It began, as so many things do, with a glass of wine.
Bo needed a file for a case, a file she had it on good authority that Lauren currently had with her at home, and so Bo had found herself standing on Lauren's doorstep, shivering in the cool fall air, both awaiting the door opening and dreading it because it wasn't just Lauren's house anymore. It was Lauren's and Nadia's house now, and as much as the possibility of seeing Lauren made Bo's heartbeat quicken, the thought of seeing Lauren and Nadia all cozy and domestic together was going to be a punch in the heart that Bo really didn't need.
In fact, Bo had almost convinced herself that the file was really an unnecessary extravagance and not really important to her case at all, but before she could scramble down the steps and flee, the door opened and Lauren stood glorious before her, and Bo, was caught.
"Bo," Lauren said simply in greeting, smiling a little uncertainly as she looked at Bo curiously.
"Hey," Bo said awkwardly, smiling a bit too brightly as she looked up at Lauren.
"Hey," Lauren breathed out softly, almost shyly, her voice a little rough around the edges the way that always Bo just want rub against her like a cat and purr.
"I," Bo began, rubbing her hands together to give them something to do because her nerves were threatening to get the better of her.
"Oh God, come in," Lauren said, noticing the movement of Bo's hands. "It's cold out, come in," she continued, reaching out for Bo to help usher her inside. "Sorry, I don't know where my …"
"It's okay, don't …" Bo said speaking over top of Lauren so that they both stopped talking at the same time. Consequently they found themselves staring at each other awkwardly and they ended up lapsing into chagrined smiles before they looked away from each other. "I…" Bo began once she could be certain she wasn't blushing, "Lochlyn sent me. Well not sent me, but I needed some information for a case I'm working and he said that you were the woman to talk to … which is usually the case actually. I should probably just start coming to you first, huh?" she asked, rambling and knowing that she was rambling, but unable to stop herself because Lauren, still, after all of the time they had known each other, made her feel like 15 year old virgin who had never talked to a girl before.
"You're working on the Lang case," Lauren said a bit stiffly, shifting her weight uncomfortably.
She found Bo adorable when she got like that, running off at the mouth uncontrollably, all nervous fidgeting and awkward infectious smiles. It had always drawn her towards Bo like a moth to a flame and made Lauren want to kiss her for hours, and it still did, God help her even with Nadia in the next room, it still did.
"Yeah," Bo sighed, deflating a little bit in the face of Lauren's reserve. "Can you tell me what it is and how to stop it?"
"I'll certainly try," Lauren replied earnestly.
She didn't miss the way Bo's shoulders slumped slightly when she didn't blush and smile at Bo's cute rambling as she had done in the past, and there was a strong urge inside of Lauren to reach out and try to reassure Bo – to comfort her in some way – but she couldn't give Bo what she really wanted – what they both really wanted – and she knew that, though it was somewhat cold, it was better not to reach out and touch Bo when she would just have to pull away.
"Lochlyn must think it's a Sluagh if he sent you to me here. We've just managed to capture one, but studying them is difficult. They're very evasive and, well, imperceptible, so we're just beginning to cobble together a somewhat coherent picture of … and I can see your eyes glazing over," Lauren said smiling a bit self-deprecatingly. "Go on into the living room, there's wine, which should make the discussion to come a bit more tolerable. I just need to grab the file."
"Right," Bo said brightly, forcing a smile onto her face. "Well, I'll see you in there then," she continued, and Lauren gave her one more small smile before she headed towards the stairs.
When Lauren's back was towards her, Bo's face fell and she turned towards the living room with a look of trepidation. Beyond the innocuous looking threshold lay Nadia, who through no fault of her own, had taken the only woman Bo had truly loved away from her, and now … now she had to go into the living room and make small-talk with her until Lauren returned.
She would rather have been fighting a swarm of pixies than go into that room, but Bo hadn't been one to run from uncomfortable situations for a while, so she took a deep fortifying breath and headed into the living room.
There was a fire going even though it was a bit early in the year for it, and Nadia was seated in front of it on the carpet. There was a sketch book on the floor in front of her, but with the light of the fire flickering over Nadia's skin the way that it was, Bo wasn't able to focus on much besides the fact that Nadia was absolutely stunning.
She was magnificent and Bo cursed her succubus nature as she stood staring at Nadia, her eyes hooding slightly as visions of Nadia in far less clothing and far more provocative positions flashed through her mind.
"Greetings," Bo said, wrestling the images of a nude Nadia to the back of her mind as she stepped further into the room.
"Hi, Bo," Nadia replied, offering Bo a small smile before she gracefully rose to her feet. "I think I heard Lauren promise you wine," she continued moving towards the coffee table where a half-finished bottle of Malbec was resting. "There's white in the fridge if you'd," Nadia went on, looking up at Bo curiously.
"Red is fine," Bo interjected smiling. "It's perfect," she added out of nerves.
The truth was she didn't care what was in the glass Nadia handed her as long it was strong and alcoholic and would help take the edge off.
