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Out of the Woods

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Bo’s head lolls heavily to the side, and she can feel the grass, dirt and leaves from the forest floor prickling her cheek. She tries to apply pressure to her chest, but her arms are weak and the most she can do is hold them over the wound, feeling the hot blood seep through her fings. She hears more chuckling and from her new vantage point, sees Tamsin walk into view. The Valkyrie, still clearly under control by Mr. Wisdom, kneels next to her, grinning.

“Well, Ms.  Bo, looks like we’ve reached the end of the line, so to speak. It’s funny I-“ Wisdom stops suddenly, his words cutting off.

Bo watches as, eyes wide, a small squeak of pain tumbles out, and the blonde’s hands begin to quiver.

After a moment, the quiver turns to a near quake and the tall woman pitches forward, bracing herself off the ground.

What's happening? What is this???” Wisdom hisses through clenched jaw. His body feels like it’s on fire- literally burning up from the inside.

“That- is the Valkyrie bond. It's been betrayed...”

While it’s coming from the same person, Bo can tell, that these are Tamsin’s words. Bo's vision fades in and out, fuzzy then not, as her blood pressure continues to plummet. Bo watches as Wisdom and Tamsin battle for control.

"Make it stop!" Wisdom screams, tearing at the clothing and skin, burning like he was about the combust.

"Sorry, can't. Valkyries are bound to protect the warrior we’re bonded to. Bound for life to protect them. When we fail to do that or that warrior dies, so do we…”

“You BITCH!” Wisdom screams at Tamsin, who’s still trapped within.

“You have no idea what you’re messing with…” Tamsin leers back, ignoring the pain she feels as she slowly works fights off Wisdom- making her way back into her own skin. “You don’t come between a Valkyrie and her warrior and you definitely don’t come between me and Bo. I’ll die before I let you take her from me…”

Bo watches as a wide-eyed Wisdom gapes as the Valkyrie’s hand clenches her blade once more. The blonde sits back on her heals, once again kneeling tall, next to Bo’s body. Wisdom uses all his strength but Tamsin’s will is overpowering as she moves the blade in hand slowly- with much resistance- back up to her own throat. It pauses there, holding taut against her skin, for a second.

“You wouldn’t,” Wisdom sneers, eyes narrowing. “I’ve seen inside you Tamsin. You’re a killer- born and raised. And more than that, you’re a survivor. You do what you need to, to keep yourself alive. Centuries of that. Suicide is not only beneath you- it’s against everything you’ve ever stood for. It’s weakness. It’s giving up. It’s surrender. And I don’t think they’ll let you back to Valhalla with that kind of gesture…”

“It’s not surrender, if it’s part of the battle plan.” Tamsin’s eyes blaze. She looks to Bo and between the curl of her lip and the sad smile forming, Bo realizes with horror what Tamsin has in mind.

“And it’s not suicide,” the blonde says, seeming to address Bo and Wisdom at the same time, “If it'ssacrifice…” Bo watches as Tamsin’s Valkyrie form begins to appear. Eyes darken deeply and her wings burst forth once again, flapping twice, spreading full. “Don’t mess with a Valkyrie…”

 “NO-“ Wisdom starts, but is cut off by the woman fighting to reclaim herself.

Bo’s vision is fading, but she witnesses Tamsin let loose a determine roar. Between the wings, her darkened eyes and her brandished weapon, Bo can’t help but feel she’s seeing something very old. Ancient. A Valkyrie’s war cry, heading into her final battle.

Surging with energy Tamsin jerks her arm back inward, ripping the weapon towards her own throat. The blade sings as it slices and sends tiny droplets of red flying off with the momentum.  

Tamsin collapses  immediately, falling backwards and landing hard on her back- wings crumpled beneath her and limbs askew. The blade as well as the necklace, now severed by her own hand, fall to the ground beside her.

 

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Kenzi has been slowly working to move through the pain from her broken ribs. She tries again to sit up managing to get her elbows under to prop herself. She watches from her spot on the floor as the man standing above her sweats and shakes. Suddenly he lets out a gasp- like someone resurfacing in the ocean after being under too long.

“SHE’S GONE! The connection! She’s gone!” He gasps, working to catch his breath. The glazed look from when he was controlling Tamsin, is fading and his eyes dart around trying to reorient himself.

 Kenzi ignores her ribs and takes advantage of this, and crawls a foot or two towards the side table next to Wisdom’s chair. She works to pull herself up, using the table. Every breath is agony- as if a dozen knives are stabbing at her side- but she pushes through and is just about upright again when Wisdom finally gets his bearings.

He whirls towards her, gun once again trained on Kenzi. His back is to the fire, and despite his darkened features, Kenzi can tell this is a man who is done with games.

