Tamsin watched Bo gather up the journal from where she dropped it, shoving it into the satchel that she slung over her shoulder, and when the brunette turned to her she looked away. Her left hand drifted towards the pendant, fingertips moving over its pattern, enjoying the cool temperature. "How do we do that anyway?" Bo asked and Tamsin blinked, turning her attention to the other woman with a slight frown. "Go home? Get out of here?" said Bo slowly, eyeing Tamsin with concern as she stepped closer. "You never said how that works. You do remember everything right? Like me and you and my dad--"
"I know who I am and there's no way I could forget you or your asshole father, succubus," drawled Tamsin sardonically.
"Good," said Bo and she looked visibly relieved. "So?" she prompted. "How do we do it? Is it like clicking our heels together three times and wishing our way back because we had the power all along?"
"No," Tamsin said derisively, eyeing Bo as if she were crazy. "And do I look like I'm wearing silver shoes?" Tamsin lifted the necklace over her head and held the pendant in her grasp. She could feel the pulse of the metal against her skin, warming her and it was such a welcome feeling, to have a key once more, to know she could travel as she liked between the realms. Not having to answer to him for her actions, once again acting on her own authority. "We've got a better way to travel."
"What do you mean silver, Dorothy wore ruby slippers," said Bo, fixated on the Wizard of Oz reference, at least until Tamsin reached for her hand. Bo appeared surprised at the gesture but she smiled sweetly, lacing their fingers together. The intimacy of this made Tamsin want to pull her hand away immediately but she couldn't, not if she wanted to get Bo out of here.
"You didn't read a lot as a kid, did you?" replied Tamsin in droll tones, looking away from Bo. She was desperately trying to think of anything but the feeling of Bo's hand in her own. And so, she made irritating small talk about L. Frank Baum's books and did her best to picture the run down building Bo called a home, forcing herself to recall every single detail of it vividly in her mind. It had been several centuries since she had last done this, after all, and she wanted to get it right. The last thing she wanted was for them to end up in the Danakil Desert or somewhere else particularly inhospitable. "Silver shoes is from the books, they changed it to ruby for the movie. Red looks better in color, you know?"
"Oh," said Bo blinked, surprised that Tamsin knew this odd piece of trivia. Then she frowned and continued, "But how are we getting home..." Bo trailed off but her mouth remained open as she found herself surrounded by familiar planks of wood that made up the walls that weren't quite walls of her hobo chic home. "What the hell?!" she exclaimed, whirling around, staring at Tamsin with wide eyes, pointing an accusing finger at her. "What did you just do?"
Tamsin shrugged and put her necklace back on, reassured by the weight of the pendant against her collarbone. She strode into the kitchen and began opening random cabinets, trying to recall where she had found the booze the last time she was here. "I got you home," said Tamsin carelessly. "It's not a big deal. Because of our duties, death guardian type of shit, Valkyries can move between some of the realms. Just don't ask me to take you to see your pops, okay? Because now that I'm not his indentured servant I can't go there anymore. Not that I particularly want to return to that shit hole."
Bo nodded her head, not really listening, shouting for Kenzi and running through the building. Tamsin managed to locate a half empty bottle of whiskey and took a long draw from it. The burn of the liquor down her throat was reassuring. Rebirth unsettled her each time it happened as her body looked the same but somehow, Tamsin always felt different while inside of it. Maybe it was because her senses and reactions, even how she viewed the world, were altered by the experience. It was as if everything was tilted just slightly off its axis and it took some getting used to. At least she had her memories to help keep her grounded in who she was and who she needed to be. Although familiar things helped. Like liquor. That was most wonderfully familiar.
"Kenzi's not here," said Bo unhappily, hands on her hips when she returned, frowning at Tamsin. "You're drinking again," she stated this with some degree of exasperation and Tamsin shrugged as if saying nonverbally what did Bo want from her. "This place looks empty... I mean, my stuff is here but Kenzi's isn't. It's like she left." She continued to wander through the house, staring into the Russian girl's room, noting the bed and the sheets, but the utter lack of clothing piles that Kenzi tended to create. "How long were we gone?" asked Bo suddenly, an urgent look seizing her as she walked over to Tamsin.
