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Friday, July 12th, 2013 09:58 pm
TITLE: The Distance Between Us
SERIES: Lost Girl
AUTHOR: Dreiser
CONTENT: F/F romance. F/F sex. Violence.
PAIRING: Bo/Tamsin. Valkubus. Tamsin/OC.
SUMMARY: There are things that Tamsin wants that she knows she cannot have and creating a distance makes it easier to withstand. The problem was, Bo kept closing that distance.
DISCLAIMER: I own nothing but my love for mythological reinterpretations.

The Distance Between Us

By: Dreiser

Chapter Three

By the time that Tamsin is done speaking with Vex she has thoroughly lost track of time. Part of her wonders if she did the right thing with her decision. She doesn't know who he will share the information with that she just gave him. Walking down the imperial staircase, her gaze locked onto a familiar figure that Tamsin is positive will soon hear everything she just spoke to Vex about. After all, information was her talent and she did favor Vex above all others.

"Elder Petra," Tamsin greeted, lowering her eyes deferentially. "It's good to see you."

"Tamsin," said Petra in something of a purr, her smile gleaming and white, and she moved in to kiss her on each cheek. "The pleasure is all mine. I was hoping you would return to us."

"Where else would I go?" asked Tamsin, arching an eyebrow in question.

Petra hummed in response and hooked her arm in Tamsin's, leading her away from main entrance, and off to a rather ostentatious sitting room. Tamsin looked around with quiet amusement, letting Petra guide her over to what appeared to be an antique sofa with gilded gold trim. Absently, Tamsin wondered if Petra or Vex had decorated this room. They were sitting now and Petra was looking at her and Tamsin was suddenly all too aware of her talent for making people talk. That was her power, and with just a look and a smile, she could make anyone want to talk to her about anything. It made her decidedly dangerous. Especially since Petra was also remarkably charming and attractive for a fae of her age.

"There were rumbles that you considered the grass greener on the other side," said Petra winsomely, flashing a smile and clutching Tamsin's hand in her delicate grasp. "That isn't true, is it?"

"Never," said Tamsin seriously. "I know where I belong, elder." Petra beamed at her happily, patting her hand, and Tamsin looked up at her, suddenly compelled to add, "I have sworn my allegiance to the dark and to Vex as Morrigan. I don't trust him anymore than I trusted Evony but I think he'll be a better leader for us all."

"Oh my, that's good to hear," said Petra happily. "I would have hated to lose you."

"Is the Council of Six restored?" asked Tamsin, staring at Petra, feeling utterly relaxed and content. She knew this was Petra's powers, that it was her skill as an ozwiena pulling the information out of her. Revealing all her innermost thoughts and feelings but she couldn't help herself. Petra was too powerful and too old and Tamsin respected her immensely. Any sort of resistance to her charm would be an insult of the highest caliber and would be seen as treason. Petra was clearly acting as an agent of The Morrigan in this instance. Vex had always been a favorite of Petra's and she knew that the elder had to be overjoyed that the mesmer was finally in the seat of power after she helped him rise through the ranks over the centuries. "I saw you earlier and I hoped that your appointment was reinstated. The Council should've never been disbanded. I would have supported an uprising if you had chosen it, after she killed Elder Dagan."

"Would you have?" said Petra sweetly, cupping Tamsin's cheek, smiling at her almost tenderly. "But I wouldn't have wanted to lose you as we lost him, dearest. It was best that we waited to seek our revenge. Is his murder why you distrusted Evony?"

"She was a selfish bitch," said Tamsin easily, a slight snarl to her voice as she said this. "I didn't trust her to ever think of anything but herself. That makes for a horrible leader. It's for the betterment of the dark fae that she was displaced."

Pursing her lips and gazing at Tamsin thoughtfully, Petra's brown curls bounced to one side and she asked, "What is it you really wanted? There must've been another reason you came here. I don't recall you ever being so formal."

"I wanted to talk to Vex about Bo," said Tamsin immediately and it was the only thing she internally winced at. The control Odin and Bo exerted, the piercing grasp on her mind, shifting her thoughts and changing her opinions, it was nothing like Petra's influence. Her very presence was an intoxicant and it made whoever was near her want to speak on anything and everything that the older woman brought up. They simply couldn't help themselves because everything they divulged was rewarded with a feeling of such satisfaction that it encouraged them to speak all the more. Tamsin had never tried to fight against Petra's abilities, she had always seen it as a futile effort, and she knew it would instantly be sensed by the elder fae and would be seen as something of an insult. Still, Tamsin had the strong urge to fight it now. "I'm worried about her."

"The unaligned succubus?" questioned Petra curiously. "Why is that?"

"Everyone has an agenda with her," said Tamsin bitterly, "all of the fae."

"And you don't," said Petra carefully, her gaze sharp and her tone even. "Your concern is genuine?"

"Yes," Tamsin breathed this in something of a whisper, the word just barely making it past her lips.

The elder paused to study Tamsin for a long moment, then seeing something in her confirmed, she nodded her head and caressed Tamsin's cheek. "You've always been a smart girl," said Petra softly. "It upset me to see what happened to you."

"Vex is your favorite though," said Tamsin, her gaze knowing.

"Yes," Petra laughed, clapping her hands together, seeming delighted. "He is a prodigy. I saw in him great promise, even when he was just a babe, barely past the age of eighty. It has done my heart well to see him in a position befitting his talent," said Petra with a good deal of contentment. "Tamsin," she murmured, reaching out to run her fingers through blonde hair, her touch affectionate and almost motherly. "Akazome would dote on you as I do on Vex if you would only let her."

"I don't deserve to see her," said Tamsin brokenly, turning away from the elder fae.

"Silly child," Petra sighed, her hand dropping down to hold Tamsin's, and she squeezed it gently. "That is for her to decide. Furthermore, you will have to see her eventually as she is now living in this territory. In fact, one of Vex's first decisions as The Morrigan was to appoint Akazome to the council as a replacement for Dagan," Petra divulged. Smiling brightly, Petra stood up, offering her hands to Tamsin. "Very soon the Council of Six will hold an open council session where we will confer with all dark fae who desire an audience. Then, in conjunction with The Morrigan, we will discuss the state of affairs in our territory with everyone present." When Tamsin rose to her feet, Petra smiled at her and brushed some invisible lint from her jacket. "I am told that even Niobe will be there, not merely her emissary."

"We haven't had an open council session in three hundred years," said Tamsin, stunned on hearing this news.

"Yes, I know," Petra sighed, walking towards the main entrance. "The last time was just before Evony gained power." She stopped and tilted her head to one side. The smile she gave was mesmerizing in its allure and Tamsin felt as if she was in the presence of a shining star. "You will be attending, I presume?"

"Tell Vex to send me an invitation," said Tamsin in dry tones, feeling the effects of Petra's influence begin to wane. The elder had apparently discovered all that she needed for the moment. Tamsin didn't think that she had told her all that much but Petra had a way of understanding the meaning beneath the most veiled of implications. It was in her nature. She shifted her weight and thought on what Bruce had told her as she left Vex's office. That she should obtain all the proper documentation to help maintain her human identity before leaving the estate. "Bruce said he was getting me new papers," said Tamsin, frowning as she looked around. "Do you have any idea where I should go?"

"The second door on the right just down that hallway, darling," said Petra smoothly. "Ask for Lucy."

"Thank you, elder," said Tamsin, lowering her head in respect.

"Be good until I see you next," said Petra sweetly, kissing Tamsin's cheek, and turning to walk up the imperial staircase.

Watching Petra ascend the stairs and feeling the effects of her abilities finally come to an end, Tamsin shook her head and blinked. Rubbing her forehead and grimacing, Tamsin wondered exactly what Petra considered good. Certainly not what any of the light elders would define by any measure of the word but just having spent time with one of the dark elders was a relief to Tamsin. The youth of the dark fae didn't truly understand the subtle power they wielded. How charm and guile could be used to a greater advantage than threats and violence. Slaughtering your enemies was a simple cruelty that was easily achieved and the elders were more than that. They possessed a special sort of ruthlessness. One that waited in secret and schemed for centuries in order to reach its goals. This was why Tamsin didn't hold any illusions about their elders. While they acted far more politely than their younger counterparts they were still dark fae and they were extremely dangerous.

