Bo stepped out into the approaching darkness of dusk as she left the Dal thinking about everything that had happened the last few days. She couldn’t dwell on Luanne and Dex and all the secrets and dead ends about her mother any more without driving herself mad. Not that thinking about Dyson or Lauren was much better.
She and the former had at least found a happy medium where they could work together and socialize without too much friction. It still hurt a little to see him, to watch him flirt with other women, but she felt separate from it now. They were on the same side (mostly) even if they weren’t in the same bed and that was enough for her. But every time she thought of Lauren she saw her standing there wrapped in the sheets from the bed they had just been in together; ‘I’m sorry. God dammit Bo, I’m trying to protect you! I haven’t done anything wrong!’ and she felt betrayed all over again.
She shivered – no matter what she’s done since, she always seems to be cold these days and she isn’t entirely sure it’s not something other than an early fall cold snap that is making her freeze. Bo automatically scans the street as she walks toward her car; it's deserted, no surprise there considering the time of day, but something seems off. Not for the first time, the brunette thinks she should start arming herself recreationally; her hand practically itches with the need to wrap around the perfectly fitted handle of one of her knives.
But honestly, the weapons ruin the line of her outfit and she’s still silly and vain enough to care about such things.
Shoving her trembling hands into her pockets – even after feeding recently, when she is stressed or remembering Lauren or Dyson, she gets the shakes – she begins to walk quickly, she’ll need to grab a snack on her way back to the crack shack. Rounding the corner of the block, she stops short, eyes narrowing dangerously, hunger jumping in her gut when she sees the familiar blonde leaning against her car.
"Fancy seeing you here," Lauren pushes off, shrugging, she has a Tupperware container and Bo can’t help the briefest flicker of amusement. Only Lauren would think baking would make up for what she did.
"I stayed away as long as I could," the blonde says, stepping towards her.
"Well, not long enough," Bo snaps, immediately regretting it when the smaller woman flinches, but unable to force herself to apologize. Why should she apologize anyway, just the urge makes her annoyed with herself as much as she is with Lauren. The itch is starting behind her eyes, and the buzzing at the back of her head that tells her she needs to feed and the familiar floral scent and proximity of Lauren isn’t helping.
"Maybe too long?" Bo’s eyes shift to meet Lauren’s and she realizes that the other woman knows, of course she knows Dyson and Kenzi can always tell when she’s hungry and Lauren has made as much a study of her as either of them. They stare at each other for long moments, brown eyes locked with blue, until finally Bo has to look away, afraid to give away too much when it already feels like Lauren is looking at her soul. Lauren has a way of getting under her skin that makes her confused, and right now confused means craving the sweet oblivion of feeding.
"This isn't a good time, Lauren," Bo grinds out through clenched teeth, hands clutching the insides of her pockets to try and stop the urge to reach out for her. She can’t tell if it is because she’s hungry or because she’s hungry for this woman. It’s probably a little bit of both and she decides its safer not to think about it.
"I know, I… I heard about what happened… I wanted to see you," the blonde says softly, holding out a hand in the universal non-threatening gesture. “For me.”
Bo flinched at the reminder the clarification forced on her of Lauren in her bed for someone else and didn’t reach for her as she wanted, as the extended hand made her want. Didn’t even wonder how Lauren had known where to find her, or about what had happened with Vex after she’d left her earlier.
"I can't deal with anyone else's issues right now, all right? I know we left things… up in the air, but… I can't think about that right now…" Bo almost pleads, suddenly finding it hard to breathe. She has to get out of here, she’s angry and turned on and hungry and there’s nothing good about anything that happened today. She suddenly needs Lauren to understand that it wasn't about her, wasn't about what happened between them except that that is a part of it. It’s about not knowing who she is and not being able to find any answers but the words die on her lips and she just looks at Lauren helplessly.
It’s all there on her face though, in those eyes that can’t tell a lie and Lauren can see it, touches her because Bo needs it – they both need it – just a touch on her arm, support and understanding.
"Hey, hey, it's okay," Lauren interrupts, and then she hugs her and Bo immediately feels warmth spread through her body, and her breath catches in her throat, tears forming in her eyes. It feels like forever since she’s felt anything but cold and she clings to the other woman, feeding on that feeling almost as hungry for it as she is for more. "It’s all right Bo."
Lauren coos into her ear, and it takes her a second to realize that she is sobbing. She can't work up the energy to be mortified like she thinks she should be. Instead she lifts her arms and returns the embrace, burying her face in soft blonde hair and allowing the other woman to comfort her the way she couldn’t allow Dyson to even though his impassioned plea for her life had managed to break through her nearly suicidal anger. The way she hadn’t been able to let Kenzi comfort her even though her softly spoken ‘Bo’ had been all she needed to realize she had a family even if she never found her mother.
