Author's Note: Hey all! I apologise for not updating sooner. I have not given up on any of my stories. I mentioned this when I updated Broken Heart, Lost Soul, but for those of you who don't read that fic, my life just became very hectic between moving & unpacking, work, my masters program squeezed into a summer session complete with writing a thesis/proposal/dissertation and defending it in front of a panel, graduating from my masters (2 separate graduations, including one with a speech from the president! Even if you don't like Obama, I like having bragging right of saying I saw the president and he spoke at my graduation lol), having family fly out to visit, having my friend from London here for a month, job applications/interviews and my dog becoming very ill which isn't curable, but thankfully it's treatable. He's doing much better now. Hopefully now I can start going back to a normal update schedule for my stories.
Also, a side note, when I began writing this story, we had no idea where Kenzi's bedroom was in the clubhouse or what it looked like, so in order to keep the continuity in this story, I'm sticking with the original bedroom design and location I have in earlier chapters. For my other stories, I'll use her actual room (which is much better than my imagination envisioned it anyways).
I'm sure most of you have heard by now that season 5 is going to be the last season of Lost Girl. So yet again, I found myself crying over this show (which is so unlike me, what has this show done to me?! It didn't help when Anna Silk became teary eyed in the video announcement). I hope somehow that they decide to continue it, but I highly doubt it. At least it will continue to live on in fanfiction. Here's to hoping season 5 will be everything we ever dreamed of, and more.
Thank you all for sticking with me through this (long) journey. You have no idea how much I sincerely appreciate it. I spent a good deal of time writing this chapter on my birthday and I originally had intended on posting it then, but I realized a problem I needed to fix. I couldn't post it without making sure that it was resolved. I also couldn't think of a better way to spend part of my birthday than getting to write my stories. Enjoy! & as always, please review :)
Kenzi was on her third cup of coffee by the time Bo made it downstairs. The younger girl put on a smile, but Bo could still see the bags and dark circles under her eyes despite Kenzi's attempts to cover it up with makeup. "Couldn't sleep?" Bo asked, eyeing the steaming cup of coffee Kenzi was hunched over.
Kenzi waved off Bo's concern, "I just love my cuppa joe." She took another sip to reinforce her statement.
Bo wasn't buying Kenzi's act. She knew Kenzi wasn't sleeping much at night, her nightmares plaguing her. She just didn't know how to help her friend. If Kenzi wouldn't talk to her about them, what else could she do?
"It's not polite to stare," Kenzi brought Bo out of her thoughts, her ice blue eyes watching her over the rim of her mug. The succubus didn't even realize she had zoned out while still looking at Kenzi.
"Maybe Trick knows something that might help you get some rest," Bo offered.
Kenzi's eyes narrowed, "I don't need any help." She pushed her chair out, the wooden legs scrapping across the floorboards. She hastily grabbed her cup and headed back upstairs.
Bo sighed, watching her go.
Over the next few days, Kenzi progressively grew worse. Her lack of sleep caused her to become irritable. She felt like she was walking around in a daze, her mind foggy. She refused to admit she had a problem, making it difficult for anyone to help her. Kenzi was miserable, to the point where she couldn't even keep up her façade of happiness. She went through the motions of her day-to-day life, confined to the clubhouse, trying to avoid Bo, and drinking multiple cups of coffee throughout the day and night. She would fight off the sweet temptation of sleep as long as she could, until it eventually dragged her into the darkness. The nightmares continued, coming back each time she closed her eyes. She tossed and turned every night as she was faced with her worst fears, until she couldn't hold the scream in any longer. Bo always came running, trying to coax her back to reality and comfort her in any way she could. Kenzi withdrew further into herself, to the point of shutting Bo out completely.
"Her body can't heal itself if she's not getting any sleep," Lauren frowned, holding her phone between her shoulder and cheek as she carefully measured out a few samples in the light fae lab.
"Isn't there something you can do? Give her maybe? A pill, a shot, tequila, a shot of tequila?" Bo asked, frustration lacing her voice. She paced between the living room and the kitchen of the clubhouse.