By all appearances, the elders were seen as weak because they allowed Evony to destroy their authority through her dissolution of the council. Evony killed Dagan for opposing her and slaughtered those closest to the remaining elders to show her power over them. The fact that they did not immediately retaliate made Evony strong and the elders weak in the minds of their youth. It was quite the opposite though. Restraint took true strength. Seeking immediate revenge was an impetuous and petty thing that would only lead to more deaths. And so, while the elders mourned the loss of their kin at Evony's hands they also bided their time until the perfect moment to exact vengeance and regain their influence arrived. Their patience had paid off and so had their wisdom. It was that same wisdom Tamsin knew they would need in the days ahead. The dark fae elders had been a part of the same vicious and bloody wars that the light elders had and she knew they had no desire to repeat their past mistakes. Of this, Tamsin was convinced. Just as she was undeniably convinced that she had no right to be in Akazome's presence.

That was an honor not meant for her. Tamsin was not even of her clan. Although she had once wished it otherwise.


One of the quirks of living for thousands of years was relative ease in the acquisition of money. Tamsin had never actively sought to make a fortune and, indeed, she possessed merely a trifle in comparison to other fae her age but she had enough money to live a decidedly comfortable existence if she wished. Money had just added up over the years as Tamsin deposited bits here and there until a noticeably large amount resided in her various global accounts. If she had bothered to invest it with one of the many dark fae brokers she was certain she would have doubled her assets but Tamsin had no interest in that. Cash was just a prerequisite of existence in this modern world and she only needed enough to get by.

Tamsin often thought they would be better off without it though. Bartering was much preferred. Although, if in a nasty mood, she would fondly recall the days of looting and taking what she wanted from their fallen enemies. That was a more rewarding experience than spending a day at the mall. It was also decidedly less annoying.

Murmuring her thanks to one of the legions of drivers from The Morrigan's estate, Tamsin exited to stand in front of the bank for the dark fae in this territory. Lucy had assured her they would have access to her accounts in Oslo and Tokyo as the dark fae had a monopoly when it came to banking which kept all of their assets under the same umbrella. This was to ensure that no matter what territory you found yourself in as a dark fae the local government could easily access your money if you were less than willing to pay tribute or found yourself in a nasty bit of trouble that required compensation for their efforts. Walking into the gleaming building with its sharp lines and impersonal white walls, Tamsin grimaced.

She really did miss pillaging.

Flipping the card in her grasp, she had just finished reading it when she was greeted by a leprechaun. They had gotten distinctly taller over the years but no less ginger and this one was no exception. He beamed at her. "How can I help you today?" his voice was high pitched and reedy and Tamsin was reminded why she hated dealing with wealth and fortune fae. There was always such a falsity to them. Everything was a pretense in order to obtain more treasure for their hoard.

"I need to see her," said Tamsin plainly, handing the card over to him. "I've just come from The Morrigan."

"Ahh, I see!" the leprechaun exclaimed, his voice becoming even higher as he spun around. "I'll take you to Ms. Hsiao immediately." He turned to give her a rather simpering smile, gesturing for her to follow. "Come, follow me!"

Heaving an irritated sigh, Tamsin kept her eyes directed forward, walking through the stark and shining interior of the bank until they came to a row of offices in the rear of the building. They stopped outside the office that declared itself as belonging to the Branch Manager on the painted glass of the door. The leprechaun cautiously knocked then peered inside, speaking quietly with whoever was inside then nodding his head rapidly at whatever was said to him before turning to his attention back to Tamsin. "You can go in," he announced, stepping quickly away from the door and making his exit.

Upon opening the door, she was met with the sight of a beautiful woman, her expression calculating and her eyes glowing with the barest hint of gold. She was a jin chan, Tamsin realized with surprise. A wealth and prosperity fae rarely seen outside of its homeland of China. Before she could wonder how the woman had come to be in their territory, she was rising to her feet and offering Tamsin her hand in greeting. "Li Yan Hsiao," she said effortlessly, her hand was callused in Tamsin's hold and the Valkyrie wondered at it. These were not the hands you'd expect from a wealth fae.

"Tamsin Dagmaeresdottir," said Tamsin automatically, shaking Li Yan's hand before sitting in a chair.

"How can I help you today?" asked Li Yan, sitting behind her desk, looking at Tamsin with an assiduous gaze.

"Lucy sent me from The Morrigan," said Tamsin plainly. "I've returned after something of an absence and I've just been reissued all of my documents." She handed over the plain manilla folder that Lucy had given to her at the estate. "I need to withdraw some funds and establish a new line of credit to purchase necessities."

"I see," said Li Yan thoughtfully, flipping through the papers, going over everything that Lucy had included. After she finished perusing them, she smiled at Tamsin and questioned, "What sort of purchases will you be making?"

"I need a car, clothing, cell phone, and food," said Tamsin rather sullen as it dawned on her all of the crap she would have to be buying today. She really did despise shopping. Li Yan laughed in response to her expression, appearing entertained.

"You do require necessities, don't you?" Li Yan smiled, closing the manilla folder, and turning in her seat to face her computer. "If you'll bear with me for a few minutes, I'll get everything set up for you."

"Goody," said Tamsin sardonically, shifting in her seat and studying her surroundings. The office was almost as stark as the rest of the bank but it was decorated with knick knacks from all over the world. Tamsin was studying the butterfly swords that was mounted on the wall. Drawn to the weapons, she rose from her seat, and walked over to have a closer look. Peering at them with something of a frown, she looked over her shoulder at Li Yan who was still working at her computer. "These are from the Qing Dynasty?" Tamsin questioned, motioning to the swords.

Li Yan blinked then tilted her head, seeing where Tamsin was pointing, and replied, "The Baat Jaam Do? Yes."

"Baat Jaam Do," Tamsin repeated softly and she moved away from the swords, standing closer to the desk and to Li Yan as she considered the other woman. "You practice Wing Chun."

"I do," said Li Yan with a nod, her tone altogether casual and she finished typing with a flourish, smiling as she stood up and walked over to her printer. Waiting for the papers to emerge, she looked over at Tamsin and said, "You do as well, I take it?"

"No," said Tamsin, shaking her head, a self-deprecating expression forming on her features as she folded her arms across her chest. "I didn't have the patience. My sifu hated me, I think. I managed to get through Fujian White Crane because Fang Qiniang took a liking to me," Tamsin revealed with something of an arrogant smirk.

"Lucky you," said Li Yan airily, handing the printed papers along with the manilla folder over to Tamsin with a polite smile. "Everything you need is in there. Present it to our head teller, Melanie, and she'll issue your credit card." When Tamsin didn't reply and looked over the documents, she asked, "Is the line of credit not extensive enough? I can raise it if you wish."

"No," Tamsin said absently, looking up from the paperwork, giving a sheepish smile. "It's fine. I'm not planning on spending a lot anyway. That's not my style. It's just weird, you know, starting over each time. I never get used to it."

"You should consider yourself lucky then," said Lin Yan wisely, smoothing her skirt and sitting down behind her desk and peering up at Tamsin with a blase expression. "Tedium is the mind killer of our kind."

Snorting at this, Tamsin smirked and folded the papers in her hand. "You said it, sister," she drawled, holding up the papers and waving them in a vague goodbye as she headed out the door. "Thanks for the help, Li Yan."

"Please," Li Yan's voice called out to Tamsin, sounding every inch the paramount professional, "call me Ms. Hsiao."

The door closed behind her and Tamsin stared back at it, her hand still on the doorknob and she couldn't help the smile that slowly formed on her features. A wealth fae with attitude and calluses from practicing kung fu. That was another first. Feeling strangely better about her encounter with this specific bank, Tamsin headed over to the tellers to get her credit card. As much as she hated shopping, it was best not to delay starting it because the sooner she began then the sooner it was over.


Newly issued credit card and cash in her pocket and a sense of dread pervading her, Tamsin headed to the first used auto dealership she saw. While cars were her favorite of the modern inventions she had never spent a great deal on any of her vehicles. They always wound up wrecked and abandoned during her exploits and thus, she saw no reason to buy the latest and greatest models on the market. It would just be a waste. And so, she focused on the older models, the ones that were comfortable and reliable, and could often be used as a home as well as a mode of transportation.

Trucks were a favorite of Tamsin's because with the purchase of a tent and an air mattress she instantly had a place to sleep for the night. She found the experience gratifying as it reminded her of days long past, when she would hunt with Tomoe and they would sleep under the stars with only the fire and one another for warmth. This firmly in mind, Tamsin scared away the salesman, telling him that she would see him when she found what she wanted, and walked through their inventory.

