Chapter 5 – Life’s Shifting Worries

Lauren knew Bo was up to something when she called for an “appointment”, but she was lonely enough and frustrated enough to agree regardless. Vex and the Morrigan had been picking at her self esteem and her self control ever since she landed in this hellhole. She needed some comfort, she needed what was familiar and warm. She needed Bo.

Watching Bo sway her way into her temporary offices beneath Vex’s club was like a revelation from on high. Just the sight of her was enough to make her heart beat faster and for her mind to race in directions she hadn’t even thought about since Kenzi’s transformation. No! No thinking about Kenzi. Right now this was about her and Bo.

“Bo. What brings you by? Nothing serious I hope.” She knew Bo was just about as on the outs as she was, though not quite as far given her Fae blood. 

“I need your help Lauren.” Anything. She would do anything to help Bo even now and they both knew it. 

“What happened?” She hoped it wasn’t anything too dangerous. Normally she had Dyson around to help her balance out what Bo wanted with what the world demanded, but now that she was on her own she wasn’t sure she would be able to pull off any more miracles without sacrifices. Watching her lover quiver with barely contained energy and anxiety she also knew that whatever sacrifices she would have to make would be worth it. 

“I can’t find Dyson and Kenzi. I need your help to find the location of that cabin they’ve been exiled to. It’s time for them to come home. It’s time for everything to go back to normal.” If only it were all that simple, but she knew as well as Bo did even if she didn’t want to admit it that nothing would ever go back to the old normal again. Not after everything. 

“Bo you know why they’ve been sequestered there, this isn’t a punishment for them it’s precaution.” Kenzi needed to learn control from Dyson and that couldn’t happen if they were continually interrupted by the every day shenanigans that living with Bo seemed to bring. If Kenzi failed to learn control she would be put down, like any other dangerous Fae whose existence threatened the ability for the majority of Fae to hide in plain sight.

“Come on Lauren don’t tell me you buy that bull too. Sure in the beginning it might have been needed, but now? After all this time? No way, They’re keeping us apart for a reason, and I know if I could just talk to them both everything would work out.”

“Bo, I -” She couldn’t do this, not now. She was on thin ice as it was, one more mis-step and being shipped off to play doctor to the dark would seem like a vacation. She didn’t have the same protections that Bo did, while her skills were seen as valuable they weren’t exactly unique enough to make her exempt from the laws that governed this world. 

“Please Lauren.” Looking into her eyes she felt her resolve begin to crumble. 

“Give me a few days, I can’t promise anything but I’ll look into it when I go by the Compound tomorrow to make my usual rounds.”

“Thank you.” The feel of her mouth against her skin was all she needed.

Vex tried to fight down the laughter caught in his throat but couldn’t help the slight snicker that escaped. Bo might be a powerhouse of a Fae, but sneaky she was not. The second he was informed that the naughty minx was downstairs having a little check-up with the doc he knew there was scheming afoot. Bo would rather let her own limbs rot off than willingly step foot in his club again and they both knew it, if this was a normal run of the mill illness or injury she would have presented herself at the Light Fae infirmary and demanded the good doc be brought to her. Coming here was a sure sign that whatever she was up to she didn’t want the Ash finding out about it, and what an up to it was too. 

They all knew Bo wouldn’t be able to live without her little menagerie at her beck and call. Sure she still had the doc to play with but the other two had gone walkabout and that was a few distractions light for the succubus, it was just a matter of time really before she started trying to gather all her little toys back up. Now, the real question. What to do with this little tidbit of scrumptious gossip? 

The ever demanding Morri-hag had wanted to be kept in the loop about anything he might pick up about the Light, but Bo Bo-kins wasn’t exactly a Light Fae now was she. The doc, while a Light pet, was currently in his care which made her technically part of the Dark, so really he was under no obligation to go running to mummy with this little bit of news. Not that he would have gone running even if he didn’t have a list of semantics to hide behind. But still. Appearances needed to be kept up and all if he wanted to stay in the good graces of the Elders.

On the other side of the aisle he could report back to the Ash that his naughty doc was getting up to old tricks again, but that might lose him his medical privileges. He could negotiate, maybe lose the doc but gain something else just as novel, he didn’t want to lose the level up he got when the Light came to him specific like with this new idea of theirs. He wasn’t sure what he could ask for, but it wasn’t like he was inhibited or anything the second an idea presented itself he would stake his claim, right and proper.

