I own nothing...alas.
INTO A DREAM
In the week since the fight with the Garuda, and nearly dying, and her arm glowing, Kenzi had been avoiding the world and everybody in it. She wasn't taking any calls, wasn't having fun roomie time (and really, Bo was mostly with Lauren anyway), and wasn't leaving the house—or her room for that matter. It wasn't something she liked to admit often, but being human sucked. A lot. And more than anything else, she was terrified of what was going on with her body.
What had started out with a little red-hot glowing pain in her arm—which, after nearly bleeding to death and being sucked into a mirror-world with Baba Yaga, and being poisoned by a basilisk, wasn't that big of a deal—was quickly becoming a severe issue. Her entire body felt like it was on fire, and she was beginning to do things she shouldn't be able to. Like see golden auras around people—a few of the fae had strong ones, but some didn't. Some humans had bright glowing ones that surprised her, while some had none. Not only that, but every time she fell asleep, she went to a dark place where a giant spider's web stretched out for miles, and millions of water droplets rested on the gossamer. Each droplet, when touched, played out like a movie, or a dream. She'd stumbled onto some featuring her friends (and some not her friends), and she was always surprised at how strange and illogical things seemed to be. It was enough to make her avoid sleeping. Besides, she hadn't been able to stand spider's webs since she'd been bitten and nearly shot Bo.
Currently alone in their home, she contemplated what the Norn had meant about a gift. Was it a gift for her or a gift for the Norn? The look on the woman's face—the disbelief—could go either way, and the cryptic, riddled statement A gift has been given was just as ambiguous. "Choices, choices," she whispered and then hissed as her entire body throbbed in pain.
Considering her luck—survivor or not—she was probably looking at some serious payback for attacking the sacred tree of the fae with a chainsaw. The green-loving crone who bathed in eau du peat moss had said as much.
The way Kenzi saw it, she had three real options. She could go to the Norn and demand to know what was going on, which, all things considered, really wasn't a feasible option. She could go to Trick, but telling Trick would lead to telling Bo, would lead to telling Lauren, would lead to Hale, would lead to Dyson...if she was lucky enough for it to be in that order. She grimaced; she really didn't want D-man to find out. She couldn't deal with either of his predicted reactions. Finally, she could wait it out, and if it ended up fatal, well...she could deal with that too. Sort of...if she didn't think about it too hard.
Death by burning green gloop wasn't exactly one of the ways she'd predicted. She'd predicted being shot, stabbed, beaten, freezing, and starving. Of course...that was before Bo. Now that she thought about it, burning green gloop wasn't all that ridiculous when compared to Baba Yaga and basilisks. Honestly, of the three, gloop might be the easiest way to go.
That thought wasn't as comforting as she was hoping.
A surprisingly sharp pain lanced through her torso. She groaned and flopped over on her stomach, unable to get comfortable on her fluffy bed.
There was no denying it. She was going to to have to risk going to see Trick. She'd just have to swear the Blood King to silence. Or intimidate him...she might need to take along her chainsaw.
She sat, shivering despite the heat pouring off her body, in the basement of the Dal. Bo and Lauren were nowhere to be found, Hale had been too wrapped up in a nearby nymph to notice her sneak in, and Dyson was brooding at the bar. Probably over Bo, which was fine with her for the moment. A broody Dyson wouldn't notice her slyly motioning to Trick to meet her downstairs.
"Kenzi...what's going on?" He sounded far more put-out than she would prefer, but she had his full attention, which was what she needed.
"I'll tell you, Trickster, but you've got to promise to keep quiet about this. Please."
Trick frowned suspiciously, but nodded all the same. He didn't want to waste too much time on this, and Kenzi felt bitterness well up inside. It was easy for them to occupy her time with their end-of-the-world doom and gloom pity parties, but when she was facing her own crisis, no one had the time of day.
A deep breath reminded her that that errant thought wasn't true. They'd always pulled through for her, and he didn't know what was going on.
"Okay, so like, a few weeks ago, right after Ciara's funeral, I went to the Norn with Dyson..."
Trick's eyes were wide now, and he was all ears.
"Yeah. Um...so afterwords, when the stupid hag was so mean, I went back...with a chainsaw."
He groaned. "Kenzi, what did you do?"
"What I had to! I got Dyson's love back, but...I might have spilled something. On my arm."
Trick looked at both of her arms, which were covered completely as usual. She rolled up her sleeve, revealing angry red skin. She continued with her story. "The Norn...she—she said something about a gift being given."
"What's going on? What are your symptoms?"