"No clue," said Tamsin honestly, finishing off the whiskey with a morose sigh. Why wasn't there more? They should go to someplace that had more liquor. That would help everything. She was sure of it. "Look," she huffed, "think of it this way: going between realms of existence is like the world's biggest leap in international time zones. Only instead of a few hours difference from place to place it's more like a few months or years depending on where you go."
"Years?" repeated Bo in something akin to shock. "It is dustier than normal and there are more cobwebs," she muttered, studying the shack again, this time with contemplation and worry, then she shook her head furiously. "No way it's been years, Tamsin! Come on, we're getting out of here."
"Okay," said Tamsin easily, following after the headstrong succubus, not really caring one way or the other. "Where to?"
"The Dal," said Bo firmly, walking out the door.
They stood on the street for a moment and Bo seemed stymied as to what to do next. Tamsin arched an eyebrow and offered, "My truck is busted and your car is missing. Neither of us have cell phones and my nifty transportation trick doesn't work like Kurt Wagner X-Men rules. If we want to get to the Dal Riata we're walking until we can find a cab."
"Thank you for that unhelpful assessment of our situation," said Bo irritably, turning on her heel and walking down the street. She tugged off the satchel that she'd been carrying all this time and said, "Oh, and here's your chronicle, you're welcome by the way. It only took me five hours to write it all down."
Chuckling as she took the satchel, Tamsin walked in time with Bo and formed an exaggerated pout. "Aww, don't be that way, succulette, it's not my fault they junked your car," she said playfully and Bo eyed her with a decidedly grumpy look. Laughing at her expression, Tamsin walked backwards, facing Bo and she snatched a newspaper from a machine, eyeing the date. "If it makes you feel any better, it looks like we've been gone eleven months, tops."
"That doesn't make me feel better, Tamsin. Eleven months is one month away from an entire year," said Bo unhappily, looking at their surroundings. While she recognized the buildings, things had changed. Some shops had closed, others had opened and just returning home and not finding Kenzi there... it was just a jarring and unpleasant experience. She wondered how many other things had changed. "It feels like everything is different. This is like starting over again."
"Now you know how I feel," Tamsin replied, tossing the newspaper aside and hailing a cab. Never noticing the thoughtful look covering Bo's features as she watched her and considered, for the first time, another difficulty of Tamsin's existence.
It's a relatively easy thing for Bo to charm their cabbie into covering their fare but it seems to Tamsin as if she's stalling. When the succubus finally leaves the cab, she walks slowly up to the bar, and she pauses at the door, as if afraid of what she'll find on the other side. Tamsin rolls her eyes and grabs Bo by the hand, pulling her inside, and Bo exhales visibly. Everything is the same, the music, the pool table, even the fae gathered around are familiar to her.
"See," said Tamsin, leaning down to murmur in Bo's ear. "Some things never change. Like Bhutan." When Bo eyes her with an expression that clearly said what the fuck Tamsin shrugged. "What? I like Bhutan. It hasn't changed in centuries and the monks are cool. Anyway," she drawled, cupping Bo's chin and turning her attention forward, "it looks like your gramps is about to have a heart attack. Maybe you should help him with that."
"Trick!" Bo exclaimed, rushing forward, enveloping him in a hug.
Tamsin's gaze drifted away from the touching scene, not wanting to rest on it for long. She moved around them, sliding behind the bar and grabbing the nearest bottle of alcohol. Squinting at it, eyeing the color and the label, she grinned. "Hello, Mezzaluna Vodka," Tamsin smirked, screwing off the lid to the bottle. "I haven't drank you in awhile." She leaned against the bar, looking everywhere except in Bo's direction and Tamsin's so busy trying to distract herself from the brunette, she doesn't notice a presence beside her until she feels a hand clasp her shoulder. Her name is said hesitantly, almost as a question, and she immediately recognizes the low burr. "Dyson," she breathed, turning to take in his tall figure.