Ultimately, none of the trucks on the lot were a good match. All of them either needed too much work or were too expensive for Tamsin's taste. Her choice finally came upon an affordable vehicle that only needed a few tweaks to the engine and was clocked at a meager 99,073 miles. Which, really, wasn't all that bad for a car made in 1967. The haggling took a few minutes and Tamsin handed over three thousand dollars in cash for payment. Mindful of the wide eyes of the human salesman, she gave him a casual shrug and flashed a toothy smile, remarking on winning the lottery, and he nodded quickly. With her car title and keys in hand, Tamsin wiped the price off the windshield with irritation. Dismally aware that the most enjoyable portion of her shopping was finished and she drove off the used car lot in her white El Camino.

Malls are one of the most horrible creations of the modern ages, Tamsin is confident of this, just as she confident processed food is the work of alp-luachras. Wanting it to be over and done with as soon as possible, Tamsin goes into the largest department store and finds two pairs of jeans that she likes and buys four of each. Alternate colors of the same tank top are added to her pile along with a few collared shirts for work and three suits. Sales people come and hover about her and Tamsin ignores them for the most part. Using them only to hand off clothing when the pile grows too large. Everything is tried on and decided upon swiftly. She has no desire to linger in this place, although the sales associate in the intimate apparel department tries to slow her down by speaking about what colors would look best against her skin and does she prefer lace or satin? Tamsin stared at her blankly and tells her she'll get five of the same black satin bra and twelve pairs of black Calvin Klein boy short panties in response.

The exception to her speed shopping rule is the outwear department where Tamsin mulls over the leather jackets. Eventually, she settled on buying just two of them. The first, a green leather jacket that reminded her of a jacket she used to own and the second a black leather jacket sporting a hoodie for the winter. Although she also lingered by a brown bomber coat before she shook her head and realized she was making her shopping trip last longer by focusing on accumulating unneeded items. Two coats was perfectly fine. One to wear regularly and the other to replace it when she inevitably ruined the former.

Bags upon bags are shoved into the front of the car and Tamsin grimaced, hating that she bought so much, even though she knew it was necessary. Previous to her shopping spree, the only clothing she had was what she was wearing. Everything she had before her rebirth burned up with her suitcase when she sent her truck flying off the cliff. There was also all the little things you didn't think about needing until they were gone. Such as shoes, belts, socks, and even a fucking wallet. Why was there so much crap needed to simply exist? Tamsin despised it and she knew that wasn't the truth of the matter. It wasn't really necessary to buy all these things to survive. She could live perfectly well without them but as time went on she had become accustomed to using these items. It made her feel sickeningly pampered when she recalled her youth.

Her mother would have never owned five bras. In fact, Tamsin considered, she didn't think her mother wore bras. Disturbed at this thought, Tamsin focused on her next destination, and one of her biggest annoyances of the modern age. Technology in the form of computers and the all encompassing obsession with smart phones. Tamsin walked into the store for her carrier and stared at the phones, hating their very existence, and when a worker came over to see her she pointed at the one that was least obnoxious in its sophistication. Upon being informed they were having a sale on phones if you chose to add a second line Tamsin scowled and considered the abominable technology in front of her. Bo instantly came into her mind as she knew the succubus actually liked owning these infernal contraptions and was currently without one. Releasing a sigh of morose resignation, Tamsin muttered to give her two of the phones.

Allowing the worker to add on cases that were promised to survive the most extreme conditions to her order, Tamsin tried not to dwell on what she was doing. That she was buying something rather essential to the succubus' daily life as a gift. This was not what she did, it was not who she was, not anymore. She had ceased to do such things after she broke from having any ties that were beyond superficial. Anyone who wanted more or made her feel more was avoided or frozen out of her life with an efficient brutality. It was why she had spent nearly one hundred and fifty years hiding from Akazome.

And yet, here she was, purchasing a cell phone and stopping to consider what color Bo would prefer for her case before she caught what she was doing and hurriedly agreed on purple. All while hoping, secretly, that was a color the succubus liked because although Bo was girly, she wasn't pastel pink girly, and Tamsin was starting to genuinely hate herself for considering these things. Having these thoughts was the precise opposite of what she needed to do and who she needed to be and Tamsin repeatedly reminded herself of this as she left the store.

Shopping over and done with, Tamsin contemplated what to do with her haul. Lucy had offered some apartment listings in the dark fae territory and she considered the manilla folder where she knew they resided. If she really wanted she could get into a place tonight if she felt like it. That was the advantage of being dark fae with cash and a reputation for viciousness. It pretty much got you whatever you wanted and it wouldn't fail her now either.

Only there was Bo and Tamsin knew painfully well where the succubus stood. For whatever godforsaken reason she wanted Tamsin around. Kenzi moving back in seemed nigh impossible as Dyson implied, much to Hale's chagrin, that a wedding was in the immediate future for the couple. She could recall the quiet plea in Bo's eyes and in her voice and Tamsin knew that the brunette didn't want to be alone. Tamsin thought this was certainly because of how the succubus had felt acutely alone since she discovered her abilities as a youth. A few short years couldn't erase over a decade of isolation and fear. Tamsin knew that all too well and she also knew that hurt would most likely stay with Bo for a very long time. Throughout centuries perhaps.

Tamsin would not be someone who added to it. She would stay with Bo in that ramshackle excuse for a building if that was what the other woman truly wanted. Even if it wasn't the smartest thing in terms of keeping her distance both physically and emotionally. The former was impossible anyway, not if she wanted to help Bo fight her father's influence, and prepare for whatever horrible shit he was definitely plotting. While the latter? Well. There was always alcohol and denial.

That usually helped.


It's something of a relief when she returned to the shack and Bo is gone. Tamsin spotted her ghetto pizza note box and Bo has written in lip stick that she's visiting with Kenzi at the apartment she shares with Hale. The address is even written down for Tamsin along with a time that Bo should be arriving at the Dal tonight. Seeing this warms something in Tamsin and she shakes her head, sighing and not wanting to focus on this feeling. Tamsin wandered into Kenzi's... strike that. Her room. Or what passed for a room in this dump anyway. There's a queen sized mattress with no sheets or pillows on a surprisingly sturdy oak bed frame and a large wardrobe with a full size mirror stuck right in the middle of it. Pulling open the two sides of the wardrobe, Tamsin contemplates the size. It's more than big enough for all the crap she bought. There's also an obnoxiously cute dresser than has tacky rose flowers painted on it and a weirdly lumpy blue recliner in the corner.

Something told Tamsin this stuff had been found outside an old lady's house after she died. Heaving a sigh, Tamsin went through her clothing and started putting it up as quickly as possible. Shoving the last of her junk away, she changed into a brand spanking new outfit all the way down to her bra and panties then shrugged on her green leather jacket. Sighing with contentment, Tamsin frowned at her sheet less bed then thought about her lack of toiletries and the complete absence of food in this derelict building. Heaving a deep sigh, Tamsin grabbed her car keys and muttered, "Seriously? Fuck shopping."

An hour later and a deep and abiding hatred for Walmart resounding in her heart, Tamsin returned to her reluctant residence. Bo was still not home and Tamsin felt glad for this. She didn't want to think about the teasing she would be subjected to if the succubus saw her unloading groceries. This was just so goddamn domestic and suburban. Tamsin was disgusted by it. At least Bo owned some cookware and cutlery. If she had to buy good china and the perfect skillet she'd go insane.

"Plundering is so much better than this shit," Tamsin groused, shoving the food into the tacky convenience store refrigerator. She stared at the vending machine next to it full of snack sized chips and other assorted junk food and wondered why the hell it was in here. She suspected Kenzi had gotten it from a guy off the back of a truck. With a good deal of satisfaction, she deposited two cases of beer at the bottom of the fridge. She stared at them for a second before she muttered, "Fuck this." Then grabbed a can and drank half of it in one gulp. "I think this dump is turning me white trash," Tamsin complained, taking another beer for the road, and kicking the fridge shut with her boot. "It's tragic."

Dropping the bags onto the floor, Tamsin finished the first beer and opened the fucking Martha Stewart Collection bedding. It's hideous and patchwork in design but it was on clearance and it had everything she needed from sheets to comforters and even the pillows. Plus it was mostly red which was great for hiding blood stains. Tamsin was nothing if not practical.

Sitting on her Martha Stewart decorated bed, Tamsin popped the top on her second beer, resisting the urge to burp. The next time that Bo got strange and territorial about her leaving she'd just point to this ugly ass room and all the junk she'd managed to accumulate in it during a few hours. That would shut her up. Hell, it was practically as good as marking her territory, having all this crap in here. And if buying a few hundred bucks worth of groceries didn't say I'm sticking around what did?

