"Shit!" Bo mumbled, rubbing her eyes. "I can never get it right!" She thumped the arm of the couch in frustration.
"Hey," Lauren soothed. "You did the right thing with Kenzi."
"I know, but why is there always something else? Why can't this shit stop!"
Lauren put a reassuring hand on her shoulder. "We'll figure it out. The serum will give us time. I'll keep monitoring you."
Bo huffed. "I'm not concerned about me. Its knowing what has to happen in order for it to stop!" she took a deep calming breath. "I don't want the others to know," she looked directly at Lauren.
"I'm obliged, under doctor/patient privilege, not to discuss your medical history with anyone, without your permission."
"Although they may start to notice regular visits to the clinic? They're your friends, Bo, they're worried and concerned already. And you wanted transparency...maybe knowing will help find a way..."
NO!" Bo said vehemently, shaking her head against the idea. She stood up. "I know that's what I wanted, but this is different. There isn't one of them who would think twice about sacrificing themselves for my sake! I can't let that happen, not again!"
Bo paced. "I'll figure it out myself!" She half laughed. "I got Trick pushing the council and clans to agree on my inauguration date," she quote signed. "And he's constantly nagging about me choosing a mate! It's obvious who his choice is, and he's made that clear to Dyson, like I have no choice in the matter! So now I have Dyson and Tamsin, trying, not too subtly, to get my attention,"
Bo's talk with Tamsin hadn't turned into the volatile encounter she had expected. It had been emotional, and she'd apologised for misleading her, explaining there could be no relationship; emphasising that she valued their friendship above anything else. Tamsin had taken it rather well. Nothing of a sexual nature had happened since, but Lauren's comment had given Tamsin enough hope to think otherwise. And like Dyson, she had time on her side; Trick had given Dyson the same hope.
The comment jarred Lauren. "Nice to have choices." She murmured.
"It's like being a prize that one of them has to win!" Bo added. "I'll choose who and when, when I'm good and ready!" She had no idea who it would ever be. But she knew it would be neither of them. There would only have been one person, anyway.
"All that, and now this...consequence as well!" Bo threw up her arms in defeat. "Being Fae ain't all it's cracked up to be! It's more like a curse!"
Lauren stood before her. "Curse or not, be thankful for it. If you'd been human, the best prognosis I could have given you, would have been six months." She placed her hand against Bo's cheek. "As you are, I can keep you alive longer. So, I for one, am grateful you are Fae." Tears welled up in her eyes.
Bo was struck by Lauren's obvious emotion, and, again, confused by it. She looked both happy, yet sad; that something was being left unspoken. Was this happening again, just like before in the den? What was this strange dance they seemed intent on being involved with, just moving around each other, avoiding any real contact? Bo wanted to ask.
"Whichever one you do choose, they will be very lucky." Lauren said softly.
Bo was caught out by the comment, and when she realised who Lauren was referring to, it was too late. She went to touch Lauren's hand at her cheek, to explain that Lauren had misunderstood, but Lauren swiftly withdrew her hand.
Lauren turned away, picked up her medical bag, and quickly wiped at her face. She cleared her throat.
"Don't forget to come by the clinic," she said, taking the steps two at a time as she left.
Bo stood, stunned. Then realised she hadn't partly said, what she should have.
"Thank you," Bo mumbled, instinctively touching the arm injected with the serum.
"Go! Go! Let's get out of here!"
Kenzi leapt over into the passenger seat of the convertible Evony had insisted on hiring.
Evony floored the gas pedal, screeching away from the small town building as an official rushed out of it.
"What did you find out?" Evony asked.
"Nothing much." Kenzi said nonchalantly.
Evony quickly glanced at her, waiting.
From inside her jacket, Kenzi removed a document. "This is all I could get. Birth certificate. Pretty much standard. There was nothing else in any files, but I kinda ran out of time." She looked back at the building, now in the distance, to see if anybody was in pursuit.
"It confirms what we've already discovered. Lewis isn't her real name."
"Anything else?" Evony asked
"Born at home."
Evony stared at her for a moment. "Interesting." She smiled.
"Hey, pull over, there!" Kenzi pointed at a small diner. "Park round the back, just in case the police are looking for the car."
Evony pulled into the diner's parking lot. "Why are we stopping here? Are you hungry?"
"No. But in a small town like this, if you want to know anything, check out the local diner. It looks like it's been here for years, so there might be some locals who remember Joe and Mary Smith."
"You're joking!" Evony exclaimed.
"I wish I was. But its right here," Kenzi waved the document. "Mother, Mary. Father, Joseph."
They both got out of the car, heading towards the diner.
"By the way," Kenzi added. "He was a carpenter!"
Evony slid her sunglasses down her nose. "Curiouser and curiouser!" she said with delight.
The diner was like a time warp. It didn't look as though it had been updated since it had been built, and Kenzi wasn't sure when it had been. But it had a welcome, homely feel and was clean and tidy. The booth seats were now a faded red, the fake leather covering, cracked with age and wear. The long counter had a row of stools for customer's to sit, while on the other side, was an old fashion soda fountain. There was a more modern soda drinks dispenser, coffee pots, and on one end of the counter, a display of donuts and pastries. Through a large hatch, was the kitchen.
Kenzi sat on one of the counter stools. Evony hesitated, looking slightly disgusted at the faded seat covering.
Kenzi glared at her. "Just sit!" she said under her breath. Evony winced as she finally sat down. Typically, wearing a short dress and high heels, the hem rode up, showing more thigh than she would have liked in this situation.
"Couldn't we have picked a booth?" she whispered.
There was a booth with two middle aged men, now smiling happily at her, along with an ancient looking man sitting at the end of the counter. His smile showed few teeth were present.
"Well, howdy ladies. What can I get for yer?"
A rotund, jolly looking waitress, probably fiftyish, smiled at them from behind the counter.
"Disinfectant and champagne, if you have both." Evony answered.
The ancient old man laughed, which turned to a hacking, phlegmy cough. The waitress looked confused and Evony more disgusted.
Kenzi nudged Evony in the ribs. "Does that make real milkshakes?" she pointed at the machine behind the waitress.
"Sure does, honey!" The waitress beamed with pride.
"Then two strawberry, please."
The waitress attended to their order, fetching milk, fresh strawberries, vanilla, and blending it all with ice cream.
"How long has the diner been here?" Kenzi asked.
The waitress carried on preparing. "Oh, well my grandpa originally owned it, then my daddy and now it's me and my husband. He does all the cooking. That's why my figure is as good as it is." She laughed.
Through the hatch to the kitchen, appeared a larger rotund looking man. "You can keep them skinny girls. Ain't nothing sexier than a woman you can't git yer arms round! More to love, and they ain't more lovelier than my Francine, here!"
"Oh, Bill!" Francine appeared to blush.
"You better put extra ice cream in them shakes, Franny. They look like they could do with a bit more fat on their bones!" he chuckled as he disappeared back into the kitchen.
Francine placed their shakes on the counter. "Never mind him," she waved him off.
Kenzi smiled, then sipped from the shake. "Oh my God!"
Evony, hesitating whether to try it, looked at her. "That bad?" she questioned.
Kenzi shook her head. "That is awesome!" She sucked more through the straw, encouraging Evony to taste it.
Evony took a deep breath, sipping a small amount. Her eyes widened. "It's quite...pleasant!" she conceded, tasting more.
"So you've lived here your whole life?" Kenzi asked Francine.
"Yep, never been no where else."
"Must mean you get to know everybody, it's not a big town is it?"
"Well, it's grown some over the years. Cattle farming is big business and it's always been a cow town."
"Do you remember a Joe Smith at all?"
Francine tilted her head, wary of the question.
"We're trying to track down our family. We think he might have been an uncle."
"Oh, I wouldn't have said you were sisters!"
Evony gurgled her drink.
"Cousins!" Kenzi added quickly. "Not sisters!"
"Hmm, let me think. Joe Smith," Francine frowned for a moment.
"Did he have a wife, Mary?" The old man at the end of the counter asked. He got off his stool, shuffling over to them.
"Yes!" Kenzi said.
"Yes, I remember now!" Francine added. "They didn't live here for long."
"He worked at Johnson's farm. Was a pretty good cow hand." The old man said.
"Cow hand?" Kenzi asked puzzled. "I thought he was a carpenter?"
"Mighta been," the old man shrugged. "But this is cattle country. You take what jobs you can."
"How long did they live here?" Kenzi asked him.
"Just a couple of years." He sat on a stool next to Evony. "They pretty much kept themselves to themselves. Real polite folks. Lived out of town."
"Yes, in fact, when he first came into town, we didn't know he had a wife!" Francine smiled. "He was a handsome young man; some of the local girls had a mind to catch him."
Francine filled the old man's mug with more coffee. "Then one day, after a couple of months, he comes into the diner, with this young woman, and she's carrying a baby in her arms. And that's when we knew he had a wife, and the baby was only a few days old. They looked so happy." Francine smiled, as though she could see them sitting in one of the booths.
"I believe the baby was born at home. Came so quick they'd had no time to get to the local hospital, ain't that right, Walt?" Francine addressed the old man.
"No midwife, or anything?" Kenzi asked.
"Nope!" Walt sipped his coffee. "Joe handled it all. He'd seen enough calf's born. Pretty much knew what to do."
Kenzi contemplated the implications of a home birth.
"Thank you. I think it sounds like Uncle Joe. Do you know where they went to when they left here?"
"That was the odd thing. Never said they was leaving. Just up and left." Walt answered.
"Shame. Real nice folks." Francine nodded.
There was a noisy slurping sound. Everyone looked at Evony.
"Are you going to finish that?" Evony pointed at Kenzi's shake.
Kenzi rolled her eyes. "We need to get going. Thanks for the shakes and the info." She handed Francine money for their drinks.
"Nice to meet you," Walt smiled, squeezing Evony's thigh. "Are you married?"
Evony looked at his large hand, rough from years of hard work, and wrinkled from age. A few months ago, such an uninvited gesture would have resulted in her terminating the offender. But she studied the hand and its owner for a moment. Those hands had once been strong, masculine. The smile, no longer dazzling with teeth, was still captivating, and his eyes still had a twinkle about them. Evony imagined that Walt was a man's man, and that he preferred women to be women.
"Are you offering?" Evony said, her smile seductive.
"Maybe, if I was forty years younger." He winked
"What if I was forty years older?" Evony winked back.
Walt threw his head back, laughing.
Evony smiled inwardly, the irony that she was in fact, considerably older than Walt, and that he was considerably young, by comparison, to be flirting with her.
"Damn, you're one hellava woman!" He took Evony's hand, kissing the back of it. "Thank you for making an old man feel human again."
Evony stared at him for a moment. Then she leaned in, gently kissing his lips. "Thank you, Walt. It's been a long time since someone's made me feel like a woman." She whispered.
Walt's eyes widened, gleaming with happiness.
Out in the parking lot, Kenzi pretended to stick her fingers down her throat. "He was old!"
"So?" Evony shrugged. "He was sweet. Wonderful hands." She said wistfully.
Kenzi stared at her in disbelief. "Okay, I don't even wanna know what you're thinking!"
Evony laughed. "I'm not thinking what you think I'm thinking. I'm thinking, we have a lot to think about."
Evony drove the hour to the next town, where they had originally hired the car. It also had a small airfield.
Kenzi boarded the private jet, still a little in awe that the Dark owned one. Considering what she knew of both sides, and the wealth, it shouldn't have been a surprise, but it was a little thrilling to know the jet was always ready to leave at short notice. The luxury inside meant no expense had been spared, from the cream coloured leather swivel armchairs, to the fully stocked bar; its hidden galley kitchen able to prepare exotic foods. There was a full bathroom on board, complete with bath and shower, and a luxurious bedroom.
The flight attendant placed their drinks on the table they both sat at. The crystal of the glass shone, highlighting rainbow colours. The golden liquid inside, Kenzi knew to be whiskey, one of Evony's favourites. Kenzi had never really been fussed about the alcohol before, but under Evony's guidance, she had developed an appreciation for it.
The male attendant smiled then left them in private. Dressed very smartly, with a shirt and waistcoat, there was no hiding the muscular frame, more obvious from the trousers of the suit; thigh's like tree trunks, and a very toned backside.
Evony sighed as she watched it retreat down the aisle, leaning out further from her seat for a better view.
"Delightful," she said, sipping her drink.
Kenzi had also been watching.
"His name's Edward, if you need a distraction?" Evony offered.
Kenzi swallowed hard, admonishing herself for even looking. Hale was the only man for her, but she figured it would have been impolite not to indulge in admiration at something so well crafted.
"So, fact finding mission number....?" Evony frowned. "Whatever. What have we discovered so far?"
"From your little chat with Lauren, we know the medical school she attended."
Evony, taking advantage of Lauren's trust in their friendship, had taken Lauren out to dinner. She'd managed to get the topic of conversation round to schools, and upbringing. Lauren had been a little surprised that the Dark didn't have this info; she'd been convinced the Light would have background checked her years ago, but Evony had pointed out, their only interest was to entrap the doctor for her medical skills, and they'd done that using Nadia. Their interest in her human upbringing would have been of no concern. They weren't interested in getting to know anything about her. They knew she had no choice but to stay, to supplicate to their terms.
Even Kenzi had found it odd that Evony hadn't even delved further into her background, and she'd teased the Morrigan about it, for trusting the Light's willingness to have Lauren in their ranks of human confidant's. Evony had conceded it was a good point. She'd never been one to trust the Light with anything, but had concluded if they'd found anything in Lauren's background, they'd have eliminated her if there was any chance of a threat.
Hence, Evony had been able to discover which medical school Lauren had attended, and where she had been born. Evony had had to offer up personal details of her own, to make the evening convincing and not have Lauren suspicious of the questions. Lauren was fascinated by Evony's upbringing, it having taken place in a different era, so it became more difficult for Evony to concentrate the conversation to be more Lauren centric. She hadn't really garnered as much info as Kenzi would have liked.
"And from med school records," Kenzi continued. "We discovered that her name isn't Lewis." Another trip had thrown up this piece of information. "Two Lauren Smith's attending the same school, what are the chances? So our Lauren Smith becomes Lauren Lewis. She chose that, as it was her biology teacher's name in high school. So it stuck and became second nature for her to keep it. She went through med school classes, like a hot knife through butter. 'Born to be a doctor!" as quoted by all her tutors."
Kenzi took a sip of her drink. "Same in high school, grade A student. Aced biology and chemistry classes, valedictorian in both, gave one of the best valedictorian speeches at graduation, according to witnesses who were there. Student body president, I mean, a real goody two shoes and complete study geek! I think we get that picture!"
The flight attendant was back with snacks this time.
"Do you have anybody working for you that doesn't look like that?" Kenzi asked.
"Heaven's no!" Evony picked up one of the caviar canapés. "There are certain expectations from some of our VIP guests. For instance, she may have re-married a wealthy shipping tycoon 23 years older, who looked more like a pair of old worn leather shoes, but even Jackie O appreciated beauty! Her tastes were a little more discerning that her first husband's!"
Kenzi almost choked on the canapé she had popped into her mouth. "You knew...Jackie O?"
Evony rolled her eyes; why wouldn't she have known her.
"Do you know who shot...." Kenzi started to ask.
Evony picked out another snack, distracted. "Sorry?" she said.
"Never mind," Kenzi dismissed the idea of asking. The thought that Evony might know and tell her, and then knowing, was more than Kenzi could take. Who the hell could she tell and convince, anyway! Better to stick with the known truth and avoid infamous conspiracy theories!
"So, other facts. Lauren is born, at home, in some podunk little town. Her parents are ordinary, polite, folks according to those who met them back then. They move...alot!" Kenzi emphasised.
From their previous research, they'd discovered the family never appeared to stay too long in one place; not until Lauren was about ten years old, did they appear to settle.
"When she was four, her brother is born. She remembers her father taking her to the hospital to see her mother and new baby brother, so we should be able to find records to confirm that."
"Do we accept the explanation that there wasn't time to get to a hospital for Lauren's birth?" Evony asked
Kenzi smiled. "I'm glad you find that odd. I mean, I get there not being enough time, but no hospital visit after? No medical check up for her mother or the baby? I couldn't find any records like that."
"What do we need to investigate now?"
"Mary and Joseph, seriously? And Smith? That's like the most common name you could come up with. You ever searched Smith in the phone book? It's practically the whole phone book!"
"A family that moved that much, with names like that? My guess is, they were running or hiding from something."
Evony was intrigued. "You think so?"
"Was that Hale's suspicion?"
"I don't know. He pretty much had the same information and knew the Light would have done a background check on her. Probably more for interest in her medical knowledge, but they dismissed the rest as not necessary, but it was something about the rest, that intrigued him. He didn't seem to get much further, and finding out about the Smith's appeared to lead to dead ends, as though that info was off limits, but he didn't know who was keeping that information from getting out."
"Do you think there's a criminal element behind it?"
"Maybe. But that should have been easier to discover for a detective?" Kenzi smiled, knowingly.
"Than what other option is there?" Evony narrowed her eyes.
"For Lauren it was normal, moving around a lot as a kid. Daddy worked for a pharmaceutical company, as an executive. A long way from being a carpenter and a cowhand, but hey! Then things settle down. No more "relocation" with work. After years, they were finally safe."
"Safe? From what?" Evony downed the last of her whiskey.
"I think Joe and Mary were in some kind of witness protection program."
Evony wheezed, then coughed, as the whiskey almost regurgitated.
"Hale wouldn't ever have gotten access to files under those circumstances."
Evony still wheezed. "And you think we will?"
Kenzi shook her head. "I doubt we will find out anything more than we have. Lauren told you she never knew her grandparents, and had no aunts and uncles. Joe and Mary might have had family, but if they were in protection, then we won't find out who they were anyway."