"It is you," Dyson said quietly, almost disbelieving, and then Tamsin finds herself gathered in his arms. The bottle rests awkwardly between them and Tamsin manages to nudge him away after a minute but she there's no irritation in her, only an uncomfortable pleasure upon recognizing his happiness at seeing her. "I burned you," he said finally, his tone solemn.
Bursting into laughter, Tamsin handed Dyson the bottle of mezzaluna and he took it with a small smile, taking a drink and eyeing Tamsin curiously. "I know," she remarked with a grin. "You did a good job too. Thanks, partner."
"No problem," said Dyson slowly, amusement curling on his lips, handing the bottle back to her. "I'm assuming you arrived here with Bo," he said, his voice lowered, leaning against the bar, studying the succubus who was talking with Trick. When Tamsin took a drink by way of reply, he nodded. "You look good," he said and she looked at him incredulously and he kept a deadpan expression. "Which cycle are you on?"
"Fifth, asshole," Tamsin snarked, punching him in the side, and he laughed, hooking an arm around her shoulders and drawing her away from the bar and towards Bo. "Oh no," she grumped, "where are you taking me? Let's go back."
"You've returned from the dead," Dyson's voice was a pleasant burr in her ear. "You have to be social."
"Ugh, why, wolf-man," muttered Tamsin mournfully, taking a long swig of alcohol, and cursing her fate. They followed Bo and Trick into the speakeasy that had once been Hale's headquarters as The Ash. Watching out of the corner of her eye as Dyson made his way over to Bo, she put the satchel down on the bar and hopped onto it, resting the bottle between her legs as she looked off to one side. Dyson might have been happy to see her but she knew he had to be ecstatic to see Bo and she was glad for him. They might have had the occasional disagreement but he was the first light fae in a very long while that Tamsin genuinely trusted and she wouldn't begrudge him any measure of happiness. She's drinking again when she heard Trick call her name and she turned to the elder fae, her brow furrowed. "What's up?"
"You were with Bo," said Trick, his expression and tone grave. "Where was this?"
"Odin's realm, it's where he's trapped... for the time being," said Tamsin, narrowing her eyes and taking another drink. "He can't leave there but sometimes he's powerful enough to take people to him. That's what he did to Bo."
"What about you?" asked Dyson, frowning and walking over to her.
"Me?" Tamsin released a bitter laugh, taking another drink and shaking her head. "I made the biggest mistake in all of my lives and contracted myself to him. I was his bitch for that life cycle so when I died, I ended up there too." Setting the bottle down, her thoughts were heavy with memories of Tomoe and Acacia, she lost herself in all her failures, everything she had done wrong, including her fear and betrayal of Bo, and she said defensively, "I got Bo out of there as soon as I could--"
"My father had her in a dungeon," Bo spat out, seething with anger, and Trick immediately focused on the brunette.
"Is this why you asked me to burn your body?" asked Dyson with concern. "Because of Bo's father?"
"Yeah," Tamsin muttered, tapping her fingertips against the bar, biting down on her lip. She felt their eyes on her and witnessing the sympathy in their gazes was uncomfortable and overwhelming for Tamsin. She pushed herself off the bar, jumping down from her perch and pacing in agitation. "He has a thing for resurrection and I just wanted it done with. Which is why I asked, all right?" she said peevishly. "He can't resurrect ashes so it was the best way to end it."
"It? You mean end your life," said Bo and Tamsin could see her anger building again and she wondered at it. Why the succubus would even feel something like that at her situation. She wasn't Trick, Kenzi, Lauren, or Dyson. She wasn't family.
