DISCLAIMER: Lost Girl and its characters are the property of Showcase and are used here for entertainment & not profit.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This story is a sequel to Housecall. Housecall had already been written and The Miracle started before the events of the last few episodes of season two were known. Some of those events have been incorporated here, and hence, why some of the characters that didn't survive season two, are still alive. Huge great thanks to Caroline for beta reading. Any remaining errors are purely my fault. Also huge great thanks to Gemma for the constant encouragement to write this sequel and her patience along the way, and also for saving and retreiving it from my laptop when that died and giving it back to me to finish! Also thanks to Ralst for posting and anybody taking the time to read it - I appreciate it! For M xx
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To kajola63[at]yahoo.com
Lauren leant against the bedroom doorframe, watching as Nadia packed. A rush of guilt passed through her, as she watched her neatly fold clothes into a suitcase.
"I'm sorry." Lauren blurted. It had become her habit to say it lately.
Nadia stopped what she was doing, straightened up and turned to face her. She smiled warmly as she went to Lauren, cupping her face in her hands.
"Stop saying that. There's nothing to be sorry for," Nadia assured her. "It's for the best."
Lauren smiled, pulling Nadia in to a hug. "You call me if you need anything, okay?"
"I mean it," Lauren pushed, and Nadia laughed. "You'll always be safe, you know that, but you only have to call me "
"Babe, I know. And thank you. For everything." Nadia kissed her cheek then went back to her packing.
Lauren stood continuing to watch her. She'd made sure that Nadia would be watched over, no matter where she chose to be. The Ash had sanctioned it. Nadia's life would be protected from this day on, by the Light Fae. It was the least he could do, considering the recent war Lauren had earned her freedom. Along with Bo's efforts in uniting Light and Dark against the Garuda, Lauren had been instrumental in its destruction; she'd found a way to synthesise Lochlyn's venom, saving him from losing his head, unlike his brothers before him. He'd released her from her commitment.
Lauren had been saddened by the end of her relationship with Nadia. The last five years she'd spent hanging on to the hope that she could cure her from the mystery illness that had struck her. Five years of waiting to discover that no medical cure could help. It wasn't anything she could manufacture in a Petri dish that would restore her lover to her. It had been a curse inflicted on her, and one that had been instructed by the previous Ash.
The present Ash had been responsible for the curse being lifted. He'd given Nadia back to her, but it hadn't been that simple anymore. Bo had arrived and everything had changed.
Nadia's recovery had only brought more confusion and mixed feelings and no matter how hard Lauren had tried, the past and the present wouldn't come to an understanding. Nadia was her past; Bo was the present and there was no going back.
Nadia had been patient, kind and understanding, giving Lauren the time to try and figure it out, especially after the night Lauren had spent helping Bo to 'heal'.
The war had come, chaotic weeks had followed and then Lauren had discovered that she was pregnant. If ever there was a moment when a nail had been driven in to the coffin of a dying relationship that had been the defining moment.
"Okay, I think that's everything." Nadia said, breaking into Lauren thoughts. Nadia slung a rucksack over her shoulder and grabbed the suitcase.
"Call me when you get to your new apartment." Lauren commanded.
"Yes doc." Nadia teased her.
Lauren followed her to the door.
"You should tell her." Nadia said.
Lauren pulled her 'reluctant' expression. Nadia sighed in defeat.
"Take care of yourself, and that little one." Nadia squeezed Lauren to her.
"I will. You, too." Lauren murmured.
Nadia opened the door, kissed Lauren's cheek and left the apartment.
Lauren watched her disappear then closed the door, resting her forehead against it. She took a deep breath, before letting the first sob go.
Her mind reeled. Nadia was right, Bo needed to be told about the baby, but as Lauren had predicted, Dyson was back on the scene, making his way slowly back into Bo's life; at least that's what Lauren had heard. She'd been too busy lately, with her own personal stuff, to actually venture out and meet the others. Ciara had realised she was no match for Bo, where Dyson's love was concerned, so she had left.
Right now Lauren just wanted to sleep. She'd just watched her past walk away, and she had no idea what the present or future would hold. All she knew was that at all costs, she had a child to protect and she would do it alone if she had to. But in letting a certain someone else know of its existence already, she may have endangered its life greatly.
One month later
Bo rounded the corner of the building, bumping into someone hard, knocking the box they were attempting to carry out of their arms.
"Shit! I'm sorry." Bo said, bending down to help.
"It's okay." The woman said.
Bo looked at her and saw who it was. "Nadia?"
Nadia looked equally shocked to see her.
Bo quickly scanned around, waiting for someone else to appear but couldn't see her. "Here, let me help you with that." Bo picked up the box.
"Oh no, that's fine. I can manage," Nadia said. "I live right here." She motioned at the entrance to an apartment block.
Bo felt confused. "You and Lauren have moved?"
Nadia just stared at her for a moment. "You wanna come up?"
Bo immediately tensed, if Lauren was waiting in the apartment, she really didn't want to meet her right now.
"Its okay, Bo. Lauren's not here." Nadia took the box and headed into the building.
Bo decided 'what the hell'; she could at least check out the Doc's new pad, make sure it seemed secure enough. She'd just finished some questioning on a case for investigating, and had realised that it was a waste of her and Kenzi's time taking on this particular client, so she had nothing in particular to do right now.
Bo followed Nadia inside. It was a chic, trendy apartment building, the type inhabited by artistic, creative types, which was also evident by the area. Lots of café's, bars, and galleries. Bo assumed that it was more for Nadia's sake, with her photographic background, that this would suit her needs more than Lauren's.
Bo noticed the lack of conversation between them in the elevator, and it wasn't until they got to the door, that either of them spoke.
"Here, let me take that, while you open the door." Bo offered.
Once inside, Nadia pointed to a spot. "Thanks, you can put it there."
Bo did as instructed. The apartment was nicely furnished, modern in style. The walls had many photographic prints, but there didn't seem to be any sense of Lauren in the place.
"So, when did you two move?" Bo asked.
"I live here, Bo. Lauren doesn't."
Bo's deeper confusion showed all over her face.
"We're not together anymore." Nadia said simply.
Bo's mouth fell open. "But, why, what happened?" she obviously chose you Bo wanted to say but managed to stop herself.
Now it was Nadia's turn to look confused. "Surely you know why?"
Bo ran her hand through her hair. "Well I'm obviously missing something here, because trust me, I don't!"
Nadia indicated for Bo to sit on the couch. Bo opted for sitting on the arm of it, while Nadia chose an armchair.
"Have you seen Lauren lately?" Nadia asked tentatively.
Bo shook her head.
"I see," Nadia raised her eyebrows. "Bo, Lauren's in love with you."
"What?" Bo stood up abruptly. "What are you talking about?"
Nadia held up her hands to placate her. "Just hear me out." she waited until Bo sat back down.
"I know what happened that night. Lauren told me everything. Things had been strained between us, really right from when I recovered. She'd told me about you. I guess I wasn't ready to let 'us' go. So that night I asked her if we could try again. I think I just complicated things for her, and that wasn't fair of me to ask. You know her, Bo; she's loyal, even when she shouldn't be."
Bo knew Nadia was referring to the Ash.
"She did try, but what with that crazy war thing you all got caught up in, we never really had the chance. Since that's been over, it was obvious we were never going to work. Plus, there's something else I think you need to know "
Nadia got up and went over to a small bureau. She opened a drawer, took
something out then came over to Bo, and handed it to her.
Bo looked down at the small photo in her hand. The image wasn't very clear, a dark mass, with some kind of shape in it. Bo squinted trying to make it out.
"Lauren took a couple of images. I kept one."
Bo's mind worked quickly; it wasn't a photo, it was a scan image.
"That's something I could never have given her. But somehow you did. I can't compete with you, Bo. In more ways than one." Nadia softly smiled.
"I don't understand." Bo mumbled. She stared at the scan again. Her heart started to thud, pounding in her chest.
"Yes you do. You know exactly what that is. And she is yours."
Bo looked at Nadia, wide eyed. "She?"
"Look, I'm sorry you had to hear this from me. Don't be angry at Lauren. It's been a rough few months, for everyone." Nadia put her hand on Bo's shoulder.
"Just do me a favor. Do what you can to look after her. Even if you don't feel the same."
Bo nodded absently as she headed towards the door. Her head was swimming frantically with this news. She wasn't aware of getting into the elevator and only became aware of her surroundings when she stood outside the building. The air made her feel dizzy.
Just think, Bo, think. She told herself. She reached out to the wall for support for a minute, closing her eyes, taking deep calming breaths. Think, think, just think about this for a minute!
She thought for about three seconds, before her emotions, as usual, got the better of her, making any rational thought disappear. She opened her eyes, and with a determined look on her face, ran to where she'd parked her car, got in it and screeched away, in search of Lauren.
Lauren sat back from the microscope, frowning but pleased. The cell structure of the sample she was looking at was unusual, and she hoped if she ran more tests, it might prove beneficial as a new form of blood clotting agent.
She was just about to make some notes, when she heard the sound of a commotion, approaching the lab.
She swiveled the chair round just in time, to see one of the Ash's guards sliding along the floor, unconscious.
Lauren stood up immediately, looking for a possible weapon, believing this to be one last attack from the recent war.
Another guard stumbled into view before he, too, fell to the floor. The only thing to hand was a syringe, and Lauren knew that wouldn't be of much help.
Readying herself for what was about to come, Lauren was too shocked to react, when Bo came into view, shaking her hand to relieve the pain from where she'd hit the guard on the jaw. In her other hand, she wielded her sword.
Bo strode purposefully towards her.
Lauren stood her ground, and behind Bo, she saw two more guards and the Ash himself run into view.
Bo swung round to face them.
"Back off!" Bo threatened. She raised the sword. "Me and the doc need to have a little chat, in private!"
"Now, now, Bo." The Ash smiled easily, holding up in his hands in mock surrender. "All you had to do was ask."
"I did, and nicely. I even said please, but your little bozo's here still wouldn't let me in. Perhaps you should teach them some manners, like I did." Bo motioned at the two unconscious guards on the floor, who were slowly coming round.
Considering the tenseness of the situation, Lauren found herself trying not to laugh at Bo's facetious attitude.
"The doctor had requested she was not to be disturbed; by anyone." The Ash said.
"Well now, I'm not just anyone am I partner? Now, if you don't mind, I'd like to talk to Lauren, alone. Please!"
The Ash looked at Lauren.
"Its okay, Lochlyn." She nodded. She refrained from calling him the Ash these days, reminding him this was now a business arrangement, rather than master and servant. She knew it galled him to have lost that manipulation he once held over her.
The Ash backed away as instructed, the guards helping their injured comrades away from the lab.
Bo turned to face her and Lauren's breath caught in her throat. In her warrior mode, still seething with emotion from her encounter, Bo looked gorgeous. Her body was in fight mode, muscles taught and she looked lithe and majestic. Her breathing was still angered, giving her a lively glow to her cheeks and eyes, which appeared more dark brown than usual.
"My God she's beautiful." Lauren remembered the first time she'd uttered those words, when Bo had been brought before the old Ash, totally unaware of what she was. Lauren had examined her, marveling at her semi-naked body, a perfect physical specimen. Her practical mind had always been able to come up with a scientific reason for why things were; chemical reactions in the body that could explain why it might react in the way hers had at that time. But neither science, nor chemicals, had played any part in what she had experienced; emotions had though, and for the first time in her life, Lauren had understood the meaning of love at first sight.
Lauren realised she was staring a little too much. "How are you?" she asked quickly.
Bo ignored the pleasantries, getting straight to the point of her visit.
"Why the hell didn't you tell me?" Bo demanded. She moved forward again then stopped, pacing from side to side.
"Tell you what?"
Bo put down the sword, shoved her hand in her pocket and took out the scan, holding it up, waving it at Lauren.
"About this!" Bo slammed it down onto the table.
Lauren closed her eyes for a moment. Nadia. She half smiled at the realisation.
"Bo, listen ."
"Oh, I'm all ears doc, trust me!" Bo started pacing again.
"Just .sit down, and calm down please?" Lauren pushed her chair forward.
"Calm down? Calm down?" Bo shouted. "Is that your medical recommendation?"
Before Lauren could speak, Bo lunged at her, cupping her face in her hands, gently tugging her hair. Bo looked hurt, pained, sad; a wealth of things she wanted to say mounting up inside her. Tears welled up in her eyes, and then Bo kissed her.
Lauren moaned with surprise. The kiss was of longing, of hope, of joy, of strength, of love. It was all the things she'd missed about Bo. She tried to resist, but couldn't and kissed her back just as eagerly.
Lauren gently broke away. "I'm sorry," she murmured, wiping away Bo's tears.
"But why, why didn't you tell me?" Bo begged.
Lauren moved back a little, giving her some distance, and hopefully the strength to state what she perceived to be the obvious.
"Dyson." She saw Bo struggle to comprehend.
"What? What's Dyson got to do with this?"
Lauren lowered her gaze. "He loves you and he was released from his sacrifice. I heard Ciara left. I get to hear a lot of things."
Bo narrowed her eyes. "Like what, exactly?"
Lauren sighed deeply. "You're still naïve about the Fae. Fae bars have ears, and we both know of one bar in particular. And some Fae ears are superhuman in what they pick up. Those with the ability took great delight in dropping snippets of information my way, just because they saw me as beneath them. I'm only human after all, privileged in their eyes, to be allowed to live in this world of theirs. "
Lauren waited for Bo to speak, but she still looked confused.
"You know that night, when I asked you that I needed to know if it wasn't about you getting over Dyson? I know at that time you didn't know about Nadia, but there was a valid reason why I asked."
"Yes, I told you, it was about us."
Lauren nodded in agreement. "That's why I was a little surprised when I was 'unofficially informed' that the next morning at Trick's, you were asking how Dyson was, and also about Ciara."
Bo's mouth slowly fell open. "Lauren, that didn't mean anything "
Lauren held up her hand to stop her. "Bo, I'm not stupid. I know how much he means to you. You have to understand, that it's very difficult to trust anyone's true motives in the Fae world. I never distrusted yours, but your emotions were another matter. I knew you were torn."
"But surely you knew after that night, when you healed me. You can't tell me you still weren't sure how I felt about you?"
"No, I knew then, without a doubt."
"Then why did you walk away from me?"
"I was scared I guess. It was overwhelming. I didn't think I deserved you. There is something so special about you. What if, as just a human, I couldn't be enough for what you would need? Dyson could give you the life you want. As normal a one as you are likely to get."
"Damn it, Lauren!" Bo clenched her fists. "Why do you insist on deciding what you think is right for me?"
"I thought it would be best ."
"For who? You? So you could have a normal life, with Nadia? It seemed it didn't take much persuading from her after that night."
Lauren inhaled sharply and saw Bo immediately regretted saying it.
"I'm sorry. Nadia told me she wanted you both to try again. I guess she released you from that."
"She didn't." Lauren said quietly.
"Nadia didn't end the relationship. I did."
Bo's eye's widened in shock; she slowly lowered herself down onto the lab stool.
Lauren sighed and leant against the lab table. "Things weren't really the same after she recovered, in all aspects. I tried, the best I could, but .even physical intimacy " Lauren screwed up her eyes. "I couldn't pretend that that was the same, so it never happened between us."
Lauren saw Bo wanted to say something, but was glad she didn't. "I made my work here an excuse, and then that night with you, I knew I could never go back. Then the war hit us and I got caught up in that. By the time that ended, I knew the relationship had really been over. It hadn't stood a chance."
"But you've still stayed away, you still didn't tell me about the baby. What else have those Fae ears been telling you?" Bo asked.
"You tell me."
Bo looked down. "You have to believe me," she said quietly. "Dyson has been on the scene, but not in the way you think. I've been holding him back. A couple of times, I went to him to heal, but," Bo added quickly. "I took what I needed without us having sex. Just enough for me, so I could do the rest myself."
Lauren was so relieved she wanted to punch the air with joy. She berated herself for her own insecurity.
"Like you, I haven't gotten over that night. Nothing could ever compare. And now this?" Bo smiled happily. She got up and stood in front of Lauren.
"This is just incredible. How?"
"I don't know. There's obviously something very important in your energy that makes it possible. I've researched all the old Fae books and found nothing like it ever mentioned. It's definitely something in your Fae DNA, that hasn't been produced in any succubus before you. Quite simply, as we all already know, you're a one off."
'Is she Fae?"
"Again I don't know. I'm not sure what the signs might be and obviously I've never been pregnant before to know of any differences. Basically, a Fae and human mating, results in a non Fae child but that's in heterosexual relationships. This is the first same sex mating to produce one, so we have a fifty-fifty chance she'll be Fae. Whether she will posses your powers or not, or be even stronger, I don't know."
"Hmmm, mating. Sounds sexy when you say it." Bo's voice was low and deep.
Lauren knew she was teasing her clinical use of the term, but something about the way Bo said it, sent a shiver down her spine.
"But you feel okay; she's not feeding from you in anyway?" Bo now looked concerned.
"I feel fine. So far it's a normal pregnancy. Morning sickness only lasted a week in the beginning, thank goodness. And she's growing at the normal rate. So it should be a normal nine month gestation."
Bo smiled. "You look totally stunning; I couldn't believe it when I barged in here. You knocked the wind right out of my fight sails. "
Lauren laughed softly.
"Can I?" Bo asked, lowering her gaze to Lauren's stomach.
"Please." Lauren urged.
Bo gently and reverently parted Lauren's lab coat, placing her hand on her stomach.
"Wow," Bo whispered. "You're really not showing yet?" she smiled.
Lauren just shook her head. It was something she was thankful for; with her tall slim frame; she knew the truth of her pregnancy might well remain hidden before it became noticeable.
"It's amazing. There's a tiny life in there," Bo murmured in awe. She was overcome with emotion and sank slowly to her knees, kissing Lauren's stomach, before she rested her cheek against it, holding onto Lauren's waist.
Lauren looked down at the crown of Bo's head, gently combing her fingers into Bo's hair. For a moment nothing seemed to matter; not the uncertainty of what this might bring upon them. It was just them and Lauren wished it could last forever. Common sense told her it wouldn't, but for now she wanted Bo to hang onto the same feeling, so she stood, saying nothing.
Bo looked up at her, and for the second time that day, Lauren's breath hitched in her throat. Bo looked so content and happy, so loved and in love.
Lauren pulled her to stand up, and kissed her. A searing kiss that almost burned with its intensity; a kiss screaming that Lauren had claimed her; that Bo was hers and no one else's.
Bo's body fell against hers, as Lauren felt herself being pulled closer. Her own arms snaked around Bo's shoulders, giving her lover the support she needed.
Again, it was Lauren that slowly parted them. Bo rested her forehead against hers.
"What happens now?" Bo asked.
Lauren's heart twisted. She'd hoped that common sense for Bo would stall itself, that it would stay away, allowing her to languish a while longer in the fairy tale of happy ever after. Lauren had long passed that period.
"Let's sit?" Lauren moved and patted the lab trolley bed. She sat upon it and Bo joined her.
"Before we start, why are you still here?" Bo indicated the lab. "Lochlyn freed you from all this."
"I know. Now it's my choice to be here."
Bo tilted her head, questioning her decision.
"As I said before, I'm in it for the science. I get to see and do things here, that wouldn't be possible in the human world."
"But none of this helps the human world. You can't share any of this with the human medical profession, without exposing the Fae."
"I know, but indirectly, what I find here, will help. You remember Halima, the Aswang?"
"As you know, her kind helps to keep contagions out of the human population. Maybe by using the Fae, I can introduce cures for human ailments, without exposing the Fae world,"
Bo smiled. "You still want to save everyone,"
"I took the Hippocratic oath as a doctor. My primary purpose is to preserve life,"
"Does Lochlyn know?"
"I've explained my research. As a Fae, he's not in favor of offering help to the humans, but then he gets the benefit of my help for the Light. Plus, he did free Nadia; I owe him some gratitude for that."
Bo huffed. "Yeah, he's a real hero," she said under her breath.
Lauren frowned. "What?" she sensed there was more to the remark than Bo was letting on.
"Bo? What do you know about what he did for Nadia?"
Bo looked down at the floor. "Nothing."
Lauren's heart started to thud as the realisation quickly sank in.
"Oh my God. It wasn't him; it was you! You released the curse!" Lauren slid off the bed, pacing. "Why didn't you tell me?"
Bo hopped off the bed. She gently grabbed Lauren, to calm her down.
"There was a catch 22; as there always is with Fae crazy shit. You'll have to ask Lochlyn."
Lauren couldn't believe it. All this time, believing it had been Lochlyn himself, even recommitting herself to the Light's service, and he had known all along. Lauren mentally kicked herself. She should have known that it was Bo. Who else would have even tried, for her sake, to give Nadia back to her.
Lauren grabbed Bo to her, holding her tightly.
"Does Lochlyn know about the baby?" Bo asked. She made Lauren sit back down on the bed and joined her.
Lauren shook her head, unable to speak at first, still choked with emotion over this discovery.
"So, just Nadia?"
"Yes." Lauren managed to say.
"No one else?"
Lauren held her breath for a minute. No more secrets she told herself. She gently took Bo's hands.
"Just one other. I didn't tell them directly, but it was obvious from the questions I was asking. It wouldn't have taken a genius to work it out."
Bo narrowed her eyes. "Who are you talking about?"
Lauren exhaled. "Don't freak out. While the war was raging, I made contacts, who made contacts who made contacts. I spoke to your mother."
Lauren waited for Bo's explosive reaction. Instead Bo just sat there open mouthed.
"Say something." Lauren urged, squeezing Bo's hands. Still Bo said nothing and Lauren felt the need to explain further.
"I'm sorry, but I didn't know what to do. There was nothing in the history of the Fae. I thought maybe it was only known amongst the succubae. That she may have known of something like this happening before. But she didn't."
"She's alive? For real? I mean, she's actually living, not kinda-dead, kinda-alive, nobody-knows-for-sure, but really alive?" Bo asked, absently.
"Well, she looked pretty alive to me." Lauren wasn't sure if Bo had heard her explanation.
"Oh boy!" Now Bo exhaled. "So she pretty much figured it out, that a human woman has been impregnated by a female succubus, and that basically equals me and you?"
"Yep. I tried the best I could to disguise the questions."
"Did she say anything? Ask about me?"
"No, but that's because an agreement had been made by both sides. I wasn't to ask anything about her, she wasn't to ask anything about me or anyone else. I was just to ask the questions I sort answers for and she was to answer only those questions."
"Bo, no one knows about my meeting her. And no one can. As far as you're concerned, I didn't just tell you about it."
"Could you tell what she might have thought about this news?"
"From her expression, I'd say very happy. I'm not sure if that was the news of becoming a grandmother, or for some other reasons, but I'd suspect the latter from her past record."
Bo nodded in agreement.
"It wasn't the smartest move I made."
"No, it's okay, don't worry." Bo said, thinking. "Everything will be okay." Then she broke into a happy smile.
"We'll be okay. I promise. I won't let anything happen to you, or the baby,"
Lauren knew Bo would try her damndest to make sure of that, but they had to be practical.
"Bo, it's one of the other reasons why I continue to work for the Light Fae. I chose a side, and for that I still come under their protection. At some point every one will see I'm pregnant. I thought about telling Lochlyn, that it was some drunken encounter at a bar, after a fight between me and Nadia. But he's not that stupid either. Once people know about this baby, Light and Dark, I'm not sure how I will keep her safe."
Bo frowned. "You won't have to worry about that. I'm here now. You'll both be safe. I'll give my life to ensure that."
Lauren stroked Bo's face. "I know you will, and I hope you don't, because without you, who will protect her? "
"You know who would. We wouldn't be alone in this, we have friends." Bo said.
"There's a but though, isn't there?"
Lauren steeled herself. "If I recommit to Lochlyn "
"NO way!" Bo leapt off the bed.
"Sweetie, please hear me out " Lauren waited for Bo's breathing to calm down. "If I do that, then if she's Fae he will have a vested interest in keeping her safe."
"You'd already choose a side for her?" Bo asked incredulously.
"No, that's not what I'm saying."
"You don't think I can protect her!" Bo accused. She started pacing again.
"Bo, that's not what I think at all!" Lauren moved towards her, taking her hands again. "You know I trust you. But we have to have some kind of plan. She's the most important thing to both of us right now."
Bo looked at her. "I just want us to be a family. I don't want her to grow up without ." she stopped.
Lauren knew what Bo was thinking. She was worried their daughter wouldn't know her real parents, just as Bo hadn't.
"We'll be a family, I promise," Lauren assured her. "As much as we can be in this existence." she raised her eyebrows.
"When can we start?" Bo looked shy.
Lauren smiled. "Oh my God. You've gone all mushy," she teased. "Where's my big brave maverick Fae?"
"Right now, she's figuring out how to support her girlfriend with a baby on the way. And that maybe I should have taken that case this morning. Kenzi will have to up our advertising!"
Lauren laughed. For the first time in these last few months, she felt happy and optimistic. Maybe they would get through this, and everything would be okay.
"Are you still living at your apartment?" Bo asked.
"Can I come by later, tonight?"
Again Bo seemed shy in asking and Lauren found it utterly endearing.
"Please. I've missed you." She kissed Bo softly. "What are you going to do now?"
"Grow some balls." Bo said nonchalantly.
"What?" Lauren half laughed in puzzlement.
"I'm going to need them, when I tell Kenzi about this. Don't worry, I'll make her promise to keep quiet, but I can't keep this from her."
Lauren knew it wouldn't have been fair to request that Bo not tell her best friend. Kenzi was the nearest thing to a sibling that Bo had; and until know, it was the closest to a family member she'd ever known.
"Unless " Bo twirled some of Lauren's hair round her fingers. "You want to tell her?"
"Oh no. I'll leave that to you, Champ."
