I don't own anything you recognize. Only Nandi is mine as well as the storyline.
Kenzi woke up to a strange feeling of deja vu. She knew she'd woken up in the same place before, only this time she wasn't hungover and she wasn't alone. She smiled when she felt Nandi shift behind her and pull her closer. Kenzi ran her hand over Nandi's arm and felt lips on her shoulder.
"Good morning." Nandi whispered as she placed gentle kisses along Kenzi's shoulder and down her arm.
"Morning, what time is it?" Kenzi asked, she felt so refreshed and energized that she was sure she'd slept for days.
"Six o'clock, did you sleep well?" She asked and Kenzi turned around to look in her eyes.
"Are you serious? That means we only got about three hours of sleep. How come I feel like I could run a marathon?" She asked and Nandi chuckled before she kissed Kenzi's lips lightly.
"One of the perks of sharing a bed with a succubus in a giving mood. Haven't any of Bo's lovers seemed energized after a night with her?" Nandi reached up and ran her fingers through Kenzi's hair.
"I'd have to ask Bo about that." Kenzi said with a small smile and Nandi moved closer to rub their noses together.
"I hate to do this Darling but I have to get up. I have a busy day today." Nandi said as she sat up and straightened out the simple nightgown she'd worn to bed. Kenzi sat with her and moved to the headboard as she watched Nandi move around the room.
"What's happening?" Kenzi asked as she watched Nandi go to the comfortable leather chair in the corner of the room and put on the clothes that were set out there, surprised to see her put on a pair of lowrise jeans and a long sleeved t-shirt and stuff her feet into a pair of Vans. It definitely wasn't the outfit Kenzi was expecting.
"Cocoa and I have a meeting with Evony and that will last a long while. She and another high court Fae are worried about what's happening to my girls. So Cocoa and I have to go reassure them that we're doing everything we can. I wish I could stay and help you but I'm needed." Nandi explained as she got up and walked to the mirror, putting her long wavy hair back in a ponytail. She looked over and smiled she the expression on Kenzi's face. "I can't wear Chanel and Dolce all the time dear."
"It's just weird seeing you like this, not bad weird, just weird." Kenzi replied honestly and Nandi went to the bed and sat down.
"Appearances are important sweetheart. I'm Evony's advisor on all things human. She honestly has no concept of how her actions affect mortals so I'm there to give her the big picture and talk her out of wholesale slaughter. I've also been known to work behind the scenes when she has a power struggle." Nandi said before she placed a hand on Kenzi's knee. "I dress like this to remind her where I stand on the human issue, to show my solidarity. It also has the added benefit of offending her."
"Cocoa and Charles were supposed to show me around, give me an in depth tour." Kenzi said and Nandi bit her lip.
"I knew I forgot something. I'm sorry Kenzi but it seems you'll be on your own. N'Bushe will be with me for the meeting and Charles boarded a plane to New York this morning to visit family. Would you mind terribly exploring on your own. I feel like you might get more information that way and I can guarantee that everyone that can help you will." Nandi suggested and Kenzi nodded.
"Is there anything off limits?" Kenzi asked, wanting to know if there was anything dangerous laying around or hidden behind a door.
"Only personal rooms, but if you need to speak with anyone they'll be happy to let you in. I've cancelled all morning dates to let my lovelies rest and do whatever they need to to be happy and healthy. Is there anything else you'd like to know?" Nandi asked and Kenzi thought for a second.
"Is Simon dangerous?" She asked and Nandi sighed, feeling dreadfully sorry for her loyal and powerful friend.
"If you cross him or me, yes. I've never met anyone more powerful or skilled in his lineage. I've spoken to him about you and he's ready to meet with you. I must warn you that his appearance is quite...shocking...just know that his heart is a good one and he truly cares for everyone in this house, even if they're frightened of him." Nandi explained and Kenzi took a breath then blew it out.
"Why's Cocoa so freaked?" She asked and Nandi sighed again.
"N'Bushe comes from a very old, very superstitious clan. They still kill bloodmages when they enter their territory. It's an ignorant and barbaric practice and it colors how she views them. I'm trying to get her to see Simon's good points, but it's a very slow process." Nandi shook her head before she looked at the clock on the nightstand. "I'm sorry dear Kenzi but I have to go. Just remember that you have free reign of the house and do not be frightened of Simon. He's a gentleman and only wants what's best. I'll see you later my darling."