"Bo, I understand your concerns, but I cannot force Kenzi to sleep against her will."
"Can't or won't?" Bo questioned.
"Won't," Lauren underlined. After she returned from her time overseas, she had experienced frightening nightmares just like Kenzi was now. She knew how difficult they were to face, and she refused to force Kenzi into them. "If I give her something to make her sleep, I'll be sending her right back into her nightmares, except this time, you won't be able to snap her out of it because the medicine will make her too groggy. She'll be stuck reliving her memories."
Bo paused, taking in the new information. She hadn't thought about it that way. The next time the brunette spoke, she sounded defeated, "I just want to help."
"I know you do Bo, but there's not much we can do. Kenzi needs to work through this on her own. Just be there for her in any way she needs." Lauren hesitated momentarily before deciding to insert her opinion based on her own experiences into the conversation, "she's lost and confused right now, her emotions are all over the place. She feels out of control, and for someone like Kenzi who prides herself on being strong and independent, it's scary. She just needs-"
"-time," Bo finished for her, sighing; it was the answer she had expected, but not the one she was hoping for. "Do you think a mare could be doing this to her? Like the one that caused me to have nightmares every time I fell asleep?" Bo silently prayed the bad dreams were caused by a mare, at least then she knew how to fix it and she had something tangible to fight.
"I wish it were that simple Bo," Lauren breathed. "You've never once found someone else in Kenzi's room in all of the times you've run to her side, have you?"
"No," Bo said, knowing where this line of thought was headed.
"You always get to Kenzi's room before she wakes up. A mare is present in his or her victim's room until their target wakes up; it's how they keep their victims locked in their nightmares and it's how they feed. If it was a mare, you would have seen it by now."
"Yeah," Bo reluctantly agreed. "I never saw the one who attacked me until Kenzi woke me up early from one of my nightmares to see the crazy bitch literally on top of me. If it wasn't for Kenzi, I may not have found out what was invading my dreams until it was too late."
"Bo, I wish I could give you a quick fix for this, but it's just not that easy," she apologized.
Bo stopped her movements to stare at the stairs, watching as Kenzi descended them, walking right past her like the succubus didn't even exist. She was surprised to see her; Kenzi had taken to staying in her room, only coming out for coffee, snacks, and bathroom breaks. Even then, she chose opportune times to enter the kitchen and the bathroom, namely when Bo wasn't occupying the space. "It's okay, I figured it was a long shot. Thanks Lo, I'll talk to you later."
Lauren took the hint at the abrupt end to their conversation, figuring Kenzi had just entered the room, "anytime. Bye."
Bo hung up her phone, sliding it into the pocket of her tight leather pants with a practiced precision. "Heya Kenz," she said softly, receiving no acknowledgment. Bo wasn't sure if Kenzi was ignoring her or just didn't hear her, but at this point she wouldn't be surprised if it was the former. The petite human lazily reached up into the cabinet, her hand flopping around until her fingers found the box of cereal she was looking for. She turned around, leaning heavily on the counter behind her. Bo could see how much effort it was taking her sleep-deprived friend just to remain standing. Kenzi was nothing if not stubborn, strong, and self-reliant; she would rather suffer to prove her point than to slouch down into the soft cushions of the couch that seemed to be calling her name. "Kenzi," Bo tried again, before being halted by a raised hand.
Kenzi held her free hand in the air, quickly swallowing the cereal in her mouth so she could speak. "I'm warning you now Bo, if the next words out of your mouth have anything to do about me sleeping, I'll go back upstairs." Her harsh tone told Bo she was serious, but her lack of sleep made her ill prepared to deliver a true Kenzi-style threat. She knew Bo had good intentions, but damn if she wasn't getting on her last nerve. When Bo wasn't trying to bring up Kenzi's sleeping habits, or ways to "improve" them, she was giving Kenzi unintentional looks of worry, concern, and the thing Kenzi hated most: pity. She had survived more shit than most people could even dream of. She was tough, she didn't need anyone's pity, least of all her sister's.
