Ever since Kenzi had left Trick had been pouring over his books looking for something, anything that could help her. Night was quickly becoming dawn and he was no closer to anything that even vaguely referenced anyone confronting the Norn in any capacity let alone what Kenzi had done, he honestly believed there would be none to find no other would ever have dared such an action. No one besides Kenzi in a towering rage hell bent on protecting her friend.
When he heard someone coming down the stairs of his lair he huffed in annoyance, what now!?
“Trick!” It was Dyson. Normally he would welcome his old friend and any counsel he had to offer, but Kenzi had made her wishes clear and for now he intended to hold to them.
“Down here!” Moving quickly he covered up everything about Kenzi and her condition. Hopefully this would not be a long visit and he could get back to work without delay.
“I just ran into Kenzi and she said that you had arranged for her to help you here tomorrow. Did she tell you anything about what’s going on with her?”
He knew his old friend well and his shifty eyes told him that he’d smelled the deceit in Kenzi’s scent no matter how good at evasion she was and had come to him to investigate, to find answers that the girl had not given him. He was older than the wolf and knew well how to play this game, he would not be getting any answers out of him. At least not today.
“Yes, she came in shortly after you and Bo left, deciding to take my own advice; I made mention of her recent behavioral change and we spoke of it. I told her that coming here every day might help her.” He knew his vague answers would not satisfy the wolf, but Dyson knew better than to try and get answers from him that he was not yet willing to give.
“Is she alright Trick? I know that the two of you are keeping something from us but please, just tell me if she’s alright.” Deciding to take pity on his friend of old he did his best to alleviate his worries while still keeping Kenzi’s confidence.
“Time helps heal all manner of malady, I’m sure she is on the road towards recovery.” If he had anything to say about it she would reach the end of that road intact.
Kenzi knew she was getting on Trick’s nerves but she couldn’t help it. This book was full of interesting but way messed up factoids.
“Hey is the Morri-hag one of these Musai chicks cause I gotta say their Fae faces are wicked sparkly. I might like her just a bit more if she was that shiny.”
“No the Morrigan is a Leanan Sidhe, she feeds on talent that already exists within an artist. A Musai inspires anyone who comes into direct contact with it to near obsessive heights of creation, no matter their medium. They eventually become so obsessed with the Musai they either attack her and die in the attempt or kill themselves as tribute to her beauty and greatness.” Okay then, pretty but only from a distance got it.
“What about this Dickfellig, any way he could sue for a name change cause I gotta say school yards are tough enough without that hanging over you.”
“No.” Well that seemed unfair in the extreme, why should they be stuck with a name they had no part in picking out. Talk about your suck-a-tude.
Ewww. Basilisk, she already knew that little snake dude, no reason to dwell on that or him. Kappa, been there, faced that no ooze that she remembered. Mesmers were hand wavey but not drippy. Oh, talk about your skincare emergency what was this now.
“What’s a Hexenbiest?”
“They are the Fae equivalent to your human myth of witches. Highly temperamental and not to be bargained with lightly.” Witches sounded right up their alley right now. They could use a little magic.
“Could one of them help us with this mess?”
“Possibly, but it should be an avenue of last resort. Going to a Hexenbiest for help would be like going back to the Norn for help. You might get something, but it would take ages before you knew exactly what that something was and if the bargain struck was worth the price paid.” Okay then, strike the magic help off the table. For now. If she’d learned anything about making bargains in the long career of grifting it was that some deals should never be made. She wasn’t going to be some mark, too desperate for common sense to take hold. She had Trick for help, he would be enough.
“What about this spinnetod thing, it’s a kind of spider Fae maybe I got splashed with some bottled venom?” Finally he looked up. Maybe she actually hit on something this time.
“A spinnetod’s venom is quite corrosive, if that was what you had come into contact with there would be no guessing to it, you would have simply died. However there are other Fae whose venom is less toxic or more slow acting. I will try to come up with a list, but we need to be a bit more focused. There are far too many options for us to just keep turning pages in random books hoping to find the right answer, at this rate even if we did stumble upon the truth we wouldn’t know it since we’re not sure what we’re looking for. Is there anything else you can tell me about this substance?” Trying to think about that day the first thing that came to mind was that sinking feeling of dread that overtook her when the Norn laughed. She knew she was screwed.
“Not much. I mean it was black goo and some of it absorbed into my skin bef-”
“Only some of it?”
