Title: Mad World
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters Showcase does. I'm just borrowing.
Author's Note: I followed the events of season 1, but then I took inspiration during the hiatus and started taking creative liberties with season 2. There are some things that are the same, but I've changed some key points. Nadia is in the story, but not for the reason the show originally portrayed.
Summary: Season 2 with a few creative liberties, The Ash is dead, the Light Fae are divided, and the Garuda isn't the only evil hoping to capitalize on the instability. This new evil forces Lauren to reveal why she is bound to the Light. Can Bo and Lauren find a way to work our their differences and finally be together?
" How much longer are we going to be hunting under Fae? My bruises have bruises AND I'm tired!" Collapsing beside Bo Kenzie laid her head down on the bar until a glass full of some amber liquid was placed next to her.
" Until the Ash recovers, or another Ash is chosen." Hale offered sitting next to Kenzie looking equally exhausted.
" How is the Ash? Any news?" Bo asked. Mostly because she wanted some news on Lauren. It had been almost a month since she had seen the blonde haired doctor. No more calls or messages that had nearly blown up her cell phone following their night together. They hadn't left things on any sort of solid ground the last time they had seen each other. Possibly because they both weren't sure if it was the last time they would see each other. Bo was off to fight her mother in a battle that almost did claim her life. And Lauren was looking after dozens of injured Fae Elders after a brutal attack. They didn't have time to talk about their relationship. All Bo had was the memory of the kiss Lauren had given her.
" Nothing new. He's still in a coma last I heard." Trick's voice broke Bo out of her musings and into the present. Trick wasn't sure if any of them understood what it meant that there was no Ash. That since the attack the city had all but emptied of Light Fae. Dark Fae were roaming around unchecked, there was no balance anymore. And it was only a matter of time before the Morrigan would make an official attempt to seize the Ash's seat of power.
" So this is going to continue?" Bo asked tiredly. She had been in more battles in the last few weeks then she could count.
" I'm sorry Bo."
" The Ash is dead." Came a sudden and surprising statement from the entrance to the Dal. Everyone looked up and saw Lauren standing hesitantly in the entry way. Not entirely sure if she would be welcome among those she had once dared to call her friends. Her place among them was always uneasy, she was friends with them because of Bo and she and Bo were no longer on speaking terms. Lauren knew better than to expect any of them to choose her over Bo.
" How?" Trick asked.
" His body couldn't take the injury. It just gave out." Lauren explained slowly venturing in. Mainly looking at Bo for permission to stay, relieved beyond words when Bo kicked out a stool for her. Lauren had just come from the Ash's compound where is body still was. There were protocols to be put in place for the death of the Ash. Even the Morrigan was to be notified that the Ash was dead. They were sworn enemies, but there had always been a lingering respect between the Ash and the Morrigan. After feuding for centuries and finding a way to co-exist it seemed only right that she should know.
Lauren had informed the remaining Fae Elders, she had even mourned a little. For five years the Ash had been her boss, her protector, and dare she even say it, her mentor. He had taught her everything that she knew about the Fae. He had been the stability in her life, with him around Lauren knew that she didn't have to worry about her place in the Fae world. He had trusted her enough to allow her to speak for him. Without him, she could be put to death immediately.
" What does that mean?" Bo asked, probably not realizing how loaded the question she was asking was.
" Preparations have already begun for the Stag Hunt to select a new Ash." Lauren reported accepting the drink offered by Trick and draining it in a single gulp.
" Stags? In the city?" Kenzie asked in disbelief.
" It's a nod back to ancient times. The Stag is actually a Fae. Usually one that has committed some crime against the Fae and their punishment is to be made to run in the forest while a bunch of Ash hopefuls chase after them." Hale explained.
" They hunt down a person?" Bo asked no trying to hide her disgust.
" Ancient rituals have their benefits Bo." Lauren said. She looked them all over, they all looked exhausted. The doctor in her demanded that she do something, tell them to all go to sleep and that whatever horrors they had faced or would face could wait. But she knew that even if she told them to all go get some much needed rest that few of them would leave. They were a small group trying to keep the peace in a turbulent world. Possibly all that kept the Fae world from crumbling into madness.
" So the Ash will be decided by whoever manages to kill the…stag?" Bo asked.
" It's the custom. They have to do it quickly. The Ash's seat cannot stay vacant for long. The Morrigan would love a chance to have it."
Bo had just gotten used to the way that things ran in the Fae world and she didn't particularly like that she might have to meet a new Ash. Not when she didn't even like the last one. Bo looked at Lauren, for the first time really looked at her, and saw the way Lauren was looking back at her. Cautious. After their night together and the disaster that had happened after words Bo could understand why Lauren might be a little cautious.
" What does that mean for you?" Bo asked. Lauren was surprised at the question, instinctively reaching for the necklace that she wore hidden underneath her shirt.
" My agreement was with the Ash. But my arrangement extends beyond his life. Just because the Ash is dead doesn't mean my obligations to them are done." Lauren said sadly.
