Kenzi had walked into bizarro world, there was no other explanation for why Trick was suggesting such a hair brained off the wall plan to her. This was obviously opposites day where bad plans that should never even be thought up were earnestly put forward as actual options to consider.
No. Not happening. If she shook her head any faster it might just pop off. No.
“Kenzi, he could help us, even with all my years of experience we simply don’t have the resources ourselves to try and make this work, not if you still insist upon secrecy. If I were to make inquiries about gaining some of the books I feel we truly need it would make waves throughout the Fae community and questions would be asked. If you want to survive this is what we need to do.”
“Fine. But if he turns us down, which he will if our past run-ins are anything to go by then we go to Vex for some book help from the other side of the tracks. Deal?” If they were being forced into a corner on one side, why not investigate that same corner (or close enough to it) on the other side. Twice as much info meant twice as much chance.
“Very well. Even if Lochlan does agree to meet with us it might be prudent to reach out to Vex regardless. The Norn while considered Light Fae does make deals with both sides so it may be possible that one of the more headstrong of their brethren tried to re-negotiate their own deals with her at one point.” Awww, look at Trick-ster trying to spare her feelings by not calling her an idiot by proxy, again.
She had been reluctant at first thinking that there was no reason Trick couldn’t just help her himself which was when he pointed out a very big reason why. The Norn was a heavy hitter and whatever she’d done to Kenzi however unintentional it might have been, even if they managed to find the answers in his back room of books, it might take too long to puzzle out on their own with just the two of them jamming for answers.
She’d waited on tender hooks as he made the call and explained the situation. She’d half expected him to turn them away, after all Bo wasn’t aligned with the Light Fae and even if she did lean more towards the Light than the Dark she hadn’t exactly been all that respectful towards the current guy in charge and Kenzi wasn’t even Fae at all, he really had no reason to help her. The only thing she could see that she had going for her was that this happened while helping a Light Fae enforcer. Unfortunately that might also be a strike against her, ever since Lachlan found out Trick’s real name he’d begun to question Dyson’s loyalty along with Hales. In the end it was pretty much a toss up.
“The meeting has been set for tomorrow morning. I will accompany you as your Fae intermediary and once Lachlan has heard your accounting of things and seen the damage done then he will decide if he will extend his resources to help us.”
“Thanks Trickster, I couldn’t have even gotten this far without you. Remember don’t tell Bo, I’ll see you tomorrow for what I’m sure will be a crow eating contest. Laters!”
Walking quickly to avoid any more questions from the obviously worried little dude she made her way home to Bo. It killed her having to keep secrets from her best friend but sometimes telling was the worst thing you could do.
Trick watched her leave, her old pepping step not completely back yet but he was happy to see at least a little bounce restored now that they had a new step to take together.
He knew Kenzi was right about the Ash, if he did decide to help her it was likely that he would make her eat a lot of crow first. They had both made major mis-steps in the eyes of the Light and their current head in particular.
He had never formally announced himself, choosing to tread lightly and stay out of Fae politics as much as he could. His perceived age alone would always ensure he was pulled in at least partially, and his role as proprietor of a waystation and granter of sanctuary pulled him in even farther. Though he had left that life behind many centuries ago he still held sway among the Light and even some among the Dark in the know, this made his refusal of counsel to the Ash a political and personal slap to the face. To now have to go to the man hat in hand would certainly be an experience.
Kenzi belonging to Bo who was unaligned made her need to go to the Ash for help something the manipulative old bastard wouldn’t be able to resist. He knew Lachlan would never try to harm Kenzi, not while she had so many light Fae of substantial standing backing her, himself included. Still he hoped that he would be able to find something before the morning came and they had to go down that road, even if it was the best way to help Kenzi.
Lachlan would never admit it but he actually liked the succubus’s little human. She was so small and fragile yet she never backed down. He remembered when his doctor had gone running to Bo for asylum and he’d come calling for her and even after his guard had taken her by the throat the brassy little girl had still refused to betray either of them.
Now as she stood before him with the Blood King at her side, a mere human, she kept her chin up and her eyes on his. Most humans who came before him pleading for aid even before his ascent to his current position did so on their knees, he got the impression this human begged for nothing. Her stance clearly said that no matter his decision it would not change hers, she would survive with or without his help. He liked that quality in anyone, but in a human it was something rare to be admired and applauded.