"Pain. Lots of pain, spreading over my body. Weird dreams. I'm seeing people glowing too."
"Describe the stuff you spilled."
"Dark green. Thick. Bubbled and ate through her floor."
Trick closed his eyes.
"What! What is it?" She was in full panic mode now, and she knew he had answers—or at least a theory.
"I'm not sure yet, but I'll find out. When did it start hurting?"
"I didn't really notice it until after the fight with the Garuda. What do you think it might be?"
"There are about twelve different things it might be, and none of them are good. Why did you wait to come to me? Or Bo?"
Kenzi looked down, and it her lip. "Trick...it's always me who screws up. I..." She teared up, hating to admit it, but the words haunted her. "It's like Dyson said. I'm so bloody human, and I should have learned by now not to mess with things. I...I didn't want to prove him right...again."
It was a cold hard truth that settled into her stomach, and she took a deep, shuddering breath to still the storm inside.
Trick frowned at her. "Kenzi, he didn't mean that."
Kenzi rolled her eyes, and scoffed. "Yes he did, Trick. He meant every word, and what's more, he was right."
Trick sighed. "I know that you feel that way, but Dyson didn't mean it. He respects you, especially after all you've done for him."
Kenzi looked down. "Maybe," she whispered, too uncertain.
Trick looked at the young human who believed herself to be a liability, who had no clue about her worth, who spent so much time trying to prove herself, never realizing how valued she was. Of all the people in his corner, he'd never had to doubt Kenzi's loyalty or her dedication to himself or any of those she counted as friends. Kenzi was a force to be reckoned with—she'd taken on the Norn with a chainsaw and won. It saddened him to see her so defeated and feeling so small. To his way of thinking, if Dyson had done this damage, he needed to fix it, but he'd made a promise and he wouldn't hurt Kenzi by breaking it.
"Give me a few days. I'll see what I can find. Meanwhile, why don't you have a drink?"
Kenzi smiled weakly. "Thanks, Trickster."
Dyson sat nursing a beer. He hadn't seen Kenzi in nearly three weeks. Bo was the only one who had mentioned seeing her, and only in passing, though he'd seen Trick's face when Hale had mentioned it. A tight look that tried too hard to go unnoticed. Trick was hiding something, and that bothered Dyson. Deeply.
There was no reason he could think of that Kenzi would be avoiding everyone unless something was wrong. But Bo didn't seem worried.
Glancing back at the succubus, he nearly snorted. Bo was too wrapped up in the doctor to notice anything, let alone if Kenzi and Trick were actively hiding something.
Hale hadn't mentioned the human again, much to Dyson's surprise, but then Hale was focusing his attention on retelling his part of the recent battle to as many beautiful women as possible.
Dyson took another sip of his beer and though about what was really bothering him. The whole situation itself was sketchy; Kenzi rarely avoided the Dal, and she hadn't set foot in it as far as he knew for the better part of a month. On top of that, he didn't like thinking of how he was the only one concerned—or else the only one left out of the loop.
The last he'd seen of her, she'd been walking out of the bar to get some fresh air while they were celebrating. She'd looked tired, worried, and haunted, and while he'd thought about going after her, he'd stayed to be near Bo. Now, he wished he'd followed Kenzi, which seemed wrong...or right. He couldn't quite figure out which one.
Somehow, as his love had re-entered his body, it had shifted...or they'd been separated too long, but whatever had happened had caused a change. Once the blood bond had been removed, his interest in Bo had faded too. He wondered if it had been a blood thrall all along, as often as he'd healed an injured Bo.
Instead, his wolf focused solely on the tiny human woman. At first, it had been a promise to keep her safe after everything she'd done for him. And everything she'd done for him had gotten him thinking about how wonderful she really was. And now that she'd been absent from his life for weeks, he found himself craving her company—her sarcastic wit, her surprising intelligence, her insight, her soft smiles, her eyes, her boots, and the legs those boots usually encased.
At first, when he'd first recognized the signs, he'd wanted to stop them; shut them off. But now that he had them, he didn't think he could. Two questions were plaguing his every thought. What was going on with Kenzi, and what would he do once she really was gone, in fifty or sixty years time? How was he ever going to survive without her in his life?
So when she'd walked into the Dal a few minutes later, nervous and trying to avoid them all, he promised himself that he wouldn't let her out of his sight. Not until he had some answers to those questions.
A few days turned into a week, which turned into two, before she'd gotten a call from Trick to come back to the Dal for more questions. By this time, the dreams had gotten worse and more detailed. Everyone now had an aura around them, but ranging in colors, rather than just golden.
