Author's Note: Oh my god, you guys are absolutely amazing! After I posted about my story being stolen, I received so many reviews and PMs of support, many from guests and people I didn't even know were reading this! Some people who reported the person don't even read Tortura, but they are fellow writers and wanted to help. I even had some people from tumblr helping me because they heard about it from a post there a friend of mine made. I can't thank everyone enough! Thank you thank you thank you THANK YOU times infinity! After I posted the note here, the stolen version of my story was removed within less than 24 hours! I had been trying to get that done for days and it took you all less than a day :) I really do have the best and most loyal readers. You guys are truly incredible. I was so happy when I logged on the next day and saw the stolen story was gone, and all of the messages of support I got, it made me smile from ear to ear. It's such a relief. I can actually relax and get back to writing. Instead of this person discouraging me from writing by stealing my story, something better came out of it; I got to see how many of you love my writing which encouraged me to write even more. Unfortunately, this story being stolen wasn't the first time it has happened to me, the same thing happened about 4 years ago when I used to write for Legend of the Seeker with my story "Powerless." I was in shock that it had happened to me again.
To thank you all in the best way I know how, I present to you the next chapter! I stayed up until about 3am last night to get this ready to post today to show you all how much I appreciate you and everything you did for me.
For Canada, I hope you guys enjoyed last night's new episode. For the US, season 4 premieres tonight so Happy Lost Girl Day! & for the UK, you guys will have season 4 premiere very shortly :) And for everyone else, I'm sure most of you have seen it by now, but enjoy it when it premieres in your country too! And don't forget this season also featured 4 web episodes (aka webisodes) which you might be able to find on you tube. The Kenzi and Bruce one is my favourite.
Okay enough of my rambling, hope you guys like the new chapter! :)
"Oh god Lauren, that was amazing!" Kenzi moaned, leaning back in her chair, thoroughly enjoying the food Lauren made.
"I've heard that before from somewhere," Lauren glanced at Bo, a smirk playing on her lips. Bo smacked her jokingly on the shoulder.
"Wow doc, am I rubbing off on you? Good one," she leaned over the table to fist bump the blonde who eagerly returned the gesture.
Bo's eyes shifted between the two at the friendly exchange, surprised by the interaction. She decided not to bring attention to it or else they may realize what they just did and go back to squabbling like little kids, which was apparently unavoidable as Kenzi reached for another muffin right after Lauren had told her not to. The blonde intercepted Kenzi's hand with the pancake spatula, not wanting to grab the girl's arm for fear of bringing on flashbacks.
Kenzi's mouth dropped open at the woman's gal. "You cook me all of this food and then you won't let me eat it? I thought I was done being tortured," she huffed, unsuccessfully attempting to maneuver her hand around the culinary instrument.
"I'm trying to help you. If you eat too much after not having eaten anything in days, you'll just throw it all back up," Lauren explained her persistence in not letting Kenzi eat anything else.
The girl withdrew her hand, conceding. "Okay, I see your point," she jutted out her bottom lip. "But I am still hungry."
Lauren smiled softly. "I know, but you have to take things slowly. I made more than enough food so that you have leftovers to warm up later. The only thing you've taken into your system in the past two days has been Trick's tea. Before that you had nothing for days on end. We need to ease your body back into eating solid food. Your body has had nothing to digest for a long time, eating too much will shock your system and cause you to vomit." Kenzi scrunched up her face at the thought of it. She was definitely no stranger to throwing up with the amount of alcohol she drinks, but that doesn't mean she likes it either. "I also made you a fruit smoothie to have for lunch, it's in the fridge."
"When can I have pizza again?" Kenzi asked. Bo smirked at her best friend's priorities.
"Give yourself a of couple days to adjust, then you can go back to eating as you normally would as long as you feel up to it," Lauren answered as she got up to start putting the food away incase Kenzi's will power decided to fade again. "I do have to admit, I am impressed with how skinny you are considering how much food and alcohol you consume."
"Russian genes doc," Kenzi gloated. "Don't be hatin' just cause you're jealous of my mega-metabolism." Seeing Lauren cleaning the dishes and wrapping up the leftovers, she asked, "need any help?"