"So that's the end of our investigation?" Evony was disappointed. "I've enjoyed it. I thought we made a pretty good team. I'd wondered if you'd consider me as a potential consultant on future cases, now that Bo will have a more time consuming role."
Kenzi smiled. She had enjoyed the collaboration with Evony, too, which had surprised her. It didn't compare to Bo's more maverick attitude, and she couldn't ever see Evony engaging in any physical altercations the way Bo did, but Evony certainly brought an air of sophistication. Kenzi thought that as a consultant, Evony would probably work out very well for the future.
"No, it's not the end. I think there just might be more to this, closer to home. That necklace has something to do with it."
"Oh goody!" Evony beamed. "Edward?" she summoned. He appeared immediately. "Refills, if you'd be so kind." She watched him again, as he walked to the bar to get the whiskey.
"It really is the only way to fly," she sighed. "Although perhaps a slight change in uniform." She looked at Kenzi. "Shorts?"
Kenzi sniggered. "I'll always drink to good fashion sense!"
Lauren called out.
She quickly pulled on some exercise pants rather than answer the door in just a T-shirt and underwear. It had been a few months since someone had last called, in person, at such an early hour of the morning, and she wondered if this was another urgent visit by Trick for a conversation that couldn't take place over the phone.
She hurried down the stairs, and yanked open the door. She stood momentarily shocked, and confused.
Bo stood before her, blood down one side of her face from a gash at her hair line. Her nose was also bloodied as well as her lip. She was holding her left arm across her waist, so Lauren concluded that that was injured, or her ribs were. Bo's other arm was across the shoulders of another woman, who appeared to be helping to support Bo; she had bruising and gashes to her face.
Lauren said nothing, moving swiftly to aid Bo, guiding both women over to the couch.
Bo groaned as she sat down.
"Is it your arm or ribs?" Lauren asked as she quickly fetched medical supplies to clean up wounds.
"Might be my ribs. My body took a beating." Bo answered, sinking into the couch for comfort. The other woman carefully sat beside her, her brow furrowed with concern.
Lauren studied her. The woman was beautiful, despite her worried look. She was young, and she looked eternally so. There was an ethereal air about her, and her clothing appeared quaintly old fashioned.
"Are you hurt?" Lauren asked.
The woman turned to look at her, half smiling. "No," she said softly. "My injuries will heal soon enough. The harm is all Bo's."
Seeing the medical supplies Lauren held in her hand, the woman motioned they would be better spent on Bo.
Lauren knelt down. She decided to leave the cuts to Bo's hands; she'd obviously used them to fight, and they were not Lauren's major concern. The gash to Bo's head was her priority.
"What happened?" Lauren asked, as she gently wiped the blood away from the head wound, trying to see if it would need stitches.
"Just a little altercation," Bo said nonchalantly.
"I can see that," Lauren mumbled. "I'd hope you'd try and avoid them, considering your circumstances." She was worried that Bo getting involved in anything like this, could further compromise her already weakening state.
Bo smiled. "Sorry, Doc, I couldn't really avoid this one. But thanks for caring."
Lauren huffed. "I'm your doctor. It's my job to care." She narrowed her eyes as she looked at the wound. It was still seeping blood, and would need a stitch under normal circumstances.
"So what happened?" Lauren asked again.
Bo hesitated a moment. "Don't freak out."
Lauren stopped mopping at the wound.
"I kinda ran into my dad."
Lauren stared at her, her mind racing at how this could have been possible.
"Oh by the way, I forgot to introduce you. This is Persephone. Persephone, this is Dr Lauren Lewis." Bo said in a deadpan way.
Lauren's mouth fell open, as she blinked rapidly. She looked at Persephone; her initial study and assumption now all made sense.
"Lauren?" Bo gently enquired.
She numbly nodded. "Yeah, just give me a minute to assess the fact I have a God sitting on my couch, who happens to be a daughter of Zeus, and your step-mom!" Lauren shook her head, bringing her focus back.
"Actually, how come you are sitting on my couch? And, as a God, why do you have these wounds?" Lauren then turned her attention to Bo. "And what do you mean, you kinda ran into your dad!" She looked at them both for answers.
"The agreement with my father and Hades, was that I spend only half of the year in the Underworld; the other half I can return to Mount Olympus. That time is now. But I came to warn Bo, and to enter this realm, I choose to take full human form, rather than risk any of my powers harming anyone here." Persephone explained.
Her voice was soft, calming; Lauren could see why Hades had been so captivated, and then so consumed in his desire to have her.
"Persephone risked coming here to tell me Hades has found a way through." Bo added. "He sent the Furies, in human form, but unlike Persephone, they kept their powers. He sent them to stop her. Luckily she found me before they found her. But then they found us both."
Bo was tiring. She closed her eyes for a moment. "So a fight ensued; that's why we're here. Your place was closer, and I needed to get Persephone away from any more danger. I think The Furies were just a warning. They could have done more damage than they did. They failed to stop Persephone from finding me, and their aim wasn't to kill me. Hades wants me on his side. He needs me. So as I won't go to him, he's gonna come to me. And he'll destroy everybody around me until I give him want he wants."
Bo's voice was heavy with the realisation. There was no escaping the inevitable showdown that had to take place.
Lauren saw the pained look on her face. "Then tell him to bring it on. We'll give him a fight." She hoped in saying it, it would give Bo the support she needed. For Lauren, she meant it.
Bo opened her eyes, semi-smiling. "I guess the prophecy is right. The Chosen One will defeat the dark father."
Bo sounded too tired, as though even the thought of it, was weakening her even more.
Lauren gently felt Bo's upper chest and abdomen; she winced. "It could be a cracked rib," Lauren concluded. "You need to feed, the healing will be quicker. How much do you need?"
Bo frowned. "Not much. It doesn't need to be...." she stopped, quickly glancing at Persephone. "It doesn't need to be, that....just a little desire, enough to get some excitement going." She felt embarrassed discussing it in front of what was technically her step-mother.
"Will I do?" Lauren asked.
"What?" Bo asked, startled.
"Could I cause enough excitement?" Lauren knew it was the only option, if Bo was to heal quickly. "I'm concerned that it's a broken rib. I'd prefer you healed as soon as possible. It's my medical recommendation."
Bo stared at her. "I don't think, under the circumstances, it would be a good idea."
"Of course, I understand. You'd prefer Tamsin's help in this matter. I'll call her." Lauren went to get up.
Bo huffed. "Aren't you more concerned with how Evony might feel?" she said, somewhat bitterly.
"Evony has nothing to do with this, and this is to help you!" Lauren countered back.
"I can cope!" Bo said dismissively.
Lauren could tell Bo's emotions were starting to heighten.
"Goddammit, Bo!" Lauren rolled her eyes. Then she placed her hands on Bo's cheeks, pulling her face to hers, and kissed her.
Bo pulled back, momentarily confused, before she eagerly recaptured Lauren's mouth.
Lauren deepened the kiss, hearing Bo moan, urging her to take what she needed to heal. She'd kicked started Bo's emotions with their little spat over Tamsin and Evony, but knew she had to keep her own emotions and desires in check, hoping Bo would quickly start to take her Chi. The longer the kiss continued, the more Lauren knew she wouldn't want it to stop. It already felt so good. She felt Bo shift on the couch, seeking for more contact between them. Lauren straightened up in her kneeling position, pulling Bo into her body. Her heart was starting to pound, knowing Bo would pick up on it.
The kiss was becoming more sensual, and Lauren found she was starting to get lost in it. The feelings it was evoking, were overtaking her intended purpose of initiating it. There was desire, yes, and lust wasn't far behind, and she knew if this got out of control, a hungry need would soon ensue. But it was the longing that was so overwhelming; the longing that this felt so right, that she missed this so much. That she missed Bo.
"Why isn't she feeding?" Lauren drifted back, trying to regain focus. She opened her eyes, seeing Bo's were still closed. She gently pulled back from the kiss, causing Bo's eye's to flutter open.
"Don't." Bo mumbled.
Lauren almost gasped at the look in Bo's eyes. They filled with tears, appearing deliriously happy, yet soulfully sad.
"Don't what?" She wanted to ask. Don't stop? Don't do this? But she didn't ask. She didn't want to know. Either answer would only cause more pain.
Instead she whispered. "Take it," offering her energy, but the words appeared to carry much more than just that and she knew it. Take it. Take all I have to give you. It's always been yours to take.
Bo kissed her this time, pulling back after a moment, her eyes blue, and Lauren felt her energy being taken. It wasn't a shock, but a warm, gentle feeling, that she knew Bo was controlling. As she watched, she saw the wound on Bo's head close up, her lip heal, and figured the ribs and hands were following suit.
After a few more seconds, Bo stopped. Lauren was surprised she felt no side effects. She expected to feet light-headed; disorientated; weak.
Finding her voice, she spoke. "Did you take enough?"
Bo looked pained at the question. She nodded. "Yes, I'm fine. Thank you." Her voice quiet.
Lauren noticed Persephone staring at them, appearing delighted yet confused. Not at how Bo needed to heal, but at the interaction that had just taken place. Lauren realised she'd understood there was more to the healing, and more than just Doctor/Patient roles. As Persephone now concentrated her look on Lauren, her expression was questioning; all Lauren could do was smile awkwardly.
"Rest." Lauren told Bo, making her sit back into the couch. Bo didn't resist.
Although the head wound had closed, Lauren still covered it with some sterile gauze. She also figured it wouldn't hurt to give Bo a shot of the serum before she left. It had become a once weekly ritual in recent weeks, having tweaked it from twice weekly. Taking the blood samples every time had helped her to achieve the dosage.
Lauren dowsed some sterile cotton with antiseptic. Still kneeling, she moved in front of Persephone. She gently touched her chin, moving her face to the side so she could see the gashes. Persephone froze for a moment, slowing turning her head back to look at her. Her gaze was penetrating. She touched Lauren's hand.
"You are a very skilled doctor, Lauren. You were obviously born to be one." Persephone smiled. She turned her face away again, so Lauren could dab at the wounds.
"You said earlier, that now is the time you get to spend on Mount Olympus. How would you normally get there?" Lauren gently cleansed her face.
"Obviously, we can move within our realms easily, as we can also move into yours. My choice to come here means I cannot go back the way I came. And my choice to take full human form, has rather limited my options. But I can still achieve this, by entering another realm of the ancients. That will restore me and allow passage."
"Another realm?" Lauren asked
"I can seek passage through Valhalla."
Lauren stopped dabbing. "You can do that?"
"Yes, our stories might be different to your world, but as ancients our realms are not dissimilar. Gods are Gods, and none are more powerful than others, except those that try to be."
Bo huffed. "Ain't that the truth! I don't suppose Zeus wants to lend a hand and stop his brother?" she looked at Persephone.
"You have to understand, Hades was given the realm he commands. Zeus and Poseidon have no control over how he commands it. They won't like his plan, and it would seem the only way to stop him, is to kill him. They can't do that. And more importantly, they won't. All three were born of Titan's, and the bond they formed means none have the right."
Lauren pretty much figured that would be the case. "So, how do you get to Valhalla from here?" as soon as she said it, she realised she already knew.
"Tamsin," Bo answered. "She can take Persephone through the Gateway, where I ended up after getting Kenzi back."
"That's possible? Persephone is currently human." Lauren stated.
"Tamsin can get anybody in, being a Valkyrie. Something to do with her hair and some incantations," Bo waved the explanation away. "Speaking of which, I'd better call her. The quicker you leave here, the safer you'll be." She said to Persephone.
Bo stood up, moving away to make the call, as Lauren finished attending to Persephone's minor injuries.
"You know this wasn't necessary. As soon as I reach Valhalla, these will be gone."
"I'm a doctor, I can't help myself. I see a wound, I must heal it." Lauren joked.
Persephone smiled. "And what of your own wounds, Dr Lewis? How do you heal those, you have self inflicted?" she motioned towards Bo.
Lauren faltered for a moment, caught off guard by the remark, knowing Persephone was right. She could have answered that wounds like that never heal, but she didn't.
"They take a little longer." she simply said.
The wounds she had were indeed self inflicted, born of choices made for the sake of another. They hadn't been a selfish choice, but a selfless one, and as far as she was concerned, the right one. If it meant she would carry an open wound, that would never heal, that would continue weeping, then that was a small price to pay.
Lauren cleared away the detritus of her doctoring, to set about making tea. As she handed a mug to Persephone, she wondered if she could drink it.
"Can you? It's just green tea."
Persephone smiled, taking the drink graciously. "I believe the saying is, when in Rome?"
Lauren smiled back at her, as she handed a mug to Bo. A knock on the door signalled Tamsin had arrived.
Lauren opened it. Tamsin entered, coming to a full stop in the middle of the room when she saw who was there.
"You said on the phone it was urgent I get here. But you could have said why and whom!" Tamsin looked agitated at Persephone's presence, almost wary, eyeing her with suspicion.
Lauren then realised these two had already met. That made sense; Tamsin's previous obligation to Hades to bring Bo to him, must have meant Persephone must have been there at the time the obligation was made. Lauren was still puzzled as to the real nature of that obligation.
Ignoring Persephone, Tamsin turned her attention to Bo. "So what's the deal, here?"
Before Bo could answer, Tamsin rushed to the couch where Bo was sitting.
"You've been hurt!" Tamsin cried. She reached out, almost touching the gauze. "Are you okay, are you injured anywhere else?"
Lauren's heart went out to Tamsin, at the obvious distress she felt that Bo had been hurt and was suffering any pain. Tamsin's usual bolshie demeanour evaporated, leaving her open, her emotions displayed; she looked suddenly vulnerable and Lauren could identify with how she was feeling.
Bo gently grabbed Tamsin's hand. "I'm fine. The doctor fixed it." She spoke softly, and smiled, the words placating Tamsin's concern; her body, momentarily tensed at Bo's state, now relaxed knowing that Bo was alright. Lauren found the scene touching. Simple spoken endearments, but they appeared to mean so much.
Lauren hoped that her version of the prophecy was right; that maybe the correct mate for the Chosen one, was the one now overcome with concern at their wellbeing. And she hoped, for Tamsin's sake, it would bring her the happiness she had once enjoyed. Tamsin and Bo both deserved it.
Bo explained to Tamsin the events of what had happened and how Persephone needed escort to Valhalla.
Bo went to stand up from the couch, wincing slightly as she did so.
Lauren instinctively moved forward. "What is it?"
"Just stiff," Bo looked tired.
"Tamsin, can you manage without Bo? I'd like her to stay a while longer so I can monitor her; check that injury to her head." Lauren asked.
"Yeah. Yeah, no sweat." Tamsin readily agreed.
"Come back here, after Persephone is safe." Lauren added.
Bo seemed relieved at her insistence that she stay.
Tamsin made towards the door, waiting for Persephone, who stood before Lauren.
"Thank you, for all your help." She said then leaned in to whisper. "Though you have no idea, it's nice to meet you." She smiled knowingly.
Lauren was puzzled by her expression and words, unsure why the comment needed to be secretive.
"Stay safe!" Bo called out.
Tamsin nodded, escorting Persephone from the apartment.
"Drink the tea, while it's still warm." Lauren advised. "It'll help with any shock." From the small refrigerator where she kept some of her medical supplies, she retrieved a vial and then two syringes.
Bo recognised the drill, rolling up her sleeve. Lauren gave her a shot of the serum, and took another sample of blood.
"You need to avoid encounter's like this. You look worn out." Lauren said.
"I wasn't looking for a fight, believe me," Bo sipped the tea.
"Where did it happen?"
"I was leaving the Dal. Another long discussion with Trick over the inauguration. It was after midnight when I left. I was heading to my car, when Persephone appeared. She'd been waiting."
"She just happened to know where you'd be?"
"Yeah, I know, lucky guess right?" Bo agreed. "I didn't get a chance to ask. I assume, as God's, they know these things!"
"You think she's telling the truth, about Hades plan to come here?"
"She seemed pretty convincing to me, especially when the Furies turned up. She looked genuinely appalled that they had managed to find us. She placed herself in front of me when they first attacked. I just waded in as usual. They didn't hang around for long."
"So, you don't think Hades sent her?"
Bo shook her head. Lauren was inclined to agree. Persephone would have nothing to gain by helping Hades in his plan to rewrite history in his favour. It meant either way, she was still likely to be his Queen, whether she liked it or not.
"Now I have to find a way to stop him." Bo said wearily. "If he comes here, I need to be ready."
"We'll all help." Lauren squeezed her hand.
"I know. But at what cost? He's powerful. How do I stop him? How do I defeat a God? How do I make sure he doesn't harm the people I love!" Bo cried out, pleading for an answer.
"You're the Chosen One," Lauren reinforced. "We all believe in you, you know that. And I know you. I know you will do all you can, to protect us, to protect everyone. You're the bravest person I know!"
Bo looked her, her eyes welling with tears. "But what if I can't? What if it's me, that causes the harm? What if, that dark side of me, gets to liking the idea of rewriting history with my blood? What if he convinces me? What if I am my father's daughter?" tears slid down her cheeks.
"You're not!" Lauren said ferociously.
"I'm so tired, Lauren. I don't think I can do this. I can't sleep, 'cos just lately when I do, I dream I've done what he wants, and I don't care that I've done it. I enjoy it!"
Bo started to sob. "I'm so scared of myself!"
Lauren engulfed her into her arms. "You know it's just dreams. You're under stress right now, you have too much to think about, and you're ill." Lauren stopped herself from saying, you're dying.
Lauren wondered why Bo had initially chosen to come here. Her injuries, though brutal, weren't so severe enough to have stopped her from making the drive back home, and to Tamsin. She realised that Bo's choice had nothing to do with convenience. Bo had instinctively chosen to come to her, to have the luxury to be able to fall apart, to show her fears and how scared she was, to know that Lauren would offer the comfort and security she sought, where perhaps others around her, used to seeing her so strong and so capable, would not have understood those fears.