" No one owns you." Bo statement. Laurens heart clenched at the words. The same words Bo had whispered to her before.
" It's been a long night. I think I'm going to head home and try and rest before the next Under Fae decides to show up." Hale said walking towards the door.
" See you tomorrow." Bo waved.
" I should go too. I just wanted to let you know about the Ash." Lauren said standing up and leaving without another word.
As soon as Lauren left the Dal, Bo turned back to find both Trick and Kenzie staring at her. Neither of them needed to say anything their looks said it all. That she should go after Lauren. But the truth was Bo wasn't ready to forgive Lauren for what she had done. The pain still lingered from it. Lauren had slept with her on orders from the Ash. Whored herself out to her master, just to throw Bo off the scent of Vex.
" How much longer are you going to punish her?" Kenzie asked.
" Punish her? I'm not punishing her. She's the one that made the mistake! Not me." Bo argued defensively.
" Bo, what she did was keep you safe. If you had gone after Vex the Morrigan would have killed you." Trick said. He didn't quite feel comfortable butting into Bo's personal life. Who was he to give advice to a young woman that he had just met. Though her importance to him would, for the time being, have to remain his secret. He couldn't have Bo knowing why he had such an interest in her until she was ready. And she wasn't ready yet.
" So I should just forget the fact that she slept with me not because she wanted to but because she was told to. How am I supposed to trust her again, she made me feel things, like I could maybe have the chance at a normal life and then she took that from me." Bo knew deep down that the idea of a "normal" life wasn't something that would ever be available to her. She was a Succubus, they didn't simply get 9 to 5 job and have kids and go to PTA meetings. Still, it was nice to get the glimpse of it when she had flirted with the idea of being with Lauren.
" Maybe you should hear her out. Instead of allowing what you think she did govern your actions." Trick offered with a shrug. From what he knew of Bo, he knew that no matter what she said she would need to make up her own decisions. She was too independent to be told what to do. But if she was listening to his advice then he would at least voice his opinions for her to weigh.
The Ash's Compound – 2:32am
Lauren woke suddenly, the kind of sudden waking that Lauren knew immediately something was wrong. Opening her eyes it took several moments for the familiar features of her bedroom to come into focus. Reaching blindly to her nightstand where she found the hilt of a knife waiting for her. It had become habit keeping a knife nearby, though she'd never had to use it. Hearing the stairs leading to her bedroom creak at being disturbed at such an ungodly hour Lauren become more convinced that someone was coming towards her. Though it seemed foolish to be frightened, the Ash's compound was one of the safest places to be, Ash or no Ash. The security on the compound was impregnable on a bad day, on a good day…she shouldn't be worried. And yet she was terrified.
When her bedroom door finally was pushed open, the sound of the wood scrapping gently against her carpet filled the room. Lauren was prepared for anything, an Under Fae somehow managed to infiltrate the compound. Maybe it was a Light Fae who had finally decided that now as the time to act against the Human doctor. Despite her position as a slave, Lauren had often times been given authority to order Fae around.
" Lauren." Relief flooded Lauren's entire body when she heard Bo's familiar voice. Setting the knife back on the nightstand Lauren switched on the lamp letting a soft golden glow fill the room. Bo looked as she had when Lauren had left, tired and beaten down. Throwing the covers off her body Lauren stood, feeling the cool air bring goose bumps to her flesh.
" Bo? Is everything okay?" Lauren asked looking at Bo's features for any sign of injury. The doctor in her taking over.
" Yeah, I'm fine. I just…I guess I should have called first." Bo commented. She hadn't thought about coming to Lauren's. She'd just driven and that was where she had ended up. After leaving the Dal, Trick's words played over and over again in her head. Listen to what Lauren had to say, it was the only way that Bo would know for sure if there was still something salvageable about their would-be relationship.
" No! It's fine."
A long awkward silence followed, neither knowing what they should say yet having so much to say. There were so many sentences that Lauren tried to start but when the words touched her lips she couldn't force the words out. All of the excuses, all the reasons that she wanted to say all sounded stupid when she tested them in her head. Finally deciding that if they were going to talk it shouldn't be in her bedroom, it should be somewhere they could sit and truly talk. Decisively taking Bo's hand in her own Lauren led Bo down the stairs into what was affectively her lab and her living room.
" I don't think I've ever been inside your house." Bo commented trying desperately to break the awkward tension that was so foreign to their interactions. It had been the first thing that drew Bo to Lauren, how easy it was to just open up and talk to Lauren. It had also been what had hurt the most. Lauren inspired trust, she was trustworthy, and it wasn't anything specific that she did it was just how she was. The aura that she presented.
" It's not much, but its home." Lauren replied appreciating. It was actually lavish in comparison to what she could have. She'd seen some of the other slave quarters, and she was lucky.
" Although I'd say this crosses the boundary of bringing work home with you." Bo said with a smile, breaking the tension.