"I'll help her Kenz," Bo offered, knowing the younger woman didn't really want to clean dishes anyways.
"Cool," Kenzi started walking backwards toward the living room, "while you two do that, imma catch up on some much needed tv-time," she hiked two thumbs over her shoulders in the direction of the television, before turning back around. Walking around the side of the couch, she was about to take her seat on the cushions when something else caught her attention, her body going rigid.
Bo stuck some muffins in a ziplock bag to keep them fresh and away from any rodents that may find their way into her home through any number of holes in the old building. She paused, her eyebrows scrunching up in confusion as to why she didn't hear the tv turn on yet. At the very least, she should hear Kenzi cursing at the television for not working properly. She looked in her roommate's direction who was staring intensely at one spot on the wall. "Kenz?" she asked cautiously, quickly returning to her friend's side. "Kenzi? What's wrong?" concern laced her voice. She shifted her focus in the direction Kenzi was looking, her heart dropping in her chest; Kenzi's eyes were fixated on the hole in the wall her body had created when the tortura threw her into it. She immediately knew where Kenzi's thoughts had taken her. Bo stepped in front of the girl, blocking her view of the broken boards and the dried blood. "Kenzi, listen to my voice. You're okay, you're safe." She watched as Kenzi's glazed eyes slowly came back into focus, blinking rapidly to help clear them.
Kenzi's eyes shifted around the room, trying to discern reality from her imagination. Almost instantly a hollow smile was placed on her face, her voice unsteady. "Actually on second thought," she started backing away towards the stairs, "I think I'm going to go back to bed for a bit. I didn't really sleep well last night. I'll catch up with you guys later." Before anyone could respond, she darted up to room.
Bo sighed heavily, putting her hand on her forehead in frustration before running it through her hair. "How could I be so stupid?! I should have patched that up ages ago," she grumbled to herself. If she had fixed the hole in the wall, then Kenzi wouldn't have had another episode and she would still be downstairs with everyone enjoying herself instead of being upset and locking herself away in her room.
"When?" Lauren asked, coming around from behind the counter in the kitchen. She had watched the whole thing, choosing not to intervene unless absolutely necessary. With Bo and Kenzi's close connection, Bo had a better chance of reaching the young woman than Lauren herself did.
"What?" Bo asked, thrown from her self-deprecating thoughts by the unexpected question.
"When would you have had time to board up the wall? When you were gathering clues to find Kenzi? When you were fighting the Torturas to save her? When you were worried sick while she was in a coma? When you held her while she slept? When Bo?"
"I should have-" Bo started again.
"When?" Lauren interrupted her. "You can't blame yourself for everything that Kenzi is going through. You didn't have time to fix it before, but you have time now. So instead of beating yourself up over this, do something about it," she encouraged her. Bo was a person of action; she needed to do something productive to help the situation.
"Right," she nodded, "but I should talk to Kenzi first."
The brunette moved towards the staircase, but a gentle hand on her arm stopped her. "Actually, do you mind if I go talk to her?" the doctor asked.
Bo hesitated, knowing Kenzi didn't open up to many people and Lauren was definitely not on that list of people. Then again, Kenzi had closed herself off from Bo last night after her nightmare, so maybe someone different to talk to would help. What did they have to lose? "Sure, just let me know if you guys need anything." She watched the other woman walk away.
Kenzi heard a knock but didn't even acknowledge it as she sat on her bed with her back to the door. She grunted in annoyance, hearing the door open without her giving permission. "Bo, I'm fine, you don't have to keep checking-" Kenzi began, turning around. She stopped, surprised to see Lauren standing there instead of her best friend. "Oh, sorry doc, I thought you were Bo."
"It's okay. I just wanted to see how you're doing."
"You here to report back to Bo?" Kenzi automatically suspected that the succubus would have wanted to make sure she was okay for herself.
"Not if you don't want me to," Lauren worded herself carefully.
Kenzi hiked up an eyebrow at her, "I know you're a medical doctor, but are you trying to go all psychologist on me?"
Lauren chuckled, "no, trust me when I say I'm not qualified to do that."
"Trust you?" Kenzi remarked snidely.