Lauren held her, feeling Bo start to shiver. Emotion and shock were taking its toll.
"You need sleep, I'll give you something to help, to stop the dreams." Lauren pulled back, stood up, holding out her hand. "Come with me, you can sleep in my bed. Tamsin won't be back for a while, and I promise I'll wake you up when she is."
Bo took her hand; Lauren put her arm around Bo's waist, leading her up to her bedroom. Leaving Bo to undress to put on borrowed PJ's, she returned with a mild sedative to help her sleep.
Bo climbed into the bed, and Lauren pulled the comforter over her. Bo tried to speak, but sleep was overcoming her.
"I'll be right here, until you fall asleep," Lauren assured her.
As soon as Bo's head hit the pillow she was out. Lauren waited a moment, watching her. Peacefulness and calm descended on the woman lying in her bed, and Lauren was thankful it had. How many nights had Bo not slept, torturing herself with her fears of the future? She knew she would do anything to save her from them. Bo's condition, the expectation of being the Chosen One, the debt owed to Valhalla and now the threat of Hades breaking through. Bo was right, Lauren knew; how could she defeat him, when she felt this exposed, this helpless, this vulnerable? How could anybody stay sane with the weight of that knowledge? Lauren hated what all this was doing to Bo, she didn't deserve it. She deserved the life Lauren knew she longed for; a happy life, a love filled life, and one, which the prophecy alleged, would contain descendants; children; a family of her own.
Slowly Lauren turned away, quietly leaving the room. Back down stairs, she grabbed several old Fae books, sat at her desk and switched on her laptop.
It was a couple of hours when Tamsin had returned for Bo.
"How are you feeling?" Lauren asked, as Bo come down the stairs. Tamsin had been the one to go and wake her.
"Good," Lauren smiled as she rose from her desk.
"You look busy?" Bo pointed at all the books.
"Just boring research," Lauren waved it off, moving over towards them.
"Thanks for letting me crash." Bo said.
Lauren was about to say anytime, but realised that Tamsin might not understand the offer. "It was no problem. I'm glad it helped." She addressed Tamsin. "Make sure she rests!"
"Humph!" Tamsin mumbled. "That's like asking the sun not to shine!" Taking Bo's arm, she pulled her towards the door.
Tamsin opened it, "Thanks, Doc." With that she went out into the hall way.
Bo hung back, just inside the apartment.
"You coming home or what?" Tamsin called out to Bo.
It sounded churlish, but Lauren knew there was affection behind it.
"About earlier," Bo said softly. "Healing me..."
"It was nothing," Lauren said hastily. "Again, I'm glad I was able to help."
The memory of it surged forward, feeling so real; she could once again feel Bo's lips, feel their softness against hers; feel the warmth of her body, pressed against hers. Lauren clenched her fists, stifling the emotions that came with the memory, an attempt to stop them bursting out.
"Stay! Don't go!" She suppressed the words, just as she had suppressed the desire earlier, as Bo lay sleeping, to lay down beside her; to simply hold her as she slept.
"Nothing," Bo repeated, as if testing the sound of it, trying to understand its meaning. "Thanks anyway." She attempted a smile that never formed, then left the apartment.
Lauren closed the door, resting her forehead against it. "Don't go!" she whispered. Her eyes filled with tears but she willed them back, pushing away from the door.
She had managed to compose herself when she got back to her desk. Opening a draw she took out a container, removing its lid to look at the contents.
It had been pretty easy to get them. When Tamsin had arrived back, they had briefly chatted about the nights events; polite small talk. Tamsin had been amenable to Lauren's request, happy to oblige, in the name of medical research, before she went to wake up Bo.
The blonde strands of hair looked unremarkable, much like any other, Lauren mused.
She knew all she needed now was to find the incantation, and, along with the hair, she would have the means to enter Valhalla and get to Hades.
Samples of Bo's blood would make him very happy.
"Bo, you need to come to the Dark mansion; and bring the others. We'll be waiting."
Kenzi's voice said over the phone.
She hadn't elaborated; her voice held no panic, was calm, but from her tone, Bo knew it was urgent.
They were all at the Dal anyway, so Bo didn't need to round everybody up. With a sense of urgency, she drove faster than she would have done, eager to know why Kenzi was intent that they all go.
Kenzi had been spending a lot of time with the Morrigan in recent months, jetting around here and there, and she had told Bo that it was due to one of Hale's reports. Bo didn't mind that Kenzi had found Evony helpful in whatever it was; her young friend had explained that she knew Bo had a lot on her mind and hadn't wanted to bother her too much, with her own investigation. It had still meant they had carried out their own PI work, when being the Chosen One and that obligation, hadn't dictated otherwise.
As Bo drove up to the gates of the mansion, she was surprised they were opened immediately, and she was waved through. In front of the house itself, more guards waited outside, like a welcoming committee. In the past, that would not have been the impression they would have given.
Bo exited the car, looking back at the grounds. She recalled the last time she had been here; a party thrown by Evony to celebrate the news that Bo had signed up to the Dark, albeit unwillingly and unknowingly at the time. She wasn't recalling that, she was reminded of the sight of Lauren, making her way towards her across the lawn. Barefoot, in a stunning black dress, smiling that smile that always sent a shiver down her spine. Evony had left them to talk, not that that had been on Bo's mind; her only course of action was to get Lauren out of that dress, and quickly. The waiter had taken the brunt of her anger, at trying to interrupt them, but it seemed Lauren didn't mind the food he was attempting to offer. Lauren knew that if they were given the privacy, food would be needed to replenish energy; not that they ever got the chance to do so back then.
"It was nothing!" Bo's mind brought her back to reality, tormenting her with Lauren's words from a couple of days ago. She scowled at that memory. The kiss, meant to heal, had meant so much more to Bo. It had given her a moment of freedom; it had allowed her to feel again, where for the most part lately, she had been suppressing all feelings. It had given her hope. A glimpse of a possibility that Lauren wasn't lost to her, that perhaps there was a small chance, and Bo did all she could to grasp it.
She had felt euphoric; a happiness had spread throughout her body, at their embrace. For the first time in a long time, she felt truly healed. But it was short lived, and she was left wanting, already missing what should have been. She pushed the memory back to the furthest corner of her mind.
The guards escorted them all into the house. Walking through several rooms, until they were almost at the back of the mansion, the guards stopped at a door. Without saying anything, they left.
"Guided tours aren't what they used to be these days!" Bo mumbled sarcastically. She opened the door, and a flight of lit steps lead downwards. "I guess we go down."
They all followed her descent, finding they were in a small archive room. There were shelves on all four walls, and two rows of shelving in the middle. Some had books on, other's had artefacts.
"This is it?" Tamsin asked to no one in particular. "This is the whole of the Dark's archive?"
Bo had already spotted a light in a far corner that appeared to be coming from under a door, when Evony's voice filled the room.
"That's just for show, Valkyrie! The real stuffs through the other door!"
Bo looked up spotting the small red light, signalling the security camera that Evony was watching them on. She went over to the false rack of shelving, pushing against it. Bright light blinded them all for a moment, but as they entered, Bo's mouth fell open. As she looked at the other's she saw their shocked faces, too.
It was an enormous room, exceptionally modern, and incredibly lit. Glass shelves carried a wealth of books, and artefacts. Glass cabinets seemed to house the more precious amongst the collection. There was an array of shelves that appeared to slide out, revealing more books and artefacts. Her suspicions was confirmed when a whole rack of shelves, silently slid back into the wall.
"Very raiders of the lost ark." Bo mumbled.
In the middle of the room was a plush seating area, all white leather sofas. Sprawled on them were Kenzi and Evony; Evony waving a remote that had caused the shelves to retract. The sofas were in a circle, and in the middle was a glass table that appeared to float. There was also a bar with various bottles of booze and the bar appeared to retract into the floor. On the glass table were numerous ancient books.
"Welcome!" Evony said. "Please come and join us."
"This is truly impressive" Trick said.
"You like?" Evony smiled. "I think it's much better than having those old dank, dark filthy rooms. I know it all lends to the myth and mystery, but I can't stand all the dust myself. I've kept that one out there just for sentimentality. It's what people expect, but this..." she held out her arms. "This is show time! I'm not boasting when I say, the Light has nothing like this....in fact, there isn't another collection like this anywhere!"
"I can see that." Trick conceded, a little in awe of the spectacle.
"It's what has set our sides apart. The noble Light, always trying to do the right thing. The Dark have never really worried about what they've had to do, to get information like this." Evony winked.
Bo sat next to Kenzi on the couch. She noticed the younger woman looked pensive, as though excited but agitated.
"Would anyone like a drink?" Evony offered.
"Yes please!" Kenzi blurted. Everyone else declined.
"Perhaps just a small one for you," Evony said. "You need your wits about you for this!"
The Morrigan poured herself and Kenzi two small whiskey's.
"So, what's the urgency?" Bo asked. Kenzi downed the drink in one gulp.
"Oh boy," Kenzi murmured, strengthening her resolve. She looked directly at Bo. "It's stuff to do with the prophecy. We've found out some stuff, really important stuff, stuff that will blow your little Fae mind. I mean, this is beyond incredible stuff, it's like...stuff you can't even believe, stuff!
"Kenz," Bo gently took her friends hand. "Just take your time, and breathe, okay?"
Kenzi nodded. "It's about Lauren."
Bo's body twitched. She held her breath for a moment. "Is this what you've been investigating with Evony?"
Kenzi quickly nodded.
"Why have you been investigating her?"
"Hale left me a report,"
"Had he been investigating her?" Now Bo started to feel anxious.
"Kinda," Kenzi said. "But it's nothing bad, Bo," she added quickly, feeling Bo's hand squeezing hers tighter. She took a deep breath. "If we're right, this is something incredible."
"Okay," Bo nodded. She felt relieved, trusting Kenzi's words. "So what did you discover?"
"Lauren's parent's, weren't her real parents, but she doesn't know that."
Bo stared at her for a moment, trying to assess the information. "Excuse me?"
Kenzi smiled. "We believe that the people who Lauren thinks are her parents, weren't her biological parents, if in fact we can call them biological."
"Lauren was allegedly born in a very small town, at home, with no midwife present," Kenzi started to explain.
"How can someone be allegedly born? They either are or they aren't!" Tamsin interrupted.
"Just hear me out," Kenzi said. She turned back to look at Bo, handing her a copy of Lauren's birth certificate.
Bo scanned it quickly, noting the names.
"From what we've found out," Kenzi continued. "Lauren took her teacher's name in college, to distinguish her from another student. Her family had moved a lot, when she was younger, and my suspicion was that it was due to witness protection, that maybe her parents had been given new identities, to keep them hidden. Apart from the registration of her birth, there were no other medical records. Some came later, but absolutely none directly after the birth."
Kenzi explained about their trip to Lauren's alleged birth place and the information they had gotten at the diner.
Bo closed her eyes. She'd known from a young age that she was adopted. Her parents had done their best in her upbringing, but she had always felt a distance between them. When Lauren had spoken of hers, it had been with love, and it had seemed her parents loved her just as equally.
"What makes you so sure, just from this evidence, that Lauren was adopted?" Bo asked.
Kenzi hesitated a moment. "Hale. He said something to me, and I didn't know what it meant. And he was so adamant that I come back, to try and finish what he'd started. He knew this was important, but he couldn't get any more information, and then he never got the chance to find anymore." Her smile faded. "This is the key," she pointed to the necklace Bo was wearing. "May I?"
Bo took it off, handing it to her.
Kenzi knelt at the table, taking up one of the books.
Trick bent his head to see the cover underneath, gasping when he saw it.
"That's a book from the Ancients! The Light had believed it lost or destroyed!" he exclaimed. He looked to Evony.
"Well, actually neither," Evony stated. "Stolen would be the correct answer. I think it was the thirteenth or fourteenth Morrigan going way back now, that instigated a raid on the Light archives. During this refurb," she indicated the room. "I came across all the old Morrigan journals....my, we've had some devious leaders in the past! Anyway, cataloguing all this has taken some time and I have to admit, I had no idea we had this, and of everything else amassed here, I'm still not sure what other surprises there could be! Thankfully it's all being computerised by Charles." She pointed over at a desk, where an elderly man sat hunched at a computer, tapping information in.
Kenzi pointed at a page, and Bo strained to see what she was pointing at. It was an image she recognised straight away.
"Is that?" she asked tentatively. Kenzi just nodded. "But how is that in a book of the ancients? Lauren gave it to me!"
Kenzi grabbed a large magnifying glass, holding it over the image on the page so the others could see. It was an image of the necklace Kenzi now had in her hand.
"I need to explain this, cos this is the key to everything," Kenzi looked at Bo, smiling.
"We've all seen this, but we've never bothered to really look at it. What meaning could it have to anything? It was a simple "love" token, Lauren gave to Bo. I mean, two naked female figures on the front say's it all! But it's what's on either side at the back that counts! I don't think Lauren even realised; she would have been smart enough to recognise some of the symbols but she had no idea what it meant. I asked her where she got it and she said she'd always had it. She assumed it was from her parents, and in one respect she was right."
Kenzi held the necklace at arm's length, turning it over, allowing the magnifying glass to enlarge its images for all of them to see.
"This right side, can you see in the middle, the staff with the snake around it?"
Kenzi continued. "That's the universal symbol of medicine. It's ancient Greek. It was the symbol of the Greek Demi God, Asclepius, one of Apollo's sons. He was a God of medicine, a healer. But ole Asclepius turned out to be a bit more than just a doctor. He was so good he could heal the dead back to life. This didn't go down too well with Zeus, but especially not too well, with Zeus's brother, who demanded Zeus do something about it and kill Asclepius, which Zeus did. To placate Apollo, Zeus turned Asclepius into a constellation in the heavens, but it's believed Zeus actually restored Asclepius to life; made him promise never to heal people back from the dead, and turned him into a full God!"
"Let me guess, the brother that wanted Asclepius killed, was Hades!" Bo said.
Kenzi looked at her, sympathy in her eyes. "If you have someone capable of healing the dead, there are no souls to enter the Underworld; you become the God of a realm that no longer welds power. Asclepius threatened all that."
Bo nodded. "Carry on," she urged her friend.
"Anyways, Asclepius was married to the Goddess, Epione, the soother of pain. Their kids have included Hygia, Panacea, basically a whole family practice of Greek docs. But nothing was known about Epione, where she came from, who her parents were."
Kenzi took up the necklace again, showing them more symbols. "Now this is where we get the ancestry money."
She highlighted some images. "That represents Apollo. This one is called a Fasces, to symbolise strength through unity. This is Labrys to represent female divinities, matriarchs; this is the Hercules Knot" The image showed two pieces of cord tied together. "That symbolises undying love and commitment." Kenzi stopped for a moment.
Bo noticed her falter, knowing she was thinking of Hale. She wished more than anything, that she could have saved Kenzi from the pain of his loss, and she had no idea how long it would take Kenzi to truly recover, despite her outward show that she was coping.
"Now to the left side of the necklace." Kenzi took a deep breath "These are all Egyptian." She magnified each symbol again as she explained their meaning.
"This is an Ankh, that's eternal life, the offering of the breath of life. Flail and Crook to symbolise royalty, majesty. Shen, it's a complete loop of rope, no end, no beginning to signify eternity. The Sa, a symbol of protection; the Feather Of Maat, the symbol to represent, truth, justice: Pshent, to symbolise unification."
Kenzi cleared her throat. Bo could see she was completely focused on what she was telling them. Bo looked at the others and saw they, too, were now completely intrigued but still confused. Evony was the only one not showing surprise. Bo was aware she already knew what they'd discovered, and was happy to sit back and wait for everyone's reaction.
Kenzi carried on. "The Neter, that means of Gods or to do with the Gods. And these last two; the Atef crown which was worn by Osiris. And this figure of a seated woman? that's Isis herself."
"So why are Egyptian symbols on the same necklace as Greek Symbols?" Bo asked, seeing Evony's smile widen.
"The symbols are like a skill set," Evony answered. "A resume shall we say, announcing that someone has the ability to fulfil them. They're all about leading, uniting, majesty, truth, eternity, love, commitment. And it's all feminine based. The whole prophecy is."
"But also," Kenzi added. "We believe this necklace signifies parentage. The Greek symbols represent Asclepius's ancestry, his father was Apollo. If so, then the Egyptian symbols must represent his wife, Epione's, lineage."
Kenzi stared straight at Bo. "Nowhere is it stated where she came from in any texts, but this necklace does. Epione was a Goddess...she's the daughter of Osiris and Isis." she stated.
"But there should be mention of this!" Trick added, in disbelief.
Kenzi nodded. "I know, and who knows somewhere in amongst all of these books the Dark have, perhaps one mentions it. Perhaps it was never talked of because Epione married a Greek Demi God; perhaps she was outcast. With that background and Asclepius's abilities, no wonder Hades was concerned!"
"Okay, we got Greek and Egyptian symbolism! But what has that got to do with the prophecy and a necklace that Lauren gave Bo!" Tamsin insisted.
"Asclepius was still a Demi God when he fathered children with Epione," Kenzi said. "Imagine the power, when Zeus made him a full God, that a child born of those two would have; a child powerful enough to warrant the hate of a God. You'd want to hide that child from harm, just like Bo's mamma did with her."
Kenzi then added. "One other thing about the necklace; the symbols are surrounded by leaves of the laurel tree. The Gods proclaimed the tree as sacred and of divine status."
"So?" Tamsin said.
Kenzi just smiled. "It's so simple I just couldn't believe it would be; the leaves name the child." She looked at Bo.
"Lauren comes from Laurel." Bo said. It all became so clear. She realised she'd probably known it when Kenzi started telling the story. She looked at the others, realisation now kicking in, but they had not yet connected all the dots.
"Hang on, so what has this got to do with the prophecy?" Tamsin asked.