"Shit!' Bo mumbled. "Thanks a mill doc."
"Just think of it, like having an injection. The quicker you get it done, the less painful it will be."
Bo looked thoughtful for a moment. "Yeah, whatever." then dismissed the wisdom, making Lauren snigger.
With a kiss to Lauren's lips, "I'll see you later," Bo left the lab.
Lauren stood, closing her eyes. She placed her hand on her belly. "Please keep her safe, please keep her safe" she repeated it like a mantra, and she just didn't mean the baby.
Refocusing, Lauren returned to her research, forgetting her worries, as she lost herself once again, in her work.
Bo drove, unaware of the route she took, or the streets, houses and people she passed. Her subconscious took automatic care of the way back home, while her conscious mind tried to assess everything she had just learned.
Lauren loved her. They were going to have a child. Aoife knew. The rest would, too, in time. Her priority had to be the safeguarding of the woman she loved, their unborn daughter, and those who she knew would come to their aid, should it be needed.
She knew Lauren was right; as much as she craved the idea of a normal family life, practically, the achievement of that was highly unlikely. It might be a possibility; if she and Lauren left; just disappeared and went somewhere they couldn't be found. But they would be; the Fae were everywhere, and would seek them out.
For now, Bo decided that she would concentrate on making Lauren feel safe and happy and loved; that they could lead a normal life, at least until the baby was born.
Bo switched off the ignition and grabbed the steering wheel. First things first though; telling Kenzi the news.
"The quicker you get it done, the less painful it will be." Lauren's words surfaced in her mind.
Bo took a depth breath. "Piece of cake!" she told herself and with as much resolve as she could muster she got out of the car, and went into the house.
"Kenz?" Bo snapped her fingers at her young companion. Kenzi sat on the bar stool in their kitchen, mouth open, apparently paralysed.
Bo waved her hand in front of Kenzi's face. Still no reaction. She quickly got up and gently patted Kenzi's cheek.
"Breathe, Kenzi! Breathe!" Bo urged. She started to panic; she squeezed Kenzi's mouth, making a small funnel out of her lips to allow her to give the younger woman some energy. Before she could, Kenzi's lungs finally took in a deep breath and she spoke.
"Whoa! Hold up there stud!" Kenzi gently pushed her away. "You got some fertile mojo that I don't need, thank you very much!"
Bo was relieved that she hadn't caused Kenzi a stroke, and grabbed her into a hug.
Kenzi reached for a bottle, set up four shot glasses pouring alcohol into each one.
"Thanks, but I think it's a bit early to wet the baby's head." Bo told her.
Kenzi held up her hand. "Who said any of these were for you sweet cheeks?" Kenzi proceeded to down all four in quick succession. She pulled a sour face with the last one, shivered and thumped the table with relief.
"Holy Mother-Faeker!" Kenzi wheezed. She coughed, then pointed at Bo, who did her best not to laugh.
"So, let me see if I understood you correctly. Somehow, without any man junk, you got Lauren pregnant, after some serious getting-jiggy-with-it night of lurve? And all because you shared your energy with each other?"
"Pretty much." Bo confirmed.
"Hmmm," Kenzi pondered. "And you know for sure the kid is yours?"
"What?" Bo asked.
"Well, she's a doctor. The ole biology clock a-ticking away, she's got a lab full of stuff, who's to say she didn't stir something up and take a turkey baster "
"Kenzi!" Bo scolded her. "Don't be ridiculous!"
"I'm just saying!" Kenzi poured out more drinks. This time Bo downed one.
"I know it sounds incredible. Even Lauren can't figure out how. But for some reason, it happened."
"Look, I know you don't like Lauren, but give her another chance, please? For me?"
"It's not that I don't like her. I mean, I don't like what she did to you last time. It's just she's .kinda nerdy and geeky and all medical." Kenzi pulled a face, as though Lauren belonged to some strange alien race that was beyond her understanding, compared to the Fae world.
"She's just so .uptight!" Kenzi added.
"Aren't you surprised? Five years ago, she had no idea this world existed. The world she knew ended, and she was subjugated to the Fae, to save her ex girlfriend. I'm not saying it was easier for me and you, but we had each other. Lauren had no one on her side. No one to talk to. I think the fact she's remained sane, is a miracle!"
Bo rubbed her forehead in frustration. Her head suddenly felt heavy and weary. She felt Kenzi rub her arm.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to dis your G F," Kenzi slid another shot of alcohol towards her. "Hey, are you supposed to be drinking in your condition?" Kenzi pulled the glass back to her
Bo laughed. She could never get angry, or even stay angry with Kenzi.
"Earth to Kenz! I'm not the pregnant one!"
"Earth to the Bo'ster! Sister, don't you know? You gotta give up everything Lauren's gotta give up, girl! You're in this together now! No booze, putting on weight so she don't feel so bad, when she weighs 300lbs. No more girly nights out. Nah-huh. You're life is so ooooverr!. You may not have chosen a side, but your freedom's gone now cup-cake."
"Wow, you paint such a wonderful picture of parenthood."
"I'm just telling a sister what it is. And there ain't no way on earth, I'm changing diapers or cleaning up baby puke, so get any ideas like that out of your pretty head!"
"I'll be sure to let Lauren know."
"I guess this is not as simple as it all sounds, right?" Kenzi said more seriously.
"No. Sadly its not. Once the news gets out, who knows what could happen. For now, I just want to keep Lauren safe and happy."
"So, when's she moving in?"
Bo looked at Kenzi shocked. "I I haven't asked her to. I thought maybe she'd prefer her own place ."
"Oh, Lordy," Kenzi rolled her eyes. "Do you two actually talk?"
"Well, I didn't just wanna ask, without talking to you. This is your home after all."
"How can you keep her safe, if you're here, or she's there? One of you has to move. And considering we're armed up to the arm pits with nasty sharp pointy things, I would say here is the best place." Kenzi looked around. "It's gonna need some serious baby proofing!"
Bo hugged her again. "Thanks, Kenzi. I'll talk to Lauren tonight. I'll see what she wants to do."
Bo could see Kenzi was reluctant to say something else.
"Are you going to tell Trick, or Hale, or .Dyson?"
Bo sighed deeply. "No, not yet. The less people know, the easier we can keep this quiet for a while longer."
"It's going to break his heart, again." Kenzi stated softly.
Bo clenched her jaw. "I can't be responsible for how he deals with it. He'll have to figure that out."
She felt a pang of guilt, for some unknown reason. Not for anything she had done recently, to give Dyson any hope. In fact she had done the opposite, as she had told Lauren. She'd kept him at bay and made no promises. But she knew Kenzi was right; he wouldn't take the news well. Her guilt was for what he'd sacrificed in the past; but he'd made that decision alone, and in doing so had given up any hope they might have had for a future.
Now her future lie elsewhere and with some one else and that's what mattered the most right now.
"Hey, it's me." Bo said into Lauren's intercom. She heard the buzz and door release, and bounded up to the apartment.
As Lauren opened the door, Bo thrust a bunch of flowers at her.
"For you!" Bo said. She realised that it was a dumb thing to say; who else would they have been for?
Lauren took them happily, graciously not showing any sign that she thought it was a dumb thing to say either.
"They're beautiful, thank you." Lauren kissed her and Bo felt suddenly excited, as though this was a prom date night.
She followed Lauren to the kitchen, noticing her blonde hair was slightly damp and that she was barefoot. Her jeans hugged her legs, riding low on her slim hips. As Lauren reached up for a vase, her short cropped T-shirt rode up, revealing a tantalizing midriff area of skin. It was also obvious that Lauren was braless.
Bo stood mesmerised, as her eyes raked over Lauren's body. She was pretty sure she shouldn't be thinking what she was, and that the rush of arousal through her body was wholly inappropriate. This wasn't the conventional image of impending motherhood she had in mind. This image wasn't the same one that she had witnessed wearing a lab coat a few hours ago. This image was utter provocation. This image was total sex on legs.
Bo felt herself puff up with pride. Her pregnant girlfriend looked incredibly sexy and Bo wanted nothing more than to show her off.
"How did Kenzi take the news?" Lauren asked as she filled the vase with water, putting the flowers in it.
Bo suddenly realised that Lauren had said something. "Sorry, what did you say?" she shook the erotic thoughts out of her head.
"Are you okay? You looked flushed. Your eyes are dilated."
"I'm fine, really!" Trust Lauren to notice, Bo thought.
"I said how did Kenzi react?" Lauren filled up a glass with water, then grabbed a wine glass. "Would you like some wine?"
Bo remembered what Kenzi had said. "No, just water for me, too."
Lauren looked at her strangely, then shrugged and handed her another glass.
"She was okay about it eventually." Bo said, taking a swallow of water.
"Really? She didn't suggest you get a paternity test done?"
Bo coughed and spluttered, almost choking on the water.
"I take that as a yes then." Lauren smiled. She indicated for them to sit down on the couch.
"You know Kenzi!" Bo sank down into the sofa. "She made it clear, she won't clean up poop or puke; we'd have to pay serious money for her to even consider it!"
Lauren laughed and Bo's heart melted. She didn't think she'd ever seen Lauren look so relaxed, or happy or so gorgeous as she did right now.
"I want to suggest something, and I don't want you to think I'm taking away you're independence or anything, but I'd love for you to come live with us at the house, I mean, we'll make it more comfortable of course, plug up some of the holes and fix the leaks "
Lauren shifted closer, leaning in to kiss her. "I'm not saying no, but lets just take things a little slow to start, okay?"
"Okay." Bo agreed.
Lauren placed her glass on the coffee table, then took Bo's and put it there as well.
Lauren kissed her again and Bo didn't mistake the intent behind it. She'd thought the reason for her coming over was to talk about their future and the baby, but it seemed that's not what was uppermost on Lauren's mind right now.
"What are you up to?" Bo said, as Lauren started to unbutton her shirt.
"I told you, I've missed you." Lauren started kissing her neck.
Bo moaned. "Is that so?" It also seemed that impending motherhood didn't quench sexual desire.
"Yes." Lauren whispered into her ear.
Bo fought against her own mounting desire.
"Why are you fighting this?"
Damn, Lauren! Bo said to herself. The doctor knew her too well; all those hours spent trying to curb her succubus instincts.
"You're " Bo tried to speak, but Lauren nibbled on her ear lobe. "You're pregnant." she hissed through gritted teeth. She was also getting heady from the aroma of Lauren's skin mixed with the subtle scent of the perfume she was wearing. The combination was intoxicating.
"So?" Lauren continued kissing her neck.
"Should we be doing this?"
Lauren stopped to look at her. "You don't want to?"
Bo saw the dare in her eyes. "Don't ask dumb questions. You know I do!" she was finding it harder to stay in control.
"Then what's stopping you?"
"What about the baby? What if we get carried away?"
Lauren raised an intrigued eyebrow. "Sounds promising." She slid her hand inside Bo's shirt.
"Lauren, I'm serious." Bo grabbed Lauren's hand.
Lauren cleared her throat, smiling. "You're utterly adorable when you're concerned."
"Lauren!'" Bo demanded.
"The baby will be fine. After all, you can trust me, I'm a doctor."
Bo groaned at the clichéd saying.
"Just maybe no energy sharing this time." Lauren added.
"Are you sure?" Bo asked.
Lauren stood up and held out her hand. "Only one way to find out. Unless you don't think you have the succubus stamina to keep up?"
Bo wasn't going to let the challenge go unanswered. She liked this sexually confident side of Lauren; her sexual aura was also off the chart; Bo could see it glowing like red hot coals; if it got any hotter it could set the apartment on fire.
"Future and baby talk later. Let's have tonight just for us, okay?" Lauren said.
Bo stood up, took Lauren's hand and without protest, allowed her to take her to bed.
Bo lay awake in the semi darkness of the bedroom, watching Lauren as she slept. She reached out to gently move some strands of damp hair, stuck to Lauren's forehead. She smiled as she recalled their earlier energetic lovemaking. The last two weeks had been the most romantic experience and she didn't want it to end.
They'd had intimate dinners out, as well as cooking for each other at home. In fact as Bo knew, Lauren did most of the cooking. She'd been suitably disgusted, medically, by the lack of nutritional element in Bo and Kenzi's diet. Their staple of pizza, KFC, ice cream and booze for breakfast, lunch and dinner, was one she didn't agree with, only in moderation. So Lauren had risen to the challenge of showing them how great real food could taste. This of course had entailed her scientific desire to explain what each ingredient did, how much of it was precisely needed, and the chemical reactions those ingredients had, as well as their benefit to the cells of the body.
"I knew I was right. Real food is so boring." Kenzi had yawned one night, as she had poured herself a large glass of wine.
Bo had named Lauren the Geeky Chef, and as un-sexy as it all sounded to Kenzi, Bo found it highly stimulating, to hear Lauren explain it all. She also found it extremely sexy, when Lauren cooked at her apartment, wearing an apron and nothing else.
In the last two weeks they'd also gone dancing, been to the movies, made out in the back row, unless Lauren had spotted something in the movie which lead her to give an explanation of why it was scientifically impossible. Bo would laugh and Lauren would look puzzled, before she'd realised she was being a nerd, and would flick bits of popcorn at her.
They'd laughed and loved, one time in Lauren's lab. Bo had promised Lauren she could be quiet, which had brought a questioning look from the doctor. Lauren had bet her she couldn't, Bo had pleaded she could. Once Lauren did what she did to her, Bo lost the bet, and making love in the lab was off limits until she could learn to be quiet.
They'd tried not to bore Kenzi too much with baby talk; they saved that for the nights Bo spent at Lauren's apartment, like tonight. But they'd been shopping, staring at baby clothes in the window displays, even going into the baby sections in the store, smiling and cooing over tiny little outfits.
Bo had purchased something without Lauren knowing. A tiny little pink dress, that even Bo couldn't believe how small it was, or how exquisite it looked. It wasn't over the top frilly or flouncy, like the type that announces "I'm a princess, love me!", but a simple understated dress that simply said. "I'm precious" and Bo fell in love with it. When she gave it to Lauren to open, Lauren's normal stoic nature had crumbled and she had burst into tears, and Bo had known why. It had summed up the child they had created and she knew they could both picture her wearing it. Bo had held Lauren tightly, and typically Lauren had brushed off the emotional meltdown as her hormones.
It had become an idyll; their own world wrapped in a bubble that nothing could penetrate, and Bo wondered how long it would last. She'd accomplished what she had set out to do, which was to make Lauren feel loved and protected, to assuage her of any fears, for the time being, that they could have a normal relationship.
"What's so fascinating about watching me sleep?" Lauren asked as she slowly opened her eyes.
Bo startled with surprise.
"I thought you were always alert." Lauren tried not to laugh.
"I wasn't expecting it." Bo blurted.
"Perhaps we need to work on those 'after sex' reflexes. It obviously leaves you vulnerable to attack."
"Not at all, I'm always ready." Bo was about to continue, when Lauren swiftly flipped her onto her back.
"Yep, you need to work on that always ready bit."
"That's not fair!" Bo pouted.
Lauren laughed. "Why?"
"I'm not usually this distracted in a potential fight. You're naked and looking all damn sexy. It's not something I normally face with opponents!"
"Thank goodness! Who knows what that could lead to!"
Lauren laughed again, and this time Bo flipped her back over.
"So what were you thinking about?" Lauren asked.
"You. How much I love you. How wonderful and gorgeous you are."
Lauren smiled her awkward smile, the one she always did when someone paid her a compliment. It seemed to Bo as though Lauren always found compliments difficult to accept.
Bo ran her fingertips lightly over Lauren's skin at her neck, trailing them down, tracing the dip and curve of her collarbone. Lauren squirmed at the touch.
Bo then placed her lips against Lauren's neck, kissing softly, before gently nibbling; her fingertips carried on, feeling the bulge of a breast, then the curve of Lauren's waist, before they rested at her hip, which Lauren lifted to meet her touch.
"You seem very alert, Doctor," Bo whispered. "Is there a problem?"
"Yes." Lauren groaned.
"What is it?" Bo asked, as her mouth continued to tease at Lauren's neck. Her hand was snaking its way inside Lauren's thigh.
"I've broken a cardinal rule of professional practice."
"Oh?' Bo smiled and looked at Lauren's face.
"I'm completely in love with one of my patients."
"Well, I won't tell if you don't." Bo wiggled her eyebrows.
"Good. Now kiss me!"
Bo didn't need to be told twice. Her mouth crushed against Lauren's in a bruising kiss, as her passion quickly ignited.
It wasn't long after, as Lauren gripped the headboard, flexing her hips, that Bo heard Lauren cry out her name, as her head was clamped between Lauren's thighs.
Bo became aware of the beeping noise as it woke her from sleep. She felt Lauren fumbling for something on the nightstand.
"Sorry." Lauren said as she switched on the lamp.
"What is it?" Bo asked.
"Well duh!" Bo rolled her eyes. "I know what it is, but what is it?"
Lauren blushed. "Sorry. It's the Light compound. This is only used for emergencies. Something must be up. Lochlyn sent it."
Lauren swung her legs out of bed.
"What time is it?" Bo asked.
"Sounds serious. I should come with you."
Lauren grabbed some clothes from her closet.
"No, don't worry. There are two codes. One for 'panic! the world is ending!' serious, like the recent war against the Garuda, and one for 'help' serious. The code is that one."
Lauren came back over to the bed, "Go back to sleep. If it turns out to be more serious, I'll call you." She kissed Bo quickly.
"Are you sure?"
"Call me when you get there!"
Lauren smiled and nodded.
Bo watched Lauren leave, dressing as she went. She hesitated, wanting to go with Lauren, but not wanting her to feel she couldn't cope. She'd found her need to be protective over the last two weeks was on overdrive and had had to temper it, so as not to make Lauren feel smothered.
Bo took a deep breath. Lauren had assured her, she'd be okay and that if she needed help, she would contact her.
Bo knew it would be hopeless trying to go back to sleep. She wouldn't rest until Lauren was back, or she'd heard from her.
Lauren exited the elevator of the apartment complex and hurried to where her car was parked in the underground garage. She fumbled with the keys in her hand, which was distracting her mind. On another level, she became aware that not everything was as it should be. Suddenly she felt her skin prickle, a response to a rush of adrenaline being released into her blood stream.
Lauren slowed as she reached her car. It seemed eerily quiet; not unusual for this time of the morning, but she sensed something was wrong. Finally she noticed the dimmer than usual lighting illuminating the parking spaces.
Lauren spun round to face the women who had spoken.
Aoife smiled at her, as she appeared from the shadows.
Lauren instinctively placed her hand to her stomach, realising it was the worse thing she could have done. Any possibility that Aoife might not have worked it out had just been given away.
Aoife's smile broadened at her gesture. "I see pregnancy suits you. I would never have guessed."
Lauren stood rigid, not taking the bait, that the secret had only just been revealed. She quickly looked up to one of the garage corners, scanning for the security camera's she knew were there. With any luck, what was about to happen would be captured. And what ever it was, she was not prepared to go without a fight.
"Oh please!" Aoife rolled her eyes. "You really think I'd go to all this trouble, only to get caught on camera?"
Lauren's heart sank.
Aoife circled her, and Lauren felt it a predatory move. "No one knows we're here. It's just me and you. I thought we should have a chat in private."
"I have to get to the Light Compound." Lauren said quickly.
She hoped she could stall Aoife for a moment, while she figured out her best option. She'd already ruled out screaming; as much as she wanted to right now, she needed to remain calm. Her car keys might prove the best form of weapon she had. She maneuvered them in her hands, jutting some of the keys between her fingers; a swift jab and maybe she could take Aoife's eyes out.
"No you don't." Aoife stopped circling her, folded her arms and leant against Lauren's car.
"It was a message from the Ash, if I don't get there "
"Seriously, you don't have to be there." Aoife studied her fingernails for a moment.
"That wasn't a message from the Ash." she shrugged her shoulders excitedly, looking extremely pleased.
Lauren tried not to show her shock. Her bleeper security code was only known among the Light Fae, just Lochlyn and a couple of the other Fae doctors or so she thought.
Lauren's heart was pounding in her chest, nausea rising from the pit of her stomach.
So," Aoife said. "Have you come up with any names yet? Of course, I'm partial to my own, but I guess that would seem a little too narcissistic." she laughed whimsically, finding her own idea funny.
Lauren didn't answer, but stood trying not to breathe too rapidly, for fear she might pass out. Aoife obviously knew it was a girl.
"Are you okay?" Aoife frowned, before she appeared to be aware of the situation from Lauren's point of view. "Oh, I'm sorry." she reached out to touch Lauren's arm.
Lauren stepped back, tightening her grip on her keys.
Aoife spotted the movement. "Oh trust me doc, you wouldn't stand a chance. If I'd meant you any harm in coming here, it would already be over. You're just a weak human, trying to keep up with the big kids. You need to up your game, if you want to survive." She spread out her arms, emphasizing the deserted garage.
Lauren heard the quiet assured threat in her voice.
"But believe me when I say, it's not me you need to be afraid of."
Aoife moved towards her, stopping when they were shoulder to shoulder. "Be careful who you trust doctor. You carry something very priceless. And there are some who will do anything to take it away."
Lauren willed down the bile that rose in her throat.
"Look after yourself. And tell Bo mama says hi. I'm so proud of my little girl."
Aoife smiled again, looking directly at her. "We'll all meet up again soon," and with that she walked away.
Lauren forced herself to turn round, watching until she could no longer see, but only hear Aoife's footsteps, and they quickly faded. The garage lighting came back up and she noticed the red light was back on the security camera.
She felt her legs start to buckle. Using the car for support, she stumbled to the rear of it, and vomited.
Bo rubbed her eyes as she poured hot water onto the ginger tea infusion Lauren kept on the stove. She'd grown accustomed to the taste, indulging in Lauren's morning ritual to drink it, rather than coffee. She smiled as she held the mug between her hands; in just two weeks she'd gone from high octane coffee, to a healthy spicy drink.
She was about to head to the shower, when Lauren burst trough the door. Bo was surprised but glad that she was back so soon. Then she saw the look on Lauren's pale face, noticed she was shaking and that she looked on the verge of collapse.
Bo put the mug down quickly and rushed forward, catching Lauren as her legs almost gave way. Bo helped Lauren to the sofa.
"What's wrong? Is it the baby?" Bo tried to remain calm, but her anxiety only worsened when Lauren didn't respond straight away.
"Lauren? What's wrong?!"
Lauren shook uncontrollably in her arms, as though she was freezing.
"Please!" Bo begged. She searched Lauren's face for an answer.
"Shock," Lauren managed to say through chattering teeth. "Need hot .drink .sweet."
Bo leapt up, grabbed her tea from the counter along with a sugar bowl. She hurried back to the couch and handed the mug to Lauren. She watched in rising worry, at Lauren unable to hold it.
"Here." Bo held it so Lauren could drink from it.
"More sugar." Lauren instructed.
Bo scooped sugar into the mug with the spoon, spilling more over the table then held it for Lauren.
Lauren just shook her head. "More."
Bo scooped in three more heapfuls before Lauren nodded. Again Bo held the mug while Lauren drank huge gulps. She felt Lauren's forehead; it was clammy.
Lauren gently pushed the mug away and slumped back into the sofa. Bo placed the mug on the table then pulled Lauren against her.
"You're scaring me. Are you okay .is it the baby?" Bo was afraid of the answer.
"I'm sorry, it's not the baby. She's fine. I just went into shock it wasn't an emergency call form Lochlyn. Aoife was down in the parking garage."
Bo was too shocked to speak at first. Anger rose from the pit of her stomach, and she realised Lauren must have sensed it, because as she went to move away, Lauren held on to her.
"She's gone, Bo."
"Did she hurt you? Did she threaten you in any way, cos if she did, I swear "
"No, she didn't. She was just a little .intimidating. I think that was her aim."
"What did she say to you?"
"Not much, just to be careful who I trust. That I have something priceless, that others will want. She didn't seem interested herself."
"Right, that's it! You're not staying here. You're moving into the house with me and Kenzi. No arguing." Bo stated firmly.
"Don't worry I'm not going to fight you on this one. I'll pack some stuff when I get my legs back." Lauren attempted a smile.
"Shit!" Bo cursed under her breath. "I knew I should have come with you."
"If you had she probably wouldn't have appeared. It was me she wanted to warn."
Bo glanced quickly at Lauren as she drove them to the house. Lauren looked absently out of the passenger window, silent and deep in thought.
It hadn't taken Lauren long to throw some clothes into a couple of suitcases. Bo knew they could always go back to the apartment for more stuff, but her over riding priority was Lauren's safety.
Kenzi unbolted the door, sword in hand, as they entered, and Bo half heartedly smiled at her. She'd already phoned to make sure Kenzi was safe and hadn't had any visits from her mother.
Bo helped Lauren up to the bedroom making her sit on the bed. She gently took of her shoes.
"Lie down and get some rest."
Lauren didn't protest. Bo's guts knotted at how tired Lauren looked. The shock of the morning had worn her out, and she still looked fragile and pale.
"We need to let the others know," Bo stated. "Just in case."
Lauren nodded in agreement. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have gone to her in the first place." She said.
"It's not your fault." Bo stroked her cheek. "We'll be okay. I'll call them to come over later this morning." she kissed Lauren's forehead, then pulled the comforter over her. "I'll be right here."
Bo sat and watched as Lauren slipped into sleep. She closed her eyes and clenched her fists, as she felt the bubble of happiness they had, burst. They still had four months to go until the baby was born, and she cursed her mother for having taken it from them. Whatever Aoife's reasons in the warning, if she had anything to do with it, Bo knew she wouldn't hesitate this time.
She'd kill her.
Lauren woke up feeling groggy, her stomach growling. Despite the earlier shock and vomiting, she felt hungry and could hear voices downstairs, so made her way down.
In the living space, she saw Kenzi, Dyson, Hale and Trick, who all looked up as she approached.