"Okay, fine," said Tamsin, rolling her eyes and throwing up her hands. "I lived, I served, I died. I asked Dyson to burn my body, your dad locked me up, I got reborn and now I'm free wheeling with no boss but myself. Big whoop. That's the cycle of this Valkyrie. Look," she said the word strongly, directing her attention to Trick. "What we should be focusing on is what dear old dad taught Bo while I was locked up. That's the real issue here. Her getting life lessons from the darkest of dark fae."
Immediately on saying this, Trick and Dyson fixated on Bo and began questioning her about her father. It was a relief to have the focus away from her. Tamsin couldn't handle their questions about her dealings with Odin, it was one thing for her to think about that life, to reflect on it to try and learn from her mistakes but it was quite another to share it with others. All the same, she had lived for too long to ever think her business with someone as powerful and dangerous as him could truly ever be finished, but at long last she wasn't under his thumb anymore. There was nothing she had that he could threaten or cajole her with. There was nothing left to exploit and she knew the weaknesses he looked for and she wouldn't allow them to exist within herself any longer. They would be erased from her body and her mind and she would remember what being a Valkyrie truly meant. That's what would keep her safe and that's what she would use to protect Bo and the others.
While she loathed to share her own experiences with Odin, she knew she had to tell them about the warriors. What he did to the ones she delivered to him. The changes he inflicted, the ways to spot the subtle alterations in behavior and personality in some hope of having them help her to know the extent of his influence over Bo. It had been too late with Tomoe. She didn't want to see the differences, she purposefully blinded herself to them, made herself concentrate on the good that was there, holding onto what little was left of the woman she loved until, finally, nothing remained. Just a monster of his own making and Tamsin had let it happen, she allowed it with her denial, but it would be different now. She would see Bo as she was not as she would want her to be, and she wouldn't let her emotions dictate her actions, she would keep herself separate.
The weight of the bottle is comforting and real in her hand and Tamsin takes a drink, frowning as she watches them. Bo is explaining in that desperate way she had before, trying to tell Trick the good in what her father taught her. There can be good in evil, Tamsin knows this, she's seen it often enough but the result is always the same. It's always overridden and it comes at a terrible cost, one that is never worth the price you pay. Eleven months was a short period of time in a fae's long lifespan but it was long in terms of fae politics which was volatile and ever shifting. Tamsin wondered about Hale, whether he was now displaced as The Ash and if Evony had managed to cling to her position as The Morrigan. Then there was Bo's human doctor, Lauren Lewis, whether she had survived outside the clutches of the fae that were certainly hunting her. She regretted her actions involving her, the way she had antagonized her with allusions to a relationship that did not and would not exist between herself and Bo. The doctor hadn't deserved it and Tamsin did respect her for managing to survive in the world of the fae. It was no easy task for any human and now she was surely marked by her involvement in that organization.
Dyson would have protected her, something in Tamsin was sure of that. She would have to talk to him about it later because as little as Tamsin understood science, she knew its uses, and she was well aware of Lauren's intellect. If there was a way to biologically prevent Odin from exerting his influence over Bo then Lauren could probably find it. At this point, anything they could use to fight his potential hold over Bo was welcome and Tamsin wouldn't overlook any options. It would be a relatively easy thing, if they could find the doctor, to get her to help Bo because everyone wanted to do that.
Fucking hell, Tamsin snorted, taking another drink from the bottle, wanting to help Bo is what got her in all this mess in the first place. No, that wasn't right. Wanting to help Bo is what tore her away from him. Is what allowed her to let go of her despair and overcome the fear to finally end his hold over her once and for all. Goddamn if that wasn't a good thing. It was the best thing that happened to her in hundreds of years, meeting his daughter, the unaligned succubus. Tamsin would always be grateful to Bo for helping her break free and that's why she refused to let him have her. She would not allow it to happen, it was her one purpose now, and she was glad to have it.
Silence greeted her for the first time in several minutes and Tamsin lifted her gaze, seeing that they were looking at her with expectant expressions. Clearly someone had said something to her and they all thought it was important. Releasing a puff of air between her lips, blowing a lock of hair up from her eyes, Tamsin asked in supremely bored tones, "Yes?"