"The prophecy has been misinterpreted," Bo stated. "It's the players involved that have changed." Kenzi smiled at her, realizing Bo now knew.
Tamsin frowned, waiting for further clarification.
"The Chosen One," Bo recited. "Brave and caring, will heal and unite the Fae...." she let it sink in with all of them.
Trick continued. "...aided and protected by a brave loyal, warrior mate, sworn fealty," his voice trailing off. He looked at his grand-daughter.
Bo looked at Tamsin. "I'm not the Chosen One. It was never my destiny. My role is the mate. Lauren is the Chosen One."
The silence was palpable. Dyson stood up, going to the drinks bar, pouring a large glass of brandy for himself.
"Anybody else need a drink?" Evony asked. She smiled at the immediate show of hands. Dutifully she filled glasses, handing them out.
Bo sipped, feeling it warm her as it went down. She felt a mixture of relief with anxiety. After all this time, it was never her fate to be who they believed her to be; who they'd hoped and wanted her to be. Her future had seemed so sure to these people around her, yet somewhere she had known there was a disconnect. She should have been happy to have had Dyson or Tamsin as her potential mate, as she took her place as Queen. But she'd never been able to visualise it. What she had visualised was a normal mortal life with Lauren, only now that was never ever going to be either. Whether Bo liked it or not, her fate was irrevocably linked to the Fae and the destiny of the woman she loved, and with that came a new set of responsibilities; the protection of Lauren and their descendants, but it was a responsibility she knew without doubt, she had always been ready for. In fact, she realised she'd been born for that purpose!
"So you're saying she was raised by human parents?" Tamsin asked.
"There has been documentation of such things," Trick said. "The ancients were revered and worshipped, and still are. They've had help, just as the Fae have had, from human's willing to protect and serve them. It's likely her parents were chosen especially; a genetic resemblance. It could explain your discovery of them moving constantly when they were given her as a baby. Her safety would have been paramount." He still looked confused. "But she's never showed signs of any powers," he couldn't fathom why this was the case.
"I think we can all agree that as a doctor, she's pretty damn powerful!" Evony said, as Dyson sat down beside her.
"This is a different blood line. Our powers kick in when we hit eighteen...perhaps Lauren's need to be jump started." Bo conjectured.
Trick still didn't seem convinced; he looked as though he was trying to dismiss the possibility.
Bo looked at him. "Did you know about this?" She was surprised at how accusing the question sounded. Her heart rate started to increase.
Trick looked equally shocked that she'd asked. "No! There was never any indication. And how could we know, when the Dark have had these books all along! I truly believed this was your destiny, Bo!"
She turned her attention to Evony "How about you? Did you know about this all along?" she could see Evony didn't like the accusation either.
"Oh please, you honestly thought I knew about Lauren all this time and didn't do anything? Hell, if I'd known who she really was, I'd have licked her dry the minute she showed up! You think it's only us that hide the truth?" Evony meant the latest generation of Fae.
"We've all been had, Bo! There have been lies and deceits down the millennia with the Fae. It's all we do! They kept this from us, so we won't unite. But I'll tell you this, if she's who we think she is, I'll swear fealty to her and the Dark clans will follow and all the lies will stop. We'll have your transparency!"
Bo didn't doubt her. It seemed a very passionate declaration.
Evony spoke again. "Now, whether you actually get the same pledge from the Light is another matter. Lauren is exceptionally loyal, to both sides. But especially to you. There isn't anything she wouldn't do for you, if she believes it's the right thing, or somebody else convinces her, it's the right thing for you! It took me four bottles of wine, and suffering a hang-over the next morning, to try and extract the information. Even then, she didn't say much, but enough for me to put two and two together. And if you haven't already figured it out, there's been no relationship between me and Lauren! She loves you! But you might want to actually ask Grandpa here, just why she turned her back on you!"
Bo's heart sank. She might have known there was more to Lauren's rejection. Bo had accepted the Doctor's explanation at the time. Uncomplicated relationships was what Lauren had said she'd preferred, and Bo had realised, she couldn't fulfil that. How could she, when her whole existence consisted of nothing but complications. Her relationships were disasters. Why had she thought that Lauren would want all that again, when she'd gone through enough already. The Doctor had gotten to a stage in her life where she had some control over her choices, and Bo had believed that at some point, those complications would have resulted in someone else she loved paying the ultimate price for being with her.
Bo turned to look at Trick. "Tell me what Evony's talking about?" she growled.
Trick swallowed hard. "I only had your best interests at heart. I heard you telling Dyson of your wish that Lauren take your Fae powers. You couldn't lead the Fae if you were human, and I believed the written prophecy, the warrior companion." He recounted his conversation with Lauren and how he had persuaded her to leave Bo alone; to walk away.
Bo buried her face in her hands. "All these months," she mumbled. "All this time wasted."
"Bo, I'm sorry, please forgive me?" Trick pleaded.
She held up her hand to silence him. "Don't. We'll discuss this later." Her tone was flat; unemotional. She stared ahead at the books on the table, just to have something to focus on.
Her mind swirled with all this information. It was typical of Lauren; she would sacrifice any hope of a relationship, of her own happiness, of their happiness, if it meant that Bo's future was assured for her own kind. She wondered how much Trick had played on Lauren's conscience. Played on that side of her, that didn't feel worthy enough at times, to have Bo's love. Lauren had done so much, in the name of that love, from Nadia, to Hale's plan with Taft, to now. And it had all been for her sake. Bo loved her grandfather, and she knew his intentions were for the sake of the Fae, but where her heart was concerned, he had taken a step too far. She knew she would forgive him; she had found out in time, to be able to do so, thanks to Kenzi's efforts. But if this had been discovered at a later date, when her fate had been sealed, she would have seen it as a betrayal, and one that would never have been forgiven. Two lives would have been destroyed all in the name of duty and tradition.
"The Chosen One will defeat the Dark father," Bo said suddenly, as the prophecy came back into her thoughts. "Are we sure that's true?" she looked at Trick.
"I assumed so, it's written as such, but we thought that applied to you,"
Bo pondered. "The Dark father is still mine, so why would Lauren need to defeat him?"
Trick shrugged. "To stop him getting through?" he offered.
"But that can only happen if he does. And as she doesn't know about herself at the moment, then we can prepare her. Have you found anything yet that says how the Chosen One defeats him?"
Trick shook his head.
"Okay, so we have time to try and find out. Lauren must have some power that enables her to do it, as long as Hades stays put for now. At least we know Lauren won't have thought of trying to get to him!" Bo half laughed with relief.
"Errm," Tamsin slowly raised her hand.
Bo looked at her, immediately knowing something bad was coming. "Please tell me you're doing that to be excused for the bathroom?"
"I think Lauren might have a way to get to him, if she's realised." Tamsin said tentatively.
Bo groaned. "You're yanking my chain, right?"
"She asked for some of my hair, something about DNA testing, I didn't care! She took a few strands. If she knew they could be used..."
"She knows!" Bo remembered what she'd said about Tamsin being able to get Persephone through the gateway, and told them all that Lauren had heard it.
"Ahh." Tamsin sighed. "But she'd also need to know the Valkyrie incantation, so chances are she just needed them for DNA testing." She looked relieved
"Pardon my interrupting," They all looked at the voice that had spoken. Charles, the archivist stood waiting.
"Yes, what is it, Charles?" Evony asked him.
"I heard you mention Valkyrie incantations," He swiped the screen of an I-Pad he held in his hands, lowering it for Evony to see.
"Fuck!" she exclaimed, sitting bolt upright.
"What?" Bo asked.
"Thank you for your efficiency, Charles!" Evony said, before answering Bo. "Lauren came to the archives. She has my permission to seek any books she might need. Charles logs all the books borrowed. Guess which book Lauren was reading yesterday!"
"Shit!" Bo stood up. "She can't possibly think she can get to Hades, and if she does, what the hell is she planning to do?"
"Who knows!" Evony said.
"At at least we can stop her," Kenzi said. "Why don't you call her, say she's needed for a meeting?"
Bo nodded, but something told her it was too late. She pulled out her cell phone, pressing the speed dial number for Lauren. "Why don't you call the lab, check if she's there?" She suggested to Evony.
Evony set about calling.
"Please answer," Bo said to herself. It went straight to Lauren's voicemail. She looked at Evony, as she ended her call.
"Lauren didn't come into the lab this morning," Evony then dialled another number. "Dr Lewis, where is she?" she said tensely. There was pause. "What?" she rubbed her forehead. "Idiots!" she shouted into the phone.
"Security for Lauren. She went out to their car this morning, with coffee. She does it every morning, apparently. This time it was laced with a sleeping sedative!"
Bo's knees felt weak. She looked at Tamsin.
"She's already there, if she went this morning." Tamsin told her. "We need to go now!" she urged.
Bo started for the exit out of the archives. The others quickly followed.
"Bring the squad car to the front of the house!" Evony bellowed into her phone. Dyson looked at her. "We have our own shall we say. I've always found it beneficial to get through traffic, and I'd say now isn't the time to spout about the illegalities of having one!"
"For once I agree," Dyson said.
Rushing through the house, Bo halted in the main entry hall. "You're not coming," she said to Trick.
He stumbled at the remark. "Bo, I know what I did..." he started to plead.
"It's nothing to do with that. You need to stay here, stay safe. If anything should happen, and I can't protect you, then Hades won't hesitate to kill you. And, if we don't make it back, the Light will need a leader. There's no one better, Trick. It'll be up to you, to fulfil the prophecy. To unite Light and Dark," She looked at Evony. "Both of you need to ensure that,"
"If you think I'm staying here, you're very much mistaken!" Evony said. "I have a vested interest in helping to keep Lauren alive! She's the only one that can restore me!"
She looked at the guards. "Under my orders, you are to protect the Acting Light Ash, at all costs, do you understand?"
They all nodded.
"Feel free to make use of the archive room, Charles will help you find whatever you may need to corroborate all this," Evony said to Trick. "Give us two days; if we're not back, you're in charge of both sides!"
Trick reached out to Bo, grabbing her arms. "Stay safe, please!" he begged.
Bo just nodded. She led the others out to the waiting squad car. Dyson jumped behind the wheel, and she sat in the passenger seat beside, him; Kenzi, Evony and Tamsin sitting in the back.
Dyson floored the gas pedal, gravel on the drive spitting out from under the tyres, sirens blaring.
Bo sat rigid, wishing it were possible for them to get to the Gateway quicker. Whatever Lauren was attempting to do, she knew there could only be one reason behind it. Once again, Lauren was doing it for her sake, as she always did.
"Somewhere, over the rainbow..."
Lauren sang softly.
She thought it fitting, as she travelled along the Bifrost, glad that descriptions of it as a burning rainbow bridge weren't exact. It shimmered with incandescent colours, and she could see why some might consider it aflame.
It was eerily quiet; she'd expected a Valkyrie welcoming party the minute she had managed to open the Gateway, strands of Tamsin's hair grasped in one hand, and a scribbled note with an incantation in the other. She'd been convinced they'd somehow know she was an imposter, but that had not been the case. Her first few hesitant steps, had grown in confidence when she realised no one was rushing to stop her. But once in Asgard, and Valhalla, she appreciated that was likely to change; it was a risk she was willing to take.
She held the straps of the small rucksack on her back. Its contents, sparse but important; vials in a protective container, and snacks. She figured they'd be essential, as she had no idea how long the journey would be, or what effects it could have on her. And she knew she'd need as much energy as possible to survive it, to get to Hades; bottled water, a banana, nuts, dried fruits and a couple of sports bars; the bars weren't something she would normally eat, the sugar content far too high in her opinion, but it would give her a boost if she needed it.
Humming the song to herself, she thought briefly on the chances of success. The odds were stacked against her, she knew, and she only had a very slim chance it would work. Putting that negative out of her mind, she thought of the positives. Considering where she was heading, she found herself thinking of her life.
It had been a good one.
She had enjoyed her life, its challenges, pitfalls, and that was before she had been thrust into the world of the Fae. She'd had the unconditional love and security of her family, their encouragement and support in her studies, as well as their understanding and love when she had told them of her preference in relationships. They hadn't appeared too surprised. She'd had great friends and adventures with them. And she'd loved her life as a doctor.
That choice of profession had been with her ever since she could remember, never knowing what had sparked it, only knowing that she was meant to be a doctor. She'd never contemplated anything else, never wavered from it. And she knew it was what had given her the life she lived. For without it, she would never have discovered the Fae world. The circumstances which had brought her into it had been brutal; Nadia had just been a pawn, played by the Light Fae to supplicate Lauren to their wishes; they hadn't really cared for either of them. But within this world, Lauren had been exposed to forms of medicine and science, she could never have dreamed off. She had grown because of it; had made discoveries that would have sent the human medical profession into flux. She'd quietly managed to combine both forms, helping both sides.
But more importantly, her choice of profession had ultimately led her to Bo. Everything that had gone before, and had happened since, had been worth it, just for that fact alone. There was a vibrancy about Bo, a life force that ran through her, so strong, that Lauren had been immediately attracted to it, like a moth to a flame. Bo was life and from her, she had experienced a depth of love she hadn't known was possible. And despite Bo's lineage, she was the most human person Lauren knew.
Lost in her thoughts, Lauren was suddenly surprised to find herself standing before a massive set of intricately carved doors. She looked behind her, and the pathway she had been travelling on, was no longer visible. She looked at her watch; it had stopped the moment she had entered through the gateway.
"Hmmm," she said to herself. "Has it been hours, or days?" Not that it mattered; she'd reached her goal, so far.
Pushing against the doors, she was relieved at how easily they opened, stepping inside.
"The Great Hall," she mumbled to herself. It was the same place that Bo had described, shields adorning the ceiling. She took a moment to take in the splendour, allowed herself to immerse into the history and myth of the place, feeling the calmness of it. She smiled at that, surprised that it felt that way, considering the boisterous hero's it probably contained.
From behind her, Lauren felt a presence, slowly turning to face it. She tried to ready herself to be attacked, knowing this could be the last thing she ever knew before death.
Standing before her was the most beautiful woman she had ever seen, and from Bo's previous trip here, Lauren recognised her as Brunhilde.
"Are you lost?" Brunhilde asked softly.
Lauren sensed a hint of humour in the question. "No." She said with confidence.
Brunhilde tilted her head. "Are you sure of that?"
Lauren semi smiled. "She's smart," she said to herself. "Lost? No, I'm where I need to be. But maybe in other ways, I am."
Brunhilde nodded. "This seems to be a popular destination. We've had a glut of the non fallen eager to visit just lately. Maybe we should consider opening it as a tourist destination."
"I like her!" Lauren thought, not forgetting that any moment Brunhilde might decide to terminate her.
"Is there a particular attraction you wish to see?"
"I'd love the full tour, but I'm a little pushed for time. I believe from here, I can get to where I need to be."
"And where is that?"
Lauren took a deep breath. "I need to get to the Hades ride."
Brunhilde's expression remained impassive. "That's becoming a favourite." She indicated they walk. "How did you manage to get here?"
Lauren told her. "The hair was obtained under false pretext. I'm sure the donation would not have been given if they had known my real intent."
"For it to have been given at all, means you must be very trusted. You must have done something, or given up something, for this Valkyrie to be so willing." Brunhilde waited for a response.
"I..." Lauren faltered for a moment. She had never considered how important the decision Tamsin had made, had been. She felt guilty for having lied to her; Tamsin's gift had been made from trust, and from hope, that as her own relationship with Bo was ended, she had given Tamsin a chance. "I had no idea, but I'm flattered to know it was given without question."
"Tamsin?" Brunhilde asked.
Lauren stared at her for a moment, then nodded. "It's very quiet here. I expected more...Valkyrie."
"We are dealing with some...in house issues, shall we say," Brunhilde stopped walking. "Why Hades?"
Brunhilde's gaze was penetrating, showing suspicion, laced with a tint of menace at Lauren's reason.
"I need to speak with him. I think he'd be interested in a proposition I have." Lauren said.
"Proposition? What sort?"
"One that could benefit everybody."
"You're being very guarded, Lauren. I'm not sure that's wise in your circumstances. You're alone here, with no contact. Unlike Bo, before."
"You know who I am?" Lauren asked, trying not to show her shock.
"Well, I would hope that it wouldn't be a stretch of human imagination to believe that someone like me, couldn't put two and two together?" Brunhilde raised an eyebrow.
"Sorry, I didn't realise that from Bo's visit, you had managed to gather so much information!"
"One of the perks of divinity." Brunhilde's expression softened. "I ask your intent, as the in house issue we have, involves Hades."
Lauren wasn't sure if this would be to her advantage or bring her plan to a halt. "Really? In what way?"
Brunhilde seemed to hesitate, unsure if she should in fact impart the information or trust Lauren with it. "It seems he is trying to use Valhalla as a passageway, through to your realm. God's can use such passageways of course, another perk, but we are reluctant in this instance. In our relationship with Hades, we have not always seen eye to eye, on his preferred methods of Godmanship."
Brunhilde started walking again. "I have the Valkyrie keeping watch on possible ways for him to get through."
They came to a door, which opened, leading into another hall. The light that emanated, blinded Lauren momentarily, and she stumbled, losing balance, falling to her knees.
"Apologies, I should have warned you." Brunhilde held out her hand to offer support.
Lauren took it. "Thank you," she smiled, feeling the firm grip. As she rose to her feet, Brunhilde didn't move, just stared at her, squeezing her hand.
"You don't know, do you?" Brunhilde stated.
"Know what?" Lauren asked, as Brunhilde let go of her hand. The Norse woman just smiled without answering, walking on. After a few moments she stopped at a door.
"This will take you where you wish to go."
Lauren frowned. "Just like that? You're willing to let me go? You don't want to interrogate me as to my intent? You seemed concerned about it a moment ago!" she couldn't believe Brunhilde's change of stance.