The Russian knew she needed sleep, she wasn't stupid, so she didn't need everyone constantly pointing it out to her, especially when she wanted to drift off so badly but the fear of the nightmares prevented her. The promise of peace always tried to lull her in, and sometimes it succeeded, but that peace never lasted long as she would be thrust into memories she would rather forget altogether. She felt like shit and she was sure she looked like shit too. No amount of stolen Covergirl could save her now.
Bo held up her hands in a gesture of surrender. "I come in peace," she smirked, hoping to ease the tension. Kenzi studied her for a moment, ultimately deciding the other woman would stay true to her word. She shoveled another handful of Honey Berry Crunch into her mouth. Bo took that as a good sign. "How's your shoulder?" she asked.
"Eh," Kenzi said nonchalantly. "It's okay. Slowly getting better. It doesn't hurt much anymore as long as I don't move it around too much." Her words were slurred and her voice was hoarse. Bo frowned, even something as simple as talking seemed to take a lot out of Kenzi. The Russian didn't offer anything else to the conversation, letting silence fill the void. She glanced up from her mid-day snack to see exactly what she was dreading. She groaned, rolling her eyes, "knock it off."
"What?" Bo asked innocently, honestly not knowing what Kenzi was referring to.
Kenzi waved her hand about in the general direction of Bo's face, "that! Your mouth says one thing but your eyes say another. You look at me like I'm a little kid who just found out her dog died. I'm fine Bo, just leave it."
"I…" Bo paused, not really sure of how to respond. She hadn't realized she was that easy to read, but then again this was the one person who knew her even better than she knew herself. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to."
"Whatever," Kenzi mumbled. "Just…" she sighed, rethinking her next words. "Forget it." She didn't even have the strength to argue. She left the opened cereal box on the counter, heading back upstairs to her room before she said something she would regret. She normally had no filter when she spoke, but right now, she honestly couldn't control her words. Her mind was cloudy, her movements slow and sluggish. Her legs shook as she walked up each stair, just barely managing to support her own body weight with the help of the railing and the wall. She collapsed on her bed with a huff, running her hands over her head once slowly, before applying more pressure as she rubbed her scalp faster repeatedly in frustration, growling loudly. Kenzi slid backwards slowly until her back was leaning against the wall. Her muscles ached with every move she made, the uncomfortable sensation reminding her of feeling as if she was coming down with the flu. She hated leaving Bo downstairs like that, but every little thing the succubus did seemed to just irritate the shit out of her lately. She didn't want to hurt Bo, and the odds of that happening increased greatly with every second they were in the same room together. It was best if she just stayed away from Bo until she could figure out how to control herself. Her heavy eyelids threatened to betray her as they drooped over her dry and burning eyes. She knew sitting on her bed was probably a bad idea, but it was so hard to stay away from it with its soft pillows, smooth blankets, and a mattress that molded perfectly to her body. Kenzi shook her head, trying to snap herself out of it. She could feel herself being pulled down, further and further until she had no choice but to give in. Staying awake actually physically hurt, and the mere idea of allowing some of her pain to ease was too promising to avoid any longer.
Flashes of images raced through Kenzi's mind as she shifted uneasily in her bed, sweat soaking her pajamas making the thin material stick to her body. She bolted upright, a scream erupting from her that made her throat sore. She breathed heavily, her white-knuckled hands gripping her blanket with everything she had. Her heart pounded in her chest, feeling as if it would break through her ribs. She stared straight ahead, her eyes unfocused as her mind was seeing other things. Silent tears leaked out of the corners of her eyes. She barely registered the sound of her door opening. She turned towards it, looking like a deer caught in headlights. "No," she whispered at the sight of Bo standing in the doorframe. She couldn't do this right now, she just couldn't. She didn't want to talk about it; she never wanted Bo to find out what her nightmares were about. Panic started to rise up in her. "Get out," she told Bo breathily.
"But," Bo started to protest, coming closer to the young woman, wanting nothing more than to wrap her arms around her and assure her that everything would be alright.
Bo's approach seemed to freak Kenzi out even more as she shouted, "get out!" The brunette stopped, conflicted over what she should do. "Out!" Kenzi yelled again, her voice breaking.