Trick stood up immediately to greet her.
"Congratulations!" He smiled warmly and hugged her.
Hale did the same, but Dyson stood back.
"Thank-you." Lauren said to both of them, giving Dyson a perfunctory nod of welcome.
She headed to the kitchen to get some water and Bo followed her.
"Are you okay? You still look tired."
Lauren smiled. "I'm fine sweetie, just hungry." she opened the fridge and realised that finding anything nutritional would be a waste of time. There was some leftover pizza.
"Sorry," Bo said. "We need to go shopping."
Lauren dismissed it and nuked a couple of slices in the microwave.
Bo headed back over to the group and Lauren followed, preferring to stand as she ate.
"So, now you all know the news, you might as well know the rest. My mother also knows. Aoife paid Lauren a visit this morning. Just a warning call, but we don't know what that could lead to."
Trick nodded solemnly. "You're obviously both aware, that once this news gets out, the Light and Dark will have an interest in the child?"
He turned to Bo. "You're powers are still unknown, and the fact you've sired a child of unknown ability makes that child a pawn for both sides."
Bo nodded in agreement. "My focus right now, is keeping Lauren and the baby safe. And all of you, too. If none of you want to be involved, then I don't blame you for wanting out, but we'd appreciate your support."
"Bo's right," Lauren added. "We don't want you to feel obliged to help us."
Everyone enthused their assent that they would think nothing of helping them both.
"We'd do anything to help Bo, doctor." Dyson said.
Lauren heard the emphasis of Bo's name and that he hadn't bothered to mention hers. She lowered the slice of pizza she was about to eat, back down onto the plate.
"Do you have an issue with this, Dyson?" Lauren asked calmly.
He looked surprised that she would challenge him, but smug enough to continue.
"No, why would I? Bo's safety is always a concern for her friends."
Lauren nodded, agreeably.
"Especially when one of them might be leading her into unnecessary danger." Dyson added.
Lauren smiled; it seemed they were getting to the crux of the issue for him and she wasn't about to let it go.
"You believe I'm leading her into danger?" Lauren placed the plate down on the coffee table, rubbing her fingers of crumbs.
"I hope not doctor, but Bo only has your word that the child is "
"Dyson!" Bo warned.
Lauren held up her hand to silence her. "Bo, it's okay. I think Dyson deserves to hear the truth."
Very calmly, Lauren moved to stand in front of him, her voice low, firm and confident.
"Just so we understand each other. I love Bo, very much, and she loves me. And I can assure you, that the child I carry is hers. Now I can understand the sacrifice you made in the name of love, where Bo was concerned, but this brooding, self indulgent, pouty little attitude of yours is becoming quite tiresome. My medical advice? Get over yourself detective! You want to fight me over Bo? Bring it on! But I can tell you now, you don't stand a snowballs chance in hell!" Lauren poked him in the chest and he growled under his breath. "She's mine and you try anything, and I'll make sure you never sire any cubs yourself! You got that, wolf-man?"
Lauren stared at him for a moment to make sure he had heard every word and the threat it carried. He stood in silence, aware of the public castration she had just performed on him.
She slowly turned away to see the stunned faces of every one else in the room.
"Whoa!" Kenzi managed to mumble under her breath.
Lauren moved to Bo, kissing her full on the mouth. "I'm just going to take a shower, sweetie. I'll leave you to talk strategy, if that's okay?"
Bo's smile couldn't have got any wider. Lauren winked at her, graciously smiled at the others and headed triumphantly towards the bathroom.
As she stood in the shower, Lauren's moment of triumph faded rapidly; Aoife's words ringing in her head.
"You're just a weak human. You need to up your game if you want to survive."
She realised Aoife was right, and that she hadn't just meant it in a fight situation; Dyson had just wolf pissed out his territorial claim where Bo was concerned and Lauren knew he wouldn't give up. But he was also right about the danger this could bring Bo. Bo would fight to the death to protect her, their child and any of the others, and Lauren realised she was the biggest liability in the whole scheme. A weak human with no Fae powers to offer any of them much help.
The smell of rotting, putrefied flesh was not a smell that many could handle, but he had been used to it over the millennia he had lived. He'd even walked among such corpses in the past, taking in deep breaths and delighting in the aroma, laughing happily as the dead surrounded him. He'd been the reason they were dead in the first place.
But the smell of his own decaying body was another matter; it nauseated him. Lumps of his flesh were slowing knitting their way back into place, and he found the whole process of his healing tiresome.
He knew he would regain his full strength once again. He acknowledged that the synthesized venom from Lochlyn had been a brilliant idea, and it had not occurred to him that it would be a mere human that would have helped to bring about his downfall. He hadn't considered that the Doctor would prove such a formidable adversary. He'd hedged his bets on the unaligned succubus and her merry band of followers, whom he knew he could probably dispatch, one by one if he'd had to. The combined force had proved too much.
But even laboratory produced, the poison hadn't quite packed a dose that the real stuff would have dealt him. The real venom would have killed him off outright no second chances.
But despite his current state of bodily repair, the Garuda was content to wait a while longer before he stirred things up again. A few more weeks and he'd be back to his psychopathic self again.
He sighed deeply, as though bored and leant forward a bit, into the light, from where he lounged. He attempted to stretch his wings, the fragile bones cracking into position. His lair was sparse but comfortable to his standards, and there was no other offer of any seating, meaning 'guests' were not expected to stay.
The person standing before him flinched at the sight of him, even though they tried to hide their shock. Or was it disgust? He couldn't tell and he didn't care.
They hadn't seen the worse of it yet, that was still to come, but at least they had the decency not to be too bothered by the smell any more. They'd obviously gotten used to it over their last few visits.
"What news do you have to bring me?" He asked.
"Nothing new. They're still keeping the news quiet." The woman answered.
"Very wise, under the circumstances." He thought it seemed sensible. "So even the Light don't know about the child?"
"And what of the Dark?"
"You have not said anything?"
"No. Why would I?"
He waved his hand dismissively. "I just thought, considering your allegiance to them, you might have let the information be known to them."
"My allegiance is no longer to them, but to you."
"Ahh, yes, of course." He nodded, agreeably. "But perhaps it might be worth letting them know."
"Of course, if that's your wish." The woman said.
"And you still believe they will trust you? The succubus and the doctor?" He leant further forward, to properly gauge her answer. "Enough for you to get access once the child is born?"
"Yes, eventually. I have no reason to doubt they won't."
"Good." He smiled. "How will you accomplish this?"
"I have an idea, that might bring them more my way. If you think it's time?"
"Oh, by all means," He spread out his arms in invite. "Do what ever you wish!"
But his smile faded quickly. "Just remember if you fail to get me the child ." He didn't seem to need to elaborate to the woman of the consequences; she merely nodded her understanding, but showed no fear.
He admired her for that.
"But our agreement still stands, when I do bring you the child?" The woman asked.
"Of course. I keep to my business agreements. Unlike the Dark. They didn't keep theirs with you did they?" He tutted. "You shall have everything, as I agreed." He confirmed.
He also liked the fact that this woman knew when a conversation was over. She turned and left without another word.
He thought about the child in question. Its parents might not be sure, at this moment, of the unborn's power, but he was convinced of its lineage. He contemplated the unparalleled power he would have, as he drained the child of its blood, as he drank it, while its heart was still beating.
"So? What did you think?" Lauren asked, as she linked her arm through Bo's.
Bo looked at Lauren's smiling face, wondering how to be polite without offending her. It was obvious Lauren had enjoyed it.
"Different." Was the only thing Bo could think of.
"Different?" Lauren queried. "How?"
"Well ." Bo fumbled for an answer. "I thought .it was " she realised she was just digging herself into a hole.
"You didn't like it." Lauren said.
"No! I mean yes! I mean ."
Lauren laughed. "Bo, it's okay. You don't have to like it, just cos I do. We don't need to like the same things. We're doing fine." She squeezed Bo's arm.
Bo exhaled with relief. She knew their relationship didn't need to be based on a 'twin' factor of likes and dislikes, but she knew she had been over compensating in certain things. She was deeply in love with Lauren and wanted everything to be perfect. Even in their tastes in Art. This new exhibition hadn't been to Bo's liking much.
"The artist just had a very unusual perspective especially of the female form. I don't actually think he likes women that much!" Bo said.
Lauren pondered for a moment as they turned the corner to the alleyway where they had parked.
Bo was too distracted to notice any of the people passing them, not even the hooded cloaked figure that came out of the alley way.
What she did become aware of moments later, was a sharp pain in her right side. She didn't think too much of it as she continued walking, until she felt it. She raised her hand, and in the dim lighting of the dark alleyway, she saw the blood.
"I can see your point, but I don't think it's a dislike of women, I .what's that?" Lauren asked as she looked at Bo's raised hand.
"I think it's my blood." Bo said matter of factually. Then the pain hit her and her knees went out from under her.
"Bo!" Lauren cried out, holding onto her as she sank to the floor.
Bo felt disorientated for a moment, trying to piece together what had happened. She tried to recall the faces of the people who had passed by them, but nothing clear would come to mind, just a faint recollection of some kind of scent.
Lauren had urgently pulled Bo's shirt out of her leather trousers, and had ripped off some of it to use as a bandage.
Bo looked down and saw the large gash in her side. As Lauren applied pressure, blood seeped out between her fingers as it soaked through the cloth.
"Bo, kiss me!" Lauren said.
"What? I really don't think now is the time for that sort of thing." Bo smiled.
Lauren pushed harder on the wound. "This isn't funny, Bo! This is a serious wound. You need to feed. Use me!"
"I will not! I'm not taking the chance, especially with the baby!"
"It'll be okay, just take enough until we can get to the Light Hospital!"
"No!" Bo said firmly.
"Goddamit, Bo! You need to heal!" Lauren hissed. She looked at the stab wound again.
"No, just stitch me up or something. Do you have your med kit in the car?"
"No I don't, and there's no time to get to the hospital from here! Call someone; I can drive you to them."
"Why won't you do this?" Lauren shouted, exasperated at Bo's reluctance.
"Cos I can't .I can't do that to us!" Bo looked away.
Lauren mentally kicked herself. "We'll still have us, sweetie. This is purely for you to heal, it means nothing more."
"It might not to you, but it does to me! You know what this will involve, it won't be a quick kiss and grope!"
"Then just think of me."
"That's even worse! I don't want to think about you, while getting banged by someone else. I want it to be you!"
"I know. But please, do this for me, for the baby. You're no good to either of us, if you're weakened. Or dead!"
Bo stared at her. "Wow, when did you learn how to emotionally blackmail someone!"
Lauren smiled. "Whatever it takes to get you do this." She helped Bo up. "Dyson?" she suggested.
"No way!" Bo hung onto her, limping as they made their way to the car.
Bo stopped for a moment and groaned. "Oh hell!"
Lauren saw the dawning of realisation on her face. "This doesn't sound good."
Bo looked at her. "There is someone. But you have to promise me not to freak out."
"Okay." Lauren said slowly.
"We had a little thing, but its way over!" Bo added quickly.
"Well that's good, you obviously trusted them."
"Oh boy." Bo mumbled.
Lauren stopped walking. "Dark?"
"You mean dark as in Dark Fae?"
Bo nodded again.
"Not dark as in dark skinned?"
Bo shook her head.
"So, you really mean Dark as in Dark Fae?"
"Bo, what on earth were you thinking?" Lauren looked shocked at the idea.
"Babe, just to give some importance to the situation here, I'm bleeding to death, so can we deal with this a little later?"
"Shit! Of Course, I'm sorry." Lauren pulled Bo's arm around her shoulder and helped her towards the car.
"Who is he?"
Lauren stopped in her tracks again. "Ryan Lambert!?"
Bo sighed deeply.
"The Ryan Lambert? The suave, good looking, carefree, billionaire techno whiz, Ryan Lambert?"
"You've met?" Bo said semi sarcastically.
"I know of him, and I've seen him, more rumours than anything."
"Okay, well now we've established it's definitely him, do you think we can go?" Bo motioned at her wound again.
"Shit! Sorry!" Lauren said. She grabbed Bo's waistband to give her more support in helping to get to the car.
"He's a billionaire?" Bo asked nonchalantly. She knew he had money, but hadn't realised how wealthy he was.
"Do you want to live?" Lauren slowed her step.
"Okay, okay, just curious!" Bo smiled at her.
Lauren drove as fast as she could, and screeched to a halt outside Ryan's building.
Ryan stood waiting and hurried over to help Bo out.
"Lauren, I " Bo started to say.
"I know, I love you too," Lauren smiled at her. "It'll be okay. Just heal." She stroked Bo's cheek
Bo leaned in and kissed her as Ryan opened the passenger door.
"Bo. Doctor?" He looked quizzically at Lauren for a moment.
"It's just me Ryan, so get any ideas of Lauren joining us out of your head."
"Hadn't crossed my mind." He lied.
"I'll wait here." Lauren said.
"Are you sure, Doc? You could always come in and wait. We might be a while, nothings ever quick with Bo."
"Shut up, Lambert!" Bo hissed through gritted teeth. She winced as she eased herself out of the car. He put his arm around her waist and closed the door.
"This is going to be quick!" Bo added. "No kinky stuff; no whipped cream, other foods stuffs; no handcuffs, no blindfolds, and no animal noises! This is purely to heal"
"So it's true. You are in love with the Doctor?"
Bo glared at him. "You better believe it, rich boy! You have no idea how much I'm gonna hate this!"
To her surprise, Ryan sobered. "Don't worry; I promise, we'll have you back out of here in record time."
As much as Bo didn't want to, she found thinking of Lauren helped, and Ryan kept his word. The healing was quick, more so for Bo urging him to get it over with. Now all Bo wanted to do was get home and take a shower, to wash everything away.
She left Ryan's building and yanked open the car door. Lauren smiled at her.
"Okay?" Lauren asked.
Bo just nodded as she sat beside her. Lauren reached out and squeezed her hand, before she started the engine.
The drive to the house didn't take long and Bo sat quietly, noticing that Lauren didn't say anything either. She seemed to be concentrating on the driving.
Bo felt soiled; she knew being with Ryan had been purely for the purpose of healing, that it was her succubus nature she had to feed, but she wished with all her might, that she could be cured of this affliction, that conventional medicine could take over her healing. She had a partner that could help her with that, and it would not involve her having to 'cheat' on Lauren, as Bo saw it.
As they got to the house, Bo exited the car quickly and headed straight to the shower.
Lauren sat on the edge of the bed, trying to relax, taking deep calming breaths. She didn't think Bo having to have Ryan help her heal, would bother her that much, but she found it did. She'd sat in the car, waiting, quietly contemplating the situation, trying to see it from a medical point of view, but her inner emotions had started to seethe. Now, sitting on the bed, the breathing exercises were not helping.
Lauren heard Bo finally switch off the shower. She glanced at her watch; Bo had been in it for 30 minutes. She looked up as Bo padded towards her.
Bo was wrapped in a large towel, her arms and shoulders bare, and her skin looked flushed red, as though she had tried to scrub her skin off. Lauren wasn't sure if that's why Bo had taken so long, but suspected the water had been as hot as Bo could stand it.
"How are you?" Lauren asked.
"Fine. Just tired." Bo said.
Lauren could see Bo's eyes looked red, as though she'd been crying. She wanted to comfort her, and her heart told her that's what Bo needed too, but Lauren's mind needed to know more.
"Let me see the wound." Lauren said as she stood in front of Bo.
Bo shyly parted the towel to show her.
Lauren shivered at the sight. Bo's naked skin glowed red, like a rash.
"You try to scrub your skin off?" Lauren remarked.
"Hmm." Lauren reached out with her fingers, inspecting where the wound should have been. There was no sign of it.
"He was good." Lauren stated flatly. "Despite you not liking it?" She stared directly at Bo, raising a questioning eyebrow.
Bo looked hurt at the comment and quickly covered up again, but Lauren couldn't help herself. Her own jealousy started to win the battle as she fought with it.
"It was just to heal, remember?" Bo reminded her.
"Is he better than Dyson?" Lauren realised it wasn't so much a question, but an accusation.
Bo stared at her, looking even more hurt, before she reigned in her emotions.
"You want me to compare notes with you, Doctor?" Bo moved around Lauren.
"Why not? It would be good to know the competition!" Lauren wished she could stop this now.
Bo glared at her. "Okay, what do you want to know? Who's the better lover? Who has the better technique? Who has the better stamina? Who can get me off quicker?"
Lauren swallowed hard.
"Too much detail, Doc?"
Bo's eyes showed nothing but pain. "I guess this will help your precious research!" she spat. "Is that all I am to you? Some kind of lab rat?"
The words jarred into Lauren. "No!"
"Really? Then what's got into you? You wanted me to heal! You said it didn't matter! You don't realise I would rather die, than let someone else touch me! You don't realise how dirty I feel right now, how guilty I feel; that any time something like this happens again, I'm going to feel less and less like I deserve you! That I'll feel less and less human inside, and that my heart will break over and over!"
Bo stood breathing heavily, tears welling up in her eyes. "There! Happy now?" Bo went to move away, but Lauren grabbed her and without thought, ripped away the towel making Bo gasp with shock.
Lauren stepped closer. "I'm sorry. I'll always be here to look after your heart. I won't let it break." She trailed her fingertips along the side of Bo's neck.
"Did he touch you here?" the words almost stuck in Lauren's throat, but she forced them out in a whisper.
Bo just bowed her head, unable to look at her.
Lauren's fingers trailed down over Bo's chest.
"Did he touch you here?"
A tear trickled down Bo's cheek. She shook her head. "He didn't touch me, like you do."
The words were Lauren's undoing and the unspoken permission she needed from Bo, to do what she wanted to do the most. Lauren knew this would be the only time she would ever react this way to Bo having to go to somebody else to heal. That in future she would accept, as she had done before, that it was part of Bo's succubus nature. She would be able to handle it in the future with no problem. But for now, she needed to reclaim Bo as hers.
And claim her she did, almost ferociously, over and over, until she rid herself of the jealousy and insecurity that she couldn't be everything Bo might need in circumstances like this. Lauren knew it was selfish, and irrational; that right now Bo needed her reassurance that it didn't matter; but right now, it was what Lauren needed, and she sensed that Bo knew it too.
Finally, Lauren allowed Bo to touch her, and when Bo did, it was gentle, and soothing and loving and reaffirming, and all the things that connected them emotionally. It was about 'us' and that no matter what, nothing would take that away from them.
Lauren lay awake as Bo lay wrapped in her arms asleep. Lauren held her tightly, kissing her head, as she listened to Bo's breathing and felt her steady heartbeat. Lauren smiled into the darkness, and let contentment surround her, before she finally allowed herself to think about what had actually happened in that alleyway.
Lochlyn stared at the Morrigan as she sat across form him, her minders and his strategically placed about the throne room.
He reasoned she was a good looking woman, not that he was interested, but it made him understand why some in the Fae and human world were attracted to her. She wasn't his type; over flirtatious, brassy and overtly sexy at times. His preference was for quiet, calm and intellectual. Traits he found highly stimulating and sometimes lacking in Fae females. Human females were capable of such attributes and therein lay his dilemma.
The Morrigan seductively crossed her legs, allowing her short dress to ride up, revealing more thigh than Lochlyn thought necessary. He admired her for trying her best to distract him, but as much as she appeared to be playing nice, he wouldn't trust a Dark Fae, and especially their leader, as far as he could throw them. The Morrigan only ever paid an unannounced visit, when it suited her to do so.
Lochlyn leant against his desk, steepling his fingers.
"To what do we owe the pleasure of your visit?" He asked, smiling.
The Morrigan looked around the room. "It's very manly in here. Very masculine. I always thought it was more soft under the old Ash. You've certainly made the place your own." The Morrigan looked directly at him, giving her most dazzling smile.
Lochlyn chose to ignore the compliment. The Morrigan was up to something.
"I don't believe you just popped in to comment on the décor. Why don't you get straight to the point?"
The Morrigan raised an intrigued eyebrow. "A true business man. I admire that in a leader."
Lochlyn hid his irritation at the Morrigan's reluctance to get to the point. Her comments were unnecessary and it wasn't like she didn't know him; they'd met before, and he knew they'd each sized each other up on those occasions. But it seemed she was going to do this her way, in her own sweet time.
"The Doctor proved quite helpful, in the recent war against the Garuda." She simply stated.
"Yes, her work helped greatly." He gave Lauren just enough credit to acknowledge her part, but nothing more. She was just a mere human after all.
"You freed her from her obligation to you?" The Morrigan's question was inquisitive.
"Yes." Lochlyn said no more, wondering where this was leading.
"So she is unaligned? Like the succubus?"
"The doctor still chooses to work for the Light Fae. She has research she wishes to conduct, and has my permission to do so." Lochlyn now felt uncomfortable, what was the Morrigan up to? Did she hope to entice Lauren to work for the dark? He believed he knew the doctor well enough, that Lauren would never consider such an offer.
"Does the doctor still inform you of her research, or does she keep things private, now she has no obligation to you?"
"She keeps me informed about much of the research, but she has freedom to choose what that entails."
"Hmmm." The Morrigan smiled.
"Is there some point to these questions?" Lochlyn edged forward in his chair.
"How well do you know .Lauren?" The Morrigan's eyes appeared to twinkle, as though she was aware of something he didn't.
Lochlyn felt uneasy. "She's an excellent doctor by Fae standards, has proved her loyalty ."
"Did you know she's pregnant?"
Lochlyn stalled and hoped the Morrigan hadn't noticed him twitch. He sat rigid for a moment, trying not to show any emotion over this information.
Calmly, he answered. "As I was saying, Doctor Lewis proved her loyalty, and as such has my permission to carry on her medical research, her private life is none of my concern," He tried to sound convincing, but his mind was still trying to process how Lauren could be pregnant. Had Lauren been using the lab for artificial insemination reasons? Had Lauren quit women and met a man?
"So you didn't know?" The Morrigan said. "Then you obviously don't know that the child Lauren is carrying, is actually Bo's."
The look of triumphant smugness on the Morrigan's face was more than Lochlyn could stand. If he'd thought he could get away with it, he'd punch her right between the eyes, but that wouldn't do any good. The Morrigan was too smart to realise what such an outburst could mean.
Instead, Lochlyn remained unfazed by this incredible piece of news, which he knew would irritate her even more.
"Then I must congratulate both of them, when I next see the Doctor." He stood up, to signify the meeting was over.
The Morrigan remained seated. "You don't think this is the most incredible news to have hit the Fae world?"
"I'm sure nothing like it has happened before." he gestured towards the main door.
The Morrigan finally stood. "You're damn right it hasn't! Don't you realise what this could mean if the child is Fae? What power it might possess? We just barely united Dark and Light to battle the Garuda, and now we face a child of unknown power, to an unaligned succubus and a freelance human doctor!" The Morrigan was incredulous to Lochlyn's seemingly uninterested position.
"As yet, it's not known if the child will be Fae." Lochlyn said.
"What we still don't know, is who fathered Bo and her powers are still unknown!"
"Then may I suggest we remain calm until all the facts are known. " Lochlyn moved towards the door.
The Morrigan huffed her way to the door.
"You seem to underestimate the situation. This child could be dangerous, to all of us, especially if unaligned. Aligned to either Light or Dark, it could bring either great power. May I suggest you leave your emotions aside, when trying to decide your next move!"
The Morrigan exited in fury, her guards hastily surrounding her.
Lochlyn waved his own guards from the room, requesting privacy and moved to his desk and rested his hands upon it. He tried to think rationally for a moment, but his temper got the better of him and he thumped his fist against the top.
"Damn it!" He hissed, as he flared his serpents' teeth.
He'd let his emotions cloud his judgment. He'd trusted them more than he should have. He'd given her too many freedoms, released her of her allegiance and now there'd be no reason for her to stay. He thought her medical research and having the ability to do what she couldn't do in the human world, would mean she'd be more obliged to remain, but her current condition would dictate her priorities now. He was disappointed she hadn't told him, but then why would he expect her to. She held no feelings for him, beyond guarded respect as her boss, and he'd known that there would be no possibilities for him, but it still galled him to know another Fae had done what he couldn't, but longed to. Regardless of that, he knew he would remain her champion if she ever needed him to be one.
Bo bounded down the stairs to Trick's den at the Dahl. She'd had a long discussion with Lauren that morning, both of them still coming to terms with the attack Bo had suffered last night.
Bo needed answers and Trick was the mostly likely one to have them. Lauren wanted to check on Nadia, and at Bo's insistence, Kenzi went with Lauren as back up. They agreed to meet later at the Light Hospital.
Trick was pouring over some books, as Bo neared him.
Trick looked up, a smile beaming on his face at seeing her. "Bo!" He held out his arms to greet her.
Bo hugged him then Trick motioned her to sit.
"What brings you here this early?" Trick asked.
"The usual. Questions,"
"How is Lauren?" Trick started with one of his own.
"Good!" Trick said pleased.
"Some one stabbed me last night."
Trick's smile vanished and he looked visibly paled.
"As you can tell, it wasn't fatal, but I'm not sure if that was the intention, or just a warning." Bo added.
Trick still looked shocked. Finally he managed to speak. "Do you have any idea who it could have been?"
"No," Bo shook her head. "But as mama appears to be back in town "
Trick interrupted her. "No!" he said fiercely, then more calmly. "No. Aoife wouldn't do that, not to her own child!" he paced back and forth for a moment.
Bo was surprised that he seemed so convinced, considering Aoife's previous return and short reign of terror.
"She warned Lauren, what makes you think it wasn't her."
Trick stopped pacing and faced her. "Because she warned Lauren specifically, she didn't hurt Lauren. And she wouldn't hurt you, despite what happened last time!"
"Why are you so sure of that?" Bo watched Trick fighting with his own convictions. "What are you not telling me?"