"Kenzi…" the blonde sighed, not wanting to get into this with her right now.
Kenzi held up her hands in surrender, "sorry doc, I didn't mean that. I mean, you're the one who patched me up right? If you wanted to sabotage anything you had plenty of opportunities to do it." Lauren just listened, knowing that in her own way, Kenzi was trying to apologise. "Ugh, nothing is coming out right!" she announced in frustration. "My mind is a jumble right now. My brain and my mouth don't seem to be on the same page," she drew her knees up to her chest, leaning back against her headboard.
The two stayed quiet for a while, Lauren moving to sit on the edge of the girl's bed. She was happy when Kenzi didn't protest. A repeated loud banging noise caused Kenzi to jump, "what's that?" She tried to appear composed on the outside, but Lauren knew the sound had rattled her.
"It's just Bo patching up the hole in the wall downstairs," Lauren answered calmly.
Kenzi listened to what must have been a hammer striking a nail. "She doesn't have to do that," she mumbled. If Bo was boarding up the wall, then she obviously knew what had upset Kenzi and in return the succubus would be upset with herself that Kenzi was upset and it was just a huge mess.
"She wanted to. She knows it would make you feel better."
"It's just a hole in a wall, the crack shack has hundreds of them; why would one stupid hole bother me?" she brushed it off.
"Because it would bother me if I was you."
Kenzi's eyes darkened, hugging her knees to herself tightly. "And what the hell do you know about what I went through?" she seethed, angered that the blonde would try to assume she knew what Kenzi was going through. No one else was there, they had no fucking idea what she went through! The physical agony, the mental games the Torturas played with her, the despair, abandonment, the thought that she was alone again, and then watching Dyson and Bo sacrifice themselves for her, thinking that her only true family was dead, killed before her very eyes.
Lauren immediately backed off, "I'm sorry, wrong choice of words."
"Ya think?!" the younger woman said sarcastically, ready to kick the doctor out of her room.
Lauren placed her hands in her lap, looking down at them, "that banging downstairs, the sound startled you didn't it?"
Kenzi studied the unsure expression on Lauren's face. She wasn't happy to be called out on her jumpiness, but there was no use in denying it. "Yeah, what of it?"
"Well, it scared me too," she admitted softly.
Kenzi shrugged with her uninjured shoulder, "it was a loud noise, it would have scared a lot of people who weren't expecting it."
"For most people, it would have surprised them, but not for us." She finally looked up from her lap to stare into Kenzi's slate blue eyes. "It scared us, well and truly frightened us."
Kenzi's anger subsided, curiosity winning out. She knew why she was afraid, but why Lauren? "Why?"
"It's called a trigger. A certain sound, sight, touch, smell or even the taste of something can bring on memories we don't want to relive. The memories come back so strong, we think we're there in the moment, and those same emotions we had then, come rushing back." She became fidgety, not having spoken about this for years. "For me, it's loud bangs mostly. Smoke used to set me off, but over time I overcame it."
Kenzi slowly let her legs slide out, her defenses coming down. "What happened to you?" she asked, sympathy evident in her voice. She knew what it was like to lose herself in unwanted memories and she wouldn't wish it on anyone.
"I was deployed to Afghanistan as an army doctor," Lauren responded simply, knowing that alone would explain a lot.
"Shit," Kenzi exclaimed sitting up cross-legged, her eyes going wide.
"The things I saw while I was there, the noises I heard…gunshots rang out night and day, explosions going off in the distance and up close, people screaming as they clutched their wounds most knowing they wouldn't survive. Many would come in with limbs dangling uselessly from their bodies or missing them altogether. Seeing that look in someone's eyes, that look that says they don't want to die but they know it's inevitable, they know that no matter how hard I try they will still die without their loved ones by their side, and seeing that look in hundreds of men and women's eyes over and over again," unshed tears swam in her eyes. "As a doctor, you think you've seen it all, but you have no idea until you've seen a war."
Kenzi shifted over towards Lauren during her story, her legs hanging off the side of the bed. She placed a hand on Lauren's back, rubbing circles to help ease her pain. "You did what you could Lauren. You made sure those people who did die, that they didn't die alone. You were there for them, and despite the casualties, you saved so many others who still owe you their lives."