She got off the bed and gave Kenzi a long, tender kiss before she went out the door. Kenzi smiled and pulled the blankets off before she sat on the edge of the bed. When she looked down at herself she was still surprised by the way the nightgown she had on hugged her in the right places and the way the lace at the top stretched for some tasteful cleavage. It was definitely something she never would have picked out for herself but she had to admit that Nandi had a good eye when it came to clothing her. She also had a good eye for sizes since it fit Kenzi perfectly. She hopped off the bed, intent on a shower and a big breakfast when there was a knock at the door. Figuring she was covered enough she walked across the room and opened it up. Standing there was a beautiful, obviously, girl with long blonde hair, a perfect tan and bright blue eyes. She looked like every frat boy's wet dream come true and Kenzi wanted to be annoyed but the girl's smile was just too kind.
"Hi there Coral! My name's Lucy, I'm here to bring you to the wardrobe room, Nandi wants you to get some new clothes. Just get on your robe and slippers and follow me." She sounded so excited that Kenzi wanted to laugh. Instead she just slipped on some slippers she found beside the bed and her robe.
What happened next was like a scene from "Pretty Woman". While Kenzi sat in a very comfortable chair next to Lucy three servants came out carrying different outfits and accessories while Kenzi and Lucy picked which ones they liked the best while they talked about the house. The only time a smile left Lucy's face was when Kenzi brought up the rumors she'd heard about girls being sick. That was when Lucy told her how Lorelai, Danielle, Frieda and Marlo were the brightest, most vivacious girls in the house once. Everyone loved them and they were all poised to go further. In fact, Lorelai was engaged to a businessman, and kitsune, from Japan who had loved her for years. One day Lorelai and Marlo seemed ill and with blind desperation in their eyes and it just went downhill from there. Once Kenzi had a full wardrobe and had a brand new, tailored, outfit to wear she was sent out on her own and she decided to start at the bottom of the house and work her way up.
Kenzi had walked around the lower levels of the house looking for clues and talking to anyone she came across. She discovered that they were all completely clueless about what was happening so Kenzi decided that she needed to check out the different artifacts and sculptures spread out around the house. She found her eyes and her hands drawn to many of the beautiful and precious items. She was particularly drawn to a small stone sculpture of a woman wrapped in her own hair. Kenzi first ran her fingers over the smooth stone then clutched the sculpture in her hands and continued to walk, carrying it with her. As she turned a corner she suddenly felt like she wasn't alone and looked up to see a silhouette in a doorway.
"Hello Coral, I am pleased to make your acquaintance." Kenzi held back a scream of shock as the source of the voice walked out from the shadows. He was in the shape of a man with a severely hunched back and when she looked closely at his face she saw an overly prominent jaw with crooked, uneven, teeth and a sharp nose but those didn't shock her. What shocked her were his eyes. They were the size of golf balls, round and bulbous and the color of fresh blood. He was terrifying...until you really took a look at his face which radiated kindness.
"Hi." Kenzi said and he walked closer, still radiating kindness and goodwill.
"Nandi's taste continues to be impeccable, you're very special my dear. Old ones like myself and Nandi can feel it." He tried to smile but his crooked teeth made it look like a grimace. "You may call me Simon, I'm the bloodmage and loyal to all in this house."
"It's good to meet you Simon." Kenzi said as she looked him over and found herself fascinated by his hands which were much larger than a human's with long fingers with multiple joints and sharply pointed nails. She could see why Cocoa was scared.
"Nandi says you wish to know of the poor, unfortunate souls." He started and Kenzi had to bite her lip to keep from laughing as the image of Ursula from "The Little Mermaid" popped into her head. It wasn't the time or the place. "I am at as much of a loss as dear Nandi. I find nothing when I take their blood within myself and they smell no different than they did before the sickness. It is my hope that you find the answer dear girl."
"You know?" She asked and he touched his nose. There was no way of knowing who could be listening. The house was open and everyone was free to roam.
"I must be going dear Coral but, please, take this gift and keep it close to your heart." He said as he took her hand and placed something that felt like metal in her palm and wrapped her fingers around it. Covering her hand with his spider like appendages. "May you find what you seek."