" Unfortunately, I don't get days off. Even when I'm not in the lab I'm expected to produce results." Lauren offered, though there was no bitterness in her tone. It astounded Bo to no end how Lauren had seemed to make peace with being a slave. Lauren didn't wallow in pity, she didn't seem to fight her lot in life, she was a slave, and from everything that Bo had seen Lauren was okay with that.
" I'm sorry."
" Nothing to be sorry about. Coffee? Or something else?" Lauren asked walking into the kitchen. She had a relatively well stocked kitchen of anything that might be needed. It was one of the perks of living at the Ash's compound. There were people that went shopping for her. While it seemed like it was a luxury that someone would do that for her, Lauren knew that it was not meant to be one. It was so that she would have as limited interactions with the human world as possible. So in many ways Lauren wouldn't know what she was missing. Still though, it kept her well stocked with everything she could possibly need.
" Got anything stronger?" Bo asked Lauren nodded and reached for her liquor cabinet, producing a bottle filled with Fae whiskey. Not to be taken lightly but Lauren knew that both of them were going to need some sort of liquid courage if they were truly going to have the conversation Lauren guessed they were about to have.
" What are you doing here Bo?" Lauren asked finally.
" You know why I'm here. You're the one who wanted to talk." Bo said defensively.
" The Ash never told me to sleep with you Bo. That was my choice. And I don't regret it. I regret that it was the Ash that had sent me to you. That I wasn't brave enough to come to you on my own." Lauren finally started. It seemed like as good a topic as any, the elephant in the room that they needed to address. The fact that Bo thought that she was a whore at the bidding of the Ash was hurtful, though Lauren could see where Bo would get that idea.
" But you were still sent to me to keep me from going after Vex, and because of that an innocent woman is dead." Bo fired back.
" I wanted to keep you from going after Vex because I knew what the Morrigan would do if you went after her favorite. Bo believe me you would be begging for death by the time the Morrigan was even half done with you. You still are so naïve to the world of the Fae. Things like justice, and right and wrong are blurry lines. A lot of good Fae have died for what they thought was right. Justice may have been for Vex to be punished for what he did, and for that woman to not have died. But justice is dictated by the Ash and the Morrigan. They make the rules the rest of us live by." Lauren explained.
" I don't live by their rules." Bo stated.
" And it's a miracle that they haven't killed you yet. Bo, no one has ever declared themselves unaligned before. I looked it up after you declared yourself. No one has looked at both the Ash and the Morrigan and chosen to be among humans. I don't know why they haven't killed you yet, but you walk such a fine line Bo. I had to protect you." There was desperation in Lauren's voice that Bo couldn't miss.
" I can look after myself."
" You think that someone like Vex is the worst thing that you could possibly go up against? The Morrigan has Fae under her command that define the world nightmare. There are Fae that even the Morrigan and the Ash are afraid of. You are strong, you are one of the strongest Fae I have ever come across but you aren't invincible. Why is it that you can look after everyone and risk your life day after day but you won't accept anyone else doing that for you?"
Bo took a healthy sip of her drink and felt the liquid burn her throat and warm her from the inside. It was good stuff, smooth and dangerously delicious. She had expected that all the anger that she had felt in the moment, all the hurt, to come rushing back to her. But instead Bo was grateful. Aside from Kenzie there weren't many people who had her back. Knowing that Lauren had at least attempted to protect her, even if the way she went about it was wrong, it was still comforting to know.
" Do you remember that day in your lab. After we…" Bo stopped, seeing a faint blush come to Lauren's face at the mere mention.
" I remember."
" You said that we were well on our way there before, that we would have actually made it there the Vex situation hadn't rushed things."
" I remember saying that." Bo looked down at her hands, fidgeting with her nails while she tried to build up her confidence enough to ask what seemed like such a simple question. It seemed pathetic that a succubus, with the power to seduce even the most devout monks was afraid.
" Did you mean it?" Bo barely recognized her voice. The confident woman was gone, she sounded now more like a scared child than a bad ass Succubus. Unable to look at Lauren, Bo kept her eyes trained on her nails. She needed a manicure. And then Lauren reached out and she grabbed Bo's hand.
" I did. I still do. You think you're the only one that feels this? You are a succubus Bo, basic survival instincts I should be terrified to be in the same room with you. But I knew that first moment I saw you, when I took you to my lab that you weren't going to hurt me. I trusted you, before I even knew you."
" Do you think it's possible for us to get back there?"
" I think right now, we need to work on rebuilding our friendship. I hurt you Bo, I know it, and I regret it so much. I want you to be able to trust me. And once that happens again, if I can gain your trust then we'll see where we go from there."
" Just friends?"
" Just friends."
" Okay." It seemed ridiculous for Lauren to be asking Bo to just be friends. Bo may have a heart of gold but she was still a succubus. " I'm exhausted."
" I have a nice comfy guest room." Lauren wanted to offer her bed but knew that the temptation for both of them would be too great.
Thank you for reading! Please let me know what you think!