"Thank you," Lauren smiled. An empty laugh escaped her lips, "I never thought you would be the one comforting me."
Kenzi smirked back, giving her a similarly surprised look, "me either."
"I just want you to know that you're not alone Kenzi."
"How did you get past your triggers?" Kenzi asked, a small hope forming inside her that it was possible.
"It takes time. Avoid situations that are likely to set you off. For me, I never went to barbeques because of the smoke and I stayed as far away from all Fourth of July firework celebrations as possible. But it's impossible to avoid everything. You will have to learn how to get back into social situations that may have certain triggers, you can't hide forever. Make sure you have someone with you in those types of scenarios who understands and can help you through it. Just take it slow, there's no rush. Rushing into things will only make it worse. Your brain will slowly get used to the fact that what your senses are telling you are not only linked with that one incident that happened to you in the past." She moved her hand to rest over Kenzi's. "While I've gotten better, it hasn't completely gone away yet, and it may never fully go away. To this day, I still panic when I hear a car backfire. But that doesn't mean I can't still live my life the way I want to live it."
Kenzi nodded, understanding her meaning. "I just wish things could go back to how they used to be, before all of this nonsense."
"I know. Things will get better, you'll see," Lauren reassured her.
"Thanks Lauren," Kenzi told her genuinely.
Lauren smiled, "you're welcome." She scoffed at herself, rolling her eyes, "I haven't even told Bo this yet."
"Well thank you, for telling me," Kenzi smiled appreciatively. "And I won't tell her anything, scout's honor!" she made a symbol with her hand.
The blonde gave her a skeptical look, "were you ever even a scout?"
"Pssshhht," Kenzi waved the comment away, "who needs the scouts when I already aced survival skills 101 on the streets."
"Can't argue there," the oldest of the two replied.
Both women heard another loud bang followed by a string of curse words coming from downstairs. Kenzi smirked nudging Lauren, "go help Fix-It Fae down there before she really hurts herself."
Lauren laughed heading towards the door, "I need to leave for work soon, but Bo will still be here so just come on down when you're ready."
Kenzi smiled as Lauren closed the door behind her. She never would have imagined the methodically cold doctor would have been the one to comfort her and connect with her on a level no one else in their group could. Learning a bit of Lauren's past and knowing what it's like to survive and recover from such a traumatic event gave Kenzi a newfound respect for her.
Bo stood back, inspecting her own handy-work. Sure the boards were a bit crooked and one of the nails was bent, but she got the job done and it definitely looked better than most of the clubhouse.
Lauren pointed at the bent nail, "would that be the one you were swearing at?"
Bo looked sheepish, "you could hear that?"
The blonde nodded. "Don't worry about it, Kenzi found it amusing," she smiled.
Bo groaned. "Well I'm glad you two could find entertainment in my pain." She put the rest of the nails away in a small box, clicking it shut. The hammer lay next to it on the table. "On a more serious note, how did it go? Everything okay?"
"More than okay I think," Lauren mused to herself. "It went surprisingly well. We talked for a while and she's feeling better now."
Bo squinted her eyes at the doctor, "you two talked…like adults?"
"Yes we both behaved."
"Interesting," Bo said slowly, "and also very cryptic."
"I'm sorry I can't tell you more Bo, I don't want to betray her trust. It's not exactly easy to get in the first place."
"I know," Bo agreed, letting the other woman know she understood. "One thing her past seems to have taught her repeatedly is to never trust anyone," she frowned wondering, not for the first time, exactly what had happened to her best friend before she had met her.
"She'll be okay Bo, she's a lot tougher than most people give her credit for," Lauren reassured her. "I'm leaving for work soon and I won't be back tonight. I think you and Kenzi need some alone time. If she wants to talk to you and I'm around, she might just close herself off because she doesn't want me to overhear it. I don't want her to feel uncomfortable in her own home. You can always call me if you need me."
"Thanks, I'll be in touch," she promised, hugging the blonde to herself. "And please be careful at work. Despite Trick's warning to him, I don't trust Lachlan to stay true to his word."
"I promise," Lauren said, bidding the brunette farewell.