He let go of her hand and walked toward the shadows while Kenzi opened her hand and saw that it was a small hoop of metal surrounding what looked like glass but didn't feel like it. Attached to the hoop was a long chain and she quickly took it and put it over her head. He said to keep it close to her heart and she wanted to take his advice.
Once Kenzi left the hallway where she'd met Simon ,and returned the statue to its rightful place, she decided to take a break from her snooping and went to Fred who made her the steak sandwich she was craving and a pile of french fries so high that they got their own plate. As much as she loved living with Bo she knew she'd miss this pampering. After years of conning and stealing it was nice to be taken care of so well. Once she finished her meal and a dessert of the best chocolate cake she'd ever had she resumed her search. During her discussions with the other residents of the house she'd discovered something interesting. No one seemed to remember that there was a top floor of the house. There were five stories and they all said there were only four. This proved to Kenzi that there had to be glamour cast on the floor so, after arming herself with the different amulets and wards she'd gotten from Trick and Nandi, she made her way up the steps to a dark, dangerous looking stairwell. Fighting every instinct to turn back she ascended the stairs and, after she took a deep breath, she opened the door and walked into a surprisingly bright room that covered the expanse of the house. It was like a penthouse apartment with a kitchen, a bathroom set against the wall and in the center there was a ginormous bed, almost as large as her bedroom in her house. She walked closer when she thought she saw movement then as she got about five feet from the bed she felt like she'd parted a curtain and suddenly everything in front of her changed. The giant bed was still there but it wasn't empty like she thought it had been. No, there was a mass of limbs, pale white, perfect tan, caramel and sickle pale and at the center of the mass was Crispin, the first of Nandi's lovelies to greet her. She must have made a noise because five sets of eyes turned to her and she recognized all of them, especially Frieda who looked even worse than she had the night before.
"Coral dear, I hoped you would join us. There's plenty of room here if you want to." Crispin smiled and she felt her feet moving forward before there was a sharp pain from the necklace Simon had given her. It broke the spell she was under and she blinked her eyes and saw Gracie looking at her from her spot on the bed. The cold hate replaced by a hot anger.
"Leave! You won't take this from me!" Gracie shouted before she picked up something from the floor and threw it at her. Kenzi didn't need to be told twice.
She quickly left the room, not even noticing the invisible curtain and booked it down the steps. She was amazed that she wasn't winded as she went down another flight. She didn't know exactly why, but she was freaked out by what she saw. She wanted to run and never stop running but a scream from the second floor caught her attention and she ran down the hall and found the source of the continued scream. When she entered the room her hand flew to her mouth as she suppressed a scream of her own. There was Danielle spread out on her bed with blood leaking from her eyes, mouth and nose while her face was locked forever in a silent scream.
Kenzi felt sick and upset, her skin turning clammy and her heart pounding in her chest. She needed to get out of there, tell Nandi and Bo what happened and when she turned from the corpse and the sobbing woman who'd found her she saw Crispin standing near the door flanked by Gracie and Frieda. When she looked into his eyes and Gracie's she felt her blood chill in her veins. Their faces betrayed no emotion at all, neither shock nor sadness. It was the last straw and she rushed out of the room, trying not to touch them. Once she was out of the room she dashed to her own and locked the door behind her before she ran to her bed and burrowed under the covers like she did as a child when she was sure the monsters were coming to get her.
Once she calmed down she reached a hand in her shirt and pulled out her gift from Simon. It had been hurting her ever since she encountered Crispin and his groupies. When she took it out she pushed the covers off of her and looked at it in the light. It wasn't clear glass anymore. No, it was red like blood with smokey strands of black moving around. What had he given her?
"Do you want some water?" Kenzi asked as she sat with Nandi in her private rooms. Nandi'd been there since she rushed home and saw Danielle. Kenzi would never get over the sight of Nandi holding Danielle's dead body in her arms, keening and sobbing. After her show of mourning Nandi rushed to her rooms and locked herself in, only opening the door for Kenzi and Cocoa who didn't question Kenzi's presence. After a long discussion between Cocoa and Nandi regarding autopsies and funerals and memorial services, Cocoa left and Nandi let herself fall apart as Kenzi gathered her in her arms.