Finishing the beer, Tamsin tossed it into the corner of the room. Staring at the bags that were left, she heaved a sigh and dumped the contents onto the ugly blue recliner that stunk of mothballs. Pulling her cell phone from her pocket, she noted the time and decided it to head to the Dal Riata. It would be at least two hours before Bo arrived but she needed to speak with Trick in private and now was as good a time as any. Crumbling up the bags in her hands, Tamsin walked out of the shack with all evidence of her suburban shopping spree erased from existence. Unless you counted all the food and the bedding and the toiletries and the fucking collapsible hamper because laundry mat, you know?

Ugh, Tamsin actually thought the word as she was thoroughly aggravated with herself, and she shoved the bags down the sewer and got into her car. She was done thinking about this crap. If Bo needed anything else for their hobo home then she would damn well get it herself. From this day forward Tamsin vowed she would only be responsible for buying booze and maybe weapons. Those were purchases she could always get behind.


The Dal Riata is empty when Tamsin enters and she stands in the center of the bar for a moment, studying her surroundings. In her long lifetime, she's been in a lot of bars but few had a sense of home that this one provided. Perhaps it had to do with it being the local way station, a place of neutrality between the dark and the light, but Tamsin thought it was more than that. She was certain it came from the proprietor himself and all the lessons he had learned in his existence.

"Tamsin," Trick's voice was surprised and pleased at the same time. "Bo said you wouldn't be here until later."

"That's for her, not us," said Tamsin simply, shoving her hands into the pockets of her jeans. She cocked her head to one side and murmured, "I met with Vex today. Promised my allegiance to the dark."

"Congratulations?" said Trick wryly, lifting an eyebrow and heading behind the bar.

"Thanks," said Tamsin with a snort of amusement, settling on one of the bar stools and smirking at him. "Anyway," she popped the word out, tapping absently on the bar top. "I gave him some of the down low on Odin." Trick frowned severely at this and Tamsin's eyes narrowed in response. "The dark deserves the same chance to prepare for this shit as the light. We're the ones who kicked the asshole out of power and trapped him in another fucking realm of existence. So I think it's safe to say that he probably has a tiny grudge against us."

"What did you tell him about Bo?" Trick demanded harshly.

"Not much," said Tamsin quietly, meeting his gaze. "Just the obvious stuff. That she's his daughter and he most likely has some grand scheme involving her that probably involves the complete overthrow of the fae currently in power."

Trick nodded his head at this and murmured, "That's all?"

"I hardly trust anybody, Trick, so I sure as shit don't trust Vex," said Tamsin sardonically. "It's too early to tell but I think he'll be good for the dark as a leader but that doesn't mean anything when it comes to protecting Bo. If he sees her as a liability then it's a matter of logic to try and take her out and the dark are like Vulcans when it comes to that shit. Especially when we're at war and that's what I got him in the mindset to prepare for." She frowned and rubbed her forehead then muttered, "I couldn't not tell him, okay? He needed to know, everyone needs to know, because if they don't we've got no fucking chance."

"What is the extent of Odin's control?" asked Trick, appearing satisfied with Tamsin's explanations. "Can he exert it from where he's trapped now?"

"Not usually," said Tamsin grimly, ducking her head and unzipping then zipping the pockets on her leather jacket. It was a relaxing sort of distraction, helping her to gather her thoughts. "I think it's different with Bo though. She's his blood and she's got his abilities. Plus I don't know everything he did to her when I was locked up. He could've cast a spell or something." She looked up at Trick, her expression troubled. "Has she told you anything?"

"Nothing that would be of any use," said Trick, disappointment clear on his features. "I have the impression she doesn't believe her father to be nearly as dangerous as we're making him out to be." He considered Tamsin for a moment then said quietly, "Does the dark have anything that recorded the events of his reign?"

Tamsin shook her head and muttered, "That's beyond me. As far as I know, he was banished after the Great War ended by the dark fae elders and I was long gone by then." The memories overtaking her, Tamsin tried to block the images of carnage and death, ignoring the sound of echoing screams in her mind, and flexed her fingers across the surface of the bar. "I wanted to get away. Try and pretend I knew what peace was so I bummed around Asia for a few centuries."

"I understand," murmured Trick and looking into his eyes, seeing the muted pain and the regret, Tamsin knew he did. His eyes told her that he had seen more than her and perhaps even worse things during his long life and it humbled her as did the presence of any true fae elder. She sighed and pulled at one of her zippers again. "We need to know how he was banished. It might provide some clue as to how he plans on using Bo for his purposes."

He was right. She knew that he was. There were only a few fae that remained from the time of Odin's reign and they kept to themselves. They lived as long as they had by being smart and not revealing all the had done or what they could do. Secrecy equalled safety in the world of the fae and Tamsin knew that. As such, she was silent and contemplated how to respond to Trick. The open council session was the only event that Tamsin knew, for certain, that dark fae elders would be present. The Council of Six had all been integral to ending the Great War and they had formed the rules and laws that would become the basis of dark fae society. Their role was to be the voice of the past and the wisdom of the present. If anyone had knowledge of him and the danger he presented it was the council but how much to tell Trick? She trusted her instincts and she believed Trick had no desire for war or any real conflict with the dark but he was still of the light and these were her elders and not his allies. To Tamsin, they were the among most precious beings for the fae, and she would not risk their safety for anything.

But then there was Bo. She had to help her, she simply had to. The thought of doing nothing and allowing him to take Bo and change who she was tormented Tamsin. Just the thought of it was like the very life being choked out of her and she kept her head lowered, clenching her jaw and debating how much to tell him. Finally, she murmured, "Vex already has things set in motion. The elders have returned to their rightful place of authority."

"You'll be able to meet with them?" questioned Trick.

"Yes," said Tamsin, swallowing hard, unwilling to say anything more on the matter.

"Good," Trick murmured and he walked away from her, leaving Tamsin to her thoughts. When he reappeared he had the journal that Sigrun had given Bo to chronicle Tamsin's journey in his hand. "You left this here yesterday."

Taking the journal, Tamsin pondered it, flipping it open and reading the first few lines. She snorted when she was met with a travel guide description of the forest and the mountains. What the hell had Bo written in this thing, anyway? Looking up at Trick who studied her with veiled curiosity, she snapped it shut with a smirk and drawled, "Thanks." She folded the journal her grasp so she could shove it into the pocket of her inner jacket lining. When she was done, Tamsin grabbed the front of her jacket and pulled it sharply back into place. "Bo's used her influence on me twice."

"What?!" Trick burst out and he jerked forward, his hands splaying out over the surface of the bar. "When was this?"

"Once when we were running around in the woods like Last of The Mohicans but sexier and more Nordic," said Tamsin in droll tones, rising up to lean over the bar and grabbing the closest bottle. She crowed in triumph upon discovering it was sake. Trick heaved a sigh and offered her a glass and she thanked him, pouring the liquid into the glass. Tamsin drank it slowly, relishing the flavor and the memory of better times with it, then set the glass down hard on the bar. "And last night when she got uppity about me not wanting to crash at the crack shack with her." Twisting and turning the bottle of sake, Tamsin tapped against its surface, and murmured, "Anger is what caused it." Lifting her gaze to Trick's, she formed a wry smile, and her gaze was haunted. "I know him, how he is, and what he can make people into. It wasn't her doing those things, not really. It was him pulling her towards those reactions and anger is what fueled his power over her."

"How is he doing it?" Trick pressed and she could see the impatience beneath his restraint.

"I don't know how," said Tamsin, feeling utterly useless as she poured another shot of sake for herself. "How the fuck does any of us do what we do? How does Bo use her charms to control people and shift their will into her own? It's the same thing but instead he gets inside your head, changing your thoughts to his own, until you become an extension of his will." Tamsin drank the sake in one gulp and stared at it in her hand, contemplating the empty glass. "That's how he can have power and still be trapped an another dimension because his will doesn't listen to time and space and even the laws of fucking physics. He can sit in his little kingdom, ruling over the Valkyries he's tricked into contracts, using them to bring him warriors. Then he gets in their heads, planting quiet whispers that slowly become a full on riot, until you've gone bat shit and will do whatever the hell he wants because you think it's you." Tamsin laughed caustically and set the glass down on the bar. "Except it isn't. It's him and there's no way to get rid of him at that point. They're lost to him and all you can do is end it."