"Nothing!" Trick said it too quickly for Bo's liking.
"Please don't lie to me, Trick. I know there is more to this. I know there is some connection between me and you. What is it?"
Trick looked as though he wanted to tell her, but couldn't.
"Damn it, Trick, are you my father?" Bo yelled as she stood up.
Trick's eyes widened at the suggestion, then he smiled and half laughed.
"Sorry, Bo, but I'm not your father."
Bo felt crestfallen. She knew without doubt in her heart, this man was of some great importance to her and that was the only conclusion she had come to.
"I'm your grandfather." Trick simply said.
Bo's mouth hung open and Trick helped her to sit back down. She quickly assessed this snippet of news. She'd gone from disappointment to elation in seconds and as she looked at her hands, she noticed they were shaking, and that her knees felt weak.
"Okay, Bo. No more secrets. Aoife is my daughter. Your grandmother was called Isabeau. It's who you're named after."
Trick took a deep breath before continuing. "If Aoife has any axe to grind, then it should be against me. I was the one who ultimately betrayed her."
"You're my grandfather?" Bo managed to mumble, ignoring everything Trick had just said. Moments later, her brain caught up with the conversation.
"I'm named after my grandmother?" she said in awe.
Trick sat next to her on the arm of the chair and pulled her against him. "Yes you are. And she would be very proud of you." He said softly.
"I have a family!" Bo said with more energy. "Why didn't you say anything before?"
Trick sighed heavily. "Trust me, I wanted to. But I thought the less people knew, the safer you might be. Only a few know I'm the Blood King ."
"So that means .I have your blood, too?" Bo interrupted.
"Yes, but it doesn't hold the same power as mine. It makes you greater "
"Which means the baby could have more powerful abilities?" Bo suddenly realised the added implications this meant for her and Lauren.
Trick become solemn again and just nodded. He got up and went over to the books sprawled over his desk. "I've been trying to figure out just what they could be. The fact Lauren is human, could mean any power will be muted in some way, or that it can be channeled differently. But ultimately, it all depends on both of you and how you raise her."
His smile returned. "Whatever, I can't wait to meet my great grandbaby!"
Bo remained sobered in thought. "Ultimately, once the Light and Dark know, she'll be a pawn, a valuable commodity?" She got up and paced the room.
"I won't lie to you, Bo. But yes, you're right to think that way."
"So the attack last night, could have been a warning from the dark Fae, or a real attempt to get me out of the way, so only Lauren would be left to protect the baby!"
"You're assuming it was dark Fae, why not light?" Trick questioned her thinking.
"Because none of the light know yet, only us! If Aoife has told them "
"Again, you're assuming she did .what would she gain from it?"
Bo stopped pacing, unable to think of an answer.
"Do you recall anything at all from last night, anything unusual?" Trick asked.
Bo started to shake her head. "No, it happened so fast and I was distracted, so not paying attention to my surroundings." She frowned for a moment, recalling the event. "There was a scent of some kind?" She questioned.
Trick narrowed his eyes. "Scent? Can you remember what?"
"Just .I dunno, something vague, masking something rotting, but that could have been the alleyway, the dumpsters."
Trick didn't appear to have any idea what she could have smelled.
"I guess I just have to be more vigilant from now on." Bo said. She felt suddenly heavy with the weight of responsibility; there was far more at stake now than anything she had experienced and she wondered why. Why at this point in her life, when she should feel the happiest, she knew that it would be a fight to keep that happiness, and fighting was something she was growing weary of.
She knew she had a strong support system, that she was surrounded by friends who would continue to give that support no matter what, but ultimately she would be the one to stand alone in any battle in her present circumstances. She realised that that wouldn't be enough where the baby was concerned and she made a decision that she had refused to ever consider in the past. But this was no longer about her convictions.
Trick put a hand on her arm, and Bo felt his grandfatherly reassurance resonate in the touch. She smiled at him, thankful that she at last had some more answers, that she had family that could be counted on.
With that thought in mind, she headed off to meet Lauren at the Light hospital.
"Hey, come on in!" Nadia smiled as she greeted Lauren and Kenzi warmly into her apartment, placing a kiss on Lauren's cheek.
Lauren noticed Kenzi quickly appraising the place, her eyes darting over the décor and furnishings.
Lauren spotted the cleaning gloves Nadia was wearing and was about to ask why, when Kenzi typically got to the point.
"Jeez! You got drain issues?" she said and wrinkled her nose.
Nadia graciously laughed. "Yep, blocked U-bend, bathroom sink. I was trying to fix it when you called to say you're coming over. Thought I'd have it sorted before you got here. I've sprayed air freshener."
"Oh," Lauren said. She had noticed the overpowering scent when they'd entered. "You want us to take a look?" she offered.
"No, don't worry about it," Nadia waved her hand dismissively. "I'll get the apartment manager on it," she indicated for them to sit. "Would you like a drink?" she offered.
"Green tea, please." Lauren said, then cleared her throat loudly enough to break Kenzi from her exploration of a delicate ornament she had picked up and was handling rather indelicately.
"Huh?" Kenzi said.
"Would you like a drink?" Nadia repeated.
"Sure. A Mojito would be nice!"
Nadia stared at her.
"Just kidding. I'll go all out and have a coke, if you got one."
Nadia headed to the fridge while Lauren rolled her eyes at Kenzi.
"What?" Kenzi whispered, as though nothing was wrong. Lauren knew it was hopeless to deter Kenzi from engaging in any sarcastic remarks she might be able to get away with. As much as Lauren knew Kenzi was not her greatest fan, she also knew Kenzi would view Nadia as a possible threat to Bo's happiness, and Kenzi wouldn't allow that to happen.
Nadia returned with drinks. "You're looking really well. Is everything okay with you?"
"Yes", Lauren said as she sipped her tea. "I appreciate your act of intervention, with Bo."
Nadia smiled. "Well, seemed ridiculous for you both to be apart, under the circumstances. I mean, you needed that support, to keep you safe too."
Lauren understood that Nadia was referring to Fae protection.
"I could only have done so much and you know I would have done." Nadia reached over to squeeze her hand
Lauren nodded. "Yes, I know you would have." She saw Kenzi narrow her eyes at their shared touch and gently removed her hand.
"And are you okay?" Lauren asked.
"Yes, everything's fine. I'm putting together an exhibition of some of my photographic work."
"Wow, that's great!" Lauren felt pleased for her.
Kenzi yawned loudly and Lauren shot her a warning glare. Again Kenzi just shrugged, feigning innocence.
"So, no problems?' Lauren asked again.
Nadia frowned slightly. "I get the feeling there's more to this visit, than just to say hello?"
Lauren took a deep breath. "I just wanted to make sure you're okay. That you're safe,"
"And I wouldn't be, because?" Nadia questioned.
"Bo was attacked last night,"
"But she's okay." Lauren quickly added. "We think we know who might be responsible,"
"Really? Who?" Nadia interrupted.
"That doesn't matter right now, but we need to make sure those close to us are safe. I'm going to see Lochlyn, to make sure he keeps an extra special eye out for you."
"I appreciate that, but it's you that needs to be looked after! And if there's anything that I can do, for you and Bo, then you only have to ask. I'll be there."
"Thanks." Lauren said as she stood up. "We'd better go, but we'll be in touch."
Nadia escorted them to the door and waved to them as they walked along the corridor.
As Kenzi drove them towards the light hospital, for some reason, that Lauren couldn't explain, she felt uneasy about leaving Nadia.
From the unease at Nadia's apartment, Lauren realised as she entered the hospital lab she'd been holding her breath for much of the drive, as she exhaled with relief at familiar surroundings.
Kenzi as usual was engaged in picking up various instruments and examining them as uses for weapons, thrusting a scalpel in attack at an imaginary foe.
Lauren quickly updated some notes after reviewing some samples, then spoke to the young warrior.
"Can I trust you not to damage any of these, or yourself, while I go and meet with Lochlyn?"
Kenzi tried to look hurt at the accusation, as a pair of clamps slipped from her grasp, clattering to the floor.
"No probs; give snake boy my regards." Kenzi said and went back to play fighting, swinging a stethoscope over her head.
Lauren exited the lab quickly, unable to watch Kenzi treat her medical instruments in such a manner.
The guards to Lochlyn's throne room, opened the doors as Lauren approached, and as she entered, she saw him sitting behind his desk, atop the large plinth he had had built when he took over as Ash. It was an imposing site to any visitor and she'd known from his personality that had been his intention. It show cased his power as the Ash for the Light Fae, and that he was unreachable from any enemy.
Lauren stood waiting for him to acknowledge her presence, but he took his time, appearing to be reading some kind of report.
Lauren politely cleared her throat.
"I'm aware you are there doctor." Lochlyn said, without looking up. His voice was hard edged and sounded on the point of restrained anger.
No longer under supplication to him, Lauren knew she could just turn and leave, rather than be treated this way, but she decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. She was here to tell him about her condition, as she and Bo had agreed during their conversation that morning.
Lochlyn finally put the folder to one side and rose from his chair, slowly making his way down towards her. He was wearing his trade-mark dark charcoal suit, complete with waist coat, his shirt open at the neck.
Lauren assessed his body language; he appeared stiff, and tight in his movements; agitated.
"Are you okay?" Lauren asked, her medical assessment telling her something wasn't.
"I'm fine, Doctor. And what about you? How are you?"
Lauren couldn't mistake the suspicious nature in the way he asked.
"I'm fine. I'm here to tell you something I think you should know."
"Really?" Lochlyn stood in front of her, then slowly circled round. "And what would that be?"
Lauren tensed, feeing the same trapped sensation she'd experienced with Aoife in the parking garage. Lochlyn had recently been very pleasant and accommodating, but now it seemed he was back to his authoritative nature.
Lauren stepped back, halting his ability to get too close.
"I'm expecting a child."
Lochlyn didn't appear to be surprised, just nodded in acceptance. "And?"
Lauren sensed this wasn't anything new she was telling him. "By some miracle, the child is mine and Bo's."
Still Lochlyn nodded.
"I get the feeling that you already know this."
Lochlyn finally stopped pacing, and his face appeared softer. "Indeed I do, Lauren. But I appreciate your honesty in telling me. You had no obligation to do so. But I had hoped since I'd already been told, that I would hear it from you."
He smiled, as though pleased and Lauren was more shocked at seeing this side of him; he appeared vulnerable.
"How did you find out?" Lauren asked.
"The Morrigan." He simply stated.
Lauren's mind raced. "The Morrigan, but how did she know?" The answer came to her. Aoife. She was Dark Fae, so the only obvious choice in letting the dark know. It now seemed that the baby would be of great interest to them.
"I've no idea how she knew, but she seemed .interested in knowing where your allegiance might lie now you are unaligned."
Lauren tried to assess the implications of his statement. "I've no intention of aligning myself with them!"
Lochlyn smiled. "I thought as much. What are you both planning to do?"
Lauren ran her hand through her hair, agitated. "We'd obviously like as normal a life as possible, but as I'm sure you're aware, this is a first. We have no idea if the baby will be Fae, and if she is, what power she may possess."
Then Lauren stared straight at him . "But we are aware, that if she is, she will be of great interest to both sides!"
Lochlyn stared down at the floor, as though he were about to say something. From behind the doors, Lauren heard Bo's voice."
"Open the goddamn doors, before I do you some serious damage!" Bo's voice demanded.
Lochlyn called out to his guards. "Allow her in!"
The doors opened and Bo strode purposefully towards Lauren, Kenzi behind her.
Lauren reached out to her, as Bo embraced her, hard. Lauren searched Bo's face, seeing worry written all over it. She went to speak, but Bo shook her head.
"Congratulations, Bo." Lochlyn said.
Bo just huffed. "Thanks."
"Bo," Lauren started. "Lochlyn already knew."
"What?" Bo said shocked.
"How the hell ?" Bo closed her eyes coming to the same conclusion as Lauren. "Oh shit!" she mumbled.
"Now I get the feeling there is more to this than I know." Lochlyn said.
"If the Morrigan knows, there is only one way she did. None of us have said anything to the Dark, but someone from their side knew way before .Aoife!"
"But she's " Lochlyn started to say.
"No, she's not dead. She's very much alive. I've seen her." Lauren told him.
"Well, that's not all of it either," Bo said. Lauren looked at her. "I've just found out Trick is my grandfather."
Kenzi's gasp matched Lauren's.
"The Blood King," Lochlyn mumbled. "You have his blood, which means "
"Yeah, the baby will have it, too!" Bo finished the sentence for him.
Lauren stared at Bo, and this added implication just made matters worse.
"I'm sorry, Lauren." Bo said. Lauren looked at her guilt ridden face, and reached out to stroke her cheek.
"Sorry for what? She was bound to be special." Lauren tried to reassure her.
"Yeah, but once this news gets out .if Aoife hasn't told the Dark Fae yet, she will. And that can only mean trouble for us."
"What makes you think she will? What will she gain from it?" Lauren asked.
"That's funny, that's what Trick said."
"The Morrigan didn't mention she knew anything about Trick being your grandfather. If Aoife has been the one to tell them about the baby, she wouldn't have omitted that bit of information, it's far too important." Lochlyn added.
"Well, whatever, it's made me realise that we can't do this alone," Bo turned to face Lauren. "I won't be enough to keep you both safe; you and our baby are more important than anything I believe in. It's time I chose a side!"
Bo turned from Lauren to face Lochlyn. "I'll give my allegiance to the Light, if I have your word, you'll keep them both safe."
As Bo went to kneel before him, Lauren cried out "No!" and was surprised when Lochlyn did the same. Kenzi's mouth hung open at Bo's gesture.
"No, Bo!" Lochlyn said again.
He took Bo's arm, raising her to stand. "That won't be necessary. As much as it would delight myself and the Light elders, it actually benefits both sides that you stay unaligned. You can go where neither side can at times. It's what is needed in our world."
Lauren couldn't be more shocked or more pleased that Lochlyn would not agree to Bo's offer. She smiled at him in gratitude and he looked at her.
"I give you my word, that as long as I am Ash, your family will have the full protection of the Light. I will sanction it immediately and it will be the Light's main priority."
Lochlyn continued to gaze at Lauren and she noticed a softness in his eyes that perplexed her in its depth. He looked away as he spoke to Bo.
"We owe you for the fight against the Garuda, Bo. I needed a champion and you stepped up to the task. This is the least I can do."
Bo appeared equally puzzled by his refusal of her offer, but happily accepted his.
"Thank you, Lochlyn."
Lochlyn addressed Lauren again. "I hope you will still continue your research, Doctor?"
"Yes, I'd like that." She answered. She noticed Bo staring between the two of them.
"Good!" Lochlyn headed back to his desk. "Let me know if there is anything you need for the lab."
Lauren recognised that the meeting was over as far as Lochlyn was concerned, and pulled Bo away towards the door.
Outside, Kenzi walked over to where she had parked the car. Bo had parked next to it.
"You were really going to give up your freedom and join the Light?" Lauren asked as she walked slowly beside Bo, threading her arm around Bo's waist.
"Yeah. After finding out Trick was my granddaddy, I knew the chances of us keeping the baby safe would be even slimmer. Aligning myself with one side would mean at least that side would have an interest in keeping her safe."
"You didn't have to do that you know. I love you, and I know you would do anything to protect her." Lauren squeezed Bo to her.
"I love you too. But it would appear I'm not the only one that will do anything for you."
Lauren frowned and Bo just smiled at her.
"I saw the way he looked at you. His aura was way shiny. Lochlyn's in love with you!" Bo winked then opened the car door, and kissed Lauren on the lips. "I'll see you at home, later."
Lauren stood, wide eyed and open mouthed, broken from yet another moment of disbelief when Kenzi impatiently honked the horn for her to get in the car.
Bo gently spread out her fingers protectively against Lauren's belly as she lay spooned behind her. The bump of the pregnancy was now more pronounced as a few more weeks had passed.
Bo lay there quietly, unable to sleep. Things had settled down from the revelation of discovering Trick was her grandfather, and that Lochlyn had refused her offer to join the Light Fae. The mystery surrounding the attack on her in the alleyway, still plagued those close to them, and something about it still niggled at her.
Despite the air of calm, Bo was continually alert and on edge, one of the many reasons why sleep seemed to be alluding her of late. She made sure she slept lightly, aware of the slightest sounds at night in and around the house.
Feeling restless, and not wanting to disturb Lauren from her slumber, Bo slipped out of the bed, grabbed her Kimono and headed down stairs.
She pulled open the fridge door and grabbed a cool beer. Flipping off the top, she took a long draught, and surveyed the darkened room. For a moment she thought she sensed another presence there, but then dismissed it. She found at times, she was overly alert.
She padded over to a large box and lightly stroked it, a smile breaking on to her face. A baby's crib was inside, one that she and Lauren had bought that day, and one that tomorrow, or actually now, later that day, they would spend putting together. Bo felt her stomach flutter with excitement, knowing that in a few more weeks, their daughter would be sleeping in it.
Calmed by the idea, Bo unlocked the door and stepped out side, and sat on the stoop. The air was cool and the night sky appeared immense, dots of light scattered across its inky blackness. There was a quarter moon, not too bright, hanging amongst the heavenly landscape, and she could see the flashing lights of planes, as they journeyed across it. She closed her eyes and tried to imagine the view from up there, looking back to the earth, and the house.
"Quite spectacular at this time, isn't it? You get a real sense of the vulnerability of the earth."
Bo's eyes snapped open and she jumped up, knocking the beer bottle over. Standing before her, was her mother.
"What the fu " Bo hissed in threat, more angered with herself that she had allowed her guard to slip.
Aoife held up her hand to silence her. "Don't worry, you're perfectly safe."
"What're you doing here? What do you want?" Bo assessed her situation. She was weaponless, only wearing a kimono. She figured if she could draw Aoife inside, the odds would be more in her favor.
"And it's great to see you again, Bo. I'm fine thank you." Aoife said.
Bo stared at Aoife, watching as she moved closer. Bo took a step back.
Aoife sighed heavily. "If you honestly think I'm going to follow you in there, you'll have to think again."
"You afraid of something?" Bo challenged.
"No, but I'm not stupid. The odds favor us both out here. We're both unarmed."
"How do I know that?"
"Cos I have no intention of causing you any harm."
Bo huffed. "We'll that's totally reassuring, considering last time you seemed intent on trying to kill me!"
"Ahhh, yes, that. Can't we forget about that, and move on? I mean, I did let go of your hand and fall, supposedly to my death?"
"And why did you do that? I saw you, you .you were free from whatever spell you were under? We've lost all this time when I could have got to know you. And now you're back, why? So you can threaten Lauren and me?"
"Bo, I'm not here to threaten you "
"Oh shut up!" Bo yelled, clenching her fists. "You terrified Lauren that morning. And the Dark Fae know about the baby, who else would have told them!"
Aoife looked surprised. "I didn't tell the Dark Fae."
"Stop lying to me. Why can't you be honest for once! I'm tired of secrets, finding out things from people, who've known all along!"
"I assume you now know who Trick is?"
"Yeah, so how about we sit down and finally discuss 'who's the daddy'?" Bo spat, her brow furrowed in anger. She moved forward standing right in front of Aoife, her shoulders squared back.
Aoife waited a moment. "I don't think you're quite ready to hear that yet."
Bo threw up her arms in frustration. "Then what are you hear for, cos I'm not interested in anything else you've got to say?" she turned to go back inside.
"Be careful who you trust, Bo,"
"Oh please, not that again. What's that supposed to mean exactly?" Bo stood defiant, waiting for Aoife to explain.
"Exactly what it sounds like. Watch those close to you, not everyone on your side can be trusted."
"Oh yeah, and who would that be?"
"I'm not sure yet. I've no real proof, but I'm looking into it. Trust me, Bo, when I tell you this. I'm not that person I was before, not the one I'm perceived to be."
"Really? Well until you give me something more than just your word, you'll excuse me if I'm a little doubtful." Bo stared directly at Aoife, and pointed in her face. "But you can trust this when I tell you that if you harm Lauren or anybody else close to me, I will find you and I will kill you this time."
Without allowing Aoife another word Bo turned, and stormed back inside the house.
"I can't wait to meet my grand-daughter. She's going to be just as gorgeous as you were as a baby." Aoife called out.
Bo slammed the door on her mother, locking out her final words, but Bo didn't miss the sound of longing in her voice.
Kenzi surveyed their arsenal of weapons, laid out of the kitchen counter. They seemed to be gathering more as the weeks had passed. Some she had 'gathered' on their investigations and some had been 'donated' by Dyson and Hale. She was particularly intrigued by the whip Hale had embarrassingly handed over to her.
A knock on the door distracted her, and she picked up one of the smaller swords. Bo and Lauren had not long left the house and neither would have knocked if they were returning.
She tentatively opened the door. "Oh, it's you. What do you want?"
The Morrigan didn't wait for an invite in, choosing instead, to enter followed by two of her body guards.
"This place is certainly .interesting" The Morrigan remarked, a hint of disgust in her voice.
"Well sadly if you're interested, it's not currently for sale." Kenzi said sarcastically. "Bo's not here."
"Yes, I know. It's you I wanted to see." The Morrigan went to sit on the sofa, then appeared to change her mind.
"Me? Why?" Kenzi narrowed her eyes.
"Oh, I think there's something you can do for me."
"Another private investigation? Me and Bo work as a team, I don't do solo work."
"I think you might consider this one. As I recall, I'm holding an IOU of yours."
Kenzi stiffened. "And now you're here to collect? What's the price?"
"Straight to business. I like that in a person." The Morrigan made her way to over the weapons, and raised an inquisitive eyebrow.
"Nothing you can't handle. It's a simple task. Just convince Bo whose side she really needs to be on, if she wants to continue to play happy families."
A surge of anger rushed through Kenzi's body, and she stepped forward, the tip of the sword blade just inches under the Morrigan's chin. The two body guards jumped forward, but the Morrigan merely smiled and signaled them to back off.
"And what exactly do you mean by that?" Kenzi said through gritted teeth.
"Simply, that if she and Lauren want to live an 'uncomplicated' life, then the best way to achieve that would be to join the Dark Fae. We can .ensure their safety. I'm sure they wouldn't want anything to happen to the baby."
Kenzi tipped the blade up to the Morrigan's chin, forcing her head back. The guards went to move, but again the Morrigan raised her hand to stop them. Instead, she gripped the blade with her hand and pushed it aside.
"I don't think you're in any position to threaten me." The Morrigan's tone changed to a steely veiled threat.
"You're out of your tiny Fae mind if you think I'm going to try and convince Bo to join you! I can tell you now, she wouldn't consider it anyway!"
"Well, that's a pity. I didn't really want to take matters into my own hands. It seems that as you won't keep to your part of the bargain, I'll have to call in that IOU. A real shame, Nate was such a sweet young man."
The Morrigan picked up one of the weapons on the counter, examining it closely.
"I can see the headlines now. Talented young award wining singer song writer and musician, adoring fans, world tour of concerts, found dead in some seedy hotel room, with a bottle of booze and some needles and pills found at the scene."
It was so coolly said, with no sense of remorse that Kenzi shuddered. She swallowed hard, her heart beat racing with anger and fear. A threat was being made to two of the people she cared most about in the world, and it was a threat she knew she couldn't defeat. She could never betray Bo, and in keeping to that conviction, she'd be the cause of Nate's death. By convincing Bo to join the Dark, she could save him. It was an unthinkable dilemma, but then the Morrigan made it worse.
"Of course, that needn't be the case. There is another option. If Bo won't agree to join the dark, simply bring me the baby when it's born." The Morrigan smiled at her.
Kenzi's mouth fell open in disbelief. It appeared a simple solution to the Morrigan, but its implication was beyond comprehending.
Somehow Kenzi found her voice. "Get out!" she managed to growl.
The Morrigan didn't move.
"Get out! Now!" Kenzi yelled, her breathing ragged.
"Think about it." The Morrigan said then turned and headed towards the door.
As Kenzi heard the door close, her legs gave way and she slumped to the floor.
Trick studied the ancient Fae map as it hung on the wall. His brow furrowed with worry as he stuck another pin in it and saw without doubt indications that the attacks he was getting reports of were not random. He'd seen this pattern before and hoped he'd never see it again.
It meant one thing only. The Garuda was alive.
He closed his eyes momentarily, steeling himself with resolve. He knew the Garuda was aware that he was the blood king, and if he became aware of the child and its lineage, it could spell out-right annihilation.
Trick picked up the phone.
"Bo? Can you come to the Dahl. I'm calling the others. It's urgent."
"So, you're absolutely sure this is the work of the Garuda?" Bo asked Trick as he finished with his suspicions.
"I'm afraid there's no doubt, Bo. The attacks have all of his hallmarks."
"But Bo killed him." Kenzi added.
Trick looked at her. "It appeared that way, but it didn't work."
"The venom," Lauren mumbled. "It wasn't pure enough. The synthesis lessened its affect."
"That would be my guess." Trick concurred.
"So this time, it has to be the real stuff?" Bo said. "Which means Lochlyn has to die."
"I can try again, maybe get a purer dose." Lauren grabbed some paper and a pen, and scribbled notes.
"How much time do we have?" Dyson asked.
Trick sighed heavily. "I suspect not long. I can only assume the Garuda has been in hiding, maybe recovering. The initial attacks showed signs that maybe he wasn't at full strength, but the most recent hint that he's recovered his full power."
"So, we just do it all again. We'll be more prepared this time." Hale said and shrugged as though it was no problem.
"It's not that simple. He knows who I am .but that may not be his main focus this time " Trick halted for a moment.
"You mean, he might now know who I am?....and if he discovers " Bo didn't elaborate. Instead she reached for Lauren's hand and squeezed it.
"Yes. If he should find out about the baby," Trick looked pained as he continued. "Then that's what he will come for."