"What I want is to know why this is happening! What I want is for Danielle, Lorelai and Marlo to be alive!" She shouted before she stood up and walked to the window. Kenzi watched her and allowed Nandi to rein in her rage before she stood and pulled Nandi to her again.
"I want that too and so do Cocoa and Simon. We're all working together and when Bo comes tomorrow we'll have an even bigger team working on this. I wish you weren't hurting so much." Kenzi said and Nandi looked up at her with tears streaming from her eyes.
"I'm so sorry Kenzi, I don't mean to put any of this on you. I just feel so helpless, so scared. Danielle...Danielle was my ward! She was as much like a daughter as any I could have. She was the only one of my lovelies that was not bonded to me, she wasn't even an escort. I couldn't feed from her and I never would have. Her care was entrusted to me and I...I swore I'd give my life for hers and I failed. I failed her and I failed all who had faith in me." She started to babble and Kenzi pulled her close again and removed her ponytail so she could run her fingers through Nandi's hair.
"You haven't failed, you aren't a failure and I have faith in you. I...care about you Nandi and I'll do whatever I can to stop your hurting and find out what's happening." She promised and Nandi pulled away again and looked pleadingly at Kenzi.
"It's not that simple anymore Kenzi. Danielle's father is Jean-Jacques Boucher, he's Evony's enforcer and we've just barely managed to stop him from bringing a squad of assassins here. This will send him over the edge and we'll all be at risk. Not only have I lost Danielle, I've lost any semblance of control." She told Kenzi before she dissolved into tears again and became nearly hysterical.
While Nandi was breaking down Kenzi led her into the bedroom and set her on the bed before she shut the door behind them. As Nandi fought to gain control again Kenzi came to the conclusion that only one thing would snap Nandi out of this downward spiral and she was more than willing to give it to her. As Kenzi started walking to Nandi she grabbed the hem of her shirt and pulled it over her head before she unbuttoned her jeans and, when she stopped her progress, she peeled them down her legs before she continued her walk to Nandi in just her bra and panties. Happy that she'd chosen the black and purple lace set she'd liked that morning. As she got closer Nandi watched her with a look of awe in her eyes.
"Kenzi?" She asked before Kenzi straddled her lap and moved her hair out of her face and shushed her with a light kiss.
"Don't think anymore, just feel." Kenzi kissed Nandi again before she took her hand and placed it on her breast. "Let me take care of you."
Nandi nodded mutely before she started running her hands over Kenzi's body while Kenzi kissed her like her life depended on it, only stopping to remove Nandi's shirt. Once both were naked Nandi took control for the first round, then let Kenzi do whatever she wished. Once they were exhausted and sated they curled up in the bed and slept in each others arms, forgetting the pain and all the shit, if only for a few hours.
Kenzi woke up abruptly when she felt a sharp pain on her chest. Her eyes opened quickly and she held in a scream as she saw a person standing close to the bed watching her. Once her eyes adjusted to the dark they widened as she found herself looking into Gracie's hate filled eyes..
"You're dead you little whore...I'm going to kill you myself and take back what's mine." She whispered maliciously before she turned and walked to the door where she turned back. "You won't always have your protector."
After that she left and Kenzi shook as she got out of bed and picked up the phone at Nandi's bedside, her fingers shaking as she punched in the number she knew by heart.
"Kenzi!" At the sound of Bo's voice she felt some of her new fear leave her but still had to swallow before she answered.
"Yeah, it's me. I think I've found out who's responsible for this. Come as soon as you can. I need as many allies as I can get." She gripped her necklace until her knuckles became white and she heard Bo moving around.
"Are you in danger Kenzi?" Bo asked and Kenzi bit back a laugh, when wasn't she?
"Yeah, I'm in danger and I need you're help." She spoke honestly as she answered Bo's question, happy that her voice wasn't weak anymore.
"I'll be there soon, find somewhere safe until I get there." Bo ordered her before she hung up while Kenzi hung up her own phone and crawled back into bed with Nandi her eyes fixed on the door. If the monsters could get in the heart of Nandi's little kingdom, they could get anywhere. It was then that Kenzi realised that as long as monsters roamed these halls no one was safe, least of all her.