"I'll just get a glass," Nadia replied, smiling again, obviously as uncertain around Bo as Bo was around her, but trying just as desperately to act as if she wasn't.
"Thanks," Bo breathed out, and Nadia nodded before moving towards the kitchen.
With Nadia out of the room, Bo began to walk around slowly, taking in her surroundings. The room was different than she remembered. It was warmer. The metal cage that had once stood in the corner – making the room look more like a lab than a living area – was gone, and as Bo glanced down she realized that the plush rug Nadia had been sitting on before was a new addition as well.
There were more plants in the room and a vase with flowers in it sat on the coffee table. The walls had pictures hanging on them. There was one slipper sticking out from underneath the couch but the other one was nowhere in sight. Lauren's textbooks still sat on the coffee table, but there was a half-finished crossword with doodles all around the edge of the paper sitting on the table as well.
The room looked lived in now in a way it hadn't when just Lauren was living in the house. It felt like a home instead of an extension of Lauren's office, and the realization made Bo's heart feel like it was being squeezed in a vice.
"That's … an interesting choice," Bo commented gesturing towards the sketch book Nadia had abandoned when the woman came back into the room.
The drawing was done with incredible skill, but the subject left something to be desired. On the sketch pad was an internal view of something decidedly Fae. Bo was sure that it was very educational or something, but it was also really gross.
"I know," Nadia sighed, glancing at the sketch book, frowning for a moment before she started to pour some wine into Bo's glass. "Lauren's anatomy journal," Nadia continued, gesturing towards a big, leather bound book that was resting on the floor near the sketch book. "She's got all of the inner workings of the various Fae she's come across over the years in there, but her artwork is just hopeless. When I was looking through it I couldn't tell whether I was looking at an elbow or a head. I mocked her and ended up getting a homework assignment," Nadia continued, holding out the glass of wine to Bo. "Biology was never my favorite subject in school, but I'm told it's for a good cause."
"It is," Lauren said as she breezed into the living room, with a folio case in her arms. "I brought some other files down that might be useful," she continued when Bo looked at the case in her arms and frowned. "If you're dealing with a Sluagh, considering the conditions the bodies were found in, it's unlikely that it's working alone. Another Fae must be working with it, and since Sluagh's are spirits, determining what is working with it is our best chance of tracking them both down. I weeded out what I could, but …" Lauren looked down at the box in her hands. "We're going to have to do some reading."
"Yay," Bo replied without a single ounce of enthusiasm, and Lauren couldn't help smiling at her.
"Don't worry, we'll figure it out," Lauren replied as she rested the folio down on the couch.
"This is going to take a while isn't it?" Bo asked, wanting to cry.
"Well no, I mean it won't necessarily be … yes," Lauren finally said, realizing there was no way to sugar-coat the situation. "I think, yes," she continued apologetically and Bo groaned before flopping down onto the couch with her wine.
"Is the case you're going to be discussing likely to be gross?" Nadia asked as she held out the glass of wine Lauren had abandoned when the doorbell rang for her.
Lauren nodded and Nadia made a face which made Lauren smile.
"Then I'll make dinner," Nadia said decisively not wanting to be around for the discussion of murderous Fae creatures that was about to take place.
"I thought we were ordering in," Lauren said.
"We were, but I'll cook. It'll give me something to do while you two are talking shop," Nadia replied leaning forward intending to kiss Lauren's cheek only to pull back awkwardly at the last moment when she remembered that Bo was in the room.
"You could stay," Lauren said softly, meeting Nadia's eyes as she spoke so that Nadia could see that she meant it. She'd registered Nadia begin to move in to give her a kiss and she knew why she'd stopped and pulled back.
"I could … but I'd rather be able to sleep tonight," Nadia drawled and Lauren's lips curved up into a smile.
"It won't be that bad," Lauren breathed out, eyes twinkling.
"Oh, no I'm not falling for that again," Nadia said shaking her head. "That's what you said before we did those shrooms on Spring Break and I've never been so scared in my life!"
Lauren snickered and Nadia reached out and batted her on the arm lightly.
"I thought the hallway was going to eat me," Nadia moaned, shivering a little at the memory.
Lauren's eyes lit up at that and her back straightened.
"You know, there's actually a species of Fae from the mountain region of …"
"Going," Nadia said, interrupting Lauren mid-sentence. "Good luck. You don't need to keep me updated," she continued and then she gave them both a wave and headed towards the kitchen, Lauren's eyes lingered on her as she walked, watching her retreat with fond smile.
A smile that was still on her lips when she turned from the sight of Nadia and her eyes locked on Bo's. The moment their eyes met the smile on Lauren's lips faltered and her easy posture turned rigid and awkward.
"I …" Lauren began, blinking a few times as she stared at Bo.
"Files," Bo interrupted before Lauren could say anything else and make the situation even more awkward, "So many files. So, so many," she sighed and Lauren's lips curved up a little again. "Where do we start?"
"With the first one," Lauren suggested meeting Bo's eyes warmly, gladly latching onto the out that Bo had given her.
"Right," Bo said nodding. "Well," she continued gesturing to the couch where the folio case sat, "after you."