"So, these attacks show he's not aware yet?" Kenzi said.
"Or they show he's just flexing his muscles for the bigger prize." Bo closed her eyes. "What would the baby mean to him, if he took her?" she stared directly at Trick.
His eyes showed nothing but sadness and Bo already knew the answer before he said it.
"He'd only take her for one reason; her blood. The power it would give him would mean he'd be unstoppable."
"But it's unknown if the baby has inherited any power. She's half human." Dyson said.
"Oh trust me, she's got it, cos I've got it, I just know it! I sense it when I touch Lauren's belly, and I can feel it. I've just sentenced my own child to death!"
"Sweetie," Lauren said gently. "This isn't your fault, and nothing is going to happen to her."
Bo's eyes welled with tears and she hoped beyond hope that Lauren was right. For right now, she was more scared than she'd ever been.
"What's the plan?" Hale brought the focus back to the facts.
'Same as before," Trick answered. "We need everybody on side this time, Light, Dark, we can't afford to fight amongst ourselves, that will only strengthen the Garuda's power. Plus, we need the venom to work this time." He looked at Lauren.
"It will. I'll start on it right away." Lauren assured him.
"Then we can ask no more, except to be victorious. I'll meet with all the Fae elders and warn them to prepare again." Trick said, signaling the meeting was over.
Lauren poured some coffee into a mug and made her way over to the sofa. She smiled at seeing Bo, her legs stretched on the coffee table, her head resting back with her eyes closed: a frown creasing her forehead.
"Here." Lauren said to her, handing over the mug.
"Thanks." Bo took it holding it between her hands. Lauren stood behind the sofa and gently started to massage Bo's temples.
"That feels good." Bo mumbled.
"Relax for a moment. You're thinking too hard."
"Well, there's a lot to think about." Bo sipped from the mug.
"Can you really feel it?" Lauren asked.
Bo looked up at her. "Come here," she grabbed one of Lauren's hands, pulling her round to face her. Bo placed the mug on the coffee table, than pulled Lauren onto her lap.
"Yes," Bo said. "I can feel her." She gently stroked Lauren's belly.
"How long have you known she's been Fae?"
"Why didn't you say something?" Lauren stroked her cheek.
"I guess I didn't want her to be, because of what it might mean for her. I didn't know that I was Fae until I came here."
"That wasn't your fault. She won't go through that. We'll be here to help her, when her Fae side kicks in."
"I know. But I don't think we'll have to wait for that to happen. I think .hers already has. I can feel it, Lauren. Don't freak out " Bo placed her hand on Lauren's stomach.
As Lauren watched, Bo's hand flickered with amber colours.
"I'm not doing that. She is." Bo said.
Lauren gasped. "She can sense you?"
"It would seem so."
"Oh my God," Lauren said in wonder. "Why doesn't she do that with me?"
"I don't think she has to. Lauren, you've been so calm and collected, everyone's noticed it. You don't seem scared or afraid. All you keep saying is everything will be fine, that she'll be safe. I don't think that's really coming from you. That's coming from her. She's protecting you, she's keeping you safe."
"That would explain a lot. Especially after what Trick told us this morning. I should have felt anxious, had an elevated heart rate, but all I felt was calm."
"Well I'm glad you do. No point in both of us going crazy with worry." Bo tried to smile.
"Sweetie, I know it's not good, and this is me talking now. We have to have a plan .just in case. If things don't go as planned against the Garuda and he comes for her."
"I won't let that happen!" Bo squeezed Lauren to her.
"I know. But if it happens .we can't let him take her. We need to make sure he doesn't."
Lauren saw Bo frown. "If you're not there and it's just me and him .I won't let him take her life .I'd do that before he ever lays a hand on her and I want you to promise to do the same thing. That you'd do it, rather than see her ."
Lauren's voice broke and Bo placed her fingers against her lips.
"Don't say it." Bo whispered.
"Promise me!" Lauren urged then pleaded. "Please!"
"I promise!" Bo agreed. "But it won't come to that."
Lauren nodded then hugged Bo to her tightly. She let the enormity of what they had just discussed slowly ebb away, then pulled back to look at Bo and kissed her.
"We need to decide on her name."
"Well," Bo smiled, her worried frown finally disappearing from her face. "I think there's only one that stands out from our list, and the only one that is fitting."
Lauren smiled, too, and nodded.
Bo's patience had finally run out over the last two weeks. The Fae elders seemed indifferent to Trick's warnings that the Garuda was back. The Light and Dark sides, once again, could not agree to come to some semblance of unity over how to tackle the issue, so Bo had called a meeting, to take place on neutral ground.
With the final entrance of The Ash and The Morrigan and their respective entourages, she surveyed those assembled. Most tried to give an air of ambivalence, mixed with irritation at being addressed by an unaligned succubus, but then she figured if they weren't so concerned then why were they here. Both sides had suffered losses in the last conflict and had believed victory had been won. Now there seemed an underlying sense of fear at what they may face this time.
"I'm not going to waste time explaining why we're here. You've been told the reason for that. What I will tell you, is that if you all don't get your act together and work as a team, you're pretty much toast where the Garuda is concerned."
Bo looked around at the faces. "You barely did it before, but this time, you will do it properly!"
"Why is it all about us doing it properly? What are you going to do?" The Morrigan asked in a bored manner.
"Lead you. I'll be the one calling the shots!" Bo answered defiantly.
The Morrigan laughed. "You supposedly did that last time, and here we are again, fighting the same enemy. Why should either side make sacrifices when you have what he wants?"
Bo stared at her for a moment, anger seething through her body. She saw the smug look on the Morrigan's face disappear, replaced by apprehension at how Bo may react.
Bo slowly walked towards her and stopped a few paces away. Her voice was clear and loud enough for everyone to hear.
"If anybody is thinking along the same lines as you, then they'd better think again. I'm not sacrificing what we have," Bo indicated Lauren who stood to the side, "To save any of your sorry asses! Trust me, the Garuda won't stop there. He'll come for you all, but he'll be disappointed, cos if what you're suggesting happens by another other hand, I'll hunt you all down and kill you myself!"
The Morrigan flinched at the threat and Bo left her in no doubt that she meant every word.
Bo stepped back. "Now we've cleared up that little misunderstanding, you can now all appreciate why you will do it my way! The Garuda feeds off of this disparity between us, so we're just making his job easier!"
Bo stopped to let everyone ponder her statement. Lauren, Trick, Dyson, Kenzi and Hale all moved to stand with her and to her surprise, Ryan Lambert also stepped out from the crowd and stood at Bo's side.
"Well, I'm in. Hate to miss a good fight for a worthy cause!" He smiled and winked at her.
Bo felt a sense of relief and was grateful for his gesture.
"That makes two of us!" a woman's voice shouted out.
Gasps echoed around the congregation and people parted to allow her to pass.
Aoife strode confidently through them, swaying her hips provocatively, dressed in high heels, a short black leather skirt and her trademark red leather jacket. Her top had a plunging neckline to complete the seductress look and it was obvious she knew it. She stood joining Bo and the others.
Lochlyn's guards immediately moved to surrounded him but he signaled them to stand down.
Bo stared at her mother in surprise at her brazen appearance and that Aoife seemed not to care about the danger she was putting herself in. Ryan, typically, took the opportunity to greet Aoife by taking her hand and suavely kissed the back of it.
Aoife smiled at him and then at Bo. "Sorry I'm late." she whispered out of the corner of her mouth. "I only just found out about the meeting. You certainly are keeping things secretive,"
"Well, I didn't exactly know where to send you an invite!" Bo hissed back. "And that's the idea, to try and keep the Garuda out of the loop!" Bo glared at her.
Aoife mock gasped in shock. "I'm deeply hurt! You think I would tell him?"
"I don't know!"
"Bo, darling," Aoife dropped the pretence and her face become serious. "I'm here for you and my grand-daughter, you need to start believing that." She said softly.
Bo suddenly found herself believing her and looked down to make sure her mother wasn't touching her in anyway, using her succubus power to influence her. She wasn't.
Lauren just stood giving Aoife a wary look.
"Oh please!" The Morrigan rolled her eyes as she found her voice again. "Now they're all playing happy families!" she was about to laugh, when Lochlyn walked up to her.
"Why don't you just shut up!" He spat at her then joined the group that had now formed.
At his show of solidarity, more of those assembled decided that a united front was better than none and especially so, considering the threat Bo posed, now made more powerful with the arrival of her mother.
They all looked towards the Morrigan. "Oh phooey!" she pouted and stamped her foot, before turning on her heels and leaving the meeting.
"Guess that's a no for now then!" Bo said.
"She'll come round," Lochlyn advised. "She doesn't like the fact I beat her to it. She wants to be 'first'"
He leant towards Aoife. "I trust you don't have any bombs with you right now?"
Bo noticed his flirtatious tone and wasn't surprised when her mother threw her head back and laughed, soaking up the attention.
"You're perfectly safe with me, Lochlyn" her mother purred.
Bo rolled her eyes and spoke quietly to Lauren. "I can't tell if she's the greatest actress of all time, or just plain psycho. Do you have any tests you can do for either one?"
Lauren bit her lip to stifle her laugh. "Do you trust her?"
"Compared to most of the people here?" Bo huffed. "I guess it's better to have her around, that way I can keep an eye on her."
Before everyone dispersed from the meeting, Bo informed them that communication would continue along secure means as much as possible, and that training tactics would again commence.
Dyson waited and caught Bo before she left, talking to her privately while Lauren and Kenzi waited. Aoife had left with Ryan, agreeing to have dinner with him.
"Bo," Dyson said. "Are you sure you know what you're doing?"
"What?" Bo asked.
"You really thinks it's wise, having your mother involved this closely? Can she really be trusted?"
Bo just shrugged.
"You just pissed off a lot of people with your attitude. The Fae don't like being told what to do, that was a little naive."
"Yeah, I've noticed that about the Fae. Their attitude pisses me off, too! All these rules and restrictions. You can barely fart without it upsetting someone! But hey, we're back in a bad situation and by the time this lot figure out how to deal with it, again, they could all be dead, which is a little naïve, too, don't you think? So it kinda makes sense to me, that someone has to step up to the plate, and that someone appears to be me, again!"
"You seem to think you're the chosen one "
Bo could barely contain her anger. "I don't think I am, I know I am. Trust me, I don't want to be the one, I would love to just be able to walk away! But that's not an option. I'm committed because ."
"Because of Lauren " Dyson interrupted.
Bo stepped up to him and lowered her tone. "You have a real issue with me and Lauren don't you? You think she engineered this in some way?"
This time Dyson just shrugged. "How well do you really know her?"
Bo shook her head slowly. "Oh boy! You have the nerve to question my commitment, because you think it's being misplaced by my emotions! As I was about to say, I'm committed to this fight, because people's lives are at stake, and as pathetic and rigid as the Fae can be, they're my people, and if they're so lost as to be unable to lead themselves, then I'll do it to save them! And to ensure my daughter has a world to live in, that includes our kind!"
Dyson realised his error and that nothing he could say now, would make amends for it.
"You're either on board Dyson, or you're not, it's up to you! But don't ever question my commitment. And you can believe my commitment to Lauren is based on love and trust. I know her very well!"
Bo stared at him hard.
"Of course I'm on board." he said softly.
"I'm glad to hear it." Bo said then turned away from him to join Lauren.
Kenzi stood across the street from the small diner, keeping herself from view as she watched Nate sitting in a window seat, drink coffee. Since the Morrigan's visit, she'd been keeping an eye out for him, without his knowledge, just to make sure he was okay.
She'd been standing there for the last twenty minutes and was about to leave, when a familiar figure slid into the seat opposite him.
Kenzi hadn't seen The Morrigan enter, so could only assume, she had done so via a back entrance.
Nate looked as surprised as Kenzi to see her, and Kenzi wished she could hear the conversation. She could only guess at it from her vantage point.
The Morrigan appeared to laugh at something, throwing her head back, which made her hair flounce seductively. She reached across the table, toying with Nate's hand.
Kenzi had seen enough, deciding to throw caution to the wind she maneuvered through the traffic to the other side of the road, surreptitiously edging closer to the diner.
A phone box just to the left, gave her a good enough vantage point, without exposing her advantage. From here, she was able to watch the interaction taking place inside.
Suddenly Nate stood, threw some money down on the table, before he made to leave. The Morrigan just sat back, looking relaxed, despite Nate's apparent lack of interest.
"That's my boy." Kenzi said, then quickly turned away, as she saw Nate exit. She held her breath hoping he would walk the other way, and thankfully he did.
As Kenzi looked back to the diner window, she saw the Morrigan stand and then disappear from view. Kenzi rushed into the diner, just in time to see the back of the Morrigan, leaving via the kitchen.
Kenzi pushed open the swing door. "Environmental health!" she shouted. "Just need to check your trash cans!"
The kitchen staff were too startled to attempt to stop her, as Kenzi ran out the back. As she opened the door, she saw the Morrigan standing rigid, as she gazed upon her guards, lying dead on the floor, near her car.
Kenzi slowly walked forward and was about to say something, when a hooded figure appeared from a small doorway, creeping up behind the Morrigan.
The assassin hadn't seen her, so Kenzi took a running jump at the assailant.
"Look out!" Kenzi shouted, causing the Morrigan to turn.
The assassin heard the warning and turned in Kenzi's direction. She saw the blade at the last minute, as the hooded figure slashed the knife. Kenzi twisted her body away from it, but the blade skimmed across her midriff. Kenzi skidded sideways, across the ground, crashing into a dumpster.
The Morrigan ran over and knelt down to her. "Don't move!" she instructed, then stood up to face the attacker, but all she saw was the figure disappearing round the corner of the alley.
"What were you doing here?" The Morrigan asked, inspecting Kenzi's wound.
"I often hang around alleyways. I find it comforting!" Kenzi sarcastically said, then winced with pain. She looked at the blood and started to feel sick.
"An unusual hobby, but one I'm grateful for!" The Morrigan retorted. "Thank you! Now let's get you to hospital."
Kenzi hung on to the Morrigan for support as she walked to her car.
"Bite!" Lauren demanded of Lochlyn.
He stared at her for a moment and she could see his irritation rising.
"It's a waste of time!" He said angrily.
Lauren ignored him. "Bite!" She held the glass jar just inches from his mouth.
He snatched it from her and bared his serpents teeth, then bit down on the edge, releasing the venom. He thrust the jar back at her, and she felt that he was embarrassed that she had seen him do it. He wiped his mouth across the back of his hand, as she held out a tissue for him.
Lauren could have sworn he was blushing, as he hopped off the lab stool and looked away.
"You're just wasting time," he said more gently this time, as he picked up Lauren's notes and tried to read them.
"No I'm not. This will work. I just need to get the synthesis right."
"The only thing that will kill him, will be a pure bite," Lochlyn said.
"I know, but the chances of you doing that are very slim. You'd need to get close enough, before he'd kill you first."
"You don't think I could do it?" Lochlyn looked surprisingly hurt.
"I didn't say that. I'm sure you're more than capable. I've witnessed your hunting skills. You were very adept at the Stag Hunt to claim your right as the Ash."
"You make it sound like it was nothing!"
"Well, the odds really weren't in her favor." Lauren took a sample of the venom and transferred it to a slide to examine under a microscope.
"I'm more than capable, Doctor! I have the ability to fight my enemy. I don't need to be mollycoddled, or protected from doing so!" He sounded petulant.
Lauren found it highly amusing. "Yes," she squinted as she adjusted the microscope's magnification. "You're not the type to get others to do the work for you, are you?"
Forgetting who she was talking to, Lauren jumped when Lochlyn slammed down her note book onto the table.
"What exactly is that supposed to mean?" He stood over her.
Lauren stood up to face him, her anger sufficient enough to stand her ground and finally confront him.
"Nadia!" She shouted at him, then poked him in the chest. "It wasn't you who freed the curse, it was Bo! And you were more than happy for her to do it, and take the credit like some knight in shinning armour that I was supposed to be grateful to, as well as get me to resubmit to your service in gratitude!"
Lochlyn looked genuinely shocked at her outburst, even more so, when she realised she had him backed up against a lab trolley.
Lauren stepped away, feeling a mixture of triumph and agitation. Triumph that she'd confronted him and agitation that he'd forced her to do it.
"Well, it worked out for the best. And I only had your best interests at heart."
Lauren tried to remain calm, but that was more than she could stand. "My best interests? And my best interests, you bastard, included locking me in one of the cells for three days?!"
"That was to ensure you never left!" Lochlyn said forcefully.
"Never left?" Lauren ran her hands through her hair exasperated. "You sure know how to treat a woman!" she turned away from him and slumped back down to examine the specimen.
"I never intended for it to be that way. I just didn't know how to handle " Lochlyn faltered for a moment.
"Handle what?" Lauren grumbled.
"You!" Lochlyn said.
Lauren slowly turned to look at him. The tone of his voice said it all, and confirmed that what Bo had told her was true. Lauren had dismissed it at the time, but hearing him now, and his passionate display, left her in no doubt.
She sat dumbfounded, unable to move.
"If things were different," he said more softly. "I want you to know, I'd give everything and anything, my life, to keep you safe from harm. I'd be your champion. And I meant what I said, you and the baby will always have the full protection of the Light."
He moved closer and tentatively moved a piece of Lauren's hair from her forehead. "If Bo wasn't around and things were different, would I have a chance, Lauren?"
Lauren saw the hope in his eyes and was moved by the question. He looked almost boyish, his normal manly scowl diminished, allowing a glimpse of vulnerability. His dark semi curly hair, dark brown eyes, she figured made him good looking. She knew what it had taken for him to ask, to let down his guard as the Ash and show his more human side to her but she knew she couldn't give him the answer he hoped for, and was about to tell him so, when the Morrigan appeared in the lab. Behind her were two of Lochlyn's guards, one carrying Kenzi.
"You two might have to wait to get a room," The Morrigan said, as Lochlyn quickly put a distance between him and Lauren.
"I think the doc has more pressing issues right now!"
Lauren's eyes widened at seeing Kenzi's injury. She immediately went into medical mode.
"What happened?" Lauren asked, grabbing gauze and antibiotic fluid to clean the wound.
"An unexpected visitor." The Morrigan replied. "One who likes to hide out in alleyways!"
Lauren froze as she looked at Kenzi. "Did you see who it was?"
Kenzi shook her head. "No, they wore a hooded cloak."
Lauren gently administered to her wound. "This will need a couple of stitches. You were lucky."
"Yeah, luckier than Bo was,"
"Pardon?" The Morrigan asked quizzically.
"This is not the first attack of this kind. Bo was stabbed some months ago." Lauren said. "In an alleyway," she looked hard at the Morrigan.
"You think that was something to do with the Dark Fae?"
"I don't know, was it?" Lauren waited for her answer.
"No! I didn't sanction anything of the kind." The Morrigan looked at Lochlyn. "This wouldn't be a revenge tactic of yours would it?"
"Absolutely not," Lochlyn answered. "If it had, you wouldn't be standing here now. The job would have been done properly!"
The Morrigan bristled at his reply and smile.
"Which only leaves one answer!" Bo said as she appeared and strode straight over to Kenzi. "Are you okay?' she asked worriedly. "I got here as soon as I got your call."
"Yeah, Doc's fixing me up good." Kenzi half smiled. Bo squeezed her hand.
"And which answer would that be?" The Morrigan said irritated.
"The Garuda. He's trying to pit us against each other, and he doesn't care who gets hurt or killed. I warned you at the meeting. If you think he'll give protection to those who side with him, you're wrong. You may want to rethink about joining forces." Bo let the implication set in.
The Morrigan paced for a moment. "Very well. The Dark will offer what ever help and forces you need."
"Wise decision." Bo said then walked up to her. In a quieter voice she continued.
"And I think that little IOU of yours has just been repaid in full. Kenzi just saved your life. Anything happens to Nate, you'll have me to deal with, and trust me, you don't want that. Plus, what ever ideas you had about getting your hands on my daughter, you'd better forget, cos whatever the Garuda had in mind for you, mine will be a thousand times worse!" Bo's voice was low and threatening.
The Morrigan quickly looked in Kenzi's direction.
"Oh yeah, Kenzi told me all about your little chat. Don't ever make threats to my family and friends again."
The Morrigan swallowed hard.
"My guards will escort you back to the Dark Fae headquarters. Just make sure you let yours know why." Lochlyn offered.
The Morrigan nodded her gratitude and left the lab with Lochlyn.
Bo went to Kenzi's side, as Lauren set about stitching the wound.
"Are you sure you're okay?" Bo said.
"Really, Bo, I'm okay."
"Did you get a look at the attacker?"
"No, they wore a hooded cloak."
Lauren noticed Bo's look of shock. "Same MO as the attack on you." She said.
"Did you notice anything else?" Bo gently urged Kenzi. "Height, build?"
Kenzi shook her head. "About your height, same build," Kenzi frowned for a moment. "There was a .scent of some kind,"
Bo was clearly excited at this piece of news. "Do you remember what it was?"
Kenzi was thinking hard, but shook her head. "No, just that it was familiar, but I don't know from where."
Bo nodded her head in agreement. "Same with me, I think we must have smelled the same thing, but I can't remember where from either."
"Doctor Lewis." Lochlyn appeared in the lab again, and Lauren wondered at his formal use of her name and the worried look on his face.
Behind him, two guards escorted Nadia into view, blood dripping from a bandaged wound to her hand. They helped her over to a medical bed.
Lauren had finished stitching Kenzi's wound and rushed over to Nadia, who sat trembling.
"What happened?" Lauren examined the deep gash in Nadia's left palm. She applied pressure with a sterile pad and watched as blood oozed out. She would need to stitch this aswell.
"I'm not sure. I was out, just going to some local galleries and took a short cut through an alleyway. Suddenly someone stepped out. They had a knife. I just remember raising my hand to defend myself. I thought I was going to die!" Nadia said before she burst into tears.
Lauren held her and looked helplessly at Bo. Then she looked at Lochlyn. "What happened to her protection?" she said through gritted teeth.
He shrugged apologetically. "I'll find out." Then he turned and quickly left.
Bo gently squeezed Nadia's shoulder. "Did you see who it was?"
Nadia shook her head.
"What were they wearing?"
"Some kind of cloak, with a hood."
Lauren and Bo looked at each other.
"How tall were they?" Bo pushed. "Same height as me?"
Nadia nodded. "Yeah, that's about right.'
"And you raised your hand to protect yourself?" Bo asked and Nadia nodded again.
Bo frowned. Kenzi had described her attacker as being about Bo's height, too, and Nadia was the same height as herself. If it had been the same attacker, Nadia wouldn't have had to raise her hand to defend herself; that indicated some one much taller. She realised Nadia was still in shock, so maybe she was confused.
"Was there anything else you noticed?" Bo asked.
"Bo." Lauren's voice was a little stern, protecting her patient as well as her ex lover from the questioning.
"No, I don't remember anything else."
Bo nodded and decided to stop the inquisition. Nadia didn't mention anything about a scent and Bo knew it was no good trying to push for any more information.
All she did know, was this wouldn't have been the work of the Garuda himself. He was using someone, but who was the big question. She remembered her mothers words "Be careful who you trust". Was she right, that it could be someone close to them? At this point Bo didn't know who, but she did know some one that was the same height as her; her own mother.
Lauren felt the baby kick as she leant into the fridge to retrieve some left-overs from last night's meal. She turned to place the dish on the counter and almost dropped it when she saw Nadia standing behind her.
"Shit!" Lauren shrieked.
"I'm sorry!" Nadia apologised and smiled.
Lauren laughed. "I didn't hear you," she said. "You want to share some of this for lunch?"
"Are you sure you're comfortable down in the basement? Is it warm enough?" Lauren asked her as she started to reheat the food on the stove.
"Yes, it's fine. Stop worrying. I really appreciate you all taking me in."
"You're safer here, that's the main thing."
Nadia had been living at the house for the last week, since the attack. At the start she'd been sleeping on the sofa, but Bo and Kenzi had cleaned up the basement, to give Nadia some privacy. Lochlyn had discovered that the Light Fae guards that had been assigned to protect Nadia had disappeared; in fact they'd disappeared months ago and were now presumed dead. Their regular reports appeared falsified and the conclusion was the Garuda had already infiltrated lines of communication somehow.
"Are you going to the lab today?" Nadia asked.
"Yes, just for a few hours." Lauren saw Nadia look nervously around the house.
"You can come with me, if you like." She saw Nadia's look of relief at not being left alone in the house.
Bo and Kenzi were at the Dahl with all the others, discussing tactics over the Garuda. It had become clear that he was getting ready for a full blown attack. Skirmishes had been taking place, and he had been victorious in all of them. The Light and Dark Fae losses hadn't been great, but had left enough dead for them to realise, over the last few days, that something bigger was coming.
Lauren had been taking things easy, as far as that was possible. The baby was due any day, and she had been spending time trying to perfect the venom. On top of that, she was also distracted by Bo's wellbeing. Her partner had looked increasingly tired, typically dismissing it as nothing, as she was called out to another fight against the Garuda's forces. Lauren wasn't sure how long Bo could sustain such high levels of stress and anxiety, mixed with her commitment to lead the forces into battles, to see some of them not make it out alive.
"Are you okay?" Nadia's question broke into Lauren's thoughts.
"Yes, I'm fine," Lauren assured her. "Let's eat and then head to the lab."
Bo pinched the bridge of her nose. She was tired and trying to chair the assembled forces was not helping her headache but was causing her irritation to rise.
"When will the venom be ready?" Asked a Dark Elder.
"Doctor Lewis is working on it." Lochlyn said.
"That's what you said last time!" The same Elder bellowed.
"Why do we have to wait for it? It's obvious what you need to do." Now one of the Light Elders' stood and pointed at Lochlyn.