"That isn't an option," said Trick soft and altogether dangerous, his eyes glinting hard. "Not when it comes to Bo."

"Why do you think I'm talking to you?" Tamsin replied wearily, giving him a half hearted smile. She drew her gaze away from him, taking in her surroundings and contemplating the myriad of items and trying to place their age and origins. Tamsin stopped at a large iron plate, taking in the burnt etchings, thinking it was probably Sumerian. "I won't let it happen to her," her voice was barely more than a whisper but she knew that Trick had heard it. "I've seen what it's like, from start to finish, when he has a hold over someone and he's just got her in the beginning stages. She can fight it, I've seen her do it both times, and I've never known that to happen." Tamsin directed her attention to Trick and held his eyes in a solemn gaze. "Bo is strong."

"She is," Trick agreed quietly, "but she will need our help. The more we discover about what he's planning, the better. It's possible that Odin isn't seeking a return here. If he can control things from a safe distance, why would he risk it?"

Releasing a snort of dark amusement, Tamsin drawled, "Revenge. What else?" The door to the bar opened and a small group of fae entered, laughing and talking, and with that, Tamsin knew their little conference was over. She just had one last thing to talk to him about though. Something she doubted Trick wanted to acknowledge. "We should be talking to Bo's mother. I have a feeling she'll know more than any of us when it comes to Odin's fucked up motives."

"Aife," Trick said her name with resignation and regret. He didn't respond to Tamsin verbally. Instead, he held her gaze and lowered his head, acknowledging the wisdom in her suggestion. Then he went to tend to his customers. Back to his game of pretend, where he acted like he was so much less than who was meant to be, and Tamsin let him. That was his right as an elder and she would not deprive him of it. Even if she didn't understand his motivations.


Prior to the arranged time of Bo's arrival, Tamsin goes to her car and retrieves the bag from her cell phone carrier. Holding it by the dinky straps, she sighed, steeling herself as she reentered the Dal. She reclaimed her seat at the far end of the bar, resting her elbows on the bar top, and trying to ignore the stupid yellow bag sitting to the left of her. Trick wandered over and plunked down another bottle of sake, along with a second glass, and she murmured her thanks.

Five drinks in, she felt a familiar presence next to her, and she looked at Bo out of the corner of her eye. "Succubus," Tamsin drawled, lifting her glass by way of greeting. "Have a drink."

"Thanks, Valkyrie," said Bo, clearly amused, accepting the glass Tamsin slid in her direction. She eyed it cautiously, never quite sure where she stood when it came to the blonde's taste in alcohol. Finally, she took a chance, and drank it in one gulp only to gasp and have her eyes bulge. "What are you drinking this time?"

"Sake," Tamsin said with a shrug, taking her glass back and refilling it. "It's good for reminiscing."

"It's more like it's good for stripping paint," Bo coughed, shaking her head. She reached for the beer that Trick dropped off and gratefully took a long drink. Her attention soon turned to the much hated yellow shopping bag. "You went shopping?"

"Yeah," said Tamsin, eyeing it the bag as if it was some sort of minion of doom. Bo stared at her expectantly and Tamsin huffed irritably, shoving it towards the succubus. "It's yours." The brunette blinked at her and opened the bag, pulling out the cell phone box and the super durable case that was meant to protect the phone from the apocalypse. "There was a sale," said Tamsin bluntly when Bo looked at her with astonishment. "I got it cheap."

"Tamsin," said Bo softly.

"It's a phone, not an engagement ring," said Tamsin pointedly, looking away from Bo and filling her glass much higher. She couldn't talk and look at Bo. Not when she had that soft expression that told Tamsin without words she wasn't used to things like this. It was such a meager and stupid thing but somehow she knew it was more than that to Bo. It was proof that Tamsin was thinking about her, that Tamsin held her in consideration even during the most monotonous tasks. Something in Tamsin told her that Bo wasn't used to that. Desire, love, and passion. Those things were par for the course for a succubus. Her very nature made everyone who saw her want her to some degree but this wasn't lust or love. This was thoughtfulness. This was caring. And to someone like Bo, that was far more precious. Tamsin knew this and she suspected that was why she had bought the fucking phone in the first place. It didn't mean she wanted to dwell on it though. "The sales guy put the junk about your new number in the box. I figured, you know, might as well set all that shit up. I was there. Why not?"

"Quad-core 1.9GHz processor baby!" Kenzi exclaimed, bouncing in between then. She picked up the cell phone box and inspected it with a frown. "Pavel got a bunch of these off a boat last week. He says they're selling like hotcakes."

"No doubt," said Tamsin in sardonic tones. Kenzi frowned at her, puffing up her chest and Tamsin considered the other woman for a moment, then tilted her head to one side. She wanted to quickly get away from the topic of her shopping habits involving Bo and Kenzi had provided her with the perfect escape. "So," Tamsin drew the word out slowly, her lips curving into a smirk. "What have you used your almighty wisdom absorption for?"

"Oh nothing, just being Stephen Hawking level smart," Kenzi snarked, situating herself in between Tamsin and Bo. "I read about something once and I understand it. I'm like a walking library for the fae, sweetcheeks. No dewey decimal needed."

"That's useful in a fight," said Tamsin scornfully, arching an eyebrow.

"Brains over brawn," said Kenzi, narrowing her blue eyes at Tamsin. "I'm Sun Tzu for the light fae, bitch!"

Scoffing under her breath, Tamsin considered Kenzi for a moment. In a strange way, she was charming and Tamsin knew the potential of an Anansi. Kenzi could do so much more than interpret ancient war strategies and she should do more if she truly wanted to help Bo with the upcoming clusterfuck that was the succubus' family situation. "What if I could teach you brawn shortstack?" asked Tamsin quietly, gauging Kenzi's reaction. Seeing that she had gotten Kenzi's attention, Tamsin hooked her finger and gestured for Kenzi to come closer. Smirking as the other woman cautiously moved forward. "Anansi absorb wisdom. That applies to everything, not just the written word. What you need is someone to teach you how to kick ass."

"Dyson and Hale--" Kenzi started with a pronounced frustration.

"Don't have any formal education," said Tamsin simply. "Not in this. Hale knows how to shoot a gun and Dyson can hack and slash with the best of them but that's not the same as having a few thousand years of training in the art of war. Neither of them can teach you a fighting system because they've never belonged to any school." Kenzi continued to stare at her like she was the robot devil and had planned some Looney Tunes style prank on her and Tamsin groaned. She straightened her stance and stared Kenzi down. "Look," said Tamsin. "Think about it this way, you absorb information and understand it completely. If someone taught you a formal system of combat, like Judo, your abilities would instantly absorb their sparring match with you as knowledge. You would be able to fight as well as whoever was teaching you."

"Why haven't I heard this before?" asked Kenzi suspiciously. "Trick!" she shouted, leaning over the bar and summoning the elder fae who rolled his eyes and walked over to them. "Big Barda is telling me that all my Anansi self needs to do to become Bruce Lee is to get my ass kicked by Mr. Miyagi a few times. You ever hear about this?"

"What?" asked Trick with mild exasperation, turning to his granddaughter for an explanation.

"Tamsin told Kenzi that if she took formal lessons for martial arts she'd be able to absorb the skills of her instructors," said Bo, looking over at Tamsin for approval. The blonde shrugged in response and finished her sake. "It sounds legit to me."

"You're biased," Kenzi accused Bo who looked mildly amused at her response. "She bought you technology."

Snorting at this and pouring herself more sake, Tamsin observed Trick mull over all the information. Finally, he looked at them and said with a bit of bewilderment, "From what I know of your species of fae... it should work." When Kenzi's eyes got very large and very excited, he quickly added, "That isn't to say I know of any Anansi who have done that." He paused and looked around them, turning his attention to Hale. "Perhaps you should ask Hale about this. He was looking into finding others for you to learn from, wasn't he? Maybe he's located them by now."

In an instant, Kenzi was off to confront her erstwhile boyfriend, while Tamsin sighed and wondered if it was worth it. When she feels Bo's hand on her own Tamsin knows that it was. Especially when Bo murmured thank you and it's so very genuine and heartfelt that it almost hurts Tamsin to hear it. "Time for small talk," Tamsin drawled, arching an eyebrow humorously at Bo. "What did you do today?"

