That was the night for everybody to sleep it all off – the wounds, the exhaustion, the frustration, the despair –each had what to drown in the enveloping quietude of the darkness.
Kenzi woke up in the wee hours, restored and gnawed at by the answerless questions assailing her worrying mind. She crept down the wonky stairs of the crack shack taking a second to listen shamelessly at the door of Bo's bedroom. She only caught the soft even breathing of the two women and smiled with fond satisfaction, seeing in her mind's eye her bestie having her sweet dreams in the arms of the affectionate doctor on a permanent house call.
She tiptoed across the living room and stopped at the couch that was the crash-spot for the injured wolf for the night. Back at the Dal Dyson had groggily suggested going back to his own loft but the three women hovering over him were majorly unconvinced by his slurred enunciation and brought him with them to the drafty place they had been calling home for the last for years and onto the inadequately short couch. Hale had chosen to stay behind with Trick "to hold the fort", as he had phrased it with a contrived, tortured smile – the explanation that Kenzi hadn't bought but was, despite herself, relieved to hear.
The Russian squatted down next to the couch and for a good minute was listening to the shifter exhaling and inhaling before she dared to stretch out a hand and touch his slightly sweaty brow.
"And that is just not creepy at all," the wolf murmured, his eyes cracking open.
"Lauren said to watch out for the fever, which might be indicative of blood poisoning or some infection," the girl rattled off the excuse she had been fortifying herself with on her way downstairs.
"I am fine, healing," Dyson replied softly taking her hand off his forehead and into his large paw, "Also worried, apprehensive, dreading tomorrow."
"Hey, tomorrow has never been rosier!" the succubus announced brightly, failing, however, at making her tone convincingly light, "Odin buggered off for his honeymoon and his honey, who has only got a bit more cray-cray since their last date, is surely gonna keep him busy for a long time to come. Busy as in away from us, which suits me just fine. The Morrigan is out of the way too – last I saw Vexie he was looking full of some serious butt-hurt and ready to be revengeful. Lauren said Dar was going to get better pretty soon and Bo will get her succu-status renewed. What is there to dread? My fast-approaching humanity?"
"Yes, that last one tops my list of woes," the shifter said somberly and had to stifle a smile when he saw the girl's jaw drop open with shocked indignation, "With the reasoning as follows: once you're human and lust-free, I am no longer your succubus-magnet and you'll ditch me."
"You, s-s-stupid fluff b-ball," the Russian stammered, relief flooding her, "You almost got me with that one. Whatever, even with your questionable sense of funny, you're still a Kenzi-magnet, second only to some chilled vodka."
Her hand brushed his curls lovingly and a small frown line etched itself into her brow when she asked, suddenly solemn, "And you? You have no doubts about the scrawny human girl, once she's unjuiced and devoid of her box of sex-tricks…?"
"Which sex tricks?" Dyson propped himself up on his forearms, feigning surprise, "Don't remember anything specially striking in that department."
"Old age messing with your memory, wolf?" Kenzi picked up his tone easily.
"It's been a while since you gave a demonstration, I have to admit," he grinned at her roguishly, "Might need an encore, babe."
"We will break the couch, wake up the girls and open your wounds. Any of these a concern?" the little Russian stood up gracefully from her squat and swung a long leg to position herself onto his lying form.
"Not really, the couch has seen it worse, so have the girls," the wolf's hands immediately went around Kenzi's lithe body to cup her butt and check for her underwear status underneath her pjs as he breathed out huskily, "And I am so ready to take my chances."
And chances he took, right into the dawn when the girl, having refused to feed off him in the process, fell wearily onto his chest and fumbled for the blanket that had slid to the floor. "I'll just stay with you for another ten minutes," she whispered a bit drowsily, her eyes and her little hands raking down his torso to check for blood, "and then I'll sneak back to my room." The wolf nodded his consent happily, drawing her warm body closer to his. "I'll keep awake," Kenzi promised in a muffled half-whisper and a minute later they both were sleeping soundly, lulled by each other's heartbeat.
"It used to be my favourite couch," Bo groused as they were standing over the two lovers, wrapped around each other and pretty much out for the count.
"How do they fit on such a narrow piece of furniture at all?" Lauren wondered, her inquisitive mind as ever attentive to detail.
"Dyson doesn't – his limbs are hanging off and Kenzi just fits onto him," the brunette tilted her head to get a better view, "Perfect fit, I would have to say."
"I do hope you are talking about their sleeping alignment," the doctor chortled, "Cos I am absolutely not ready to discuss any of Dyson's parameters that are to be covered even on a beach."
"Though they do look good together," she allowed after a second's consideration and nodded knowingly, "And I suspected that all along – she was too well nourished for the wolf not to be involved."
"I knew it all along," Bo snorted, "You can take away my powers but not my discerning eye in the matters of the heart and the crotch."
"Poor Hale," the blonde sighed with sympathy.
"Poor Hale," Bo easily agreed, "But one unhappy siren is probably the lesser evil than all the three of them unhappy fae."