"Okay! Enough!" Bo yelled and stood up from her seat. "That's as a last resort! Lochlyn will willingly sacrifice himself, but we have to enable him to get close enough to do that, and so far, any efforts would have been in vain."
Bo sighed deeply. "We've lost too many already, just to go blindly into the next battle and hope that we succeed. If we lose Lochlyn, then we're all lost!"
"My little girl is right." Aoife piped up. "Despite what views you may have about him," she looked at Lochlyn who raised an inquisitive eyebrow. "We do in fact need him alive for now." She smiled at him.
"Sounds like you could do with some extra help!"
People parted and Ciara appeared, followed by another group of people.
Bo smiled, walked up to her and embraced her.
"I've brought some Fairy reinforcements," Ciara said. "Don't believe everything you hear about us, we're actually quite formidable and have some of the best warriors in Fae folklore." Ciara smiled warmly.
"I know, you helped us last time and you can't believe how grateful I am to see you now. Thank you!"
Dyson appeared from the side, "Ciara." he said, almost apologetically.
Ciara acknowledged him politely. "Dyson."
"Okay, people," Bo said. "It's obvious the Garuda is aware of some of our strategies." Bo saw everyone look in her mother's direction.
Aoife rolled her eyes. "Oh, for heavens sake! You all want me to cover my ears or leave the room?"
Bo just stared tiredly at her. She knew having her mother at these meetings had not gone down to well with the Fae hierarchy, and she herself wondered if it had been such a good idea to include her. Bo was still in two minds if the spy in the camp was her own flesh and blood, but she had no real proof and Aoife had backed her up with the rest of the Fae, and had been at her side for most of the recent battles.
"How do we know we can trust you?" Another one of the Light Elders said.
Bo was tired of the unnecessary squabbles both sides engaged in at times. She wanted nothing more than to just leave, get Lauren and run off to the mountains and leave everyone to it. She actually considered it for a few seconds, but came back to reality.
"You'll trust her, because I tell you to!" Bo lost her temper, then quickly reined it in. It was just the type of emotion the Garuda would feed off.
"Back to the more important stuff." Bo said and brought the discussion back to battle tactics.
Lauren stared at the results again. Weeks and weeks of tests had brought her to the same conclusion. Synthesizing Lochlyn's venom would not be the answer. No matter how hard she tried she could not produce a pure enough dose, which left only one answer. The dose to kill the Garuda would have to be a pure sample, administered no more than ten minutes after collecting it. After that time it degraded too much. This conclusion also meant that both she and Lochlyn would need to work quickly and be in the same location, as the Garuda. The only suitable location would be the lab. Somehow, they'd need to lure him here.
And that wouldn't be difficult. Very soon she'd have what he wanted.
"Everything okay?" Nadia asked. She was sitting at another desk reading a book she'd brought with her.
Lauren smiled. "Sort of. Just a slight set back with results."
"Oh?" Nadia replied.
"It just means another plan." Lauren stood up, going to get another sample, when she felt a twinge in her lower abdomen. She stood still for a moment, and the next twinge took her breath away. She groaned, grabbing the edge of her desk.
"Lauren?" Nadia immediately went to her.
Lauren sucked in her breath as another contraction pain started. She grabbed her cell phone and punched the speed dial number for Bo.
Bo ran every red light she came across as she drove to the Light hospital, with Dyson and Hale in hot pursuit, their squad car siren giving her the police escort she needed.
Racing through to the lab, with Kenzi right behind her, she found Lauren on a medical bed, Nadia holding her hand, as Lauren panted, controlling her breathing as obvious contractions ripped through her body.
Other medical staff were readying a more private room for the delivery.
As Bo approached Nadia relinquished her hold of Lauren allowing Bo to take her place.
"Lauren." Bo smiled as she took her hand, tears falling down her cheeks.
Lauren gently squeezed it before she gripped it hard. She tried not to cry out, but the pain was too much to bear. When she got her breath back she spoke.
"She's coming fast! I thought this would take longer!" Lauren panted again.
"Well, that's a good thing right? I mean, who'd want hours of this?" Bo joked managing to make Lauren laugh.
"Yeah, I guess so. My BP is okay and her heart rate is fine. No signs of distress. I've ensured that the medical team are ready for an emergency caesarian if that changes ." Lauren started to pant again, growling out her pain.
"I'm sure everything will be fine." Bo hoped she sounded reassuring. Right now she was giddy with excitement and hoping she wouldn't faint from it. She hoped Lauren wouldn't notice how much she was shaking, and that it was all she could do to control her desire to burst into tears of joy that this was happening.
"There's something else," Lauren said. "It's important. It's to do with the venom!" This time Lauren screamed and twisted her body to the side. Bo held her through the contraction.
"Forget that for now! Just try and relax." Bo urged.
"No, listen," Lauren was sweating. "I can't synthesis it. It has to be a pure dose, collected and injected into the Garuda. Bo, in order to beat him, he has to be lured here!"
Bo tried to comprehend what Lauren was telling her.
"Lochlyn needs to be here and so do I. I need the lab for the collection!" Lauren had gripped Bo's arm, to make sure she had heard and understood. The lure would be the baby.
"We'll talk about this after." Bo held Lauren to her.
"Let's take you through to the delivery room." One of the other attending Fae doctors said.
"Can you make sure you keep monitoring her heart rate?" Lauren instructed him
"Babe," Bo said. "Time to stop being a doctor, these guys know what they are doing. You just concentrate on getting our little girl to join us."
Bo turned to look at all the others gathered in the lab. Kenzi gave a double thumbs up, while Trick beamed with delight. Dyson nodded encouragement, while Hale just looked bored. Lochlyn stood, arms folded, scowling more than usual.
Aoife walked over to Bo and Lauren. She gently touched Bo's arm. "We'll be right here."
Bo gulped down the lump in her throat as a wave of emotion took hold of her. In that instant she saw her real mother. Gone was this outward maverick pretence, the semi psychotic character that instilled fear in those around her. Bo was now convinced that it was all an act. That her mother had been playing to type since her return, her notorious history allowing her to protect her true nature.
Bo continued to hold Lauren's hand as the medical team wheeled the bed into the delivery room.
Bo's legs buckled with relief at hearing the baby cry. The last hour had been a rollercoaster of a high. She'd encouraged, been supportive, had panted in unison, and had had her fingers crushed by Lauren, but that was nothing compared to the euphoric feeling of seeing their daughter enter the world. She was suddenly emotionally spent, crying without realising she was.
One of the Fae nurses quickly attended to their daughter, cutting the cord, before wrapping her in a blanket and handing her back to Lauren. It was then that Lauren finally broke, and Bo held her tightly. Their daughter only cried for an instant, as though it was expected of her to do so.
Bo looked at their little girl in awe, as she just lay happily in Laurens arms, still and content, her eyes wide open, as though taking in her surroundings. She appeared to approve of her parents and Bo could swear she saw the baby smile.
It was when her eyes flickered blue, that Bo lost her heart to their daughter completely. The enormity of love she felt was unparalleled by anything she had ever known and she knew she would kill to protect the life she had helped to make. That fact was made more ironic in the knowledge that she would have to, and probably very soon.
"She's beautiful." Lauren murmured.
"Yes," Bo choked. "She is."
"She has your eyes." Lauren smiled.
"You saw them, too?"
"How do you feel?" Bo sat then stretched out on the bed alongside Lauren.
"I feel .like a mom!" Lauren smiled then kissed Bo softly on the lips. "Thank you!"
"It's a great feeling, isn't it?" Bo kissed her back then gently kissed the baby's head.
For a while everything was forgotten; they just drowned in the joy of their happiness.
Bo had left the delivery room to announce the baby's arrival, and it was another hour after the baby's birth that Bo emerged again, to invite those waiting, to see their daughter.
Bo smiled as they all entered quietly. Lauren was now seated in a chair, the baby sleeping in her arms.
"She's a darling." Aoife said and she knelt down beside Lauren to take a look. Kenzi did the same on the other side of the chair.
Trick couldn't speak, his eyes were full of tears, so Bo just held his hand.
Ciara had also arrived during the labour and she spoke next. "What have you decided to call her?"
Bo looked to Lauren to answer.
"Alazne," Lauren answered. "It's Basque origin, and means miracle."
Ciara smiled, moving closer and began an incantation. When she finished, she explained. "Alazne has the blessing of the Fae Fairy nation, to keep her safe."
"Thank you." Lauren said.
Ciara bowed then quietly left the room followed by Dyson. Out in the lab he gently grabbed her arm.
"We haven't had much time to talk."
"About what, Dyson?"
"You leaving, when you found out my love had been returned."
Ciara sighed deeply. "Believe me when I say, I'm happy for you that it has. But I'm also deeply sorry for you." She motioned towards the delivery room. "Your love for Bo will remain unrequited for ever. Her heart belongs to Lauren and Alazne and you'll never win it back, Dyson." She gently squeezed his arm.
His eyes became sad and soulful. "I'm sorry for what happened with us."
"I'm not," she smiled. "I loved you and will love you for ever. Just as you do Bo. Some things aren't meant to be, you just have to learn to live without them. "
"Friends?" Dyson asked.
"Always!" Ciara reached up and kissed him on the cheek.
Back in the delivery room, Hale was looking decidedly uncomfortable being near a newborn baby.
"Hey, you scared they're gonna ask if you want to hold her, Uncle Hale?" Kenzi said to him.
Hale looked even more uncomfortable at the thought.
"Let's see if we can find something alcoholic to celebrate with. Lochlyn, you got any booze in that throne room of yours?"
Lochlyn was broken from staring at Lauren holding the baby. "I believe I have a fifty year old scotch that would be appropriate right now! Follow me!" He turned to leave the room.
Hale was hot on his heels, while Kenzi waited for Nadia.
"Do you know if she's Fae?" Nadia asked.
"Yes," Bo smiled. "She most certainly is."
Nadia smiled at them both and left the room.
"Stay," Bo said to Kenzi.
"It's okay, you all have a family moment. I'll come back and see her." She winked at Bo then left.
Trick finally managed to speak. "She's just amazing. She's so like " he stopped and looked at Aoife. "I remember holding you when you'd just been born. Such joy!" his voice cracked.
"You wanna hold her grandpa?" Bo said.
"Can I?" Trick looked excited at the prospect.
Lauren held the baby up to him and he cradled her carefully in his arms.
"Hello, Alazne," Trick said. The baby opened her eyes and they flickered blue. Trick gasped.
"Oh, she's a mama's girl alright!" Aoife laughed.
Trick cooed and gently rocked the baby in his arms.
"Mom? You want a turn?" Bo looked at Lauren as she said it. Lauren hesitated a moment then nodded her consent.
Aoife took the child from Trick and this time the baby did appear to smile, and squirm with excitement.
"Oh, we are going to have such fun, yes we are. Grandma is going to tell you all about our people. I'm not going anywhere this time." She looked at Bo and smiled, then mouthed thank you to Lauren.
Lochlyn's bed was large, sumptuous and warm. A contradiction, Lauren pondered, as she lay comfortably propped up by soft cushions. Its décor wasn't as intimidating as the throne room and his bedroom didn't have the feel of being a lair, with which to entrap an unsuspecting victim. In fact its air was of quiet relaxation, a reflective place to meditate. The décor was soft; artwork hung on the walls, showing a keen and intelligent mind had picked them. This was a side of Lochlyn that was almost a privilege to see.
It had been his insistence that Lauren and Bo rest here after the baby's delivery and he'd even said they could stay for as long as they wished, offering the full extent of his private quarters at the Light Compound. He had felt it best for security reasons.
Bo was asleep, stretched out beside her, her arm protectively across Lauren's waist. Lauren gently stroked Bo's head, and smiled at her sleeping form. She was thankful Bo was getting some rest, the last few days Bo had hardly slept at all. Alazne was contentedly sleeping in Lauren's arms, in a sleeper suit that Kenzi had fetched from the house, along with other baby things.
Lauren was grateful for Lochlyn's offer, allowing her to rest for a few hours, but she longed to be home with Bo and the baby, the pull of them being a family, overriding her body's need to replenish her energy. They had been a enjoying a blissful few hours staring at their little girl, watching her suddenly stretch, yawn; the sensation Lauren felt when she feed her, and then watching her sleep peacefully between them on the bed. But how long would they actually have as a family in the house before the Garuda would come?
Lauren didn't have long to wait for an answer. There was a knock on the door and Lochlyn entered. Lauren knew from the look on his face, this was not a visit to see the baby.
"Bo." His said sternly, before he addressed Lauren. "Sorry to disturb you, Lauren."
Bo woke with a start, suddenly alert.
"What's up?" Bo sat up immediately.
"We think we've found his lair, two possible sites. The forces are assembled in the throne room. We're ready to move into action." He said it gravely.
"Okay, I'll be right with you."
Lauren looked at Bo, and a million things she wanted to say passed though her mind, but she said the one she felt was the most important.
"I love you."
Bo nodded. "I know. I love you, too."
Bo kissed her hard and then kissed the baby's head.
"Kenzi and Nadia will stay here, like we discussed. Are you sure you're up to this?"
"Yes, I'll be ready."
"Then I guess the next part is up to the rest of us." Bo kissed her passionately again, then got off the bed and went to the door.
Lauren didn't try to stop her, she knew if she did that, Bo wouldn't be able to leave the room and Lauren could tell from her body language, that she was already having trouble doing that.
Bo turned and with one last longing look, she was gone.
Lauren closed her eyes and let her tears fall. The next few hours would be the longest of their lives.
Bo sensed something wasn't right the minute they arrived at the derelict building. There didn't seem to be any major effort to guard the outside. Lochlyn had taken another large group of forces to the other suspected hideout.
She looked around at everybody gathered, but couldn't see her mother. She hadn't noticed, when leaving the Light compound who had travelled with whom to get here.
"Where's Aoife?" Bo said.
"She said there was someone she had to see, first. That she'll join us as soon as she can." Ryan answered.
"Who the hell does she need to see at a time like this?" Bo mumbled to herself in irritation.
"Okay, let's split into groups." Bo said. "We'll slowly converge in the basement area, that's where he's most likely to be."
Leading them in first, Bo took her group quickly along a corridor to the right. They found a stairwell, and headed down, where they quickly met a small group of guards. The fight was swift and over in moments. She could hear other skirmishes taking place, but they also seemed to end rapidly.
She was becoming increasingly anxious; this was going too easily.
Once in the basement area, the groups met up.
"Something's not right!" Bo whispered to Dyson.
"It could just be a trap, the main forces might be waiting around him." Dyson suggested.
"Well, let's find out, shall we?" Bo signaled to the group to move stealthily forward.
The basement was dark, damp but surprisingly warm. Bo knew this was a sign the Garuda was here. He liked nothing more than to flex his wings of fire.
Suddenly, a small group of warriors rushed upon them and a fast and furious fight broke out, but it was over quickly, with no losses to Bo's forces.
Scanning around with torches, no other resistance could be seen, but the Garuda's lair was evident. He just wasn't in it.
"Where did the intel come from, about this place?" Bo said.
No one answered right away.
"I don't know, Bo. Word just came through. We've had people out all over, checking places like this." Trick said.
"Shit!" Bo hissed. "I was right! It is a trap! The Garuda knew we'd come here! It's a diversion! Call Lochlyn, tell him to get his ass back to the Light Compound!"
Dyson was immediately on his phone.
"Damn it!" Bo said frustrated.
"Its okay, Bo, we'll get him." Trick reassured her.
"Oh I know that! I just figured out who my mother needed to see so urgently!"
Trick's face fell. "No, no she wouldn't do this!"
Bo longed to believe him. Her phone started to ring and it was Lauren calling.
"Hey, Lauren!" Bo said. She listened to Lauren hysterically try to explain. The colour drained from Bo's face. She stumbled sideways and Dyson caught her as she almost collapsed.
Trick took the phone from Bo. "Lauren, it's Trick. What's going on?" He, too, listened for a moment. "We'll be right there!" He stood stunned.
"For God's sake, Trick, what is it?" Dyson yelled.
"The baby," Bo mumbled. "She's been taken."
Bo's legs felt like lead as she ran into the Light Hospital lab.
Lauren was tending to Kenzi, who was sitting on a medical bed, holding a bandage to the back of her head.
Bo wanted to tell Lauren everything would be alright, but the words stuck in her throat as Lauren collapsed into her arms. She held her tightly as Lauren cried harder than Bo believed anybody could. She felt the pain in her own heart would explode.
"We'll find her." Bo whispered to Lauren. "I promise."
Bo looked at Kenzi. The young woman looked as desolate as she felt.
"You okay?" Bo asked her and Kenzi just nodded.
"I'm sorry, Bo." Kenzi said in between sobs.
Lochlyn stormed into the lab. "How the hell did this happen?" he bellowed at four guards standing in the lab. "Where are the others?"
They shuffled, embarrassed to look at him.
Lauren managed to speak. "Drugged and dead. These men were perimeter security."
"Drugged? How?" Lochlyn asked.
"I should have known better. There was something weird about her," Kenzi said. "She was making coffee. I mean, who makes coffee in the middle of a crisis like this? I asked if she needed help and she said no, just to go sit with Lauren."
Kenzi rambled on. "Then she bought Lauren some tea. She said I should try it, would help calm my nerves. I said no, I was okay. Lauren drank some, and then everything happened so fast. I think Lauren realized, about the tea, she looked at me and tried to speak but she just slumped back against the pillows. I tried to stop her but she hit me with something. When I woke up, Lauren was already calling you."
"It's not your fault, Kenzi. I should never have trusted my mother." Bo said.
"Your mom? Who said anything about your mum?" Kenzi frowned. "She didn't do this. Nadia did!"
"She must have been under the Garuda's influence." Lauren said.
Everybody in the room was still in shock at the revelation.
"It's very possible," Trick added. "We know the power he can wield."
"How do we find her?" Dyson asked.
The silence was almost deafening.
"She could have been under some one else's influence," Bo muttered.
"Bo, you still can't believe Aoife had anything to do with this?" Trick gently touched her arm.
"She can wield power! And where is she anyway?" Bo's angered bubbled up. "We need clues. We'll start at Nadia's apartment."
Bo's phone rang.
"Bo, it's mama here. I've got her. Come get me."
Aoife's instructions to Bo had been vague and almost cryptic. Bo was return to the same derelict building they had already been at. Lochlyn was to remain at the compound. Bo was to bring only minimal forces inside. Only she and Lauren could enter the basement. And they had thirty minutes before the Garuda showed up.
Lauren hung onto Bo as Dyson drove as fast as he could. He left the rest of the forces behind in his wake, doing their best to keep up with him.
His car screeched to a halt, followed by Hale in another car with Trick and Kenzi, then other members of their fighting group.
Bo and Lauren leapt from the car racing towards the building's entrance.
"Bo, wait!" Dyson caught Bo's arm. "What's the plan?"
"Simple, I'm going to kill her!" Bo went to move forward but he held on fast.
"It could be another trap!"
Bo yanked her arm free. "Yeah, it could and it probably is, but if our daughter is in there, then by God, I'm going to get her!" she was breathing hard, rage thundering through her body.
Dyson knew it was no good talking any more. He took it upon himself to organise the rest.
"Okay, you go in with Lauren," he placated her. "We'll be right behind at a distance, ready to strike."
Bo nodded and holding Lauren's hand, entered the building.
"Not without me!" Kenzi said and joined up with them.
"Kenzi, stay here. Stay safe." Bo urged her.
"No way! That baby in there," Kenzi pointed. "Well, she's like my niece right? And I wanna make the bitch that took her suffer!"
Bo looked at her for a moment. "Okay, but stay behind us." She was grateful for her friend's passionate plea.
"You betcha." Kenzi mumbled. She felt her legs start to wobble and hoped her bravery wouldn't crumble.
Slowly, Bo led them down towards the same stairwell to the basement. They stepped over the dead bodies from the previous fight, but were not met by any more soldiers.
Bo gently pushed open the swing door that led into the large basement room.
The far corner lair was lit and Bo could see her mother standing, holding the baby. Nadia was tied at the hands and feet, sitting on the floor
Bo unsheathed her sword, holding it at arms length. She just managed to stop Lauren rushing forward.
"Wait," Bo warned her.
Aoife turned and saw them. "Finally, thank goodness!"
"You!...You!..." Kenzi stammered over the words. "You nasty grandma!" was all she could say.
Aoife just looked at her. "I'm sorry?"
"You how could you? How could you do this?" Kenzi tried to continue.
Aoife noticed Bo's sword and the penny seemed to drop.
"You seriously think I was behind the kidnap of my own grand-daughter?" Aoife said, shocked.
"Then why are you here?" Lauren said.
"To help protect her why else?" Aoife said fiercely. "I told you before, it wasn't me you needed to fear!" She indicated Nadia then held out the baby for Lauren to take her.
"She's fine." Aoife assured her. "But we have our spy in the camp."
Lauren stared at Nadia for a moment then proceeded to check over the baby.
Nadia spoke. "Don't listen to her babe," she said hurriedly. "She made me do it."
Aoife rounded on Nadia. "Don't play that game with me, you'll only lose!"
Nadia tried to squirm free of her binds, using her feet to reach for a gun that lay on the floor.
Aoife kicked it further away. "She brought that little toy with her, too, just in case I suppose." She tutted.
Lauren handed the baby to Kenzi, then quickly moved and picked up the gun. She pointed it directly at Aoife
"Lauren, wait!" Bo said.
"Why should we believe anything you say?" Lauren asked Aoife.
"Because when exactly have I threatened you or Bo or my grandchild?" Aoife waited a moment. "You're basing your theory on past history. Okay, admittedly, I did blow up the old Ash, but I wasn't quite myself at the time "
Aoife sighed deeply with irritation. "Just what do you know exactly about your dear ex here?" she pointed at Nadia.
Lauren gripped the gun tighter.
"Don't you think it was odd, that the old Ash singled out your girlfriend to be cursed?"
"He did it, so I would commit myself to the Light Fae, in order to find a cure for her," Lauren said.
"Oh come on, Lauren, wake up!" Aoife said exasperated. "You should know by now, it's never that simple with the Fae!"
Bo moved to stand nearer to Lauren, her sword now pointed at Nadia in case she tried anything.
"Don't you think it was odd, you get an opportunity to study in South America? You invite your lover along, for the trip of a lifetime and while there, a mystical illness starts killing off the Light Fae?"
"Get to the point!" Lauren demanded.
"Oh, you won't want me to rush this story. You see, it just so happened that Nadia was already working for the Dark Fae when she met you "
"Don't listen to her, Lauren." Nadia interrupted.
"Shut up!" Bo said.
"Why do you think you were sent there, Lauren?" Aoife continued. "Nadia carried the disease with her. Totally immune as a human but fatal to the Fae. The dark wanted to try it out, send a message to the Light they had developed a little biological weaponry. What they didn't bank on, was you, Doc. Just how brilliant a scientist you were. You cured the damn thing! Stopped it from going Fae pandemic!"
Aoife clapped her hands.
"Of course, by then the old Ash had worked it all out. He sent a message back to The Morrigan, by having her little pet Nadia cursed, and secured himself the services of a brilliant young doctor. He couldn't have Nadia killed because of her protective rights under The Morrigan and she couldn't do anything about it, without revealing the Dark Fae's involvement. She was more than happy for Nadia to be 'silenced' in a coma,"
Bo looked to Lauren and saw the shock on her face.
"Sorry to say, Doc, but you were had and so was Lochlyn. The old Ash didn't mention any of this in his journals. With Lochlyn's help in freeing the curse, the Dark have had a spy in the Light camp. Thankfully you came to your senses in ending your little liaison." Aoife said.
"Lauren, don't listen to her. She's crazy!" Nadia laughed nervously.
"Why do the guilty always insist on protesting their innocence, it's so tiresome?" Aoife rolled her eyes. "She may not have been in your bed any more, but that hasn't stopped her. The Garuda proved a more agreeable employer."
Bo straightened up. "How do you know all this?"
"I paid a little visit to the Morrigan, just after the baby was born. "Aoife addressed Kenzi. "Please don't take this the wrong way, but my suspicion was you. That little IOU of yours, I thought maybe you'd decided to get a little revenge on the Dark leader by joining the Garuda. No offense."
"None taken." Kenzi said.
"But you saving her in the alleyway blew that theory out of the water. So it was back to the drawing board on suspects. And then darling little Alazne was born, and we were all so happy, and nobody bothered to ask, 'cos we didn't care," Aoife now looked back to Nadia. "But you did. You were the only one amongst us to ask if she was Fae. Why would that be important for you to know?"
Aoife's face clouded and her voice turned to steel. "It would only matter to you, for one reason only. I still wasn't certain, but I thought it was funny that the Morrigan knew all about your curse. She gave me all the answers after some .persuasive measures. Nothing that won't heal in good time!"
"Lauren, please. You have to know that what's she's saying is crazy!" Nadia tried to crawl to Lauren.
"Don't!" Bo warned. "Or I I'll kill you on your knees!"
"You can't." Nadia said. "You know you won't. You can't stand the thought of killing anyone, even in self defense, and I'm not even armed."
Bo faltered for a moment. "Don't push your luck! You kidnapped our child. You took her to give to the Garuda!" She wanted to ram the blade of the sword into Nadia but knew the woman was right. She couldn't do it with Nadia unarmed. Bo wished Nadia was holding the gun, so that she could.
"It would explain why she had to take the baby from the lab," Aoife contained.
"The Garuda was informed we needed to lure him there, and that's because she heard that snippet of information. She managed to get the false intel to us about where he would be tonight. And of course we wouldn't think to come back here. I was on my way back to the lab after seeing the Morrigan when I saw her leave with the baby. "
"When we went back to the house, to get the baby some clothes, you stayed in the car." Kenzi now accused Nadia. "That would have given you the opportunity to contact the Garuda!"