"It is your wish to be interrogated? You seem disappointed not to be."
Lauren noticed that Brunhilde found the notion amusing, and that maybe she had sounded a little too eager to possibly face interrogation. She blushed when she considered her own notion of what form it might have taken.
"I'm not disappointed!" Lauren said firmly. "I assumed Valhalla security would have dictated a more vigorous approach!"
Brunhilde looked even more amused.
"Shut up, Lewis!" Lauren told herself.
Brunhilde moved to stand right in front of her, her height imposing. "Vigorous interrogation? I'll keep that in mind." Her voice was low.
"Did she just flirt with me?" Lauren found that notion absurd, if not intriguing.
"You know the consequences of being here," Brunhilde stepped back. "And from what I've just discovered, I can't really stop you. I can only hope your intent is a trustworthy one." She was serious once again.
"I believe it to be. I hope it will be," Lauren assured her.
Brunhilde bowed her head, understanding. "Do you have anything to cover your hands?"
Lauren thought it an odd question. "I have some surgical gloves,"
"Good. Should you get close enough to Hades, for any contact, I would advise you wear them. It will be to your advantage." Brunhilde added. "Good luck, Lauren. I believe we will meet again, very soon."
Lauren watched her as she walked away, leaving her unhindered to continue on. She looked at the door. She still had a choice. She was sure if she changed her mind, called out, Brunhilde would see her sent back, safely, to the real world. Back to living the life that no longer held meaning, without the one person she longed for. But she could change all that, for one of them at least.
Lauren steeled herself, closed her eyes, putting her hand out to the door, moving forward. Behind her eye lids, she could see the brightness of light, and when that flashed dimmed, she opened her eyes. They adjusted to the semi darkness of a room, and when Lauren saw the crib and rocking chair, she knew where she was. She hadn't expected to be transported to the same place that Bo had, but was glad she had been; she was familiar with it.
She heard her name, spoken weakly, turning to where it had come from. She saw the cage, and a figure inside. As she moved towards it, she saw who it was.
"Hale?" She stopped her urge to run forward, quickly assessing that it could be a trap.
Hale was shackled in chains, at his hands and feet. His face and body showed signs of being beaten; his nose had been bleeding, a dry trail of blood ran down over his mouth to his chin; the same from a wound at his head. One eye was bruised. His torso, bare from clothing, also had numerous gashes and bruising.
She knew Hale was dead, and knew the Underworld could be a place of suffering and punishment, but she didn't realise that it could be as physical as it appeared. Then she wondered why Hale was here; this wasn't where he should be.
Hale attempted to stand up. "What are you doing here?" he managed to say.
Before Lauren could answer him, his body stiffened, convulsing.
"No!" Hale yelled. He flung himself at the bars of the cage, his body twisting. "Run, Lauren!" he shouted.
Lauren didn't move, as she watched him fight against something. Hale's head slumped forward to his chest, as though he'd passed out.
Slowly, Hale lifted his head, looking at her. "So you know this one? And who exactly is Lauren?"
Lauren froze at the change in Hale's voice.
"Don't fight me!" Hale shouted. "You know what will happen if you do!" Hale's body appeared to be resisting the take-over that was obviously happening.
"Either you tell me, or I'll get it out of her anyway!"
The resistance seemed to stop. "Ahh, she's a doctor?" Hale smiled with amusement.
"If you want to know, why don't you ask me yourself?" Lauren heard her own voice ask, amazed she was being so bold.
Hale's resistance seemed to resume. Suddenly he collapsed.
"Very well, why don't you tell me?"
Lauren spun round, looking at the man who was smiling at her. His smile goaded her; it was smug, as though her challenge fascinated him more with her bravado, rather than any threat she might pose.
He was as she imagined, from what little she knew of Bo's meeting him before. There wasn't anything likeable about him, despite any effort he might be employing to seem friendly. She considered if she should point that out? His lack of empathy, but why bother; as a complete psychopath, that would be missing anyway.
"It's true, I'm a doctor, and I'm here to help you, Mr Hades." Lauren said.
"Help me?" Hades laughed. "What makes you think I need a doctor?" He circled her. "He might, but I think he's beyond your help anyway," he pointed at Hale.
"Yes, I'm fascinated by that," Lauren said. She moved away from Hades, towards the cage. "I assume your hostile take-over is causing this kind of damage, or is it also part of his resistance? I had no idea a dead person could still suffer this way."
"He won't resist for too much longer. It's only been a couple of days, but I couldn't have picked a better candidate. He's strong, both in body and mind."
"So, this is your plan? To use him to get you through to Bo?" Lauren didn't look at Hades, seeming indifference.
"You know my daughter?" Hades moved swiftly over to her.
She looked at him. "Oh yes, I know her very well, better than Hale." She changed the subject. "How did you get him here exactly?"
"A loophole in the system, shall we say. He was visited by my daughter and his dead girlfriend, a special visit. That left a small hole in the fabric of the realms that has slowly bled to become a little larger. There's always a consequence of such requests. My daughter needs to learn to reign in her emotions where her friends are concerned. Anyway, I sent the Furies through that hole. He was obviously important to her."
"Good plan. You invade his body to get to her, and I assume blackmail her to do what you want, or Hale will suffer the consequence of her choice." Lauren smiled.
"That was my plan, but as it seems you've admitted you know her better than him, perhaps you'd be better suited as a vessel to use?"
Lauren shook her head. "I know I said I was here to help you, but I'm not willing to go that far."
"You believe you have a choice?" Hades laughed
"Absolutely! You see, I can save you all the hassle, of taking over my body, me resisting, and I assure you I will, and then getting through to Bo."
"Lauren, what are you doing?" Hale looked at her confused, barely able to ask.
"Are you trying to save him?" Hades asked suspiciously.
Lauren scoffed. "You can do whatever you like to him. I've had years of being supplicated, shackled and even caged myself, by his kind. Now it's time for me. And you, Mr Hades, are going to give me what I want." She walked away from the cage.
"What you want? I thought you were here to help me?" Hades stated.
"We'll both benefit from this deal." Lauren removed the rucksack from her back. "I can give you the one thing you desire more than anything," from the bag, she carefully took out the container. "I can give you that legacy you crave for, that fame you've sought, that was outshone by your own brother," she opened the lid, to reveal the vials.
"These little babies contain your daughter's blood," Lauren picked one out, holding it up. "I brought several, just in case." She placed the vial pack in the container, sealing the lid. "I've adapted it, so you can rewrite history at your will."
"No!" Hale cried out. "Lauren, why are you doing this? Think about what you're doing!" he pleaded.
"I don't need to think about it. I know exactly what I'm doing. I'm about to change everything!" Lauren smiled, looking at Hades. "Now, if I tell you what I want out of it, do we have a deal?" she flicked a switch on the container, starting a timer to count down from 60 seconds. "Or do these get destroyed? The ball's in your court, Mr H!"
"Which fucking door is it?!"
Bo shouted in frustration. She glared at Tamsin. "You must know which one?"
Tamsin held up her hands to placate her. "I do. My concern is why none of my Valkyrie sisters showed up the minute we did. Something's not right!" she glanced around, concerned.
Bo tried to remain calm, trusting Tamsin's assessment of their situation. Bo had barged through the main doors of the Great Hall, racing forward, only to realise she couldn't recognise the door Brunhilde had taken her to before.
"She went this way." Dyson said, offering help.
"You've picked up Lauren's scent?" Bo asked.
He nodded. "She was definitely here, not long ago," he moved forward.
Tamsin reluctantly agreed to continue. "Follow me."
"My God, this place could benefit from my interior designer!" Evony mumbled. "I can leave his details if anyone would be interested?"
No one responded to her suggestion.
Tamsin stopped at a door. "When we go through, the light will be intense. It doesn't affect me, but it will all of you."
They all nodded their understanding. Once through the other side, Tamsin continued on.
"Are you kidding me? Does this whole place look this bad?" Evony rolled her eyes. "This needs some serious makeover!"
Kenzi leaned towards her. "I don't think it's a priority right now, Ev's. But maybe leave your designer's card, later?" Though she had no idea if there would actually be a later. That depended on their survival.
Tamsin halted at another door. "This is it. I can't tell you what will be on the other side, but you should know you should be afraid. That just might be enough to help you survive!" she made sure they all understood the warning.
"Let's do this!" Kenzi encouraged, trying her best to smile at Bo.
"You don't have to, none of you do!" Bo said. "I can take it from here."
"Like you have a choice in the matter?" Dyson smiled at her. "Where you go, we follow."
Bo knew he was right. No matter the odds stacked against them, the peril they may face, and had faced in the past, all of them here, didn't consider not helping her an option. There wasn't anything they would leave her to face alone.
"You guys are amazing, the best!" Bo said. She knew it didn't say enough about how she felt, but she hoped it conveyed in some small way, how grateful she was. If they made it through, there'd be time to really let them know.
"Ready?" Tamsin asked. She took Bo's hand, who in turn reached out for Dyson's, who reached out to Kenzi, who reached out for Evony.
"Open it!" Bo urged.
As Bo's eyes adjusted from the fierce glow, the first thing she saw was the crib and she knew where they were.
Bo watched, as her young friend bolted towards the cage. Tamsin stood, her mouth open in shock.
"Hale?" Dyson couldn't seem to believe his eyes before he, too, dashed forward.
Kenzi was desperately pulling at the bars of the cage. "Hale!" she cried out to him, as he lay on the floor.
Bo found herself, along with Dyson, and Tamsin, trying to help get the cage door open.
Hale started to come round, his eyes slowly focusing. Kenzi knelt down, so he could see her.
"Kenzi?" Hale mumbled.
"Yes, baby, it's me." She desperately reached out to him through the bars. He dragged himself towards her, grabbing her hand.
"We'll get you out," she said, as tears fell onto her cheeks. She noticed his battered appearance, how weak and vulnerable he looked. It was breaking her heart, all over again.
It seemed from just seeing her, Hale gathered the strength he needed; he attempted to stand. "You need to leave. It's too dangerous to be here!"
He used the bars to pull himself up properly. "Why are you here?" He then noticed Bo. "What have you done? Why have you brought her here?" he said angered.
"Save your energy, buddy," Dyson said. "We're here to help," he gripped the bars, pulling at them with all his strength.
"Then get Kenzi out of here!" Hale shouted.
"We're not going anywhere without you!" Bo told him. "Have you seen Lauren?"
Hale semi laughed. "Why try and save me, I'm already dead remember? And yeah, Lauren's here, but I hope you haven't come to save her. She's got other plans!"
"What are you talking about?" Bo asked.
Dyson growled, his wolf teeth showing as the bars started to prize apart. He continued, the steel creaking with resistance, until they bowed enough for Hale to get through.
Kenzi helped to support him as he held onto her, while Dyson tore off the shackles.
"Errr, sorry to interrupt this very sweet reunion, but," Evony said. They all looked at her. "We don't appear to be the only one's here." She pointed behind them.
Bo reached for the handle of the bladed knife she had sheathed under her jacket. She spun round to face her father, the weapon drawn.
Hades laughed. "And what do you expect to do with that?"
"Haven't figured it out yet, but old habits die hard when I find myself faced with a threat that needs to be dealt with!" Bo answered.
Hades appeared to ponder for a moment. He smiled then held out his hand.
Bo felt the knife wrenched from her grip, into Hades possession.
He felt the weight of it. "It's quite a sweet plaything. Of course it would have no affect on me, but I can see the damage it could inflict on someone human."
There was a flash of movement, and before any of them could react, Hades now had hold of Kenzi, the blade at her throat.
"Shall we test that theory?" Hades smiled.
"You son of a bitch!" Hale surged forward, but Dyson grabbed his arm.
"Such devotion, Hale. No wonder she loves you!" Hades laughed. He moved the blade to stroke Kenzi's cheek with it.
"Take me, but leave her alone!" Hale begged.
Dyson sensed his police buddy partner was on the verge of collapse, making firmer the hold he had on Hale, holding him up to face Hades.
"You don't understand, Hale. There has to be a consequence, you see. Someone has to pay the price for interfering, for making demands." Hades turned his attention to Bo.
"I'll give you want you want," Bo moved forward. "Let her go, and I'll help rewrite history with my blood."
"Really? You'd finally agree to that?" Hades asked.
Bo thought he looked too sly. "If you let her go, yes." She wasn't convinced he'd believe her, but she hoped she'd done enough to sound as though she meant it. If it saved Kenzi's life, she wouldn't hesitate.
"That's the sad thing for Kenzi here. I don't actually need you anymore!" Hades said with delight. "Oh, Dr Lewis!" he called out.
Lauren strode purposefully into the room.
Bo couldn't believe how confident she looked. She didn't seem afraid and was unharmed.
"Didn't I tell you she'd probably come, Mr H?" Lauren said, then tutted. "Now, now, play nice, I think you can let Kenzi go."
Without stopping, Lauren walked straight up to Bo. "Hi, Bo," she said then kissed her full on the mouth.
Bo was completely confused, as Lauren walked away.
Hades also looked confused. "Ahh, so that's how you know my daughter so well!" He laughed. "Well, well, Isabeau! Aren't you the dark horse!" he laughed even more.
"If we are to do this, then you really need to let Kenzi go," Lauren said, waiting.
Hades sighed. "But consequences, Doctor? Bo needs to learn!"
"You can have Kenzi back, after I'm done." Lauren reasoned with him.
Bo was frantically trying to understand what exactly was going on between Lauren and her father.
Lauren was at the crib fiddling with something inside it. Bo tried to see, but then she was distracted. Two other figures now appeared in the room; Persephone and Brunhilde.
Tamsin stared at her fellow Valkyrie, but Brunhilde just smiled at her, and Tamsin relaxed.
"I'm honoured you have shown up, Brunhilde. May I say, you look better than when I last saw you," Hades addressed her. "I assume this is just a social visit?"
"Yes," Brunhilde bowed her head slightly in respect. "As you know, I have no jurisdiction in your realm, other than to pass through it. I hope you have no objection to me being here?"
Hades just shrugged. "None. It won't be long before all that changes anyway!"
Kenzi wriggled in his arms, but he held her tighter.
"And you, my dear wife, back so early from visiting my brother, Zeus?" Hades said the name with contempt.
"I'm sure if I had seen him, he would have sent his greetings," Persephone answered. "And asked me to remind you of the blood bond and agreement you have with your brothers." She moved towards him. "He would know full well, that your plan is not one he would be happy with, but one that he cannot stop," she kissed him on the cheek. "But as I haven't been to Mount Olympus, I can only surmise that that is what my father would think."
Persephone stepped away from him, looking at Bo. "I've found Valhalla to be a very nice place to stay."
Bo closed her eyes. Surely she couldn't have been wrong about Persephone, surely what she was saying wasn't true? That this whole thing had been a set up?
Stunned, Bo looked at Lauren. She had put on surgical gloves, and now took up a vial, extracting its dark red liquid into a syringe.
Bo knew immediately what it was. "Lauren, what are you doing?" she asked softly, her heartbeat now racing.
Lauren smiled back at her. "I've made a deal with your father. He wants change and so do I. And this is the only way it will happen. Aren't you tired, Bo? Aren't you fed up with constantly having to battle against forces that are so archaic, so intolerably stupid?" she tapped the syringe. "Haven't you had enough of not being able to live your life how you want, having it restricted, people telling you what to do all the time? Wouldn't life be so much easier, if you could change it all? If you had the power, to just wash all that ancient crap away, and start anew? Bring about real change? Make real differences in the world that would benefit everybody?"
Lauren moved over to Hades. "I know I've had enough; I know I can't live like this anymore. But I have a chance to change all that, for everybody here; for me, but more importantly for you! I'm gonna help change it all, for you." She smiled sweetly.
"Well said, Doctor!" Hades beamed with delight. "It's a shame you're not my daughter. You certainly know how to act like one. Very obedient!"
"You need to let Kenzi go now," Lauren said.
Hades dropped her without thought. Kenzi crawled away into the safety of Hale's arms.
"I assume you are in full human form right now?" Lauren asked him. "I'd hate to break a needle on God like skin."
"This better work or our agreement is over! My daughter is here, after all!" Hades warned her.
"As I told you she would be; here to witness your transformation." Lauren answered. "If it doesn't work you'll have enough hostages to torture, to get her to do what you want," she readied the syringe.
"Lauren, don't do this!" Bo begged.
"Bo, I'm so sorry, but please trust me, it's for the best." Lauren said. She pushed the needle into Hades arm, sending Bo's blood into the vein.
Hades eyes flared open. "Oh doctor!" he declared almost in ecstasy. He drove the knife, into Lauren's abdomen. "Sorry, but you must have known there'd be no deal!" he smiled at her.
"No!" Bo screamed. She went to bolt forward but Brunhilde held her back. Bo looked at her, beseeching her to let her go.
Brunhilde just shook her head. "Consequences, Bo. You must allow them to happen. And trust what you know." She said quietly.
Bo was shaking, tears stinging her eyes, as she looked on helpless.
Lauren tried not to struggle as Hades held the blade firmly. "Yeah, I pretty much figured you'd renege," she managed to speak, trying to ignore the pain as Hades pushed the blade upwards.
"You just wanted to punish her really, didn't you, for being disobedient? Hurting Hale, or killing Kenzi, it didn't matter who it was, you were going to see her suffer."
Hades just smiled at her.
"How are you feeling?" Lauren managed to ask. "Any different yet? Or you need another shot?" she smiled back at him.
His expression slowly changed from one of elation to horror. He staggered slightly, causing Lauren to groan, as he used her for support, the knife now twisting.
"Welcome to my world asshole!" Lauren spat at him.
Hades stared at her. "What have you done?" He looked at his other hand, saw it shaking, then grabbed Lauren by the neck, recoiling immediately from the touch. "What are you?"