Breaking away from the two men, Bo walked over to her, brown eyes soft and observant. They always saw too damn much for Tamsin's liking and automatically, she turned away from the succubus, heaving an irritated sigh. "Something's wrong with you," said Bo, her tones were caring and yet stern in the same instance. "What's going on, Tamsin?"
"Nothing, I'm drunk, it's a baby fae liver," said Tamsin with false cheer, pushing past Bo and focusing on Dyson. "I'm assuming one of you asked me some all important question? So what's the what?"
"Odin's training," said Trick solemnly, studying her with the same observance as Bo, and Tamsin scowled. These two, they were worse than Dyson, and he was the fucking detective. She really wished they would notice less. It would be easier. "I'm assuming you witnessed his methods over the years. I need you to tell me everything."
"No sweat, gramps," drawled Tamsin, lifting the bottle in salute, arching an eyebrow and taking a drink. Trick grimaced at her response and Tamsin, hyper aware of Bo's gaze burning into her, quickly strode over to him as he murmured something about getting books from his study. Tamsin dutifully followed after him, glad to be far from Bo and the disconcerting effect she had on her. Once they were safely away from the others, Tamsin set the bottle down, aware it was near empty and sat on the small couch, watching Trick go through his tomes. "I won't discuss it with her," said Tamsin, all affectations of being drunk instantly leaving her, watching him with a lucid and perceptive gaze. Trick faced her with some surprise, clearly having believed her drunken pretense. "I don't want Bo to discover the extent of my subjugation. Or the methods he uses to control those under his contract. Her knowing won't help," said Tamsin with a quiet vehemence. "It will only serve to distract her from what she needs to do and possibly act as fuel for her own rage."
"Very well," said Trick slowly, considering Tamsin's words carefully, "but you will tell me."
This was a statement, not a question, he was letting Tamsin know that she would tell him everything without exception, the look in his eyes confirmed this, and she had always known he was more than what he presented. That he was a fae of great influence for the light and in this moment, the power she sensed from him was a real and tangible thing, as if in the very air itself, and it was reassuring. Power and strength was needed to have a chance against him and clearly they had it in Trick but they also had kindness and love in him and Tamsin knew that was something Bo would need. It was in her nature, after all.
"I'll tell you all of it," said Tamsin, forming a self-deprecating smile, looking away from him and swallowing hard. Finally, she turned her gaze back to him, her expression unrelenting as she said, "And in return you will not break my confidence."
He met her gaze steadily and it was a moment of truth for them both. Trick dipped his head in concession and walked over to her, offering his hand. When she took it, he murmured, "At my word and on my blood oath."
Tamsin felt herself relax at his reply, sinking into the couch, and she nodded her head, pushing her hands against the cushions and rising to her feet. "Come on," she said quietly, "I think I know where we need to start looking."
They had been quietly conferring for almost an hour, pouring through books and examining scrolls, and it gave Tamsin a measure of hope, knowing that Trick had so much information at his disposal. Trick hadn't really questioned her, instead he merely asked her opinions on the rumors he had heard and bits of lore that were transcribed about Odin. She had divulged his talent for manipulation, his skill for seeing into someone, knowing instinctively their weaknesses and desires, the things they tried to keep hidden that he always pulled to the surface to use against them. When she told Trick this, she saw his look of concern and she knew that he came to the same conclusion. That Bo shared her father's talent. It was a dangerous ability that could be used to do great harm if possessed by an unscrupulous mind.
"Damn," Hale's voice was accompanied by a whistle and Tamsin turned to see the siren grinning widely at her. "My boy didn't lie. Here you are! Tall, blonde, and back from the dead."
"I told you," said Dyson in a soft rumble, rolling his eyes and stepping into the room with him. He directed his attention to Tamsin and said, "Bo sent us to find you. She's afraid you've been devoured by Trick's library."
"Almost," said Tamsin sardonically, lifting one of the large tomes in her hand, her nose crinkling at the dust. She put it down carefully and placed a hand on her hip. "We've just been going over some things."