“Let me see your arms girl.”
As she stepped forward so did his guards not trusting her, the human of an unaligned Fae, close to him. He waved them off, knowing that she wouldn’t do anything to him, at least not while she still needed him. As he stared down at the arms she presented he actually felt moved to… pity for the poor creature. Their contrast was stark, one smooth and untouched by her encounter with the Norn while the other was a shaded mess of pain and misery.
She had sustained this injury while helping one of his enforcers to combat the Garuda and now she was paying a penalty for her bravery. For her to have bested the Norn was reason enough for him to help her, but he would not tell her so, at least not yet.
“Step back.” Now it was time to test her resolve.
“I will help you…” Seeing the hope light her eyes fringed by the weariness of someone who had known betrayal in their life he admired her even more, by now most would be gushing and thanking him not realizing he had yet to finish speaking. “If you kneel and swear your fealty to me.”
He did not believe she would truly do such a thing; the request was merely a test. A test of her loyalty, to see if her life meant more to her than the succubus she claimed as a sister of her soul to find where she tread upon that line. He got his answer quickly and it made him smile.
Just that nothing else, and it was spoken in such a level voice that it took his guards a moment to register the insult. Once they did they moved forward intent on knocking the girl to her knees. She did not move, did not blink, by now most would be backing away and trying to apologize for their words, but not her. She said what she meant and meant what she said, no excuses, no apologies, no regrets, which would serve her well if she survived the Norn. Just before his guards laid hands on her he lifted his arm to still them.
“I have decided I will help you, little human. Trick I believe you know the way to the library, there will be two Fae there to help you when you arrive. You may make use of my resources as long as you both follow the rules of the compound, I trust Trick will be able to explain them to you little girl. Leave me.” After they had left his office he smiled, she might be as great an asset as the succubus who claimed her, if not greater.
She knew she shouldn’t have said what she did when that Ash-hole had suggested that she defect from Bo’s side to his, but her good sense and her mouth weren’t always on speaking terms. As they made their way to the library she listened to Trick mutter beside her and knew she was in for an ear full when they finally made it behind closed doors. Sure enough she was right. The second the library doors closed leaving them in relative privacy Trickster turned on her.
“What were you thinking Kenzi? Yesterday you seemed like you knew and accepted that Lachlan would not make this easy on you but the first thing he says makes you lash out like a child. We are fortunate that he did not take offense as his guards did.”
She knew he was right but that didn’t stop a smile from tugging at her lips.
“What, may I ask, do you find so humorous about this situation?” His gruff words leaving her in no doubt that he didn’t find anything funny about what had just happened, but she didn’t care nothing could bring her down from cloud nine right now.
“He’s helping us Trick, I have a fighting chance now!” That one sentence seemed to drain all the anger out of her tiny little friend. Glancing around the large room with bookshelves piled from floor to ceiling she wondered where they were going to start. As though he’d read her mind Trick began to speak again, only now his voice was filled with resignation rather than anger. Their course had been set, now they simply had to stick to it long enough to get to the other side.
“First things first, the rules. This is a Fae compound Kenzi and just because you’re human that doesn’t excuse you from any wrongs done. You’ve always had the fact that Bo was unaligned protecting you from retribution in the past, now that you’ve come to the Ash for help that protection is suspended until his help is rescinded. While you are here you are subject to the same rules as everyone else, and consequently the same punishments for breaking those rules so you have to pay attention.” His hands were held out towards her as if he could grab her attention and hold it in place for her.
“Lay it on me.” This was her one chance and there was no way she was messing it up by walking around offending everyone who could help her now. These two Fae the Ash had assigned to them had to know this library fairly well to be allowed in here with them, they could be the ones that help her survive the least she could do was learn the house rules.
“Rule number one, you as a human cannot go anywhere without a Fae present. In this case it will be either myself or one of the two others the Ash has assigned to help us. There are places within this compound you simply cannot go and we will keep you from straying into those areas accidentally. Rule two, while you are within these walls Lachlan’s word is law, you cannot insult him again as you did before. He was lenient once, we cannot count on his mercy twice. Rule three, you as a human, cannot interfere in anything here no matter how wrong or unfair you believe it to be, just keep your head down and your mouth shut. Rule four….”