"And if anybody is in any doubt, that small vial there?" Aoife pointed at a small glass bottle. "That is a scent that she can use to either summon him, or wear. Wearing it gives her added strength and speed. Ideal for attacks in alleyways!"
Kenzi picked it up and smelled it. "That's it! That's what I smelled in the alleyway. And I've smelled it before, it was at your apartment, when me and Lauren visited that day! You said you had blocked drains and had sprayed air freshener. But you were masking the fact he'd just been at your apartment!"
Kenzi held it for Bo to sniff. Bo nodded. "That's what I smelled, too, when I was attacked. And the first time was also at your apartment, that day I carried the box for you. It's why you never mentioned a scent when you were attacked," Bo said to Nadia. "You inflicted that wound on yourself, so we would bring you into our protection. You said you had to raise your hand to protect yourself from the attacker, which would have meant someone tall. But you said they were the same height as me and we're the same. If that was the case, they wouldn't have tried to stab you from above, it would have been straight at your body!"
Lauren stepped forward and to everyone's surprise, aimed the gun directly at Nadia.
"Babe?" Nadia said shocked
Lauren cocked the gun.
Bo reached out to Lauren's raised hand but Lauren moved away.
"Don't babe me. Why did you take her?" Lauren asked calmly.
"Lauren, listen to me. You're not going to pull that trigger, I know you, you can't harm anyone." Nadia smiled confidently, and rose to her feet.
"Answer the question?" Lauren demanded.
Nadia half laughed. "Simple. Immortality. A life of endless possibilities. I lost five years because of that bitch, Morrigan! She just let me for dead in that coma. She could have had me freed from the curse, but she didn't give a shit! Then the Garuda showed up and I saw an opportunity and I took it. I didn't need to answer to her whims anymore!"
"On my dear, you really are a fool to think he'll keep to any agreement he's made with you. You're as good as dead when he turns up!" Aoife said.
"Well that's a chance I'm willing to take, lady!" Nadia spat.
"Why did you just drug me? Why didn't you kill me and Kenzi?" Lauren asked.
Nadia huffed. "The blow to her head obviously wasn't strong enough. That was supposed to kill her! I didn't want to kill you. I just wanted you to know loss. Live the rest of your life in pain. I loved you and you threw me over for some over sexed up superhuman being. I mean, talk about rubbing salt into the wound!"
Lauren stared at her. "All this because of what the Morrigan did to you, and because I dumped you?" she said incredulously. "You'd sacrifice the life of an innocent child? All these years, and I never knew you at all did I?"
"It's not too late, babe, join me now. We can have kids of our own, as many as you want!" Nadia said smiling.
"Are you completely insane?" Lauren couldn't believe what Nadia was suggesting.
"Lauren, come on, put the gun down. I know you, you won't hurt me."
A shot rang out, startling everyone.
Nadia stood for a moment, before she looked down and saw the crimson colour of her own blood seep out across her shirt. Slowly she sank to her knees.
Lauren moved forward and stood looking down at her.
"You think just because I loved you, that because you shared my bed, you can just take my child and it wouldn't matter? That I'd consider sacrificing her, and live an immortal life with you? I've loved her since the moment she was conceived. I've loved and carried her for nine months. And as much as I don't know you, you sure as hell don't know me! 'Cos I'd kill anyone who even thinks about harming her!"
Nadia looked at her, disbelief and shock written all over her face. Then she slumped to the side, dead.
Lauren lowered the gun and Bo gently prised it from her hand.
The doors to the basement burst open as Dyson and the others rushed in. Moments later Ciara arrived with her warriors.
Bo looked at Ciara, wondering how she knew to be there. Aoife answered her thoughts.
"I called Ciara after you. You needed to arrive with minimal back up as I wasn't sure what Nadia had told the Garuda. It didn't take me long to get the info. He's coming here with minimal forces, too, just expecting it to be Nadia. We have about 10 minutes left before he's due to arrive."
Aoife then stood in front of Lauren, pulling her into a hug. "I'm sorry this happened. I wish I had known it was her earlier. Now take Alazne and get back to the lab, you still have important work to do."
"Some of my warriors will escort you." Ciara said.
"Take good care of my grand-baby." Aoife whispered to Lauren, before letting her go.
Lauren thought it sounded like a goodbye, but before she could question it, Bo was holding her. "Go now, we'll hold him here. He'll realize pretty soon where she is and he'll have no choice but to come to the lab. I'll be there ahead of him, I promise!"
Lauren nodded, she was starting to feel numb from everything that had just happened. She needed to keep her mind focused on the task she had to perform and not think about Nadia. She quickly glanced at her body, then turned away. Kenzi handed Alazne to her.
"Kenzi, no arguing. I want my best girl looking after my best girl. Go back to the lab." Bo told her.
Kenzi looked too stunned to refuse.
Kissing Lauren, Bo entrusted her to the Fairy Queen's warriors as they hurried Lauren and Kenzi from the building.
"What happened with Nadia?" Dyson asked Bo quietly. "We heard the shot."
"It was Nadia, all along. I was ready to kill my own mother, because of everyone else's beliefs about her. I let that cloud my own judgment. If she hadn't have suspected, if she hadn't investigated. We wouldn't have got Alazne back!" Bo's eyes filled with tears. She went over to her mother and grabbed her to her.
"Thank you." Bo choked.
Aoife just smiled at her, brushing Bo's tears away. "I failed you once. I wasn't going to let that happen, again." She kissed Bo's forehead. "I'm sorry I've been playing to type. But it seemed better to let everyone stick to their suspicions and mistrust of me. It allowed me to find out who was really responsible."
"You didn't have to do that. We could have worked together!" Bo said.
"You've had enough to cope with. This was more my cup of tea. Now, we have a job to finish. We need to be ready for him. I suggest you command your forces into position." Aoife told Bo.
Bo cleared her throat. "Okay people, let's disperse around the basement, and give him hell when he arrives!"
Oh he felt good. Better than he'd felt in a long time. He might even go so far as to use the words happy, gleeful, care free, gay. He smiled at that. Gay was a word that had changed in meaning quite a bit; he'd known it in its original incarnation, and he'd had a few of them himself.
But this was the gayest of his incarnations, in more ways than one. He couldn't care less about its meaning now. Gay was about to give him the greatest power of all. Gay had produced a miracle. Gay was a glorious thing to be, to feel!
He laughed out loud to himself at the irony. His minions stared at him, but he ignored their confusion at seeing him laugh.
Life couldn't be gayer. No thanks in part to the succubus and her human lover; he had to acknowledge their part in his new reign. He couldn't really begrudge them credit, because they were mostly responsible. They had after all, produced the child. And what a child. Oh, if only they knew. He wondered if they did, yet?
Untold secrets, he tutted, the bane of family happiness. It's amazing what you can find out when you know where to dig and how deep. It became the only conclusion, of course. And that made it all the more sweeter, all the more gay-ful. He smiled again.
The woman had proved useful, too. He didn't think she was up to the task much, when she first came to him. All very emotional, angry and spiteful. Not focused. He could sympathise somewhat; that inferior feeling, an outcast thrown to the side. The Morrigan really had done some damage there. And then the Doctor tipped her over the edge into really focused revenge. She'd become driven, that one.
And she'd done everything she said she would. Got close to them, got them to trust her. Got the succubus's blood. Stroke of genius that was, and she came up with the idea all on her own. He'd been impressed. An attack that had proved to be twofold in its execution. Blood, and they had eventually taken her into protection. He'd got all the inside information. He almost felt bad that he wouldn't keep to his side of the bargain. Nadia would have to die of course. How could you put up with a mere human blessed with immortality? It was a recipe for disaster.
But the succubus's blood. Oh he could still taste it now, it made him quiver! She'd brought the knife straight to him after the attack. Still glistening and sticky on the blade. He'd savored it, as he had licked it lasciviously. The power had raced through his body, his heart pumping with life. It had speeded his recovery. He was stronger and bigger than before. No longer the mythical misfit eagle. He was legend. He'd be epic this time.
Now he was heading for the bigger prize. The blood of the newborn. Just a few minutes more. He couldn't wait. He felt so excited, his body throbbed. He felt alive, intoxicated, unstoppable.
Oh yes! He felt wonderfully gay!
Lauren wasn't aware of her rapid return to the Light Hospital by the Fairy Queen's warriors. It all rushed by in a blur. Even Kenzi seemed stunned into silence.
She thought of Nadia, and the web of lies that had surrounded her, and Lauren realized the full impact of the last five years on her own life. The Fae world was beyond her comprehension anymore. The only truth and honesty to its existence was Bo. She was the only part of it that made sense.
Lauren questioned why she hadn't taken the opportunity to leave, after the last fight against the Garuda. Lochlyn had released her from her commitment, and she could have left. Left all of them behind, disappeared and raised Alazne alone. But she had never considered that option, something had held her in this place. It hadn't just been Bo or the baby. Did she have a sense back then, that she was meant to stay for this moment? That a greater purpose lay ahead for their daughter?
She couldn't think about it any more. The only thing of importance was the baby and Bo's safety.
Her focus returned at the familiar smell of the lab. Lochlyn was waiting. He smiled with relief at seeing her return with Alazne.
"Are you okay, Lauren?" He asked.
"Yes," she answered. "I'll just see to Alazne, and then we'll ready for the Garuda's arrival."
She was back. Emotions put aside for the moment, while she dealt with her priorities.
Bo crouched in the dark of the basement, her mother to her right. Her left side was flanked by Dyson, Hale and Trick, with the rest of Ciara's forces scattered in other corners.
Nadia's body still lay where she fell.
Bo shuddered and felt her heart rate start to increase. Any minute he would arrive. She steadied her hand, as it hovered over the sword handle. Any minute.
She thought she heard him coming, loud thuds on the stairwell, then realized it was her own blood pounding in her ears. Any minute.
She thought of Lauren and Alazne, back in the lab, waiting. Bo would have to get there ahead of him once he realized. Any minute.
The door to the basement opened, and the moment arrived. He strode confidently in, and Bo's mouth fell open.
"Crap!" Bo heard her mother mumble.
Bo stared at him in awe. He was much bigger than before. Whatever had happened to him, however he had recovered, was incredible.
He now stood over eight feet tall, almost majestic in stature. An air of menace still shrouded him like a cloak. His minions looked puny beside him and by normal standards, they didn't look like anything you'd want to voluntarily mess with.
Bo held her breath to stop her gasp escaping. The Garuda came further forward, and finally spotted Nadia's body. He stood rigid for a moment, before he drew in his breath and let out a piercing, screeching, eagle cry.
Bo winced at the sound along with everyone else. "Wow, he's pissed!" she whispered and her mother smiled.
"How 'bout we get this party started?" Aoife suggested. Winking at Bo she stood up quickly making her way towards him.
"Here, birdy, birdy!" Aoife shouted.
The Garuda turned in her direction and was immediately blinded by torches aimed at his face.
Bo was up on her feet and racing at him. She swiped the sword at him, but he managed to see her at the last minute. Her blade caught him across his arm, and he spun away, before turning and whipping his own sword of fire at her.
It missed Bo by a long way, but he was now ready and armed. The rest of the forces rushed at his guards and furious fighting broke out.
By now Bo and the Garuda were stalking each other in the middle of the room, like two gladiators in an arena.
"You think you can beat me, Succubus?" He taunted.
"Yeah, I think I can handle it. I'm full of surprises. You sure weren't expecting this, were you?"
His anger rose and he took another lunge with his sword. Bo parried it, and hit hard against his blade.
He stepped back, surprised by the force.
"Surprise!" Bo said, smiling. "I thought you'd recognise that special perfume of yours? It's really great. You ought to think about starting your own line!"
That incensed him even more and he lunged continuously at her, but she held him off.
"It doesn't last for long!" he said.
Bo didn't know if he was telling the truth or lying. She had no idea how long the effects of the scent would last, but she'd make the most of it while she could.
She continued to match him in effort, before he eased off, preferring to just circle around her.
"Why don't you just give up now?" The Garuda said. "I'll be kind and make your death as swift and painless as I can."
"That's mighty generous of you. I'd like to offer you the same fate."
The Garuda chuckled. "I should thank you in fact. It was your blood that helped me to heal. That's powerful stuff you have in your veins. Imagine what power your daughter's blood will give me."
Bo riled to the threat and quickly swung at him, only to discover the effects of the scent were waning. His blade clattered against hers and the force sent her tumbling across the floor into the wall, knocking her sword from her grip.
Quickly he was standing over her. "Told you," he said. "I only had to wait."
Ciara saw the predicament Bo was in, and finished off the enemy she was fighting. As quick as she could, she thrust her own sword at him, catching him across he sword him. He turned furiously and with his other hand, brushed her aside, as though she were a nuisance fly bothering him. She was also sent smacking into the wall.
He turned back to Bo, more angered than before. "Enough of this!" He bellowed.
"Hey, Tweety Pie! You leave my little girl alone!" Aoife shouted.
Now irritated beyond his patience the Garuda turned to face her. He flared out his wings of fire and advanced.
Aoife aimed the gun at him. "Oh, I like a bit of roasted chicken! Come to mamma!" she fired the gun repeatedly, the bullets pounding into his body.
Each shot made him jolt but didn't stop his advance. The gun clicked, signaling it was out of bullets.
The Garuda smiled as he thrust his sword straight into Aoife.
"No!" Bo screamed. Her cry was heard by the rest of the forces, and those able to, surrounded the Garuda, attacking him as best they could.
Bo scrambled to where Aoife lay, and pulled her onto her lap. Trick appeared at her side.
"No! No! No!" Bo repeated. Aoife appeared calm, despite the obvious severity of her injury.
"It's okay, sweetie." Aoife assured her.
Bo looked at Trick and then Ciara, who shook her head, signifying there was little hope Aoife would survive.
"No! We were supposed to have more time. There's so much for us to talk about. I need you. Alazne will need you!" Bo begged.
"Bo," Aoife smiled weakly. "You'll be fine, and so will she. Now it's time for you to go. You need to get to the lab, while he's distracted."
"No! I'm not leaving you!"
"Bo!" Aoife said more sternly. "Listen to me. I saw this, I was meant to save you! You're not the only one to have visions from the Nain Rouge; she gave me this one three hours ago. It's time. Alazne needs you more than I do. Go!" Aoife choked as she tried to speak.
"Bo," Trick said. "I'll stay. I'll make sure she's taken care of." Tears fell down his face.
"We promise," Ciara added. "I'll see to it also."
Bo kissed her mother's cheek. "I'll never forget you!"
Aoife smiled again, then gently grabbed Bo's hand. "Your father ."
"I don't care. That doesn't matter anymore!"
Aoife put her fingers to Bo's lips to silence her. "When your father shows up just try and believe, okay?" she stroked Bo's face.
Bo frowned at the comment, unsure what her mother meant.
Aoife's hand slipped away from Bo's face and Bo grabbed it, holding the palm against her lips. Her mother was gone, lost to her once again, for good this time.
"Bo," Ciara said. "It's time, you really need to go now." She signaled to Dyson and Hale, who edged away from the fight against the Garuda and came over.
Dyson gently took Bo's elbow, helping her to stand. Without saying anything, he led her away, so that the Garuda didn't see her leave.
Bo was already halfway to the lab, when the Garuda had had enough of playing with the forces trying to defeat him. Not bothering to kill those left, he screeched out a cry of triumph and left. Outside, he smiled. If this was the best the succubus could muster, then the lab had better be well prepared. Whatever forces she had lying in wait there, would be no match for him.
He had time on his side. He could be there in minutes and he knew that wouldn't be enough time for them to ready the Naga's venom. The only way would be a direct bite, and he could see off that Ash with one flick of a wing.
He launched himself into the air and flew to his destiny.
Reports from the Light compound forces that the Garuda had arrived, had rapidly been given to Lochlyn who had passed them on to Lauren.
Lauren had been waiting in the lab, her equipment ready to take the venom and turn it into a weapon to be injected in to the Garuda. Timing would be of the utmost importance.
She felt quite calm, as the minutes passed. Kenzi was anxiously pacing about the lab. Alazne lay fast asleep in a carry cot. Lauren smiled at her, kissing her head. Bo had already informed them she was on the way, and Lauren trusted that Bo would be here in time.
Lochlyn skidded into the lab. "He's breaking through! We'd better get started!"
"Breaking through? How?" Kenzi asked.
"He's different to last time. Much bigger and stronger! They're holding him, but I don't know for how much longer!"
"Come on, Bo!" Kenzi urged under her breath.
Lauren felt a moments panic. Perhaps they had underestimated his power this time. What if the forces couldn't hold him until Bo and the rest arrived? It would be down to Lochlyn to face and defeat him if their plan didn't work.
Focus! Lauren said to herself. She gave Lochlyn an adapted glass receptacle to bite into, and just as he did, there was a loud crash that appeared to have come from the throne room.
"Damn it!" Lochlyn said. "How did he get this far so fast?"
"Kenzi, will you get Alazne please?" Lauren asked without looking at the younger woman.
Kenzi moved quickly, picking up the carry cot and stood in the corner behind the door to the lab.
Lauren took the receptacle and calmly readied the syringe, as Lochlyn looked on anxiously. She could tell by his body language he wished she'd hurry up as they heard the battle raging further out in the corridor; any minute the Garuda was likely to descend upon them.
"Doctor!" Lochlyn impatiently hissed.
Lauren ignored him, concentrating on the task she had to perform, well aware there was probably only one shot to get this right.
Suddenly Lochlyn screamed. Not a scream of fear, but of anguish, disbelief, grief, anger.
Confused, Lauren looked into his eyes and saw tears well up in them. It was then she looked down and noticed the sword sticking out of her abdomen, where it had been thrust through from behind her.
She felt no pain, or shock, just surprise that she hadn't felt a thing. She knew within a few moments that would change, especially when the Garuda savagely withdrew the blade.
"Not this time, Doctor!" he triumphantly whispered in her ear.
Lauren stumbled forward a little from the force, and Lochlyn caught her arms.
She smiled reassuringly at him, and waited for her body to take over its survival procedure. Eventually adrenaline would be released, to try and help numb the pain. At this point, she had no idea how many vital organs had been damaged, but she figured the blood loss and internal bleeding would be great. She knew once her brain had assessed the damage, its priority would be to save itself, and all vital oxygenated blood would be pumped to it, to keep it alive, at the expense of other major organs. How long she would survive she knew depended on how long she could remain calm.
She looked over to where Kenzi held the baby. Kenzi's face said it all; horror, shock, fear, disbelief, just like Lochlyn's. She wished she could make it over to her, to hold the baby one last time, to kiss the soft skin of her cheek, but she knew that wouldn't be possible. All their possibilities had gone now.
An explosion of pain ripped through her body, and she gurgled as blood dribbled forth from her mouth. But the pain was nothing compared to the pain of knowing she had failed in her one basic role as a mother; to protect their little girl. In these last few hours she had known a love like no other, and her instinct to protect had been so overwhelming, she had taken another life, but when Alazne needed her the most, she was incapable of providing that protection. Her only hope was that Bo would succeed. Lauren was also aware that in moments, the lab would become a room of death.
Lauren felt her knees start to buckle and prayed that she would be dead before she saw the Garuda kill their child.
Lochlyn gently held her to the floor, weeping, then stood up to face the Garuda.
He grabbed his own sword, and let his serpent's teeth appear.
"This is where it all ends, Garuda!"
The Garuda merely laughed at the threat. "Prepare to finally die, Naga!"
Holding his heavy sword two handed, Lochlyn swung at the Garuda with all his might. Sparks flew where metal hit flaming metal.
"Finally, a worthy opponent." The Garuda seemed pleased.
Lochlyn didn't bother to answer, but kept up his onslaught of offensive attack. He knew he just needed to keep the Garuda engaged until Bo and the others arrived. Maybe then he would be able to ensure the fatal bite needed to end this.
Lochlyn ceased the sparing for a moment, slowly circling the Garuda. When the Garuda's back was to Kenzi, Lochlyn signaled for her to try and exit the room.
Kenzi acknowledged the opportunity, and crept out from her hiding point. She was almost to the door, when the Garuda looked over his shoulder. With a quick flick, his tail of fire whipped at her.
"Not so fast!" The Garuda yelled.
Kenzi turned to protect the baby, and the flame slashed across her back, through her clothes to her skin. Her legs buckled from the force, and she felt her skin smart. She crouched over the baby and waited for the fatal blow to come.
Lochlyn took his chance and lunged his sword towards the Garuda's chest.
Bo leapt from the car and surveyed the carnage outside the Light compound. Bodies lay strewn everywhere.
"He played us. He knew he could get here ahead of us!" Bo said. She started to run into the compound, followed by Dyson and Hale.
Inside she could hear the battle being fought and could tell it was nearing the lab.
"Lauren!" Bo cried. She started to sprint, her heart pounding. As they rounded a corner, she spotted Ryan, slumped against a wall. His face was bloodied and he held his arm, a large open wound evident.
Bo stopped. "Ryan, we'll get you some help."
"It can wait, just get to the lab!" Ryan answered.
Bo nodded and set off again, leaping over casualties on the way.
As she approached the lab, she heard a clash of weapons and then a bellowed "Not so fast!"
She reached the lab doorway, and saw Lochlyn ready to strike straight at the Garuda. She quickly scanned the lab and spotted Kenzi, crouching over something. Then she saw Lauren, blood pooling around her.
"NO!" Lauren screamed.
The Garuda turned just as Lochlyn lunged. Lochlyn's sword went in, but the Garuda pulled back. Shocked and angered he swiped at Lochlyn, and sent him flying across the lab.
Dyson and Hale immediately set about attacking him.
Bo rushed to Lauren, falling to her knees and grabbed Lauren to her.
"Please, no. Please!" Bo begged, she gently stroked Laurens cheek, and wiped the blood from her mouth.
Lauren attempted to smile. "Alazne," she managed to say. Her breath was labored. "You promised, remember? Don't let him take her."
"I promise," Bo started to cry. "Please don't leave me, Lauren." She softy kissed Lauren's lips. "I love you."
"I love you, too. Now save our daughter."
It took all the effort Bo had to gently lay Lauren back down before she went over to Kenzi.
Kenzi was shaking so hard, Bo had to forcibly remove her from holding the carry cot. "Kenzi, it's okay, it's me, Bo." she coaxed.
Kenzi relinquished her hold. Bo took off her own jacket and put it across Kenzi's shoulders in an attempt to cover up the wound across her friends back.
Bo picked Alazne out of the cot, and held her tightly. "We're going to get out of here. I promise." she said to Kenzi.
Kenzi just nodded in agreement, still in too much shock to speak. Before Bo could lead her safely from the room, Kenzi's body kicked in against the shock and pain in her back, and she fainted.
Dyson and Hale were keeping the Garuda occupied. The wound Lochlyn had inflicted had slowed him down at first, but they could visibly see it start to heal.
Bo saw Lochlyn slowing creeping up behind the Garuda. He climbed onto one of the lab beds.
Dyson and Hale had figured out his plan, and they forced the Garuda back towards him. With a massive leap, Lochlyn launched himself on to the Garuda's back.
Immediately the Garuda screeched in fury. His wings flapped and his chest puffed up with air. His arms swiped out and he sent Dyson and Hale flying into the air. Crashing into the wall, they were both knocked out cold.
The Garuda thrashed about the lab, trying to throw Lochlyn from his back.
Lochlyn desperately hung on. He inched further up, and sank his fangs into the Garuda's neck. The Garuda slammed into the wall, and winded Lochlyn. Lochlyn had only managed to release a bit of the venom. He was about to try again, when the Garuda slammed him into the wall again. Pinned against it, Lochlyn could hardly breathe.
Next, the Garuda moved forward and with Lochlyn in a weakened state, flung him across the floor.
Lochlyn landed near Lauren. He knew what was coming next and knew he had no means to stop it. He hoped he would have the time to do one last thing.
He reached out his fingers to try and touch Lauren's. He saw her look at him, and the resigned smile she had on her face. It was the last thing he hoped to see; her smile, and she had answered his wish.
The Garuda's blade was swift and painless, as it severed Lochlyn's head.
Bo stood watching all this in morbid fascination. It had seemed to play out in slow motion, but it had only been a matter of seconds since Dyson and Hale had smashed into the wall, and Lochlyn had tried valiantly to defeat the Garuda.
The Garuda stood in the middle of the lab, breathing heavily. He touched his neck where Lochlyn had bitten him.
Bo could see he looked nervous, momentarily wondering if enough venom was coursing through his body to kill him. He took a deep breath, filling his lungs with triumphant air.
"Useless!" He spat the insult at Lochlyn's body and laughed. "Now," he addressed Bo. "Just give me the child."
Bo looked around the lab, everybody she cared about and loved, lay wounded, unconscious, dead or dying. Her eyes fell upon Lauren, and the baby stirred in her arms. Bo felt her emotions start to bubble and rise along with her anger.
She narrowed her eyes and stared at the Garuda. Her body started to fill with energy. The air around her started to swirl, her hair fluttering from the force. Her muscles rippled, and her skin flickered with amber colours. Her eyes turned blue and her voice lowered in tone.
"I am more powerful than the Fae! You will kneel at my feet. There will be no more dark, and no more light; there is only me!"
The Garuda laughed again, but it was short lived. Suddenly he found his life force being sucked from him, as Bo took it.
He tried to move forward, raise his sword to strike Bo down, but Bo's own energy increased and her drain on his power became intensified.
The Garuda started to choke and thrash, trying to flap his wings of fire, but they exploded into fragments of ash.
"Please! Stop!" He managed to beg, gasping, but Bo's grip was relentless.
The Garuda fell to his knees, clutching at his neck and chest, fighting to hang on to his life.
Bo moved to stand over him, still draining his life force. Finally, she took the last of it, leaving him dead on his knees.
"There will be only me!" Bo said again, triumphantly.