“She’s gone…” He says again, eyes wild. “That bitch did it- she severed the connection. “

“I told you so…” Kenzi huffs between painful breaths. “And you can bet, she’s going to be coming for you. I’ve seen Tamsin in battle. You’re as good as dead…” She sneers at the man in front of her, and stands tall. Shadow Thieves don’t back down. They don’t give up. Bo and Tamsin still need you… she reminds herself, and it helps keep the pain and the fear at bay for the moment.

“Well then,” He begins- a sick grin spreading. “I’ll see you on the other side.”

Wisdom pulls the trigger.

And nothing happens. Just a sick and empty click.

His grin falls, and he examines the gun a moment, until the small woman’s chuckling recaptures his attention. He’s eyes snap up and he sees Kenzi’s smug expression.

“Looking for these?” Kenzi asks. Reaches into her pocket, grasping something. She opens her hand to reveal a palm full of bullets.

“How?-“

“During the struggle, I swiped them before you took the gun back. You’ve been too distracted with Bo and Tamsin to notice…”

“Well then…” Wisdom says, placing the gun on the plastic couch behind him. “What are you going to do? Throw them at me?” He chuckles. “What good are bullets without a gun?”

“I’ll show you,” She smirks and with a quick move, throws the handful of bullets into the fireplace while taking cover behind the red chair to her side

As soon as the bullets hit the flames they ignite, sending pieces of brass pieces shooting back out and striking Wisdom, who yelps in pain.

Kenzi moves quickly and grabs the first  heavy object within reach- Wisdom’s Mug- and smashes him over the head with it. Wisdom crumples to the ground heavily and Kenzi wastes no time taking the few steps to his prone body and kicking him in the side as hard as she can. 

Her own side screams with the motion but she's satisfied because the man on the ground can do no more than grimace after she's done. Kenzi steps back, and assesses the damage. Wisdom’s eyes are slits, barely able to stay open and his one leg twitches involuntarily. Blood trickles out of the corner of his mouth, but he’s still conscious and still alive, and that’s still more than she feels he deserves.

Kenzi turns, and picks up the gun from the couch it was discarded on.

Wisdom’s lip curls over bloody teeth, his face still pressed to the floor, unable to get up. He gazes up at Kenzi and sneers, “Too bad you used all your bullets…”

“Who says I used all the bullets…” She intones. She reaches in her pocket and pulls out the last remaining bullet. The copper winks from the light cast from the hearth and Kenzi sees a flash of terror in the man's eyes. 

The man's hand twitches and strains to move in her direction, but it's clear he can move no further. "Ms. Kenzi..." he begins. "You've clearly won. You have your succubus, and your valkyrie. You can walk away now, and rest assured I will never bother any of you again."

Kenzi says nothing, she simply opens the chamber and loads the final bullet, clicking the chamber back in place. 

"Look, Fae or one thing, but I'm like you- a human. Taking a life, a human life... Is this something you really want on your soul?"

She still says nothing, simply clicking the safety off, and leveling the gun downward at the man once more.

"Ms. Kenzi- try to understand. They're Fae- they live for thousands of years. They prey on humans. I did what I did to survive. You're kidding yourself if you think we mean anything to them. We mean nothing. We're a momentary blip on the timeline of their lives. A snack to be enjoyed. A fuck to be had. Something to use and discard. One more body to add to the count. That's why I did what I did. To survive, we have to be more. We have to be able to fight- I can help you with that." His eyes are wild, and he licks his lips as he continues. "I can help you be more than just a human..."   

"Sorry buddy, I already learned my lesson on that one. I don't need magic. I didn't need magic to beat you and I don't need powers to protect myself because I am more than 'just a human''. I'm a Shadow Thief, and what's more- those Fae and I- we're a family. And when you have that kind of love- you don't need anything more than that." She smirks down at him once more, and catches the slow, strained chuckle from his lips.

"God," he begins. "They have you trained well. How long have you been rehearsing that drivel? It's like something out of a bad TV show..."

Kenzi rolls her eyes and sighs. She looks down the barrel of the gun once more, and squeezes the trigger. 

The shot rings out against the old plaster interior of the house, and Wisdom's hand twitches towards his abdomen, trying to stiffle the slow bloom of blood there.

"Asshole..." she mumbles, tossing the empty gun into the fire. She ignores Wisdom's further gurgling attempts at talking to her, instaed opting to walk towards the drink cart at the window. She picks up the dusky bottle, the one she knows to be the rest of Wisdom's potion, along with another expensive looking one of amber liquor. She carries both back over to where the man lay, uncorks and pours out the contents of both over him and moves on to pour over the rest of the room as well. 

"Ms...K-kenzi..." he pleads, his eyes wide. 

She grabs a book of matches from above the fireplace. She doesn't look back. She simply strikes a match, and tosses it behind her. From the hallway she hears the 'foom' of ignition and notes the strangled scream from the man who'd lived there for centuries. She doesn't think twice about that though. Nor does she even notice the pain in her ribs, still stabbing with every breath. As she walks out the front door, the only thing on her mind is her Bo and Tamsin and her hope that she's not too late to save them.

 

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