Arriving at the Dal, found her quickly in Dyson's company. Again, Hale was chatting up some girls—pixies this time—while Bo and Lauren cuddled on the couch. Dyson had claimed to want a decent game of pool, and she'd complied, so long as she could talk to Trick first.
"What do you need to talk to Trick about?"
"Nothing," she said, a little too nonchalant. Dyson caught the lie for what it was.
She didn't like that. She'd had two weeks to contemplate just why Dyson's opinion of her mattered so much more than anyone else. Even more than Bo's. It had been like shoving a pair of pliers into her mouth and extracting her molars, but she'd finally come to a conclusion earlier that very afternoon. She was in love with him—in an all-encompassing, serious, give-the-man-babies kind of way that had her almost as scared as her stupid arm. But the wolf-shifter, she was sure, would never see her for the woman she was. He'd never see past her humanity, and he'd never see past Bo. And, she was sure, he'd never see her as anything more than the screw-up he thought she was, which did hurt more than her stupid arm.
Trick motioned her quickly, and with over-exaggerated haste, to the bar. Dyson, intrigued, would not leave it until he knew everything. Honestly, some days she found him nosier than the Ash, which would have been insulting if she'd said it out loud.
She made her way to Trick's downstairs rooms, and Dyson followed despite no invitation. Trick raised an eyebrow at her. Kenzi gave a long suffering sigh, and bit her lip. For once, she had no quick-witted quip to get Dyson off her back.
For his own part, Dyson squared his stance and crossed his arms. His body language screamed that he wasn't going anywhere. He seemed almost protective.
Kenzi just nodded to Trick.
"I've narrowed it down to two things, with only one being the main possibility. Now, these dreams. Do they involve spiders in any way?"
"Not really spiders, just a huge web."
"Drops of water on the web count?"
Trick just nodded, already asking his next question. "Do these drops of water have images in them?"
"All of them. They're all different, and they change every night."
Trick nodded, and seemed to relax, while Dyson frowned grimly. He said nothing though, allowing Trick to continue his inquiry. "What about the auras?"
"Everyone has one, and they're all different colors, and different shades of colors. Honestly, very few are alike."
"Still here, but...more tolerable?"
Trick actually smiled at her. "Maybe it's going away. I know what this is."
"Oh thank honey oats!" She breathed a sigh of relief, and actually sagged down into the couch cushion, no longer able to hold herself up.
"What's going on?" Dyson asked.
Trick sent her a look saying do you want to tell him, or should I? Kenzi grimaced. This wasn't going to be pretty, but she'd rather Trick explain it.
"When Kenzi went to the Norn, something spilled on her arm. The Norn called it a gift, but Kenzi's been in terrible pain and has been having some weird dreams. It's taken me two weeks to figure it out, but I've finally found out what spilled on her."
Dyson looked at Kenzi, obviously furious. "Kenzi—"
"Don't!" She hissed. "Just don't! Don't stand there and tell me I'm so stupidly human, or that I ought to know better than to mess with things or that I'm too weak or what ever it is you're thinking! If you can't keep your thoughts to yourself, Kujo, you can go back upstairs."
She was so angry, she was shaking. But more than that, she was humiliated. Tears burned her eyes, and she stood up, walking away from him so he wouldn't see the pain in her eyes. Her nails scratched down the front of her jeans, but she kept her head high. She wouldn't break in front of him. She wouldn't break because of him. It didn't matter that she loved him; she wouldn't let him make her feel this way anymore than she already did.
Trick sent him a stern look, jerked his head firmly in her direction, and went back upstairs. He'd give them time alone, and then tell Kenzi his news.
Dyson cautiously made his way around to stand in front of Kenzi, but she kept her head down and turned away from him, refusing to acknowledge him.
Instead, Dyson sighed, arms still crossed. "Kenzi—"
"This isn't like Baba Yaga. I didn't mess with something that I..." she stopped there, refusing to go on, and then he understood. He remembered those cruel words he'd thrown at her in his irritation at being cursed. Words he'd forgotten in the heat of the moment, but words that had carved a mark on her as surely as her curse had carved a mark on him. He felt shame and guilt rise up, and let them take over for a moment.
His words had hurt her deeply, and that bothered him. She was his to protect, and he'd been the one to cause her pain. She was so strong and so unexpected. No one thought of humans as people or as being able to survive in the fae world. Kenzi disproved all theories, broke all expectations, destroyed all molds. And he'd tainted that in a careless moment of lashing out. It had been bad enough he'd lost his ability to love, but then to be cursed had been more than he'd been able to handle at the time. He'd never apologized to Kenzi for it, and she'd nearly died as punishment trying to make it right. Not only that, she'd kept his secrets from Bo after switching bodies, been concerned for him when he'd gone to see the wolf spirit, hidden under dead bodies to save him after the berserkers left, and then beaten the Norn at her own game. How could he not love her after all of that and all of those other little ways that enchanted him?