"What have I done?" Lauren answered, finding the will to speak. "That's simple scientific medicine, H. I found your DNA in Bo's blood. And from that, I managed to extract the God out of Hades, and gave it back to you! You're now a fine healthy human specimen!" she gave a small laugh. "What am I? I'm a fucking medical genius! Not because I managed to do it, that was a no brainer. But that it only took one injection. I thought it would be at least two or three!"
"Furies!" Hades yelled.
"They won't come, husband, they no longer obey your command." Persephone informed him.
Hades looked panicked; he withdrew the blade dropping it, and Lauren collapsed. He looked down at her. "There's something else! Who are you?"
Bo wrenched herself away from Brunhilde, picking up the knife quickly, holding it under her fathers' chin. "You wanna know who she is? She's the love of my life, and anybody that hurts her, gets to die in my world!"
Before Bo could use it against Hades, Persephone held her arm taking the knife, Bo unable to stop her.
"Bo, as much as he may no longer be a God, he was one, and respect must be shown; he's still your father. Could you live with the fact you'd be the one that killed him?"
Bo was filled with rage. She wanted Hades dead and it didn't matter about respect or that he was her father. She felt she had right enough after what he'd done. But before she could protest, Persephone swiftly plunged the blade into Hades chest, straight into his heart. He sank to his knees, dead, without making a sound.
Bo stared at her in disbelief; Persephone sighed with satisfaction, then smiled at her before turning to look at Lauren.
"No!' Bo called out. She saw Brunhilde crouched next to Lauren. "No! Do something!"
Bo applied pressure against Lauren's stomach, trying to stem the flow of blood. She kissed the Doctor, trying to pass on her energy, but it wasn't working.
"You have the power right? You're Gods!" she looked from Persephone to Brunhilde, but they didn't respond.
"Tamsin?" Bo pleaded.
Tamsin stood with the others, all in shock at what had just happened. "I don't have that kind of power, I'm sorry!"
Bo looked at Hale. "You can seal this up? You did it for Kenzi that time!"
Hale shook his head. "Bo, I can't, I'm not alive, I don't have my Siren powers."
Dyson bowed his head, his eyes met Bo's and she could see he had no answer to help.
Kenzi and Evony knelt down beside her.
"Lauren, can you hear me?" Bo asked gently.
Lauren's eyes fluttered open. "Did it work? Did my plan work?"
Bo nodded. "Yep, you crazy assed fool. It was a brilliant plan!" she laughed, choking back tears.
"Am I good or what?" Lauren's eyes started to close.
"You're the best, Doc!"
"Yeah, I know." Lauren murmured. "Love you, Bo." Then her eyes closed.
"Love you, too!" Bo pulled Lauren into her body, rocking back and forth. She kissed Lauren's forehead. "Don't leave me, please!" she whispered. She looked at Brunhilde.
"Take me instead," she begged, but she knew it wasn't going to work that way.
So this was the consequence, Bo thought; this is what happened when you asked too much, when you didn't show enough respect; when you tried to make things better for those you loved? There was always a price to pay. She had believed that the consequence would be hers alone, that only she would suffer harm; that had been Brunhilde's warning or so she thought; but this? This was suffering beyond her imagination.
Bo looked at Lauren's still body. "Not like this, please, not like this." Then she flung back her head, her wail of grief echoing round the room.
Brunhilde stood up, opening her Valkyrie wings. They were magnificent and so beautiful, almost translucent white, that even Tamsin gasped.
"The imbalance has been corrected. Lauren has repaid your debt, Bo, in the same manner that Kenzi made her sacrifice for you. All consequences are now over."
With Kenzi's help, Evony gently made Bo release her hold on Lauren. "Let her go, Bo. Let them take her."
Bo looked at her, saw that Evony had been crying. Reluctantly, she let go.
Brunhilde crouched down again, her wings folding inwards, like soft protective shields, until Lauren was hidden behind them.
Bo attempted to crawl back to her. "No!" she sobbed, but Evony held her tightly.
Brunhilde turned to look at her, and Bo froze. Brunhilde's face now showed the Valkyrie death mask; a look of utter pain, sadness and despair, but a look that recognised courage and honour, and showed that her obligation was now to the fallen woman she had encompassed with her wings.
Brunhilde turned her gaze away, and suddenly both of them were gone.
"Bo?" Persephone looked at her, as if puzzled by her sadness.
"Where will she take her?" Bo asked numbly.
"Where she belongs," Persephone answered.
Bo frowned, wiping the tears from her face.
"To her rightful home, Mount Olympus. You know who she is, don't you?" Persephone smiled knowingly. She held out her hand to help Bo stand.
"You mean you knew all along?" Bo got up from the floor, suddenly feeling lightheaded with realisation.
"Not until we met just recently."
"But Lauren doesn't know. If she's who she really is, how come she can die?"
"Death is just a transformation for Lauren. In her case, in order for her to live as she truly is, she needed to die; it's an hereditary legacy. You didn't know this?"
Bo felt faint. "Wait, you're saying she's not dead? But she needed to die to become her real self? So, in fact, she's still alive?"
Bo's hand went to her mouth. "Oh my God!' she said with relief. Her knees went weak causing Kenzi to grab her.
Dyson nervously laughed. "I don't think I've ever been so glad to hear about someone being dead!"
"You know she's more than just a genius doctor," Hale said. "She had me completely fooled when she turned up here. She acted as though she didn't care. I guess that was to get Hades to trust her!"
"Not only to trust her, but to help you! That's why she kissed me, when she saw he had Kenzi; she pulled his attention away from killing her, putting the focus on her." Bo could now understand why Lauren had appeared so cold and calculating.
"The prophecy said the Chosen One would defeat the Dark Father; if Lauren could do what she just did, why didn't she just kill Hades!" Evony asked.
"Well, for one, she doesn't know who she is and that she's the chosen one!" Kenzi said.
"We all know Lauren; she's in the business of saving lives, not taking them. She couldn't hurt anyone, and certainly not kill them, not even someone like him," Bo pointed at Hades body. "She cried once when she trod on a cockroach at the house. I had to try and look worried when she held a stethoscope to its body to see if it was still alive. All I wanted to do was laugh!"
She allowed herself to smile at the memory, despite the current circumstances.
Bo's mind suddenly snapped back to reality; she turned her attention to Persephone.
"You! You fooled him too, didn't you!" she said with realisation. "You told him to let you come and find me! You knew, if I thought he was going to find a way through, I'd try and stop him!"
Persephone smiled. "Yes. I had seen what he was prepared to do" she indicated Hale. "I couldn't stop him alone, so I convinced him that you knowing he had found a way, would bring you to him. I was sure, from when I'd seen you stand up to him before, you could probably defeat him, in his own realm. In yours, I knew he could destroy so many if he got through. I think he still distrusted me, so that's why we were attacked by the Furies."
"But Tamsin brought you back here, so you could get to Mount Olympus, so Hades knew you hadn't gone there?"
"Yes, if he thought that was my true intention, to warn my father, he would never have allowed me to go to you."
"So Zeus doesn't know about all this, or doesn't care?" Bo asked sharply. "This could have been stopped, if they'd showed up!"
"As I told you, Zeus could not interfere. I believed the only one that could stop Hades was you, and I was ready to help! What I didn't predict was Lauren coming here first. I was waiting for you to show up, when Brunhilde told me about Lauren being here. She had discovered what Lauren was also, but we didn't know her intent, so we decided to let fate take its course. As soon as we knew you had arrived, that's when Brunhilde and myself came here. I could see Lauren's hands shaking when she was at the crib, and I sensed that what she was attempting to do, wasn't what everybody else was dreading. I distracted Hades, kissed him even, giving her a little more time to prepare!"
Persephone stopped for a moment, hoping her passionate explanation would be acceptable.
"What Lauren did, was simply brilliant. I knew you pitted against your father, might have distracted him enough, for me to stop him, and he needed to be stopped. He's needed to be stopped for so long! But Lauren saved us all from that."
"You didn't fear him, you hated him." Bo stated quietly.
Persephone nodded. "Your father thrived on fear. The God's always have in a sense, but not like Hades. He enjoyed it, enjoyed inflicting it on others; all the poor souls who found themselves in the Underworld, hoping the after-life would afford them some peace. But it was a game to him. He had such rage against what he perceived had been done to him, that Zeus and Poseidon had tricked him into taking this realm, while they had all the spoils of something better. Hades was wrong, he couldn't see it. This realm is so special, so wonderful, filled with such beautiful souls. It deserved a better King than him to look after it."
Tears rolled down Persephone's cheeks.
"So what happens to the Underworld now?" Bo asked.
"You weren't listening to her very well, were you?"
They all turned to see Brunhilde, who smiled at Bo.
"Although I can understand why, considering she was about to inject Hades with your blood!" Brunhilde added.
"Is Lauren okay?" Bo asked, worried.
Brunhilde nodded, placing a reassuring hand on her shoulder. "She's fine. Dazed, confused, but everything is being explained to her."
Bo exhaled with relief and delight.
"Lauren was being very astute." Brunhilde continued. "She was talking about change. How things need to change in order for it to be better for everyone. She meant you. She hoped, that if she could remove the constant threats you face, you could live the life you deserve. And she's right. It is time for change. It's time for a new generation to take over. The old guard of Ancients need to relinquish their precarious grip, let it go and let fresh life be given to it; let new Ancients make their mark in history and myth."
"You think the rest of the Ancients will accept that?" Bo asked.
"They have no choice, Bo, and they know it." Brunhilde winked.
"So, what happens to the Underworld now, who takes over?" Bo asked.
"It will be my great privilege, to stay, to see to it that it becomes the place it should be for all the souls here," Persephone said. "But as you are its only surviving heir, Bo, then that right is yours. Only you can decide,"
"You'd give up being able to go to Mount Olympus?" Bo questioned, knowing that as Queen, Persephone might not have the ability to leave as she did now.
"There's not much for me there anymore. And I'll have goods friends in Valhalla that I can visit."
"Then I can't think of anyone better to take care of this place. But on one condition?" Bo said.
Persephone tilted her head.
"This room goes; nothing to do with my father remains here!"
"It's also time for change in Asgard," Brunhilde added. "I'm thinking about taking it easy, putting my feet up, I believe is the expression. The Valkyrie could do with some 'vigour' to their duties, which was recently brought to my attention! I think they need younger blood in charge. Someone a little unpredictable; on the edge fearless, on the edge careless! stupidly brave, mouthy, plenty of annoying attitude; quick witted; loyal, emotional, loveable...well, sometimes; frustrating, infuriating..."
As Brunhilde had been speaking she had moved until she stood in front of Tamsin. "Sound like someone anybody knows?" she looked at the others.
"Are you crazy? Have you lost your fucking Valkyrie mind?!" Tamsin squared up to Brunhilde.
"Forgot to add, also has a wonderful way with words," Brunhilde's smile faded. "The idea scare you, Valkyrie? Are you afraid of the challenge? I never thought you'd back down from an opportunity like that! Perhaps you've been too long away from your home?"
"I'm not scared! I could eat the place up and you know it!" Tamsin yelled.
"I thought so once. So why the hesitation?"
"You should know why! I'm in my last life cycle! The others won't follow me knowing that! Hell, neither would I. They'll just be hanging on till I kick the bucket! What chance would I have at making my mark?"
"That's all you're concerned about? The idea doesn't scare you, of being in charge, of looking after Asgard and Valhalla?"
"No! Though I'm not sure how Odin will feel about it!" Tamsin huffed.
"Don't worry about him, as I said, Asgard needs to change. And as for your condition, I believe, being what I am, I can help you with that."
Tamsin stared at her in disbelief. "You're not serious?"
"One of the perks! I am a God, therefore I can make a God!"
"Shit!" Tamsin mumbled.
Dyson held out his hand to her. "Congratulations!" he smiled as he shook her hand. "You'd never have gotten a promotion like that if you'd stayed a police officer!"
"Do you have any other employment vacancies?" Evony asked Brunhilde.
Dyson laughed, setting everyone else into laughter.
Bo smiled, seeing them all sharing a moment of light relief, from what had been an exceptionally traumatic experience.
"From what we thought, Lauren was supposed to be the Chosen One, I guess we got that wrong?" Bo said. "I guess this means, she stays at Mount Olympus?"
Persephone looked at her. "Has she not been chosen already, Bo? She is free to live where she wishes, whether there, or in your world. But does she have a good enough reason to choose your world?"
Bo's heart, at first elated at this news, sank just as quickly. Did Lauren know that she did have a good enough reason to come back to her? Or was Lauren still under the impression that Bo's choice had been Tamsin? Something she hadn't done much to dispel. It wasn't a good enough excuse, and Bo knew it. She should have fought for her, when Lauren walked away; she should have forced her to admit how she really felt, and Bo knew she should have told Lauren exactly the same; that without doubt, she loved her.
"Yes, she has one very good reason to return!"
Bo's heart almost stopped, as she recognised the voice. She turned, as Lauren once again walked in to the room.
Bo rushed at her, pulling her into her body. "Don't ever do that again!" Then kissed Lauren fiercely. "Do you know how much I could slap you right now?" she reprimanded her.
"Like we haven't tried that before!" Lauren smiled.
"Are you in any pain?" Bo stood back to look at her. There was no sign of the stab wound at all. "Obviously not!"
"I'm fine, Bo." Lauren assured her.
"Lauren, you have no idea how glad we are to see you!" Dyson added.
"Thank you, I'm sure it's equal to how glad I am to see all of you!" Lauren gently moved out of Bo's arm's, over to Hale.
"I'm sorry about earlier," she said to him. "That was incredibly difficult for me to witness, and I have no idea how painful it was for you,"
"No sweat, Doc, you did what you had to do. I realise if he'd suspected...well, things wouldn't have gone to your plan."
Lauren smiled at him. "I'm sorry that I never got to give you the life you wanted..."
"Doc, it's okay," Hale interrupted her, but Lauren held up her hand to silence him.
"I ran out of time back then, but it seems I have some hereditary abilities, and new family connections, which has meant a deal that I promise I will only ever do this once. My father got into trouble for doing it too often, apparently."
Hale looked at her, confused. "Okay, time to test the practicalities," Lauren said. She reached out her hand, placing it over Hale's heart.
"I'm not sure how long this might take..." Lauren started, when Hale's lungs expanded as they quickly filled with air. He almost choked from the sensation, as it literally took his breath away. The wounds on his body healed.
"Oh!" Lauren said surprised. "It's really that quick!"
"What is?" Kenzi asked.
Hale turned to look at her, unable to speak.
"It's the best I can do. I can't give you your Fae powers back, but at least you can now live the life you wanted, as a human being." Lauren said.
"You mean?" Kenzi couldn't bring herself to say it.
"I'm alive!" Hale said. "I'm alive!"
Lauren found herself engulfed by Hale and Kenzi. Bo, Dyson, Tamsin and Evony stood staring at her in awe and amazement.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you!" Kenzi repeated over and over, while Hale, overcome with joy, couldn't speak. He squeezed Lauren's hands with gratitude and she nodded, letting him know she understood how overwhelmed he was by what she had done.
Kenzi and Hale moved away, Dyson joining them in their celebration.
Evony sighed, dreamily. "Isn't that just perfect," she said, looking over at the young couple.
"I'd left you a note with instructions," Lauren told her. "In case I didn't make it back. I finally finished the formula for your restoration, last night,"
"Really?" Evony seemed oblivious, still watching Kenzi and Hale.
"Yes, I can give you the treatment when we get back."
"Oh? Does it have a shelf life?" Evony asked.
"Will it go off? If it's not used right away?"
"No!" Lauren said, somewhat insulted at the idea. "I don't produce substandard results, without thorough research and testing. The serum is a finest, purest sample, housed in a sterile canister frozen with liquid nitrogen. It won't degrade for years!"
"Good," Evony smiled.
"Babe, I think what Evony is saying, is that she's in no rush right now to be Fae again. Being human isn't all that bad." Bo said, trying not to laugh at Lauren's indignation.
"Oh!" The penny dropped, and Lauren smiled. "Well, it's ready when you are,"
"Thank you, Dr Lewis, although come my next menstrual cycle I might well be beating on your door, demanding the jab!"
"That was pretty awesome, what you did?" Tamsin said awkwardly to Lauren.
"I'm sorry I took your hair under false pretexts,"
Tamsin waved it off. "Don't worry about it."
"How did you find Mount Olympus?" Persephone asked Lauren.
Now Lauren smiled awkwardly. "Informative."
"Did you meet.....everyone?" Bo said.
"Yes. It's strange, but I felt like I was there for days,"
"It can seem like that; time has a different meaning, a different way of working there. For you it might have felt that way; for everyone here, you were gone for only a few minutes," Persephone explained.
"So what happens now?" Evony asked.
"Everything is now as it should be; a new start begins, for Ancients, old and new, for Fae, and human's." Brunhilde said. "We can escort you back to the gateway," she indicated herself and Tamsin.
"That's it? This is all over? No comeback over any of this?" Bo asked Brunhilde.
"No," she merely smiled.
Bo stared at her. "It's never that easy," she analyzed it all for a moment, then it struck her.
"You said, you'd have friends in Valhalla to visit," she looked at Persephone. "You didn't say Asgard!" she turned back to Brunhilde. "She meant you! Valhalla is the home of the fallen! That's where you're going, isn't it?"
Brunhilde smiled. "Ah, so you are actually more intelligent than you look."
"What?" Tamsin's expression fell.
"There had to be a trade-off. A God died here today, so there's still an imbalance. A God, for a God! Was that the deal you two struck before you showed up?" Bo asked, almost in anger. "You could have just let me kill Hades! Zeus wouldn't have got off his lazy ass to come and deal with me!"
Brunhilde put her hand on Bo's shoulder. "It's why the Ancients won't try and fight the change the two of you will bring. One last Ancient right to be enacted; one last show of respect for the old ways, before the new takes over."
"No!" Tamsin started to back away. "No! Don't do this again! I can't go through it again!"