"I met the new Ash," said Bo with a good degree of disdain, "Mirasol." She whistled and spun her finger in a loop then took another long draw of her beer. "She got pissy with me when I asked her about Lauren. Then I got pissy with Dyson and Hale when they got all super secretive about her." Bo stared at the beer in her hand, picking at the label. "I just want to make sure Lauren's okay. I've been gone all this time and she doesn't know that. She probably thinks I just forgot all about her."

"I'm sure she doesn't think that," said Tamsin quietly. When Bo turned to her, the expression on her face clearly asking why Tamsin thought this, Tamsin sighed and poured herself another drink. "You care too much," Tamsin muttered darkly, drinking the sake and relishing the burn down her throat. "Your human doctor knows that. I'm betting she also knows you've been MIA thanks to dear old dad. You just need to question Dyson away from his light fae overlords. He'll tell you where she is."

"How do you know that?" asked Bo, her brow furrowed.

"Easy," Tamsin shrugged, facing forward, unwilling to look at Bo and say this. "They understand each other, succubus, because they both love you. Dyson's a good guy. He would've helped hide her from the fae because that's what you would have done. Just ask him about in private sometime. I'm sure you'll get an answer."

Bo was silent for a moment then she turned in her seat, a look of determination on her features as she headed in Dyson's direction. Watching as she dragged him into the back room, somewhere that Bo presumably considered private, she felt a slight twinge of guilt for sicking Bo on her partner. Still, she was certain that what she told Bo was the truth. Dyson knew where Lauren was and they did need to meet with her if they wanted to have every chance of helping Bo. Which was reason enough, in Tamsin's mind, to throw Dyson to the proverbial succubus wolves.

"Maybe they'll sort their shit out," Tamsin muttered to herself, staring at the bottle of sake as if it had all the answers.

Shifting in her seat, Tamsin looked at the bottles of alcohol, contemplating everything and nothing at all. The weight of the journal in her pocket pulled her attention to it and she removed the book, studying it for a moment then opening the pages. Inane descriptions of the forest and the awful weather greeted her. Bo's complaints about how much she hated winter. Tamsin was amused by it and lazily turned the pages, only to pause when she got halfway through the journal. Staring long and hard at the words in front of her, as if trying to confirm what she was seeing was indeed real.

I didn't want to like you. You made it hard to. I think you tried to do that. I don't know why but I know you did. You're doing the same thing now and you could be dying in there. But I do. Like you.

Tamsin's head felt fuzzy and she swallowed hard, closing the journal carefully, clutching it in her hands and lowering her head. Why had she read that? Moreover why the fuck had Bo written it down? She told the succubus to write whatever she wanted because that was part of the tradition, for those who chronicle to be the ones telling the tale but this... Tamsin shook her head and laughed low and quiet and fucking hell why did she do shit like this? Why did Bo always have to care and why did she make Tamsin feel when she knew better? A mistake, everything about this was a mistake, Tamsin knew that. And yet, she wanted to open that damn journal and read onwards, find out more of what Bo thought of her, and it was pathetic. It was a weakness she could not have if she was going to serve her purpose and Tamsin reminded herself of that as she stared at the journal and rested her fingertips on the cover. Just one movement, it would be open again, and she could keep reading.

"He spilled the beans," Bo's voice interrupted her thoughts and it had a decidedly smug ring to it. Tamsin jerked her head upwards, her hand on the journal as she turned to see Bo and Dyson hovering behind her. Bo's eyes drifted to the journal then a tender and altogether understanding smile spread across her features. "Come on," Bo murmured and her hand was a gentle touch on Tamsin's forearm. "I want you in on our powwow."

"Goody," drawled Tamsin, shoving the journal back into her jacket pocket and quickly zipping it up. Pausing only to snatch up the ugly yellow bag that was proof of her sad fixation on the brunette that was walking ahead of them. Tamsin slowed her walk to match Dyson's pace as they headed into Trick's study. "Sorry," she said in droll tones, flicking her gaze to him. "I sort of sicked her on you about the doc."

"I know," said Dyson with dry humor. When Tamsin looked at him with a veiled expression, slightly concerned by his reaction, Dyson grinned and shook his head. "Where's the solidarity?"

"She scares me more than you," said Tamsin in a deadpan reply. "I had to save myself."

"I see how it is," said Dyson, nodding his head, an exaggerated solemnity on his craggy features. Tamsin snorted at this, entertained by his reaction, and he grinned at her as Trick shut the doors to his study.

"Right," Tamsin's lips popped on the word and she folded her arms across her chest. "Buffy's assembled the Scooby Gang so let's hear it," she arched an eyebrow at Dyson. "Where did you hide the good doctor?"

Dyson frowned at the reference, while Kenzi muttered something about being a sassy Xander minus the eyepatch, and the wolf looked to Trick. "I merely aided in her escape," he began hesitantly, unsure how much the elder wanted him to say.

"I contacted a friend of mine," said Trick uncomfortably, avoiding Bo's gaze as he spoke. "A theurgist." Tamsin's eyes went wide at this and she huffed under her breath. "She took Lauren somewhere."

"That's not frightening and vague at all," said Bo in something of a panic. "Trick!" she demanded, moving to stand in front of him, her hands on his shoulders. "Where is she? What did you do with her?"

"Bo, you have to understand, all of the fae were after her head," said Trick, holding her hands, and he was clearly trying to soothe the succubus who was having none of it. He sighed and murmured, "They would have killed her. We had to send her away for her own good. Somewhere that she wouldn't be easily located by either side. Where she would be safe."

"The hidden lands," Tamsin said harshly and Trick turned to her, dipping his head in recognition.

"Hidden Valley Ranch?" piped in Kenzi and Hale chuckled. "Would somebody just spill it? Enough with the drama and mystery already."

"There are places that even the fae can't be sure really exist," explained Tamsin. "Cities and countries from myths and legends that have tales told about them but any proof has long since vanished. I knew fae who went searching for places like that but I never saw them again. Which makes me think if they do exist getting in is next to to impossible as they're fiercely protected." She directed her attention to Trick and said, "I'm guessing that's where you had the theurgist take the doc."

"Where is she?" Bo burst out, clearly at the end of her patience, wanting a direct answer already.

"Shambhala," said Trick quietly, "a pure land where there is no death or disease."

"Well, that's the perfect place for a doctor," said Kenzi sarcastically.

"Lauren is safe there," Trick intoned severely, glaring at the young woman. "She is protected."

"And what? There's no way to get to her now?" asked Bo in something of a panic. "I need to see her, Trick!"

"I know," Trick sighed, "but Bo... it might not be the best thing for her." He frowned deeply and walked over to his books, shifting and moving them around, until he opened one and presented it to his granddaughter. Showing her the beautiful illustrations of a paradise the fae believed to be long lost. "It's a place of peace and joy. I know you think we need Lauren's help but I truly believe she must be content there. It's why Shambhala exists, to bring happiness to those who dwell there."

"Trick," Bo said his name intensely, her gaze teary and desperate. "Please."

He clenched his jaw and bunched his hands into fists, breathing slowly and then Trick offered her a hint of a smile. "All right," he murmured, turning away from them. "I'll see what I can do." They stood stock still, unsure what to do next, and he waved his hands at them. "Go on," Trick shook his head, his smile marginally larger as he focused on Bo. "Get out of here. I've got a long night of calling in a lot of favors ahead of me in order to pull this one off."

"Thank you!" Bo darted forward, enveloping him in a hug, and Trick returned it warmly.

The impromptu meeting seemed to put an end to everyone's night and they all separated. Tamsin followed after Bo dutifully, all the while resenting herself for this instinct, and when the succubus remarked on hailing a cab Tamsin held up her car keys and told her to forget about it. Bo stopped at the sight of the El Camino, her lips quirking up, and Tamsin narrowed her eyes.

"What?" asked Tamsin defensively.

"Nothing," Bo shook her head, a smile still on her face. "Kenzi would love it. That's all."

"I'm overjoyed to hear that," said Tamsin in droll tones, unlocking the car and tossing the hideous yellow bag at Bo when the succubus slid into the passenger seat. "Her approval was a huge driving force behind my purchase."

Bo doesn't respond to this, she simply keeps smiling, and places the yellow bag in her lap. Tamsin starts the car and the drive is silent and strangely awkward. They're at the second stop sign when Tamsin gives into her impulses and sneaks a look at Bo. The brunette is gazing out the window, her jaw tensed and her hand gripping the arm rest. In Tamsin's eyes, it's as if she is preparing herself for something she doesn't want to accept. Bo notices her attention and the moment she turned to face her, Tamsin looks ahead, moving the car forward from the stop sign and staring at the road.