"Should we give them a nice cold-water awakening for ruining our sheets and bumping the uglies right under our unsuspecting bums?" Bo added changing into a vindictive mode, but Lauren shook her head, "Tempting as it might sound, that would be the last nail in the coffin of our favourite couch. And we might want to use it ourselves, my love."
Before Bo could offer up her expert opinion on the unique angle provided by the armrests of the couch, a phone rang shrilly in the doctor's pocket and Kenzi shot up to a half-sitting position with the wolf swearing softly and rubbing his eyes underneath her.
"Yes, Trick," Lauren answered readily and grew immediately serious as the words were passed down the line, "We'll all be there as soon as we can."
She terminated the call and turned to her small audience with a meditatively scrunched face, "Dar has come to and seems pretty chipper, we need to go."
Lauren sprinted across the Dal, eager to attend to her patient, with her medical kit in her hand and Bo at her heels, with the wolf and the succubus bringing up the rear. As soon as they were across the threshold, Kenzi saw Hale give a start and slouch over the uncharacteristically early drink in front of him. "We have to talk to him," she threw back over her shoulder to Dyson, whose hot breath was teasing her hair, "I know we do, but I just don't know what to tell him. I feel like I am juggling two precious fragile hearts and I am on the point of letting one of them drop and shatter."
"I don't know if I love you more than he does and I certainly do not deserve you more than he does," Dyson put his hand on her shoulder and made her turn round to face him, "the question is who makes you happier, 'cos this is not about who gets the girl, it's all about you, Kenzi!"
The sound the girl gave out was close to an undignified sniffle as she unashamedly brought her sleeve up to dab at her suddenly wet eyes and nose. "Correction, I am juggling three hearts, not two," she sobbed out almost inaudibly.
"Sacrifice is pretty much in my nature, Kenz," the wolf rumbled on cupping her upturned face in his big paw and looked into her suspiciously misty eyes, "Over the centuries I've sacrificed so many things and people I held dear. Once I even sacrificed my heart for the woman I loved, another time I gave my life to help Bo pass her Dawning. The list is long, but right now I draw the line at sacrificing you. Even for the sake of my old partner and dear friend, even for the sake of feeling good about myself. I am not giving you away!"
"That is unless you want me to give you away," he added in a hushed tone as his gaze landed on the young siren, who was busy making a focused study of the contents of his glass.
"Don't!" Kenzi piped up, the fear jolting her, "don't give me away, ever!"
The shifter's face lit up like he was suddenly plugged into a socket and that answered all the questions and dispelled the last of the girl's doubts as she slowly released his hand without taking her eyes off his handsome face. "Let me talk to him, then," she said softly, "That'll be my last battle as a succubus."
Her high heels were clicking loudly on the wooden floorboards as she made her way to Hale, who had to acknowledge her thus announced approach and looked up and straight at her.
"I am sorry," Kenzi took the plunge bypassing the hollow preliminaries, "I am so sorry, Hale, but I love him, like I've never loved before and most probably never will. I've done enough lying, I was lying to you and to myself and that wasn't making anyone happy."
"It was," the siren objected, "it was making me very happy, for a while at least, before I pulled my head out of my ass and really saw you both together, saw the way your eyes were shining when you looked at him. I should've caught on long ago, when you were losing it over his dead body, when you were dancing with him. If tango is the dance form of vertical sex, you were burning the sheets all right."
"Or I shouldn't have waited for almost four years before making a move on my girl," he continued miserably, "I can't even say I lost you, Kenz, I've never had you."
"You will always have me," the Russian squeezed his hand with sincere affection, "As a friend, as a fellow sidekick."
"That's the point, Lil' Momma," the siren smiled a mirthless smile, "You are no longer a sidekick, haven't been for quite a long while, actually. You grew from under Bo's shadow long before you became a fae… Anyway, I guess, I'd better take a happy friend option over an unhappy girl-friend one."
Whatever heart-felt issues both of them still had to get off their chest had to be cut short as the blonde doctor stormed into the room, her usually collected look lost somewhere along the way.
"Lauren?" Dyson rushed to her side from his position of propping up the ornate column closer to the entrance, "What's wrong? Is Dar alive?"
"Oh, yes, the little a-hole is very much alive, thank you for asking, his chest wound is healing nicely. As I assured my patient, there won't be even a scar left in a couple of years," Lauren spat out, hysterical and ironical in equal measure, "Just a tiny hitch – his head trauma's turned out a bit more serious than I surmised. Dar claims he can't remember anything."
"Who cares about his memoirs!" Kenzi butted in with little regard for the sketchy past and sweet memories of the fae in question.
"You don't get it, baby fae," the blonde sighed with a weird mixture of regret and relief in her expression, "An amnesiac fae cannot perform to the full extent of his powers and a human-fae exchange of powers is a complicated skill that might take him another century to re-master. And until he either recovers his memory or learns how to do it again, you and Bo are stuck with what you have now."
"What did I tell you about my last battle as a succubus?" Kenzi turned to bump her forehead into the wolf's obliging shoulder, "Scratch that!"
"What did I once tell you about my chances of finally getting it on with a human girl?" Dyson responded in kind, "Scratch that too!"