Bo started at the harshness in Kenzi's tone. She backed out of the room slowly, her glossy eyes glued to her best friend. She bit her lip, wondering if she was doing the right thing or not as she closed the door behind her with a soft click.
The second the door closed Kenzi released an ugly sob she didn't realize she was holding back. Her body shuddered under the force of it. Her hands moved to clutch at her head, fingernails digging into her scalp. She wanted to scream again, but she didn't want Bo coming back in. She couldn't handle Bo's questions and concerned looks while simultaneously trying to deal with the emotions she was feeling. She felt like the weight of everything that happened over the past two weeks was going to crush her. Her exhaustion had weakened her defenses, and only now did she realize how much. She held her hands out in front of her, examining them as they trembled. Her eyes travelled to her wrists. She let out a strangled gasp, seeing metal shackles on them, hearing the chains rattle as she brought them up higher. Kenzi shook her head, squeezing her eyes shut tightly until white dots clouded her vision. She hesitantly opened them, no longer seeing the bonds. Only the almost-healed cuts remained from the metal cuffs. She rubbed her wrists, making sure what she was seeing was real. It was just her imagination, a cruel trick her mind played on her. God, she needed to calm down before she began envisioning herself back in that abandoned warehouse. She couldn't allow herself to get lost in her memories, in hallucinations, not after she had already sent Bo away. Kenzi wasn't sure if she could bring herself out of it on her own. She needed Bo, but she kept pushing her away. She hit her head hard against her headboard, conflicted over, well, everything. She kept reacting in the moment, not fully understanding why she was doing what she was doing. Warm breathe tickled the back of her neck, causing her to go rigid. "I'm home," she said softly, her voice unsteady, "I'm safe." She took a deep breath, repeating her mantra. "I'm home, I'm safe. I'm home, I'm-" her breath caught in her throat when she felt a masculine hand roam down her arm, cringing away from the touch. Her eyes darted around the room; no one was near her. She curled into a tight ball. "I…I'm safe. I'm home. I'm safe." She focused on her words, attempting to block out the world inside her head. Her breathing began to slow down to a normal rate, her heartbeat calming as well.
Kenzi pushed herself up on shaky arms into a seated position on her bed, looking around her room to make sure she was actually alone. She looked over at the alarm clock on her nightstand, surprised at how late it was. Her anxiety attack felt like it had only lasted about fifteen minutes, but in actuality, it had almost been a full hour. She sighed deeply; her grip on reality really was slipping. She just wondered how far she had to fall before she could begin to get back up again.
She stood on weak legs, intent on making another cup of coffee to stave off the fatigue she felt coursing through her body. Her plans instantly changed once she opened her bedroom door, noticing a dark figure slumped up against the wall. She tensed slightly at the unexpected person before dropping to her knees to see if he or she was okay. Now that she was closer, the small amount of light streaming out of her room allowed her to clearly see that it was Bo. The older woman was sitting with her back against the wall, dried trails of tears staining her cheeks. Kenzi listened to her breathing, realizing that the succubus had dozed off. "Oh Bo," she whispered, frowning. Guilt ripped through her. Bo must have sat outside the door after Kenzi had kicked her out of her room, too worried to actually leave her but also trying to respect her space. Bo had slid down the wall, listening to Kenzi through the door, not knowing how to help her best friend. Tears of her own escaped her eyes as the sound of Kenzi's muffled sobs had reached her ears.
Kenzi pursed her lips, trying to push down the sudden lump in her throat. Her eyes momentarily looked up at the ceiling as she tried to maintain her composure before her blue orbs landed back on her sister. She had done nothing but push Bo away lately, when all she wanted to do was help. She hadn't realized until now exactly what her actions were doing to her best friend. Bo had been suffering right along with her this entire time. "I'm sorry Bo," she whispered, hating that she caused the succubus pain. She didn't deserve such a caring and loyal friend. Kenzi settled in next to Bo's sleeping form, scooting in close to her. She leaned her head to rest on Bo's shoulder.