A quick call to the compound got him the news that the Ash was out for the day on important business. He could have left a message but now that his mind was set on it he just wanted to get his reward. Who else could he go to? Who else had the juice to give him a hand-shake deal that would have to be honored when Lachlan wandered back into his office? 

The Blood King was the stuff of legend but at the same time that was a bit of an issue in and of itself. He let his influence fly away when he let himself be relegated to the history section and while more people were in the know now than they were before that didn’t change the fact that if something happened to Lachlan before his deal came down the barkeep wouldn’t have the pull with the Elders to get him seen to without outing himself. Something he had to say there was no guarantee of either way. 

Leaving out dog-boy who was busy playing big wolf on campus out in the woods with their newest recruit, there was really only one other option. The siren. He had the blood, the political pull, all he really lacked was the spine. A few prods here and there would get him moving though. Decision made he grabbed his leathers and headed towards the police station, he had a detective to visit.

Lachlan lamented that they had to take his car to drive down to see Dyson and Kenzi, but Tricks little hatchback wasn’t big enough for him to squeeze his near six feet into. His 1953 Buick Roadmaster Skylark was a thing of beauty, though his little friend had mocked him for having a mid-life crisis so young, if anything happened to it in these be damned backwoods he was going to take it out of someone’s hide. Then he’d take it out of Trick’s vault accounts. If he had a decent sized car, his would still be in the city where it belonged.

He knew he wasn’t really worried about his car, though he wasn’t joking about the hell he would rain down if anything so much as scratched it, he was simply worried in general. He wasn’t worried about walking into the wolves den so to speak. Not only was Kenzi an Omega, a subset of wolf that was known for being docile but also according to Dyson lack of control was not Kenzi’s problem. If anything her problem seems to be an over abundance of control, if she didn’t learn to let go a bit more only then would problems arise. 

No, he was worried that something would happen to the two of them before they could get there to help shore up their defences. While Dyson was certainly capable, he was by no means a one man army, and that’s exactly what it sounded like they would be up against. An army. Or at least a pack. 

Packs were tricky little devils, so enmeshed in the hierarchy and being good little cogs in the overall machine they tended to adopt a kind of group think to them. No beta would ever step out of line enough to question an Alpha without a damn good reason, and with an Omega in the mix he didn’t think there would be a good enough reason for anyone to speak out against the attack they all knew was coming. 

He knew panicking wouldn’t accomplish anything, but that didn’t stop him from pressing his foot heavier against the gas pedal. The sooner they got there the sooner he could convince himself all of his worry was really just his overactive imagination, he didn’t allow himself to remember at the moment that he didn’t really have one of those in the first place. That wouldn’t accomplish anything either.

Trick could see the worry eating away at Lachlan but he also knew there wasn’t anything he could say that would make him feel any easier until they arrived and saw both Kenzi and Dyson with their own eyes. Just as he knew his own worry would only abate once he clapped eyes on his old friend and the girl who had somehow wormed her way into his life and his heart with her irreverent ways and easy smiles. 

Dyson was familiar with the way the packs of olde would operate, but his concern was that there would be a recent adaptation that he would be unprepared for. The way packs survived so well was by adding in new ways with every generation, they would honor the past but embrace the present while chasing the future, that was their motto and they took it very seriously. Any wolf who did not contribute was treated very poorly until they absolved themselves in the eyes of the pack through some form of sacrifice. This made them the kind of opponents no one wanted to face.

Dyson would protect Kenzi, and Kenzi would protect Dyson of that he had no doubts. What he did doubt was that those protections would be enough to save them both until he and Lachlan could arrive and offer their assistance. He could only pray it would be. As they turned the last corner onto the dirt road that would take them to Dysons’ cabin and immediately ran over a covered thin rope of barbed wire set to slow any incoming cars he felt the now familiar feeling of dread begin to press down on his lungs, prayer wasn’t going to be enough. They were too late.

Kenzi felt ridic’ running around and around in circles going from one side of their cabin to the other, her wolf simply would not take over. She knew she was failing and she knew Dyson was watching her fail and that was just making everything that much worse.