Brunhilde went to her. "But I'll be here this time. I won't be gone like before. You will still see me."
Tamsin started to shake, and Brunhilde pulled her into her arms. "We knew this day would come; I'm not leaving you," she soothed. "In fact, there's a very nice room; with some cute decor. The fashion accessories are not quite my....taste, but the garden is peaceful and tranquil, and I've been looking forward to having the time to catch up on some novels, several about Asgard that are so inaccurate allegedly, that they are complete works of fiction!"
Tamsin pulled out of the embrace, gently punching Brunhilde on the arm.
Bo had been mesmerised by the interaction between the two of them. Tamsin looked at her.
"It's not what you think!" Tamsin said. "Brunhilde is my sister. Not just in Valkyrie, but as in true, older, blood sister."
Tamsin took a deep breath. "You know her story. After Bru's....death..." she struggled to say the word. "... as a mortal, Odin sent all of us out to bring back her remains. We split up, searching everywhere, but none of the others could find her. I was the only one who thought to look in a realm that wasn't within our domain. Hades agreed to give her back, on one condition, that if he ever asked for my help, I wouldn't refuse him, or he would see to it, that Odin would have no choice but to return her, under a God's oath. So I agreed. I never heard from him, and I thought he'd forgotten the agreement. But then..." she stopped. "He called on me to search, and keep searching until I found you, and brought you to him. I thought that would be easy, but I didn't figure on...I mean, once I got to know you, and...you became a good friend...I couldn't do it. I tried to keep you away from coming here," she shrugged, unable to say anymore.
Bo gently squeezed her arm. "You know you could have told me, right? We'd have figured it out?"
"I know, but I couldn't tell you who he was; what he was truly like." Tamsin glanced quickly at Hades. "I wanted to protect you from that."
Bo smiled at her. She understood her reasons. Who wouldn't want to protect a good friend, keep them safe? She was surrounded by friends who did just that all the time.
"Thank you," Bo said.
"So I guess this means celebrations all round!" Evony piped up. "You're all very welcome back at the mansion, we have some very good champagne, amongst other things?" She looked at them all, including Persephone and Brunhilde.
"I would love to, but I need to take immediate care of things here," Persephone declined, gracefully.
"And I must also stay," Brunhilde said. "But we will escort you to the main gates."
Evony looked disappointed, but everyone else was pleased to accept the offer.
"I think it's time to get back. Trick will be buried under books and worried stupid. And I'd like to freshen up!" Bo smiled.
Brunhilde indicated their exit out of the room. "Follow me."
As they came back into the Great Hall, Bo felt relieved to be going back, and she sensed they all felt the same, but there was also an element of sadness.
"You know, this really wouldn't have been possible, without you both?" she addressed Brunhilde and Persephone.
"Feminine power," Persephone smiled. "Never underestimate it!" she moved to Bo and embraced her. "Live a good life."
Bo felt a lump rise in her throat; unable to speak, she squeezed her step-mother to her.
Farewells started between all of them, Bo spotting Lauren and Persephone embracing, and Persephone whispering something to Lauren.
"We never stood a chance, did we?" Tamsin said, standing beside her, looking at Lauren also. "Me and him," she nodded in Dyson's direction.
Bo's stomach knotted. Tamsin had obviously known that any hope was wishful thinking and that she'd been resigned to that fact for some time, as was Dyson. They were two people she knew deserved happiness, and she felt responsible for the heartache she had caused them both, wishing she could erase it. She loved them both dearly, equally, and knew that their friendship would continue to play an important role in her life.
"I'm sorry," she said. "But no matter what, it would always have been Lauren."
"Yeah," Tamsin smiled. "She's something else." She nudged Bo in the ribs.
"You coming back with us?" Bo had a feeling that would not be the case.
"No, I'll stay. I need to spend some time with my sis."
Bo nodded. "But you'll visit, right?"
"Hell yeah! Looks like I got two weddings to attend. Those two love bugs," she pointed at Hale and Kenzi. "And you and the Doc's! Hopefully once you all start producing sprog's, one of them will be named after me!"
"Count on it!" Bo laughed. She hugged Tamsin, holding onto her, when she tried to break away, knowing the Valkyrie didn't want to get emotional. "Don't be a stranger," she whispered. "And thanks, for everything."
Tamsin didn't answer. She cleared her throat, quickly moving away, as Lauren came to stand next to Bo.
Brunhilde now approached, holding out her hand.
Bo grasped it firmly. "What you did, I can never repay you for. That's an un-repayable debt. I don't even know how I can thank you enough. What can we do?" she indicated all of them.
"There is no need for thanks," Brunhilde said. "Just get it right this time." She smiled at them both, then walked away.
Bo understood. The future was down to all of them now, and it would be their duty to do it right for all of humanity, in whatever form that was. That would be their legacy against that of the Ancients.
Trick said, relieved, as he greeted them all in the main entrance hallway of the Dark Mansion.
"Hale?" Trick's relief turned to one of astonishment; he grabbed him. "Old friend!" His eyes misted with tears. "You're all safe!" he said again, smiling. "How is this possible?"
Hale looked over to Lauren. "It's all down to the Doc."
Trick nodded at her in respect. "It's all true. I found more books in the archive, I have so much to tell you all..." he hesitated. "And I have some apologies to make," he looked at Bo and Lauren.
"Later! Time to celebrate," Evony said. "Whoever needs a drink, follow me!" She made her way up the grand staircase.
Up on the landing Bo spotted a small room she recognised from when she had been there before. It was a small washroom and she peeled away from the others. Inside she washed her hands, the water turning a little pink from the blood that had dried on them; Lauren's blood. She gripped the edge of the sink, taking deep calming breaths, pushing the memory away; she splashed her face with water then dried off.
The journey back had been quiet; subdued. No one had really spoken. She suspected they were all pondering on the same thing; the events that had taken place, the sacrifices that had been made, and that, thankfully, they had made it back. Evony was right, they needed to celebrate.
Bo found them all in a very grand, rather magnificent room, decorated in a style more befitting of an old stately home. Golden drapes hung at the windows, and the carpet was soft and deep. Where Evony now stood, was a large wooden bureau, with decanters of various drinks. The walls were decorated in expensive wall coverings; a chandelier hung from a high ceiling, with decorative moulding. Sumptuous brown leather couches welcomed visitor's to sit and admire the large fireplace, with its marble mantle and surround. Bo was surprised to see it lit, the logs giving off a warm glow. She thought it odd but it seemed a fitting accessory to the room. In front of the fireplace was a large luscious rug, and standing in the centre of it was Lauren, who had moved away from the others, now gathered nearer Evony.
Lauren didn't move, she just stood, looking directly at Bo.
Bo felt rooted to the spot. Lauren's face was calm and she was smiling; her eyes appeared brighter, twinkling. Something about the image made Bo's heart leap; caused her to gulp. Lauren looked stunning and it appeared she knew the affect it was having on her.
Evony handed a glass to Bo; without looking at it, or asking what it was, she downed it in one, handing it back.
"Could we have some privacy please?" Lauren requested. Her voice was gentle, polite and she remained looking at Bo as she said it.
"Gentlemen, Kenzi." Evony addressed the group. "Why don't we take our drinks and go see what Trick has discovered?" She ushered them to the door.
Bo watched them leave, no one protesting at the change of venue. As Evony closed the door, she winked at her.
Bo's attention was immediately drawn back to the woman who had requested everyone's departure. She couldn't look away if she wanted to, not that she did. It was almost like a spell had been cast, and given the recent revelations, she wondered if Lauren was capable. She dismissed it. There was no spell here, but it was magic; magic to be alone with the only person that mattered right now.
"Are you okay?" Bo asked. It seemed a clichéd question, considering. How could Lauren be okay; there was a lot to process.
Lauren shook her head and Bo's concern rose.
"You're too far away," Lauren said.
Bo realised the distance between them, laughing with relief. She moved to stand right before her.
"I guess there's a lot to talk about," Bo said.
"Hmmm," Lauren's fingers started to unbutton Bo's shirt.
Bo wasn't quite sure what Lauren's intent was. She momentarily wondered if this was an impromptu examination that Lauren wanted to perform but Lauren continued to look at her, and it wasn't her normal medical expression.
"Lauren?" Bo questioned, gently grabbing her hands. "What are you doing?"
Lauren removed her hands from Bo's and went back to unbuttoning. "You really have to ask?"
Bo stilled her hands once again. "Yes! There's a lot that's happened, not just tonight, but before. With us, with you..."
Lauren placed her fingers against Bo's lips to silence her. "I know." Then she went back to Bo's shirt.
"Wait! I don't understand. We need to talk about this!" Bo stilled Lauren's hands once again. She felt confused, unsure that Lauren was truly aware of what she was doing.
"Sussh!" Lauren soothed. "I know we do, but talking's what you do after; it can wait."
Bo looked at her, shocked.
"With everything you now know, what I did and why I did it, do you trust me? Can you trust me?"
Bo knew without hesitation. Lauren Lewis could be the biggest fraud to walk the earth, but she would trust her to the ends of it. Whoever she was, whatever she'd done, it didn't matter. She loved her beyond trust.
"Yes." Bo murmured.
"Then trust me, trust this," Lauren squeezed Bo's hands, her eyes never wavering from Bo's. "Let this happen. Let this happen for us. We need this. I need this! Please, just let me."
Bo couldn't speak. There was almost something ethereal in Lauren's plea, and Bo knew she was right. They did need this. It wasn't just about anything physical, it was more than that, it was about them, and she sensed that whatever happened, it was going to be something special.
She let go of Lauren's hands, no longer restricting her fingers from the task of undoing buttons.
With Bo's shirt undone, Lauren removed it along with the jacket, allowing her fingers to gently stroke down Bo's chest to her abdomen, before she started on the button and zipper of Bo's pants.
Bo tried to remain still, watching Lauren's expression, seeing the slight smile to her lips, knowing the doctor was enjoying herself. Bo's normal behaviour in these circumstances meant she always took control, but with Lauren it had been mutual, and there was nothing more stimulating to Bo, than Lauren taking control; she found it highly arousing; right now, it was torture, as fingertips with the lightest of teasing touches, trailed down her chest. She could feel her breath becoming excited, felt her stomach muscles twitch. Whatever Lauren had in mind, it was going to be deliberate and slow.
Bo held her breath, a worthless attempt at stemming how alien it felt to feel so nervous; it wasn't something she was used to, and mixed with trepidation, her knees felt weak; her thigh muscles jumping, as Lauren pushed her pants down her legs.
Lauren noticed. "You're shaking," she looked up at Bo.
Bo could only nod.
"Are you scared?"
Bo half moaned. Lauren could sense it.
"Yes," Bo mumbled.
"Don't be," Lauren moved, whispering in her ear. "It'll be okay. Everything will be okay, I promise." As she softly kissed Bo's neck.
Bo couldn't stop the involuntary jerk of her body, and it took all her will power, when Lauren kissed her mouth, not to slam them both down onto the rug. She only hoped it wouldn't be long before Lauren did.
Bereft, momentarily, when Lauren ended the kiss, Bo's sensitised state was further heightened by Lauren helping her out of her boots, pants and remaining underwear. She wasn't fully conscious of being completely de-robed, floating halfway between awareness to oblivion. Somehow she managed some semblance of awareness, helping Lauren out of her own clothes, which brought her back to reality, and the opportunity to relish touches of skin on skin, fingers softly caressing, gently scraping; neither of them uttering a word.
Lauren's gentle kiss to her collarbone was more than Bo could take.
"Please," Bo broke the silence, begging, her eyes closing. She felt Lauren smile against her skin, before pulling her down to the warmth of the rug.
Bo knew her level of arousal was beyond anything she'd experienced before; she couldn't even call it torture now, believing that there were no actual words that could describe the intense state she was in. Everything around her was intensified, the sound of the fire, the small cracks and spits of the flames seemed louder, her own breathing, and Lauren's; small noises, way off in the mansion, sounded amplified. Everything was more sensualised, more palpable, but especially every touch.
This time, Lauren's kiss was deeper, more deliberate. She knew it was Bo's weakness, for Bo found nothing more sexy, more erotic, more sensual than a kiss, and Lauren was a master at making love to her mouth.
Lost in it, Bo found she had been manoeuvred, straddling Lauren's lap. Opening her eyes, she looked into Lauren's inwardly gasping. There was something about the doctor's eyes, in moments like this; not just their soft, gentle dark chocolate colour, that could sometimes appear lighter, or that now, they flickered with amber light from the fire; it was the way they penetrated right into Bo's, Lauren steady gaze, able to see into her very soul. Lauren saw her, understood her, and Bo's vulnerability in those moments, was Lauren's privilege. Bo was never more exposed, than when she was like this, but with Lauren she felt safe, protected. It had only ever been with Lauren, that she had allowed that to happen.
Lauren's hand stroked through her hair, down between her shoulders, and she pushed into Lauren's body, feeling the warmth of Lauren's skin. She knew her eyes were turning blue.
"Wait," Lauren said, gently pushing Bo's thigh aside, her hand sliding into the gap between them.
Bo wasn't sure she could control it; her desire was at breaking point, but somehow she knew she had to; it had been essential in the past, for Lauren's sake, once she went over that point, to regain control quickly, to stop any harm she could cause Lauren; she calmed, her eyes returning to their deep ebony colour.
With another kiss, Lauren finally ended Bo's torture, a slow teasing touch to begin with, before she deftly entered her.
Bo didn't think she would survive what Lauren was doing. She felt a moment's panic; the feelings were too strong, overwhelming; rushing at her and through her, charged with such intensity, that Bo was sure she would break; that she would shatter and splinter apart, into fragments of herself. The panic subsided; Lauren would keep her safe; gather all the pieces back again until she was whole, just like she always did.
"Show me." Lauren's voice whispered.
Unaware that she had closed them, Bo opened her eyes, seeing the blue of them reflected back in brown. All control was beyond her now, but she knew she wouldn't harm Lauren; reigning in the strength of her emotions in the past because Lauren wasn't Fae, was no longer an issue; how could she harm a God?
Lauren's other arm and hand supported her back, gently caressing her skin, making her shiver from the touch. Although she appeared restrained, Bo knew Lauren wasn't; her aura colours were burning, and the doctor was in a place of desire that matched Bo's; she was just hanging on herself, while her priority was Bo's pleasure.
Bo wanted to speak, wanted to tell Lauren how she felt, how much she loved her, but any words hitched at the back of her throat. The only sounds that escaped were breathless moans.
Lauren smiled. "I know. I love you, too."
Bo was gone; shattered apart. She moved, undulating against Lauren, not wanting it to end, wishing she could suspend the sensation from happening, but urging herself to feel it; to feel love. Bo knew now, that her past relationships had only ever been an imitation of that emotion, and that she would only know it and feel it with Lauren. For this was love, Lauren was love, and it was as natural to her as breathing.
The feeling overwhelmed her, and as she cried out with pleasure, so she sobbed with joy, gripping Lauren's shoulders, shuddering against her.
Lauren brushed the hair away from Bo's face. "I've said it before, but my God, you're beautiful like this."
Bo's answer was to kiss her, easing her back down on the rug. Still unable to articulate how she felt, Bo's option was to show Lauren. Stretching out, she covered Lauren's body with her own, pinning the doctor's arms over her head, allowing her to rain kisses over Lauren's chest. Bo was rewarded with a deep guttural moan, continuing her journey downward.
Kissing her inner thighs, Lauren writhed at the sensation, before Bo looked at her then dipped her head, causing Lauren to lift her hips off the floor.
Fingers dug into her scalp and Bo knew Lauren was struggling, her body twisting to the side, one hand grabbing a fistful of the rug beneath them.
Bo was in ecstasy, taking Lauren with her, when Lauren grabbed her shoulders, pulling her back up.
"Together." Lauren managed to say, her kiss searing Bo's mouth.
Frantically, they both moved; Bo reaching down with her hand, Lauren raising her knee, until they fitted together, as though made of one piece of flesh.
Bo felt their rush of hurriedness, knew it would be far from gentle; she heard Lauren grunt, urging Bo on and she wasn't about to deny the doctor. Neither of them could control this. This was about claiming, this was about possession. Lauren grabbed Bo's face, staring at her, then whispered in Bo's ear.
Her command and choice of words were explicit; Bo almost swore herself with the implication. Lauren was on fire, and they were about to burn. Surrender had been offered, permission given, and Bo claimed her, took possession with ferocity. Lauren, not normally vocal, didn't hold back, and Bo knew, unless the walls of the room were soundproof, everyone in the mansion would have no doubt as to what both of them were experiencing.
A hungry, urgent kiss from Lauren, left Bo with no choice; instinctively she took her energy, feeling the rush of it, like a drug, spread throughout her body. This had never happened between them before during their lovemaking, but it felt natural now to do it.
Bo reversed the flow, giving it back to Lauren, her body jolting, and she started to thrust her body upwards, a familiar sign the doctor was on the edge, Bo felt her fingers clawing at her back; as Lauren bit into the top of her shoulder, Bo fell away from reality. She wasn't sure which of them had cried out first, but the sensation carried on for sometime before it slowly ebbed away, leaving them clinging to each other.
Bo lifted her head. "Please tell me it will always be like this," she said, as she tried to catch her breath. The woman beneath her had surprised her; a deeper, edgier confidence she hadn't known existed in Lauren.
"Well that would involve my favourite hobby." Lauren smiled.
Bo raised an eyebrow.
"Plenty of practical research. It's the only way to get consistent results."
Bo laughed, stroking Lauren's face. "That was pretty...intense. Wonderful, but intense. You okay?"
Lauren nodded. "How about you? How do you feel?"
Bo wasn't sure she could put it into words; deliriously happy? euphoric? None of them captured how she felt.
"Alive. I feel alive." It was the best way she could think of to describe it.