“Yeah I wiped some of it off, I thought I got it all at first but then the stain disappeared while I was looking right at it. Freaky.” He only hummed in response while looking thoughtfully through his bookshelves. Maybe he’d finally cracked the code. God she hoped so, this was getting so damn tiring she just wanted the answers to appear already. Turning back to her book of wonders and horrors she tried not to think too much about it. When Trick knew something he would tell her.
Oh, Kitsune’s look so cute with their baby fangs.
Bo walked into the Dal for the first time since she discovered her place in this world full of fear. Kenzi was pulling away from her, she could feel it, she had pulled away from enough people to know what it looked like and she just wanted it to stop. She just wanted everything to be alright again, back to the way it was before when it was her and Kenzi against everyone and everything else.
Now she had this “thing” with Trick and sure it was keeping her here in Toronto with her but she was never home. She would get up way earlier than anyone with any sane would roll out of bed and wander back home long after the sun had set. Once she was home she would shuffle around the house for about an hour only speaking when spoken to, and even then it would take a good three or four prompts for her to really tune into the conversations. She wasn’t playing her loud video games, wasn’t begging for a night out on the town, wasn’t drooling over some new shoes she couldn’t afford, she just wasn’t being Kenzi.
She knew Trick would have answers, he always did, she just wasn’t sure if she wanted to hear them. What if Kenzi was deciding to leave them, what if this slow slide away was her way of fading out of their lives. You don’t really miss things that haven’t been there for a while, she knew that more than most.
“Bo?” Shaking herself from her thoughts she realized that she’d been standing at the bar staring at nothing but bottles for a few minutes now. Not a good start to this conversation.
“Trick I want to ask you about Kenzi and I need you to be honest with me. What are you two doing every day, and don’t tell me sorting books Kenzi hates anything resembling manual labor, she wouldn’t be excited enough about that to be up and gone at dawn every day.” She watched him look down at the bar like the answers would be written there for him to read. It was the first time she’d ever seen him face a question without absolute confidence in his answer.
“We are going through my books Bo. While we do we talk about anything that comes up. At first it was just about what the books were about and any Fae questions she had but lately we talk about everything. I am trying to help her Bo, please believe that.” She could feel her shoulders relax as all her tension began to drain away. Talking. They were talking. Of course they were.
Kenzi needed someone to confide in who wasn’t so close to everything she would need to censor herself. Everything was going to be alright. She couldn’t wait to tell Dyson he had been as worried as she was.
Dyson knew he was being ridiculous but there was no reason for Hale to laugh for so long. This was really bothering him and he thought that his partner would help him work through it like he did with most of her other problems, that’s what partners were for, or at least he thought they were.
“Sorry, man but you have to admit this is kind of funny. This is Trick! You his loyal lap dog for how many centuries now are all but frothing at the mouth wanting to rip him limb from limb just because you think he’s keeping something from you about Kenzi. A girl you say yourself you can barely stand on a good day. Even you should be laughing about this one.” No he shouldn’t be and neither should anyone else.
“It’s not funny. Kenzi hasn’t really bothered me in ages. She and I have an understanding she behaves like the hyperactive manic sugar bomb she is and when it gets too much I pick her up and put her in another room. Only she’s not acting that way anymore. No more manic. No more sugar. She’s so subdued these days I can walk right past her and if it wasn’t for her scent I wouldn’t even know she was in the room with me.”
“So you’re upset because she isn’t jumping around you like a little chihuahua any more? Sounds like a win to me.” In the beginning it would have been a win for him too. Before.
“She isn’t being herself. She is a bouncing ball of energy. I want Kenzi back.”She was so in his face about everything for the first few months he just wanted her to go away so he could be with Bo without her commentary. But then she got poisoned by the basilisk and he saw her for who she was without all the distractions and twirling. She was just a scared girl doing her best to get by while the world was doing its part to drag her down. He never wanted to see her so defeated again.
“Yeah, lil mama has been off since the fight. We all see it, but it sounds like Trick is trying to help her man. It also sounds like you think he isn’t helping her fast enough. You want her to instantly snap back and be fine, but that just isn’t how things like this work. You have to give them time man.”
That wasn’t the problem, he knew it would take months if not years for Kenzi to really be okay again no matter which issue it was that currently plagued her. All the options were bad and lingering at this point. No what no one else seemed to notice was that she was hiding something from them and Trick was helping her. Neither of them were lying exactly, they just weren’t telling them everything and he knew deep down that what they weren’t saying was the most important part. The thing they all needed to hear. The thing he needed to hear. What they weren’t saying was how Kenzi was really doing.