Arghhhh! Why couldn’t she do this? She understood the whole process, in theory at least, she’d seen Dyson do it over a dozen times in the last three days. Why couldn’t she do it? Pushing herself to run even faster she hoped that if she was exhausted enough it would all just happen on its own without her having to do anything about it. Not that, that theory had worked for her so far, but a girl could dream couldn’t she.

She knew that if she could just get out of her own headspace things would work out, she could see it in the way Dysons face would light up just before his shift washed over him. It was like he just let go of everything in the world around him and sank into a welcoming embrace. Which she supposed the wolf side could be, if you weren’t so terrified of it all. She wanted that, she wanted to be like Dyson, picking up her pace again she watched the world around her blur by her mind moving even faster than her legs.

Dyson watched as Kenzi pushed herself into higher gear. He knew he had to take a step back now, he could have told her why her shift wasn’t taking hold, but this was not one of those problems that could be solved by the simple telling of it. If Kenzi was ever going to be able to call on her wolf side without her life being in mortal danger she was going to have to work this out on her own.

Thinking of her wolf as a separate being, as an alter ego that could come out and protect her when the going got too rough, was not the way to merge with her other side. The only time her shift was going to become a natural progression for her would be when she finally let go of this separatism in her mind and acknowledged that she was the wolf and the wolf was her.

Being a shifter didn’t change who you were, your wolf side wasn’t diametrically opposite to your human side. The two complemented each other, balance and counterbalance. Your wolf was you, only it was your raw instincts, your gut without your mind getting in the way. It was feeling without the block of logic, for the wolf the world was always black and white. Right and Wrong. Predator and Prey.

Kenzi’s main problem was that she kept letting her human brain stand in the way of her new wolf heart. She kept over thinking things and tripping herself up. She had to move past that before they could ever leave this cabin. A wolf who couldn’t shift at will wasn’t just an easy target, but a danger to those around them. 

Not shifting when you want to doesn’t mean you don’t shift at all. 

You could only cage your baser instincts for so long before they fought you for control and won. Shifting wasn’t the problem, controlling that shift was.

Beginning to shed his clothes he rushed towards her, his wolf keeping pace at her side. Come on Kenzi, just let go.

Kenzi kept stealing glances over toward D-man in his furry form. The guy was mag-a-licous as a cop, but as a wolf he was rockin’. She was so focused on watching the movement of his muscles as he ran on all fours, her mind drifting to how freeing it must feel to be so strong, that she nearly missed what happened next.

Something, she wasn’t sure what, came flying from the trees and slammed into Dyson’s hind leg hard enough to force him to skid across the dirt trying to stay on his feet. A soft low keen rending the air as he skidded to a harsh stop.

Her instincts had her crouching low to the ground, eyeing the tree line for any visible movement or disturbance, as she slowly made her way over towards her downed protector. As she got close enough to see the damage, and the blood, she saw that the projectile was really a knife. This was a deliberately debilitating wound, one that wouldn’t kill only incapacitate. If anything happened now and her instincts forced her to flee she would be going alone. There was no way Dyson could even limp on that leg let alone run with it.

Silently thanking her lucky stars for all the wolf lessons Dyson had insisted on when they’d first began this journey of theirs in the wilderness, she knew that if she could get him inside and pull the knife out then he would be fully healed in under an hour. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. Too bad lemons were always so damn sour, this was going to be far from a walk in the park.

Sensing no movement from the trees she began to drag the downed wolf towards the door of their home, being as gentle as she could without losing speed. The fact that all he could manage was a pathetically pained whimper had her new found hackles rising. Someone would pay for this! Dyson was pack and no one hurt her pack. No one hurt her Dyson.

Closing the door behind them she fortified their position, doing everything on Dyson’s checklist that he’d shown her the first day they arrived. Barricading all the doors and windows, making sure that all the available weapons were within easy reach, sending out a text to Trick to come running with the cavalry, check, check, check. Of course at the time they’d been worried about a more known enemy and not a shadowy coward hiding in the woods. This should keep them out regardless.

Quickly double checking her handiwork she finally deemed the cabin safe enough that she could turn her attention more fully to Dyson. While she knew that the wound wasn’t lethal, at least not to a shifter, she also knew that she needed to do everything she could to get him back into at least partial fighting shape before whoever threw the knife came back for round two probably throwing something else. She needed Dyson to at least be strong enough to fend off an attack against himself, she would take care of everything else.

School was over, it was finally graduation day.

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