He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close. Her body was tiny and soft, but she stood like a statue in his arms. "You're brilliant, and kind, and wonderful, and beautiful, and I'm sorry if I've ever made you feel like you weren't all of that and more. You're so important to all of us, and you always seem to have an answer for our problems, even if you're human. You're my friend Kenzi, probably my absolute best one. What's more is I'm sorry that you got hurt when you saw the Norn." His arms tightened around her. "You should have told me. I would have helped you, because...well, human or not Kenzi, you're special. To me, you're special. I just want you safe. I want to keep you safe." He'd admitted too much, but still not enough. His heart was there, if she could see it.
Her arms came up around him, hesitantly, but she still began to return the hold, and her face turned in to face his chest, and he felt hot tears against his chest. "Don't cry, beautiful. I don't think I can take making you cry again. I know I'm a hard-headed ass, but I'll take care of you. Always."
She clutched him tighter, and a sob escaped her mouth. She shivered. "I'm so scared, D-man."
"We'll get through this and fix it. No matter what it takes. I promise."
The stood there for several more minutes, until Trick rejoined them. Even then, they still held each other. He wasn't letting go of her until they had a plan.
Trick didn't say or do anything to reveal his thoughts on their small intimacy. Instead, he started explaining. "From what I've read, what spilled on you was a mab's blood."
"Like Shakespeare?" Kenzi croaked out, confused.
Trick smiled. "Exactly. Mercutio gave a surprisingly accurate speech in Romeo and Juliet. Only, there was no Queen Mab, herself. There was a Queen of the Mab, Baedwyn. She was the last of her kind, some four hundred years ago, but gave up her fae half to save her human lover, David, thus becoming mortal. Her fae essence was trapped in her blood, which spilled on you. Mabs are known for being the guardians of dreams, living off of the emotions emitted while fae and human sleep. They reward and punish people through dreams. When the blood spilled on you, even in such a small amount, you began to take in the essence of the Queen. It's because it was such a small amount that you're experiencing such a drawn out...change."
"Change?" Dyson asked, arms still tightly wound around the small human—if that's what she still was.
"There's only one documented case of a human turning fae in all of history, and that's the transformation of Morgana le Fey into a Shade. It seems you're going to be the second."
"Qu'est-ce que c'est what?"
"Congratulations Kenzi, you're going to be fae. Not only that, you're going to be the only mab in existence."
Rather than looking at Trick, she stared up at Dyson's eyes, her brain all but ground to a halt. Dyson, conversely, could stop his brain from firing rapid thoughts. She was fae—she'd live for a thousand years or more. She wouldn't die on him naturally. She wouldn't die on him period. Now, all he had to do was keep her at his side.
Kenzi said nothing. She simply stood there for several minutes, staring into blue eyes. "Holy cats Batman...does this mean I'm going to have to pick a side?"
Dyson laughed. "Only if you want to."
Trick smiled. "I don't think either side will be expecting you to align yourself with anyone but Bo."
Dyson nearly growled at that, but there was too much joy in him just yet. Trick patted his arm as he made his way out again. They obviously needed to talk some more.
"What's got you wagging your tail Lassie?"
The dog jokes weren't even bothering him, he was so happy. "You."
Kenzi laughed. "No, seriously."
Dyson ran his hands up her tiny, sleek back. "Seriously? I think I'm being rewarded by the only mab in existence."
Kenzi rolled her eyes. "I made your dreams come true? How?" She was afraid he could feel her heart beating a fast rhythm in her chest. She didn't dare hope.
Dyson smirked, his eyes teasing. It was a look she'd seen on him before, when he was being snarky to her. But there was something else there, just below the surface. He didn't say anything, just dipped his head and rubbed his mouth gently over hers.
Warm heat splintered through her body, and blood rushed south. "Dyson?"She sounded so small and unsure, wanting—even then—to make sure that this was real.
"Let me kiss you Kenzi. I've been dreaming about it for weeks."
Kenzi's breath caught. "Well, I am in the dream-making business..." she whispered, and pulled his head to hers.
Please Review. This one was triply inspired by a. the finale, b. by R&J (which I'm currently re-reading), and c. "Out of My Dreams" by Shirley Jones/Rogers and Hammerstein from Oklahoma.