On and on the rules went some of them she thought were rather nitpicky and others were downright laughable, even still she paid attention and memorized each and every one. This was her best shot at survival and she wasn’t going to get kicked about because he opened her big mouth at the wrong time.
Lauren laid in bed beside Bo watching her lover sleep peacefully. She wished she could do the same but things had been weighing on her mind the last few days robbing her of rest. For nearly a week now she had been seeing Kenzi around the Ash’s compound. At first she hadn’t been worried but when she’d asked Bo how things were, she’d been cheerfully told that everything had been calm since the defeat of the Garuda. After that she’d convinced herself that it hadn’t been Kenzi she had seen. That maybe her mind had played tricks on her in her sleep deprived state. Two days later she had seen her again, and this time she had been sure it was her, the girl was hard to mistake even from a distance.
Thinking that perhaps Bo was in trouble after all and simply hiding it she did a little digging around in the records. She had been beyond shocked to find that Kenzi had been signed in by a Fae that was not Bo. As Bo’s claimed human for Kenzi to enter a place of the Fae under the protection of another was treasonous, and since Bo was unaligned for her to even speak to the Ash without permission just compounded the problem.
Fae were signed into the compound using only their initials, the superstition of names holding power was more than an old wives tale in this society so finding out who had brought Kenzi had been a bit of a challenge. She’d checked around the Fae data banks discreetly looking for a Light Fae with the right initials hoping that the name of the being would help her to understand why Kenzi would do such a thing. Finding nothing, she’d come to the conclusion she needed to tell Bo of Kenzi’s actions with this mysterious BK.
He couldn’t sleep again. Two a.m. found him working on his motorcycle in the middle of his loft. Dyson’s mind just wouldn’t rest; it was like his wolf was pacing like it sensed a coming storm. He had learned early in life that storms took many forms and make no mistake a storm was definitely on the horizon.
He wasn’t sure what to think any more, he had centered his entire life around his trust and loyalty for the Blood King and here he was questioning it all over a human he had only known for a few months it was madness. Though if anyone could drive him crazy it would be her. She had a way of getting under his skin unlike anyone else he ever met.
He was so lost in his thoughts he hit his knuckles for the fifth time that night. Cursing silently he jerked up from his crouched position on the floor and stalked back and forth across the floor, the rhythmic repetitive motion of it soothing his savage beast.
Trick assured him that Kenzi was doing better, that having a task to see to every day was good for her and he wanted to believe him.
Bo insisted that Kenzi was doing better that she had more life in her eyes since she began working with Trick each day to organize his vast library of books. While she wasn’t around as much during the day as before she was there was now a lightness in her step whenever she returned from a day of supposed hard labor.
Bo believed and he couldn’t help but agree that it was less the task itself that was helping their friend than it was the talking that must accompany it. Trick had told them from the beginning that Kenzi would likely need to talk out her feelings and that they should both just let her be until she was ready to share her mental burdens with them, though it seemed now that Trick was the confidant she had been waiting for. Perhaps he was simply what she needed, he had sought out the older man’s advice on many cold and darkened nights of the soul himself so he would never begrudge that chance to anyone else, least of all Kenzi.
He just wished he had been someone she felt she could turn to during uncertain times. She had certainly been by his side enough throughout their friendship he would have gladly returned the favor.
Maybe he could try to reach out to her like Trick had done, give her the opening she wouldn’t give herself. He would grab a pizza and head over to see her tomorrow, let her know in no uncertain terms that he would always be in her corner no matter what.
Deep down though he still could not shake that initial fear he had shared with Bo in the beginning when they had both begun to notice the difference in Kenzi. The fear that she was pulling away from the Fae world, from them. He didn’t know what he would do if she ever did truly leave, there wouldn’t really be anything to do. If Kenzi ever chose to walk away from them all, he would just have to accept it.
The sound of crushing plaster reached his ears before the pain registered. Looking up he found his hand embedded in the wall of his loft. Huh.