"You don't have to stay tonight," said Bo and her voice is without any inflection. It's flat and emotionless and utterly unlike Bo and it makes Tamsin frown as she darts her gaze over to the succubus. "I won't make you."

Tamsin knew what this was going to be. It was going to be a fucking conversation about emotions and needs and wants and fuck if it wasn't everything that she was desperately trying to avoid when it came to Bo. The problem was that miserable look on the brunette's face and the fact that Tamsin also knew she could erase it. All she had to do was open her mouth and say a few simple words that would reassure and comfort and Bo would go back to being Bo again. Everything was in her court and it was all in her power to make everything better for the succubus and honestly, Tamsin couldn't help herself.

"But you want me to," said Tamsin simply, looking over at Bo as they stopped at a red light.

No response came from Bo, she just stared out the window, her chin resting in the palm of her hand and she was holding herself back again. Restraint was such a very rare thing. Especially from a succubus and Tamsin knew it was that part of Bo she was drawn to. The fact that she was so much more than her species, that she moved beyond what she should be, and had become something else entirely. It was unusual and unexpected and it honestly amazed Tamsin.

"I shouldn't always get what I want," said Bo and to Tamsin, she seemed withdrawn. "It's not healthy," Bo continued, shifting in her seat and she was looking at that detestable yellow bag, considering it with lidded eyes. "Getting whatever you want is what makes people spoiled and selfish. I don't want to be like that and I don't want to make you do something you don't want to," said Bo seriously, focusing on Tamsin, a serious expression on her face. "I'm not my father."

"Let me ask you something," said Tamsin quietly, moving the car forward as the light turned green. "Are you using your influence on me now? Shoving your thoughts in my head and pushing mine out?"

"No! Of course not!" Bo exclaimed vehemently, looking pained at the idea. "I wouldn't..." She trailed off, perhaps knowing that wasn't the truth, and she swallowed the lump in her throat. "I don't want to do that to you. Never again. That's what I'm trying to tell you," said Bo, obviously frustrated. "I know you don't want to stay so you don't have to. I won't do that to you again," Bo finished with some difficulty and Tamsin knew she was blaming herself for losing control. For allowing him to influence her.

"So you're not going to do it again?" Tamsin pressed.

"Tamsin," said Bo, sounding completely aggravated, glaring at the blonde as she stared at the road. "I just told you--"

"If you're not then shut up about it," interrupted Tamsin in a no nonsense tone, flicking her gaze to Bo. "Listen," Tamsin exhaled heavily, her fingers flexing on the steering wheel, and her knuckles were white from how hard she was gripping it. "I don't have a fucking clue what it's like for you, being a succubus, but I figure it's not Playboy Mansions, menage a trois, and sex parties, oh my. That you have some shitty stuff to deal with. Maybe like the fact you're never really sure if people like you for you or for your magical booty call pheromones." Tamsin shrugged and she forced her grip to loosen on the driving wheel as she tried to arrange her thoughts into some sort of order. "I've been around for awhile and I've known more than a few fae that derive their strength from sex and passion and all that emotional shit. You're definitely the most powerful and fuck if you're not the most goddamn in control too. That's no easy shit to accomplish," Tamsin murmured as she parked the car outside the shack and forced herself to look Bo in the eyes. Trying to tell her not only with her words but with her expression that what she was saying was the honest truth. "You walk into a room and that's all it takes to make them want you but you don't force them to. Your touch gives you complete control but you never use it unless you have to. Your fucking asshole father is corrupting you and forcing you to invade peoples minds and you keep stopping yourself from doing it."

That last glaring fact, that was the reason she remained so enamored with the succubus, because not even Tomoe could do that but Bo could and Bo was resisting him and Tamsin hated to see her like this. Filling herself with doubt and hatred for who and what she was when to Tamsin she was the best example of everything the fae could offer this world. Power without evil intent, control without dominance, and love without demands.

"I'm staying," said Tamsin firmly and Bo smiled, so slow and sweet, that she felt herself warm at the sight of it. They were having a moment and Tamsin knew it, she could feel that intrinsic pull she had felt since she realized what a good person that Bo was, and she had to end this before it went any further. And so, Tamsin exited the car quickly, slamming the door shut. When she saw Bo emerge on the other side of the vehicle, she added by way of explanation, "I bought beer."

Laughter rang out in the night air and Bo was smiling happily as they walked into the shack. She stopped at the kitchen island, sitting on one of the stools and taking in the food that had magically appeared in the convenience store fridge. "You did buy beer," said Bo with amusement, laughing again, staring at the cases.

"I told you," Tamsin drawled out in bored tones, shrugging off her leather jacket and tossing it on the island. Walking over to the fridge, she retrieved two cans of beer and tossed one at Bo then opened hers. "I even bought Martha Stewart crap for my room. If that doesn't prove the magnitude of me keeping my ass here I don't know what does."

"You did not," Bo laughed, shaking her head in disbelief.

"It's a fucking patchwork quilt and shit," said Tamsin, genuinely disgusted with herself for buying it. She was still trying to justify her purchase by focusing on the fact it was on sale and was mostly red. Thereby eliminating any sort of annoyance when she ruined them with the blood stains that she knew were unavoidably in her future. It was a Valkyrie thing.

The succubus darted away from her, poking her head into the room that was Kenzi's but had now been claimed by Tamsin, and she heard Bo's laughter, long and loud, emerge from it. Grimacing and finishing off her beer, Tamsin searched for where she hid the bottle of akevitt, retrieving it with a pleased sigh. Pouring herself a shot, she parked herself on a stool and waited for Bo's return, steeling herself for the adorable expression and the shining eyes. Bo didn't disappoint and her face was aglow with happiness and a tiny part of Tamsin was proud to have caused that. She didn't want to dwell on it though. Her being the reason for Bo feeling anything and she refilled her glass, taking another long drink.

"Since I'm no longer a rollin' stone and laying my head here as home, let's set up ground rules, succulette," said Tamsin seriously. Bo blinked at her and sat next to the blonde, a worried expression crossing her features, and Tamsin hated being the cause of that just as much as she liked being the reason for her happiness. "I'm dark fae and I'm fucking old. That means I know a lot of people who are considered important to my side of the little fae world divide. I need you to give what you receive. Meaning," Tamsin drew the word out slowly, squinting her eyes and trying to work out how best to explain it. "If they're respectful to you, then you be respectful to them. If they're assholes, fuck it, tell them off, beat them up, whatever. I don't give a shit. I just can't have you copping that attitude you get with every dark fae you meet."

"I don't cop attitude," protested Bo, offended and frowning at Tamsin.

"Yeah, you do," Tamsin enforced, releasing a derisive snort. "Whenever you meet dark fae, you stop and reconsider. If you thought they were cool when you met them then you find out they're dark it makes you pause." She could see that Bo wanted to argue with her, she watched her mouth open and then close, and Tamsin knew Bo wasn't saying anything because she knew it was the truth. "It's fine," assured Tamsin and she smirked when Bo looked at her incredulously. "The dark are used to the prissy light judging us. We're like the redheaded stepchild of the fae world. Whatever, whatever, right? Just try not to do it around anybody I introduce you to because they'll probably be older than me or more fucking important than me. I do not need to get anymore shit from anybody about the unaligned succubus."

"Okay," said Bo finally, nodding her head, "I'll give them a chance." Moving around Tamsin, she examined the fridge, and the blonde hoped all the random junk she bought was stuff the other woman would actually eat. "What else?"

"Try to avoid giving me a show," Tamsin said carelessly, spinning on the stool. When Bo looked at her with an eyebrow raised, silently asking Tamsin to elaborate, she waved towards Bo's bedroom. "I'm no prude but please, prevent me from seeing Dyson's wang. That's not a picture I want in my head. Professionalism between partners all that, yadda yadda. Bad enough the guy loses his shirt every five seconds, I don't need a mental picture of the rest of his anatomy."

"I don't think that will be a problem," said Bo quietly, a hint of a smile tugging at her lips, and a sad look in her eyes. Tamsin cocked her head to one side, studying the succubus who frowned and finished off her beer. "I've got a pretty dismal track record with relationships," Bo confessed wryly. "I care for Dyson but I don't want to go there again. I know I'll just wind up hurting him like I've hurt Lauren and everyone else I've ever been with for more than a night."