They stay like that for long minutes, tangled together, until Lauren slowly pulls back and then her lips are on Bo’s and the other hunger flares to life, the more physical hunger that has nothing to do with the emotional pain she’s been in for days. Her eyes glow and she pulls chi from the kiss, just a taste and feels Lauren gasp and melt against her. The kiss is desperate, raw and for long moments all Bo can do is feel the passion, revel in the warm body against hers and the oblivion of Lauren’s touch but it isn’t enough to make her forget and she pulls away panting.
Embarrassed that she let herself get out of control that way she looks away, trying to decide what to say, she’s still angry but not as angry as she was but there’s no words to tell her friend that she understands. She doesn’t understand, even if she had the words and even though she wants to say them.
"Hey, look at me," Lauren murmurs, hand coming up and wiping the tears away from the brunette's face, sliding to her cheek to curve over the over-heated skin. "No rush, I can wait. It's gonna be all right, okay?"
"How do you know? I can't even make it through an hour without thinking about it… My mom, Vex... you and Dyson. It’s all too much."
She needed time off from the fae and their shit, she wanted to be normal and since that ship had sailed she wanted to get rip roaringly drunk with Kenzi and watch Sleepless in Seattle. Smiling gently, Lauren runs the pad of her thumb over Bo's cheekbone.
"It is never easy, but it gets better." she tells her, sincerely, shrugging at the incredulous look she gets. "You aren’t the first person to lose someone, or... be betrayed by someone." There is too much truth in her tone, honest sincerity in her face for Bo to distrust her and she can’t help but wonder who Lauren lost, what betrayals she’s survived.
After a long moment of silence, Bo takes a shaky breath; she wants desperately to believe.
"Promise?" Her voice is small, almost child-like. Lauren nods, hugging her again.
"Promise. And in the meantime I baked cookies." She retrieves her Tupperware from where she put it down and holds it out to Bo with a smile. "Peanut butter with chocolate caramel candies."
Bo takes the container, smiling but curious too.
"Why did you come, Lauren?" Bo asks as they pull away from each other, clearing her throat and attempting to put some space between them. Immediately the cold is back, chilling her to the bone.
"Glutton for punishment?" the blonde responds with a wry smile. "Like I said, I stayed away as long as I could. You were good to me when you didn't have to be, angry when you had the right to be but… not cruel. When I heard what happened with Vex, I… I had to see you."
"You don't owe me anything, Lauren," she insists wrapping her arms around herself, suddenly hurt but unwilling to examine why.
"It's not like that and you know it. Letting you walk away from me was one of the hardest things I've had to do, coming to your bed was one of the easiest – because I’ve wanted to be there since I met you.” The last words came out in a rush as though Lauren was embarrassed to be admitting it.
"You didn’t know me then," Bo points out, oh-so-reasonable despite the ache that sets up shop in the pit of her stomach at the words. She hadn’t even known what or who she was then and she still didn’t, not really. "You knew more about what I was than I did."
"If you tell me that I imagined everything between us, I'm gone, okay? I don't want to make trouble for you," Lauren says, clearly hurt. "But I think it was real. You don’t have to forgive me for what I did, the Ash did tell me to distract you but he didn’t tell me to sleep with you that was for me. And it meant something to me. It meant something to you; I saw the look in your eyes Bo…"
"Shaky ground to base your theory on."
"Fair enough." The smaller woman nods once, jaw flexing as she swallows back emotion. "I came looking for you because I needed to know if there was anything between us. Guess I got my answer." Before the doctor can make it more than two steps, Bo breaks, calling out to her.
"Lauren, wait," she says, voice breaking and angry at herself for not being able to stop it. "I… I miss you, okay? But, I-I can't right now. I need some time to figure out how I feel about everything that happened." Lauren nods; turning back around the relief is plain on her face.
"I'm not asking you to do anything Bo, I just, I… I want to help. I know what it's like, and I want help. I want you to know that if you want me to be, I’ll be there."
"No strings? Just for you?" She can’t help but ask, even though the words hit Lauren like a slap across the face.
"No strings, no expectations. No orders. If you come out the other side and decide you hate my guts, there isn't really much I can do about that, is there?" Lauren sighs, shaking her head. "And if you happen to decide that you want to give it a shot, even if just as friends well I can't really do much about that either."
Smiling genuinely, for what seems like the first time in days, if she is honest with herself, Bo takes a deep breath, releasing it slowly. "Okay," she agrees, reaching out a hand for Lauren to take.
"Yeah, okay." Their fingers tangle, hands fitting together in that almost perfect way that the brunette had been surprised at the first time they had touched, months ago, and Bo suddenly doesn't feel so cold.