Lauren knowingly smiled. "It's a wonderful feeling isn't it, to feel alive, to feel...human?"
Bo looked at her astounded. "Oh my God," she mumbled. She realised why Lauren had needed this.
"You understand now?"
"Humanity is an incredible thing; the human spirit. The ability to love, to feel, to have emotions," Lauren said. "Gods don't have that, Bo. They don't feel what we just did. Nothing's changed; we still have what we had." She pushed Bo onto her back, stretching out beside her, supporting herself up on her elbow.
Bo happily gazed at her; her slim naked body, languidly attractive, warm, finely toned, yet soft to touch. Lauren was completely uninhibited. Bo trailed her hand down her side, feeling the slight curve of her waist, halting at her hip bone; her fingers splaying out, gently gripping it. There were many things she loved and enjoyed about Lauren, not just her body, or the scent of her skin, or that right now, she oozed sex appeal, but her intellect; her enthusiasm when explaining something scientific, even when it wasn't; her off the wall sense of humour, her facial expressions, her self- deprecating manner; her laugh; that small area on Lauren's neck, that Bo knew all about, that when gently kissed and nibbled would halt the doctor's ramblings, turning them into unintelligible noises. And then of course, there was Lauren's heart; if Bo had to pick one thing, it would always be that about Lauren. That was the part of her that had captured Bo, the part she would always be in love with.
Lauren looked at her smiling expectantly.
Bo ran a finger down Lauren's nose, her thumb rolling over her lips. "I missed you." She murmured.
Lauren leaned in, "I missed you, too. Very much," kissing Bo. "Not that this rug and the log fire isn't extremely romantic but you know, just through there," she indicated a door in the corner. "Is a perfectly large, comfortable bed."
"How do you know?"
"Because we're in the Presidential Suite."
"What? The Presidential?...hang on, you mean...?"
"Only VIP guests get to stay in this room." Lauren said. "I guess Evony thought we deserved some alone time, in luxury. I think that's why she came straight up here. I realised it, and I knew she'd make everybody leave if I asked nicely."
"Well I guess she's not about to refuse you, or argue anymore."
Lauren didn't answer. She got up holding her hand out to Bo. "Come on, there's a bedside phone too, we can order room service."
Bo jumped up. "You're right, nothing has changed, you're still hungry afterwards!'" she smiled. "And not always for food," she added quietly.
The room was as sumptuous as the living room, and the biggest bed Bo had ever seen, was the focal point of the room. As Lauren led her towards it, Bo slowed down, stopping.
"Wait," she said. "There's something I need to do, to say," she knelt down before Lauren. "I swear fealty, I swear to protect you, and to love you, and our descendants...."
Lauren interrupted her. "This isn't necessary." she tried to pull Bo up.
"It might not be to you but it is to me, I mean it, every word."
Lauren smiled. "I guess this is a Fae proposal? Are you sure you're ready to commit, succubus?"
"I've never been so sure of anything in my life,"
Lauren stroked her cheek. "Then, as tradition dictates, I accept your fealty." She pulled Bo up and kissed her, walking her over to the bed. "And I swear mine to you."
The sheets felt like silk, the finest Egyptian cotton, so smooth and soft, that it was like lying on cotton wool. They lay next to each other, gently stroking arms, thighs, when Lauren spoke.
"Your wish for no more secrets, for transparency..."
"Hmmm," Bo kissed the palm of Lauren's hand.
"I have to tell you something, now that we've...." she indicated towards the living area, and what had taken place there.
Bo suddenly tensed. "Why do I think I'm not gonna like this?"
Lauren pulled her closer. "Relax," she said, taking a deep breath herself. "I did something tonight, that every doctor wishes they could do. And I meant it when I said, that the deal was that I would only ever do it once. That kind of power is too much, and I can understand why it caused the issues it did, when Asclepius made a habit of it. If I'd kept that power, I'd hate to think I'd have lost judgement on its use. I know I would have had you to keep me grounded, but it was worth the trade off."
"Trade off?" Bo didn't like the sound of where this was going at all.
"They, Zeus and co, didn't like my request that I use that power to help Hale. But my bargaining chip was bigger than theirs," Lauren pulled Bo's leg over her thigh. "I'd worked out I held the upper hand. They couldn't really stop me, like they had with Asclepius before. I was a returned God amongst their ranks, one they would not, nor could not kill. So I made them an offer, one I was happier with, although they seemed disappointed with my deal, so we reached a compromise..."
"Which was?" Bo asked, suspiciously.
"I renounced my birthright; I offered it in exchange for Hale. I'm just plain ole me again."
Bo pushed away, sitting up, her head in her hands.
Lauren sat up next to her, placing her arm across Bo's shoulders, feeling her trembling. "Bo?"
"Christ!" Bo said. She looked at her, despair in her eyes. "What happened out there!" she pointed at the living room. "I only let go like that, because I thought you were safe! I thought I couldn't harm you! You know it could have killed you, don't you?" she shook her head, trying not to think of that possible consequence.
"But it didn't," Lauren said fiercely. "And that's why you've always held back, and I've been trying to get you not to. I've just proved I'm right! Whatever happened in the past, with others, you've learned how to control it, without actually having to control it! Because that's love, Bo! That's how wonderful it can be! You don't have to be afraid anymore, not with me!"
Lauren searched Bo's face, gauging her reaction. Bo quickly wiped away the tears forming at her eyes.
"You gave that all up, for Hale? Why? You could have done so much, helped so many!"
"I still can, but not in that way. I'm a scientist, I believe in the one sure consequence of life; that it ultimately ends with death, as it should. It's the rightful outcome, the full circle. It's what makes life so special, knowing that it's a finite resource, that nothing is permanent. Life is too precious, too important for it to go on forever. It's about living, about joy, about pain, about love. The Gods don't have that, they don't really understand it. Their power was their indestructibility, not their immortality. You could argue that they're the same, but they're not. It's why the reverence that people once had for them diminished. Their feelings were fickle, compared to that of the mankind they tried to control. And once mankind realised, they knew how weak the God's really were."
"So you gave it all up for love?" Bo managed a smile.
"I'd rather live one meaningful life, than an immortal one. One life of love and joy, that will last beyond eternity. Immortality doesn't guarantee that, it can't."
"But what about us living a long life together?"
"Well, that was the compromise. The family firm," Lauren quote signed. "Weren't too keen on my willingness to give it all up, so they've matched my life cycle with yours. I will live it with you. We'll grow old together at the same time, and when it's that time, at the very same moment, we'll pass out of this world together. "
Bo looked at her, shaking her head. "You've got to be the only person I know, that would give up something like that, so you could live the life you want," she smiled.
"I'm not the only one though, am I?" Lauren questioned her. "You were willing to give up your Fae powers,"
Bo shifted, turning to face her, taking Lauren's hands. "Yes I was, for the same reason. Trick must have been very convincing,"
"He was," Lauren linked their fingers. "He loves you very much, and he wanted so much for you, and like all of us, he knew you were special; and he deeply believed that you were the one to help the Fae, and boy they need it. The way he explained the prophecy was very convincing; the warrior mate; all of it. I knew I couldn't stand in the way of all that, nor did I think I was worthy enough..."
"Not worthy enough? What the hell did Trick say!" Bo's voice rose.
"He didn't do or say anything to make me think that, I just felt it myself. I would always be a liability. The one running behind, trying to keep up; the one you'd have to keep looking out for and protecting, holding you back. The weak link in your chain, whereas others around you were stronger."
"Weak link?" Bo shook her head, incredulous at the idea. "Didn't you know that my strength never came from the Fae that surround me? My strength has been Kenzi and you! You've given me that! I'm weak without you!"
Lauren looked down. "That day when you came to the lab, I don't know how I did it, but I remembered what Trick had said, and I thought your future would be better if things remained as they were. It tore me apart to say what I said."
"That makes two of us," Bo murmured.
"I thought it would be easier, if you thought me and Evony....I don't think I have ever felt so lost," Lauren's voice quietened. "Every time I saw you, was near you, it was unbearable. And then Tamsin....I just hoped you were happy."
"I felt the same, and thought the same about you." Bo kissed Lauren's fingers. "So that all stops now right, this crazy way we have of hurting each other? No more feeling unworthy, no more going off with crazy plans to stop maniac's and possibly being killed in the process!" She raised her eyebrows.
Lauren sheepishly smiled.
"What on earth were you thinking? You must have known your chances were slim."
Lauren just shrugged. "I had nothing to lose. If I didn't survive, then I was happy knowing that I had lived part of the life I wanted. And I figured it was worth the risk, if it at least gave one of us the opportunity to be free from all this craziness."
Bo stared at her, open mouthed.
"Of course, if I'd known what you all discovered about me, then I might have had a bit more restraint. Things would have been easier!" she joked.
"I can't believe that's how all this made you feel, that you had nothing left to lose, that you'd risk death to save one of us," Bo was pained at the idea.
Lauren reached out, stroking her face. "I would do it again, if I had to, just as I know you would. It was worth it."
Bo nodded. "I wouldn't have survived though, if I'd lost you. Nothing would have mattered. When you...died in my arms," she squeezed her eyes shut, not able to think about it. "Thank goodness we were right about who you were."
"As Brunhilde would say, one of the perks," Lauren joked again, pulling Bo into her arms.
"You know about the prophecy, your role in it?" Bo asked.
"Trick was saying something about it when we came into the VIP suite. I can't see myself as the Chosen One. I'm not a leadership kinda gal, I prefer the thrill of medicine."
Bo looked at her. "Trick will just about flip!"
"Well, part of it's right. The Fae need to heal and I think this generation finally know it. At the moment one leader is human, and I don't think Trick would object if another took over as the Light Ash. Hale has a lot to offer, and I think him and Evony would work well together. Things need to change."
"I was thinking the same." Bo smiled. "The Fae have been lucky to have you."
Lauren shook her head. "Not really, I can change them, quite literally, and I can help them to change, but you, Bo, you've been the one to ultimately save them. They're lucky to have you."
"So we're on the same page? Our roles will be to guide them, not rule them, keep them on track, mitigate issues?"
Lauren nodded. "They need to stand on their own two feet, and like you said, they need to work with the human world."
"And here was me thinking I'd be spending most of my time as a brave warrior mate, protecting your cute ass,"
"You might still have to, once the clans are told about all of this; it's not what they were expecting."
Bo shook her head. "I doubt it, I've a feeling people are gonna be just a little bit in love with you, when they find out what you did and what you gave up."
"You don't think some might feel that I wasted an opportunity to do more?"
"Then they'll have me to deal with. It was your right to choose, to do what you thought was best."
"I figure I have a few hundred years to make important medical advancements, and there could be resistance to that. Doctor's down the centuries have been pilloried for some of their theories, and cures, all of which we now take for granted, so you just might need to come to my rescue!"
"Can't wait! Bring it on!" Bo smiled, quickly kissing Lauren. "I think we'll make a great team, Doc."
"Undoubtedly!" Lauren moved to reach for the phone.
Bo laughed, tying to pull her back.
"Oh, you're not hungry?" Lauren asked.
"Kinda!" Bo wiggled her eyebrows; she kissed Lauren's back.
"Hello? Yes, can we get two steaks, medium rare, and two cold beers please? Thank you!" Lauren put the phone down.
Bo pushed her down onto the bed. "So, descendants; how is that going to happen exactly?" she kissed Lauren's neck
"I'm a scientist, Bo. If I can unmake a God, I think I can work that one out! It'll be like cross pollination, if I take cells..."
"Yeah, I know, lots of geeky medical stuff will happen," Bo halted Lauren before she got too scientifically technical. "How many do you want?"
"I don't have a specific number in mind..."
"Four? Five, six?" Bo interrupted.
"Oh, you're thinking a large family?"
"What, you can't come up with more than the two kid's names you already have?" Bo teased. "I like the idea of lots of kids. And we need to ensure the stability of future generations. Our kids will be the guardians. Do you think we can succeed?" she suddenly thought of the enormity, the responsibility.
"Yes because, let's face it, our children will be extraordinary, and surrounded by incredible people; look at all the experience and wisdom and knowledge, and that's just Trick! And what child gets to spend summer camp in either Asgard, or Mount Olympus?"
"Yeah, I guess that's on par with Disneyland!"
Lauren seemed to ponder it for a moment, before she spoke again. "And I think we should have a dog,"
Bo snorted. "Just one?"
"I expect several, we'll certainly out live a few! But it would be nice for the children, to have pets." Lauren gently positioned herself on top of Bo.
"You already have a name, don't you?"
Lauren nodded, excited. "A chocolate Labrador, named Sapphi,"
"Sapphi?" Bo asked. "So we're going along those lines, eh? Sapphi for Sappho? Sapphic?"
"No," Lauren said it slowly. "I was thinking Sapphi, short for Sapphire, but if you wanna go there...."
Bo playfully slapped Lauren on the backside, kissing her quickly. "Have you noticed how easy..."
"... it is to talk about kids?" Lauren finished the sentence, tucking a strand of Bo's hair behind her ear.
"Damn, you're good!" Bo laughed.
"I'm a scientist, I anticipate,"
"Anticipate this. How long are those steaks gonna to be?"
"Well from the time I made the call, if the steaks are at room temperature, to cook them medium rare will be quicker than if they're refrigerated."
Bo trailed her hands down Lauren's back, placing small kisses on her face.
"They'll prepare the side salad first, as the steaks won't take long. The beers will already be cold, so by the time they plate up, put them on a tray and get it up here..."
"We have time," Bo stated suggestively, biting Lauren's lower lip, before flipping her over.
The steaks were cold and the beers warm, by the time they actually got to them. The tray had been left in the living room of the suite, and Lauren had retrieved it, placing it on the bed, so they could stay in the comfort of the bed and eat.
Bo studied Lauren as she wolfed down her last piece of steak, trying not to laugh. Lauren, ravenous, was a joy to watch. She offered up the last of hers.
"Hmmm," Lauren said her mouth full. "Are you sure?" then took it before Bo could answer.
Bo took a quick swig of beer, so Lauren couldn't see her smiling. "So, after what we now know and have discussed, what happens next?" she asked.
"I would highly recommend a shower at some point!" Lauren wiped her mouth with a napkin
"Ha! Ha! Funny!"
"Well," Lauren sipped some beer. "As I've now met both of yours, I think you should meet my parents,"
Bo frowned. "We're going to visit Mount Olympus?"
Lauren shook her head. "Not those parents. I mean, they were wonderful when I met them, very happy to see me and concerned I was okay, and what they did to keep me safe, I appreciate, but I don't really know them. I mean my real parents, the ones who actually raised me, took care of me; loved me. They were always there, and I've neglected them since being with the Fae. Not that I had much choice, and they probably know why, but what they did, was extraordinary. You'll love them, Bo."
Bo didn't doubt it. From the very little Lauren had ever spoken of them, she sensed they had been important to her. In fact, she knew very little about Lauren's life before the Fae. She'd wondered if that was because Lauren was used to them not caring about her enough, to be interested, so she never talked of it, or whether Lauren kept that part of her life private; kept it safe, like a keep-sake in a locket, a reminder that somewhere out there, her life, her world, still existed.
"I can't wait to meet them. Do you think the first time I do, would be a bit too early to ask your dad's permission?"
Lauren put the tray on the floor. "Can you play chess?"
Bo shook her head.
"I'll teach you; it's the best way to impress my dad. Strategy is his strong point, and he respects a worthy opponent."
"Do I need to beat him?" Bo asked.
Lauren laughed. "No one's ever beaten my dad! My God if you did, he'll probably worship the ground you walk on! No, just play along, drink some beers with him, discuss current events, and just as he's about to win, that's when you ask."
"Sounds like you've used that to your advantage with him before."
"It's all about strategy," Lauren smiled. She propped herself back against the pillow, and Bo sidled up next to her.
"You're still wearing it?" Lauren said quietly, touching the necklace that hung around Bo's neck.
"It was special to begin with, but now it's come to symbolise so much more. There's a lot of meaning in the images on here." Bo gently held it in her fingers. "As well as who you are."
Lauren stared at it. "So, I guess in some respects, I outrank you, in terms of ancestry."
Bo raised her eyebrows. "I think you pretty much have the upper hand in the full God stakes, I couldn't possibly compete! Although the lines cross, don't they?"
Lauren thought for a moment. "It makes us distant cousins; far enough removed, blood line wise, from the incestuous spectrum that the Gods didn't worry about engaging in! Some of their relationships? Whoa!"
"Good, so we've no worry over producing lose toothed hillbilly type, banjo playing kids!"
"Can I ask what Persephone said to you, before we left?"
Lauren stroked Bo's face. "Geminus Fatum."
"It means twinned fate,"
"So there was never any other choice for us?"
Lauren sighed, happily. "You know me, I'm a ...."
"...scientist. If you can't prove it with science, it don't exist, right?" Bo teased.
"Exactly! And I would argue that point for everything. I would say that nothing can predetermine a person's life, that they are supposedly fated to an outcome. That depends on the choices they make, other influences that they have no control over. So how can fate really influence, how can it be real?"
"So you don't believe we were meant to be?" Bo questioned.
"It bugs me to admit it, but I can't deny what I know. There is no doubt in my mind, that for us, there was never any choice, despite the choices we made, despite other influences, fate had already determined our path. I can't disprove it with science, but I trust it, because I feel it, and I know it's true. It's the only sensible conclusion."
Lauren touched the necklace again as she looked at Bo. "Thank you...."
"....for giving me the freedom to love..." Bo continued.
"And I do. I do." Lauren said softly. Bo took her in her arms, and kissed her.
Lauren wondered if the Fates had any idea of the complicated thread they had woven for both of them; if they truly knew the magnitude of the love that she and Bo had. She realised that not even the Fates could have predicted it.
She knew theirs was a love story that would be told for years to come, in the annals of history and mythology, and it was a love story that the Fates could only dream of.
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