"Right," Tamsin nodded, considering Bo's words. "You ever think maybe it's not you, it's them?" When Bo looked at her as if she was insane, Tamsin chuckled and refilled her glass with more akevitt, pushing it to the brunette. "You're a succubus and he's a wolf and the doctor's a human. Neither of those are a peanut butter and jelly combination," Tamsin drawled. "What you need is somebody who's not going to box you in or study you like a fucking microbe. Someone who goes with it."

"In other words, somebody who doesn't care I cheat on them," said Bo in clear disbelief.

"Sex to you is a McDonald's Kids Meal to a six year old," said Tamsin dismissively, waving her hand. "It's no big. I can personally guarantee there's a few thousand fae out there who don't give a shit about your eating habits."

Bo grimaced and tilted her beer can to and fro then said rather plaintively, "I want more than that." She lifted her gaze, brown eyes wide and almost pleading as she continued, "It's not stupid, is it? A succubus who wants a relationship?"

"Nah," Tamsin reassured and she pushed the glass of akevitt at Bo again. The brunette huffed and drank the alcohol and Tamsin smirked at her. "Your grandmother was a succubus, wasn't she? She worked it out with Trick." Bo sighed and nodded her head at this and Tamsin hopped off the stool to retrieve two more cans of beer.

"What about you?" asked Bo as she accepted the can from Tamsin. When the Valkyrie squinted at her and opened her beer, Bo's cheeks heated and she quickly added, "Have you known any succubi or incubi that weren't... you know..."

"Obsessed with earthly pleasures?" asked Tamsin dryly. She tapped her fingers on the top of the beer and tilted it in her grasp, considering the various fae she met in her long life. "I knew this mohini. Nalini was her name. Anyway. Mohini are sort of like succubi or incubi except they're picky eaters. Instead of doing the down and dirty with anyone who has chi, they seek out people who've got Hannibal Lector type impulses. See," Tamsin murmured, noting she had Bo's complete attention, "it's not the sex really with them. They need to have it to feed but they eat evil impulses, I guess." Tamsin shrugged and took a drink of their beer. "Nalini once said they're like a succubus and fury all rolled into one. Either way, whatever nasty impulses their playmate has before they have sex is never there after." Bo clearly didn't know how to respond to this and Tamsin groaned, irritated with herself, and she knew she had to make her point already. "She hated it, you know, Nalini. Having to go out and fuck these horrible people who she knew had done these monstrous things but she had to. That's how she fed and if she didn't feed she would die and on top of it, she was getting rid of that evil with her feeding. But she still didn't like being with people like that. How she helped herself was she dated this wind spirit named Jagat." Tamsin stared at the beer in her hand as she thought about Nalini. How much more at ease with herself she had become once she met him, how she no longer hated what she was. "He was gentle and she could never have fed off him. Nalini didn't care though because she wanted more and she got more with him because the feeding didn't matter." She shrugged her shoulders and drank her beer, turning her attention away from Bo. "You could have more too, succubus. All you need is to find the right person."

"Are they still together?" asked Bo curiously, a hopeful light in her eyes.

"Last I heard they're great great great great grandparents," said Tamsin with an amused snort. "Point is," Tamsin drawled, pointing her beer can at Bo and arching an eyebrow. "Just because you're a succubus doesn't mean you can't have love."

"I don't know," murmured Bo and reached out, playing with the sleeve to Tamsin's leather jacket. Rubbing the material between her index finger and thumb in a thoughtful motion. "How can I ever be sure it's about who I am and not what I am?"

"Make them wear a koushang," Tamsin replied, clicking her tongue and smirking at the brunette. Bo huffed in clear annoyance at this response. "All right, time for self talk," Tamsin declared, slapping her hands on Bo's knees, facing the brunette as she spoke. "The reason you've got a fucking unaligned succubus fan club isn't because you're either of those two things. It's because of this," Tamsin tapped the side of Bo's head lightly, "and this," she rested her fingertips over Bo's heart but for only a second and then she pulled away as if burned. She ignored the enticing feel of Bo's skin under her own by rubbing her palm against her leg. "You're a baby fae. I mean, you're in your thirties, and yet look at all the shit you've done. You've been in our world for only a few years and you've turned it upside down, baby, and that's something to be proud of." Tamsin shook her head and smirked. "It's not easy to change the status quo when it's been around for a few millennia."

"People care about you because of who you are," continued Tamsin quietly, her gaze soft and serious as she looked into Bo's eyes. "You're a succubus who isn't obsessed with pleasure. That's like Action Comics No. 1 rare for the fae world." Her hand was moving before she was even aware of it, reaching for Bo's and she squeezed it gently in reassurance. "You're going to find somebody to love again and they'll love you and it won't be about your magical mystery tour of succubus sex." Tamsin scoffed and finished off her beer then said, "Believe me, I'm old. I know what I'm talking about."

"You're pretty good at self talk," Bo complimented with a fond smile, her brown eyes full of affection.

"It helps on the battlefield," said Tamsin in an easy dismissal, shrugging her shoulders. "Psychology and shit."

"You talk a lot more about love than I thought you would," said Bo in a caring observance. Tamsin's jaw clenched at this and she directed her gaze away from Bo. She didn't like where this was headed and she grabbed her leather jacket, pulling it onto her lap and stood as if in preparation to leave. Bo sensed her agitation, rising to her feet and her hand was gentle but firm on Tamsin's shoulder. "Please stay," Bo said in a murmur and Tamsin sat down on the stool but kept her eyes focused on the far wall. "I just want to know something." Bo's hand was agonizingly tender on Tamsin's face, turning her head until she was looking Bo in the eyes. "What did you mean when you said you couldn't get close to me? That you'd ruined someone?" Not one word came from Tamsin because she didn't know how to reply. How to explain what she meant without telling Bo things she desperately didn't want to, things she knew were best kept hidden, lest they sway the brunette's heart. She knew what she wanted from Bo and also she knew it wasn't smart, not in the least, not with her history and therefore she shouldn't have it. "Did you love someone?" Nothing still, nothing she could say, nothing she could explain. Nothing at all but the wish this would just be over and Tamsin dropped her eyes away from Bo in defiance, staring at the jacket in her hands, focusing on the journal peeking out of the pocket. She tugged at it, comforted by the feel of the binding in her grasp. It gave her focus. "Because I don't see how you could ever ruin someone by loving them, Tamsin. I don't think it's possible. Not for you."

"I ruined her with selfishness and ignorance," Tamsin said roughly, the words torn from her throat. She stared at the journal, turning it over in her hands, and she wished she had something like this of Tomoe's. Some sort of written document of the time they had together and who she had been. There were the great tales of her conquests and her brave deeds in battle but she was so much more than that. Just like Bo was so much more than a succubus. "Forget about it," said Tamsin, offering Bo a crooked smile and standing up. "Valkyries are built for war, not love. It's like kissing a Sherman tank."

"Don't say things like that," said Bo, frowning severely, and she stepped closer to Tamsin. "You say that I'm more than just a succubus. Well, I say that you're more than just a Valkyrie. If you want more then you can have it."

Releasing a broken laugh, Tamsin shook her head and squeezed her eyes shut. Damn this woman. She saw too much and she didn't back down and she never gave up. Bo was one of the most infuriating people that Tamsin had ever encountered in her long life but despite everything that meant, Tamsin wouldn't change her. The succubus was absurdly perfect just the way she was and she was so fucking tempting in her contrariness that Tamsin had to compel herself to feel that distance she needed to retain her wits. Making herself step backwards, her jacket draped over her arm and the journal in her hand. She did this and she forced a nonchalant expression onto her face.

"Good to know, I'll get right on that," Tamsin drawled, making herself smirk. She walked past Bo, her eyes on her room but the succubus shifted, standing in front of her and she was doing it again. The brunette wasn't letting her leave. Why did she always have to do this? "Move Bo," said Tamsin in altogether weary tones. "We're not doing this a third time."

"I'll move," Bo promised but she pressed excruciatingly closer, her body and breath was warm on Tamsin's skin. She felt Bo's hand slip down in between them and then she was clutching Tamsin's hand in her own. The one that held the journal and she lifted it, resting it tenderly against Bo's heart. "If you promise to read this." Tamsin blinked at the succubus, wondering what it could possibly say that could matter so much to the other woman. When she nodded her head in agreement, Bo smiled and it was an example of shining beauty itself, then she leaned in, her lips a breath away from Tamsin's. "You could never ruin me."

And then she turned on her heel and was gone. Leaving Tamsin alone in her emotional anguish.

To be continued...


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