The flash of light that suddenly filled the lab was momentarily blinding, and the force behind it wrenched Bo free from the power she was wielding. She stumbled forward, disorientated, and then shielded her eyes, trying to see who or what had caused it. At first it was too bright to look at, but then its intensity dimmed and she was able to see the lab more clearly. She gasped as she saw the Garuda was dead before her. Realisation hit Bo, as she now remembered what had happened.
"No!" she murmured, distraught that she may have taken the lives of the others in the lab, as she had done against the Lich.
"Don't fear, child. They are safe." A voice emanated from the direction of the light.
It had a resonance of strength about it, yet was gently spoken and hard to define if it was fully male or female. It seemed to be a mixture of the two.
Bo narrowed her eyes, trying to see through the light, to who had spoken.
"Who are you? Come forward so I can see you," She pulled Alazne closer to her chest, protecting her, even though she sensed no threat from the unknown energy in the room. In fact, the feeling was the complete opposite; calm and serenity had descended on a scene that moments ago, was almost total carnage.
Bo moved slowly, keeping focused on the light, over to Lauren. She knelt down and took her wrist, fumbling for a pulse. At first she felt nothing, then amazingly, there appeared to be a small faint flicker of life. Bo wondered if she had the power to heal Lauren.
"You don't." The voice said softly, as though reading her thoughts. It was said resignedly, but with sadness.
"What?" Bo said, confused. "What do you mean?" she stood up again, anger now rising in her blood. "Who the hell are you?" she demanded.
A figure became discernable in the light, but it was not fully complete and again, Bo couldn't tell if it was male or female.
"I am the one you seek."
Bo wanted to appear confused to who or whatever this was, but in that instant, she knew who this was.
"Why now? Why show up now? What kind of Fae are you?" Bo asked, disdain in her voice
The light grew brighter for a moment, absorbing her anger.
"Because it was time. Because of the child."
"What does that mean?" Bo backed up, holding Alazne even closer against her.
"I'm not here to harm her, my daughter. I'm here to protect her."
"Oh yeah, why didn't you show up a little earlier then?!" Bo spat. "You're a little late to the party daddy! Mommy's dead, and you almost lost your grand-daughter!"
Bo looked down at Lauren, pain filling her bones. "Now, I don't know what powers you got, but if you want to help, you can start with the mother of your grand-daughter!"
"Isabeau!" The voice boomed out around the lab, asserting its authority, like a parent trying to reign in an errant child.
Bo was transfixed by the power for a moment then her rebellious nature rose to the fore.
"What?" Bo questioned, sarcastically.
The light dimmed again, and the figure moved closer, but Bo still couldn't see any features.
"Isabeau," The voice said softer this time. "Let me take the child, let me protect her, like no on else can "
"Are you insane!?" Bo half laughed. "What makes you think you're so qualified as a parent to take her and protect her? You sure as hell didn't show any interest in doing the same for me all these years!"
Bo felt a sudden surge of warmth and love from the being
"I promise you, she will be safe."
"Sorry, Pops. Not good enough."
"She will not suffer like the Son. She will not be harmed by those who do not believe."
Bo narrowed her eyes. "Son? What are you talking about?"
"I don't need to tell you, Bo. You know who I really am."
Bo closed her eyes for a moment, the idea too much to think about.
"I am the Mother and the Father. You were the messenger, to prepare the way for Her coming. You were the one to unite. For She is the Light and the Dark. She will be the One."
"Oh, you've got to be freaking kidding me!" Bo half laughed again. She shook her head in disbelief and wonder, her mind spinning with the news of who her Father was.
"So, you're telling me, that you are the Him, He, The Man and my daughter is the next savior of the world?"
There was silence for a moment then the figure spoke. "You disbelieve?"
"Well pardon me for questioning, Dad, but even you gotta see how this all sounds. It's beyond belief, or disbelief!'
Bo looked at Lauren, wondering what she would make of it all. "Why us? Why let this happen to us?" Bo indicated the lab. "If you're who you say you are, why didn't you do something? If you have the kind of power you're supposed to have, why let these things happen?" Bo felt her anger rising again. "And don't give me that free will crap! That's a cop out!" she accused.
"Bo," The voice started. "You would be willing to subjugate yourself to such a will? You would give up your freedom, give up your own choices? You, who have fought against such ideals that stifle an individual's ability to live their life, would do this? You would let an ultimate power have that control over the people of the world?"
Bo wanted to argue the point but couldn't.
"Bo, you have proved that with reason, and understanding, that with compassion and love, that ability is with everyone."
"So why do we need a saviour? Why does it have to be our daughter?" Bo pleaded.
"Because the world needs Her hope, Her Joy, Her love. She will heal."
"You honestly think the world is going to accept her? The idea of her conception, that two women are capable of producing life?"
"But that is not myth, daughter. It has happened. You doubt people will be accepting of this? They accepted a miraculous conception before."
Bo sensed her father was smiling. "Okay, you ain't exactly been around much these last few years shall we say, but it's going to take a lot of persuading that the next savior had two mommies!"
"That is why she has the mother's she has. You, strong, bold, daring, loving; Lauren, caring, nurturing, loving. "
"I get that. What I don't get is the Fae, is him," Bo pointed at the Garuda. "Any of it. Was all this, your creation?"
"Why?" Bo questioned.
"In creation I instilled in all the creatures, instincts, skills, feelings, love, vices, sins."
"But humankind was in your own image?"
"Yes, Bo, it was."
"So, you're saying that you have all these things?"
"No one thing is so perfect; there are flaws that can be found in beauty, and beauty amongst dirt. I tried perfection but it was unattainable to me, yet in everything I created it was there."
"Look at the child you hold. Is she not perfection? Look at him, dead before you. Was that not a form of perfection?"
"You created that?" Bo said incredulously. "He almost killed your flesh and blood!"
"An imperfection I could not correct. When he was born, it was a sight to behold. A magnificence of nature you might say. But he was a lonely, distant child, unable to fit in, unwilling to try. He saw himself as an outcast, unloved, but he was wrong. You had much in common, Bo."
Her Father's voice sounded sad, shouldering the responsibility.
"He figured out you were my Father, didn't he?" Bo realised and didn't expect him to answer. It explained why Alazne would have been so important, the power he would have gleaned from her blood.
"The child has much to learn as she grows. Let me take her, Bo. I will protect her, keep her from harm until she is ready."
Bo shook her head. "You can't ask that of me. We've only had her a few hours. The thing trying to kill her is dead, so she's safe enough!" Bo backed away from the light, and knelt down again beside Lauren, feeling again for a pulse. It was barely noticeable.
"Bo," Her Father tried again.
"No! What exactly can you teach her?" Bo spat.
"I don't intend to teach her, I intend to be taught. She will be my teacher. I will guide her only. Please my daughter, you have my word, I will return her to you, when she is ready."
Bo couldn't believe how it started to seem a sensible idea. Of all the people who could keep Alazne safe, it seemed this was the ultimate in security. She wanted to ask Lauren what she thought, already knowing what her answer would be. They'd face it together. But Lauren wouldn't be there to do that, and Bo wasn't sure she could shoulder the responsibility of looking after such a special child.
Before Bo could answer part of the bright light, broke away and came towards her. This time the figure became clearer as it neared, and Bo looked at the woman. Her face was the face of countless images the world over, all different but portraying the same person.
The woman appeared gentle, kind, caring and smiled warmly at Bo.
"You Father speaks the truth, Bo. She will be safe and will be returned to you when it's time. From a mother who has known the loss of child, if you cannot trust His word, then know you can trust mine."
Bo stared at her for a moment. She looked at Lauren again, and that's when she made her decision.
"Okay. You can take Alazne .on one condition. You take Lauren, too. You save her life and you let Alazne grow up with the love and influence of one of her mom's!"
The woman smiled and turned her head to look at the light.
Bo waited. "Lauren did what she did to Nadia, cos she loves our daughter. And she's lying there now, dying, cos she was brave enough to try and save her. So you want Alazne, you take Lauren!"
"Of course, it is only right." Her Father agreed.
Bo sighed with relief. Reluctantly she handed Alazne to the woman. Bending down, she spoke to Lauren, who was no longer conscious.
"I love you. Look after her. I'll see you again." Bo kissed Lauren's now cold, blue lips, then the light flashed again and it was gone, and so was Lauren.
Bo sat back on her heels, her shoulders slumped and started to weep. She wasn't aware of Kenzi now at her side, or Dyson and Hale slowing making there way towards her.
"Bo," Kenzi said tentatively. "What happened? Where's Lauren? Where's the baby?"
Bo just stared at her blankly. "My Father came. He took them, to keep then safe."
"Your Father?" Kenzi asked, puzzled. "What do you mean, he took them?"
"I let him take them, Kenz." Bo struggled to say. She could see Kenzi didn't understand what she was trying to tell her.
Inside Bo felt empty and bereft, wondering if the decision had been the right one. It had to be. It had saved Lauren's life, and meant the baby would be safe. The former was something she couldn't have done, and the latter would have proved just as difficult in the long term.
Bo looked at Kenzi, her eyes pleading.
"Tell me I did the right thing. Tell me I can survive this. Tell me I can live without them!" Bo cried. Her world as she knew it, ceased to exit. She collapsed, closing her eyes to shut out the world and curled up into a fetal position.
A lost girl, once again.
16 years later
Bo shuffled wearily through the door, relieved to be home. She placed the pizza box on the counter, opened it, took out a slice, eating it hungrily. She placed another slice on a plate, poured herself a cold beer and went over to the couch.
She slumped down onto it and switched on the TV. She flicked through the channels, stopping to take a sip of her beer.
"Medical scientists have announced a breakthrough in the treatment of certain types of cancer. Early tests of a new drug may offer a complete cure in the early stages, without the need for invasive radio or chemo therapy treatments to patients."
Bo chewed slowly as she listened to the news report. Over the years, medical science had made many major advances, especially with stem cell treatments, and the complete eradication of Alzheimer's. She smiled to herself and wondered what Lauren would have made of it all.
She sobered at the thought and found her appetite dwindled, as it often did when she allowed herself to think of Lauren and Alazne. There wasn't a day that had gone by, that they were never present in her thoughts. She forced herself to eat, knowing it wouldn't benefit her not to.
The first few months after she had given Lauren and Alazne over to her Father, she had given up living, wondering if she had done the right thing. She had no guarantee that she had, except a promise that one day they would return. Kenzi had pushed her to eat, drink, get up, shower, move; do anything rather than lie in her bed and wish for death.
Gradually, Bo had come back from the brink of her own destruction, realising that she must carry on in the hope Lauren and Alazne would come back to her and that she had to be there; not only to protect them once again, but for them to be a family. It was that thought that kept her going through the days that were the hardest to bear, and buoyed her up on the days that were not so bad.
Kenzi had married Hale. A union that had shocked the Fae world, not least because Hale had been elected as the new Ash. But that had not deterred the couple themselves; his willingness to change some of the Fae's more curious traditions had meant he had a willing partner in Kenzi to make those changes happen. The Fae world had resisted this 'insolence' as they had judged it to be, but had eventually embraced the couple's ideas for more unity between the Light and Dark. Even despite facing their own mortality at the hands of the Garuda, had not stopped them carrying on the petty squabbles afterwards, that could lead to outright war again.
Dyson had continued to pine until he realised there was no use in it. Bo was lost to him for all eternity, and he realised that the best he could hope for was her valued friendship, of which she was only too happy to offer. He took it rather than risk pushing her for any more, and risk losing that as well. They had forged a deeper friendship because of it, and Bo relied on it greatly, along with Kenzi, Hale and Trick.
She had never gone to Dyson for healing, preferring, when she needed to for the purpose of healing an injury, to find some unsuspecting 'volunteer', who woke up happy, but unaware of what had happened. For Bo it made her feel dirty and guilty; a betrayal of her relationship with Lauren, so she always avoided a full sexual encounter in those circumstances. For her own sexual desires, when they returned after she started to 'live' again, she curbed them and ignored them, never seeking to satisfy them, always hating their emergence, feeling the same guilt and betrayal that she could not share them with the woman she loved.
Bo chugged down the beer, deciding to call it a night. She was tired, and the case she was working on, was testing her resolve not to go in with guns blazing.
She eased herself off the couch, making her way up to her room. Apart from a few modern additions, her bedroom remained the same.
The crib was still in the corner; fresh blankets nestled inside, soft and waiting to swaddle the baby they were meant for, but never had. Bo had washed them every week in the last 16 years. She picked one up holding it to her face, smelling the cleanness, trying to imagine the baby smell of her daughter. It was her nightly ritual.
She placed the gift she had bought in the closet with all the others. It would be Alazne's sixteenth birthday tomorrow. There was a gift in there for every birthday and Christmas that had passed.
She took off her leather waistcoat and pants, slipped on a silken nightshirt then clambered into bed. Before she turned out the light, she touched the photo of Lauren she kept on the night stand, then kissed it and the scan image she still had of their daughter; it was faded now, no longer a recognisable image. Crumpled somewhat from where Bo had held it tightly in her hands for days after Lauren and Alazne had gone; too frightened to let it out of her sight.
With a smile at both the images, she turned off the light, and prayed that tonight she would know peace and would be allowed to sleep. Her sleep was often sporadic; some nights she slept deeply, other nights fitfully, and some nights not at all.
Bo wasn't sure she was asleep, or, whether if she had slept, for how long but she was slowly conscious of softly spoken voices in the room. Female voices.
She would normally have been alarmed enough to have woken up fully alert and in fight mode, but for some reason, she felt no fear from who ever it might be.
"Will she be afraid?" It was the sound of a young woman's voice.
"No, but it wouldn't hurt to relax her," The second female voice was more mature; a soft, gentle caring voice, and Bo's heart started to pound as she recognised it. She willed herself to wake up, feeling the all too familiar sensation of the touch administered relaxant; one she knew only to well how to wield.
Suddenly Bo was almost too afraid to wake up, for fear that she was dreaming or imagining it, that her own mind was playing tricks again. She'd woken up like this so many nights before in the past years, to find an empty desolate room.
Slowly she opened her eyes. The face smiling over her was unmistakable, and hadn't aged in the passing years.
Lauren's face broke into a smile, before it dissolved into tears, and Bo sat up and grabbed her.
"Please tell me this is real, please tell me it's not a dream," Bo begged, her voice hoarse with emotion. She held onto Lauren tightly, not wanting the feeling to fade right away, convinced that it would, if she didn't hang on.
"You're not dreaming, Bo. This is real." Lauren choked out.
Bo sobbed and pulled back to look at her. Out of the corner of her eye, a younger woman stepped into view, tall and slim like Lauren. There were no words Bo could think of to describe how beautiful she was. Her hair was long and blonde, and her high cheek bones accentuated the deepest warm chocolate brown eyes, framed by long dark lashes.
Her smile was like Lauren's, soft and gentle, and Bo sensed it showed her love for a mother she hadn't known. In that instant her dark eyes turned blue; Bo gasped softly. She knew her own eyes did the same in moments of desire or great emotion, but what emanated from this girl was total love.
"Oh, my God." Bo barely mumbled the words, too over come with emotion as tears flooded down her face.
Lauren beckoned the young woman forward.
Bo held out her arms, unable to speak, and her daughter collapsed into them. She closed her eyes, breathing in the scent of her hair, her skin, suffocating herself in the joy and emotion of being able to hold her once again. She was sure, that for a moment, there was a hint of her baby scent about her, although Bo knew that couldn't be the case, but she wallowed in the possibility of it for a moment.
Bo smothered kisses into Alazne's hair, then onto her face, tasting the saltiness of her own daughter's tears. Then she reached for Lauren, pulling them both against her, trembling with emotion, rocking them back and forth, hanging on desperately for all she was worth.
Only moments passed, but for Bo, it was an entire child's lifetime that she tried to absorb from the two people she held; Alazne's first steps, her first baby tooth, her first words; Bo had been denied them all in the sacrifice she had made to ensure their safety.
The only sound was soft sobs and sniffs, but to Bo it was the sweetest sound she had ever heard. Eventually she pulled back to look at them both, no longer afraid they might disappear.
She smiled, wiping Lauren's and Alazne's tears away, as Lauren wiped away hers.
"I can't believe this." Bo managed to say.
"I'm sorry if we frightened you," Alazne said concerned.
"You didn't." Bo quickly assured her. "I never thought I'd see you again .I've waited so long for this moment " Her voice broke, unable to continue.
Lauren grabbed her hand. "There's lot's to explain, and I'm sure there's lots you want to ask. Why don't you rest?"
"No!" Bo said, worried that if she fell asleep, she'd wake up to find them gone. "I couldn't sleep, not after this,"
Alazne stood up. "I'll leave you to talk," she smiled. "You have a lot to catch up on."
Bo panicked. "No! Where are you going? Don't leave!"
"I promise, I'm not going anywhere, Mom. But I can smell pizza. Is it okay if I have some?"
Bo stalled. Mom. That had just officially become her favorite sounding word of all time. She felt her heart swell with love and knew she could never refuse her daughter anything. She could have whatever she wanted as far as Bo was concerned; and if what she wanted right now was pizza, then so be it. In fact, she knew their daughter was just making it possible for her and Lauren to be alone for a while.
"Of course you can have pizza."
Alazne turned to go.
Alazne stopped, turning back, a puzzled looked on her face.
"No beer. You're under age!"
"Okay, Mom!" Alazne rolled her eyes, feigning teenage irritation, and Bo found herself laughing along with Lauren.
Alazne disappeared down the stairs and Bo looked at her returned love.
"This is so weird, but I feel like I've known her all these years. It feels so easy to be around her." Bo said.
Lauren smiled knowingly. "Well, without wanting to brag, we made a very remarkable kid."
"One who likes pizza?" Bo questioned.
"She doesn't get it very often. I'm a little strict with junk food. But I can see you will be a bad influence." Lauren lovingly stroked Bo's face.
Bo suddenly realised what Lauren had said.
"She's had pizza before? How? When?" Bo said, suddenly alert.
Lauren took a deep breath. "You weren't the only one to make a deal with your Father; we'll talk about that later." Lauren gently reprimanded her.
"I made a deal with Him too." Lauren stopped for a moment. "We've been around you Bo, for the last 16 years. There was no way I was going to allow Alazne not to see you. And I couldn't live with not seeing you either. I'm sorry it was all one sided, but we couldn't take the chance until she was ready."
Bo felt such relief. "Thank you." she said.
"We'd come at night; watch you when you would finally fall asleep, and Alazne would help relax you even more. I'd place her next to you on the bed, when she was still a baby "
Bo started to sob.
"And as she's grown older, she would lie down with you and stroke your hair, and touch you, healing you into sleep. We'd stay with you as long as we could."
Bo reached for Lauren. "We never left you," Lauren whispered. "On those days when you looked so tired, you might not have realised, but in a crowd, on a street, she'd brush pass you, giving you some energy."
Bo's head started to spin, the realisation that both of them had been around became too much emotionally. Memories, instances, images flashed through her mind as she remembered moments that Lauren had just described. She recalled those times, when she had felt her most vulnerable, so exhausted, so alone, and now she knew she hadn't been at all. The strength that she had garnered from her love for them had been reciprocated without her directly knowing it.
Lauren held her through another wave of tears, until they subsided and Bo was able to speak again.
"I've missed you so much," Bo said. "Both of you."
"I know. I've missed you, too." Lauren said, her eyes welling up with tears.
Bo kissed her, losing herself in the softness and warmth of Lauren's lips. She ran her fingers through Lauren's hair, and the kiss deepened. It carried all the passion and reaffirmed her love for this woman that hadn't dwindled in the years that had passed, and she felt Lauren respond just as eagerly to it.
As Bo parted from the kiss, she smiled and Lauren appeared coy. "You really have missed me." Bo said.
"You have no idea how much!" Lauren brushed her fingertips into Bo's hair. "You're so gorgeous."
"Alazne is just I don't think I have ever seen anything so beautiful."
"She prefers Ali, and yes she is. She's so like you."
"Ali?" Bo asked, surprised. "That's cute. Does she have favourite things? Colours, animals?" Bo said.
Lauren smiled, nodding. "You can ask her all about those things yourself,"
"What is she like?"
Lauren pondered, as though trying to find the right words. "It's difficult not to be in awe of her, Bo. But I have to stay grounded. I've had to remain disciplined, I mean not so much now and I really didn't have to when she was a small child. I mean more with myself. Remind myself that she is our child, despite the power she has."
Bo frowned. "How powerful is she?"
Lauren shook her head, in disbelief and awe. "She heals. Not just in body but in mind. It's just the most extraordinary gift. Your Father was right, about her destiny for the world."
"How do you mean, she heals minds?"
Lauren shifted, sitting up on the edge of the bed, holding Bo's hands.
"She doesn't posses a malicious thought, her main strength is love. By simple touch, she can heal ideas of war. You must have noticed how amiable the Fae world has been lately?"
Bo thought for a moment and realised that for some years now, the Light and Dark had suffered no major conflicts."
"Even Hale has had some help in convincing those more resistant to ideas, that have ultimately benefited every one for a more peaceful existence. Again, by allowing Alazne to get close enough without them realizing, she's been able to alter the course of possible conflict. You may have also been aware of recent moves for Western and European peace talks worldwide?"
Bo's eyes widened.
"It's just talks, but the seed was planted in those countries leader's heads. The rest lies with them for now."
"My god, if she can do that .what else is she capable of?" Bo's mind raced.
Medical scientists have announced a breakthrough in the treatment of certain types of cancer.
Bo remembered the newscast from earlier. The eradication of Alzheimer's, stem cell research advances. She voiced everything she could think of over the last 16 years.
Lauren nodded at every one.
"How? Bo asked.
"Just the same method. An idea placed in a scientist's mind, to look in another direction. With Alzheimer's, they called for volunteers to undergo non invasive brainwave testing. One of those volunteers also gave blood. In it they found a tiny, very rare, chromosome. Alazne had placed it there. It's all they needed to produce the drug."
Bo bit on her fist, trying to comprehend the power their daughter held and fully understood how Lauren had had to stay unaffected by it; by treating their daughter like any other normal child.
Lauren continued. "The one thing you'll love about her the most is her mind. She's very spiritual, and she's a wonderful philosopher, she's read them all. She'll sit and talk Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, you name them, for hours. Your Father loves it."
"What is He like?"
Lauren huffed slightly. "You know me; I prefer a scientific reason to things. That's not possible with Him. I try not to be too overwhelmed by what I know should explain it, but scientifically, I can't. We have very interesting debates."
"The two of you debate?"
"Of course. Just because it's your Father doesn't mean I don't give a more human and scientific perspective."
"That's my girl," Bo said proudly. ""Why did He choose now, for her to come back?".
"She's ready, Bo. She's stronger than anyone can imagine, not just in her healing ability but in her spirit. I was concerned how she would handle all this, but she just can. The issue could be how the world handles her. But your Father thought it was time."
"You know people, what they don't understand, they fear, and what they fear, they harm. I'm not going to stand by and let that happen! If he thinks " Bo clenched her fists and Lauren grabbed them.
"That won't happen. They won't feel fear, Bo. I told you, she can quell anything like that. But we will take things slowly, carry on the way we have been, for a few more years. If it gets too much, I have your Father's promise that he will intervene."
Bo nodded. She realised that although she had gained back the two most important people in her life, their family life would not be lived as quietly or as normally as most. What she knew, is that the child they had created had been for a greater purpose, and that she would do everything, once again, to protect her.
Bo looked at Lauren and saw her shyly look down. "What?" Bo queried. She recognized the look; she had seen it many times on Lauren's face.
Lauren blushed. "I know you have lots of questions, and normally I'd be more than happy to answer them, but I figure we have all the time for that, so for now will you just kiss me again, please?"
"Thought you'd never ask." Bo winked, pulling Lauren into her arms.
Bo melted into the embrace. An exploration of Doctor Lauren Lewis's lips had never ceased to amaze her. They wielded their own magical power that left Bo defenseless. She'd imagined this moment many times over the last 16 years, quelling the feelings that came with it, but now she could allow them free reign. As she always did, when holding Lauren, she felt alive again.
A polite cough signaled Alazne was back in the room.
Bo smiled at Lauren, when she saw that Alazne had returned with the pizza box and some soft drinks for them all.
Bo shifted and patted the bed for Alazne to sit.
The next few hours were spent talking and laughing, catching up on the years that had passed. Bo had handed all the gifts she had bought to Alazne, and she had opened each one excitedly, sometimes laughing at the baby toys, or crying, which set Bo and Lauren into tears also. The older age gifts Alazne had been thrilled with and had constantly hugged Bo after she opened each one.
They had all howled and shrieked with laughter when Alazne had tried on some of Bo's clothes. At other times Bo and Lauren had gasped at how beautiful their daughter looked in some of them.
Bo had sat her down, and applied a little makeup, Lauren happily smiling at their easy interaction. But then Bo had gently wiped it off Alazne's face.
"You really don't need it," Bo said softly. "Just like your mom, you're naturally gorgeous."
Lauren had rolled her eyes and her awkward smile had surfaced at the compliment.
Alazne had told them she couldn't "wait to meet Aunt Kenzi!" Bo had told her that Kenzi would "just about freak when she sees you! I hope you like shopping!"
They had laughed before Bo had noticed the same panic on Lauren's face and that they'd had the same thought. Their daughter would probably undergo numerous hair colour changes under Kenzi's fashion guidance.
Bo felt deliriously happy, her heart and body felt strengthened with joy. It was as dawn was breaking, that Bo finally thought of sleep. Lauren was already asleep behind her, her long slim frame molded to Bo's back. Alazne was curled up in front of her, and Bo's arm rested across her waist
Bo's eyelids grew heavy and she drifted off to sleep, her last waking thoughts of what the future held for them.
And what ever it did, she knew they would face it together, supporting each other, with love, as she had always hoped and craved for...
as a family.
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