"Tamsin will be an asset," said Trick seriously, standing beside her, gazing at the two men.
A silent communication seemed to pass between Trick and Dyson and the wolf nodded his head. "Well," he drew the word out, smiling at the Valkyrie. "I already knew that. Didn't I, partner?"
"Still?" asked Tamsin, tipping her head to one side, and studying Hale. "This one hasn't taken my place?"
"Tamsin," said Dyson in a charming burr, reaching out to put a hand on her shoulder. "No one can replace you."
When Tamsin rolled her eyes and looked to Hale with a droll expression, the other man grinned. "That's it," Hale declared, propelling the two of them forward. "You all have worked enough for one evening. We're getting drunk."
"That sounds heavenly," Tamsin drawled, allowing Hale to escort them into the main area where Bo was sitting at the bar, smiling widely and talking with an energetic Kenzi. She blinked at the sight of the brunette and turned to Dyson with a frown. "It's safe for her to be here?" she asked, recalling the less than friendly atmosphere towards humans when she died.
"About that," said Hale wryly, directing Tamsin to a booth where they all sat down. Trick wandered away only to return with a bottle of Dyson's favorite scotch and glasses for them all. They murmured their thanks and he returned to his granddaughter with a smile, taking part in whatever enthusiastic tale Kenzi was regaling. "Kenzi's not technically human anymore." Hale stared Tamsin down and poured some scotch for himself, lifting the glass in a gesture to her. "Your druid friend did it."
"Mossimo?" questioned Tamsin, lifting up her glass so Dyson could pour scotch into it. "He's more like a necessary evil. I have to say, he does come in handy when you need a serious energy boost before battle though." Tamsin focused on Kenzi, studying the way she moved, her expressions, and they were much the same but the air about her... shit. It couldn't be, could it? From how Hale was acting and the expression of Dyson's face then maybe it could. Drinking the scotch in one gulp, she turned to Dyson and Hale then said lowly, "He turned her fae?! How the fuck? Is he nuts and is she stupid?"
Dyson chuckled and drank his scotch, looking at Hale out of the corner of his eye. "I told you she wouldn't know," he said. When Tamsin frowned at him, Dyson elaborated, "Hale thought you'd know more about the process he used. Kenzi has no idea how he did it, he knocked her out for the whole thing, and the druid's gone missing."
"I've done questionable things but turning a human into fae? That's some shit I'd never get involved with," said Tamsin harshly. "That's guaranteed to get you on everyone's bad side and I never met a human worth that." Hale frowned at Tamsin's words and she sighed, drinking the last of her scotch. "No offense," she drawled. "Look," she sighed, pouring herself more alcohol. "I'd love to help you out, buddy, but I've kind of been out of the loop for almost a year. Mossimo has a lot of hide outs and I can give you a long list of them but I'm thinking he's not stupid enough to go to any of them if he knows he's being hunted." She looked at Kenzi again, considering her. "What did he turn her into anyway? And how is she still alive?"
"I've claimed her as part of the Clan Zamora," said Hale and Tamsin looked at him with wide eyes. "I've also convinced the acting Ash to allow her to swear allegiance to the light. That's provided her protection."
"You retired?" asked Tamsin with some surprise. She had thought Hale was eager to change things in the fae world. Certainly he seemed determined enough when he started the exchange program that made her partners with Dyson.
"Turns out politics aren't my thing. At least, not when I'm the one in the spotlight," Hale said, shrugging his shoulders.
"Mirasol is the new Ash. She did well in the hunt and has the backing of our elders," Dyson revealed. "Hale is acting as her advisor. It has given him some influence, which helped Kenzi when it was discovered what Mossimo had done."
"And what? She's seen as an innocent who just happened to get a fucking massive upgrade genetically?" asked Tamsin incredulously. "There's no way The Morrigan took this calmly."
"Wouldn't know," Hale grinned impishly. "I got her replaced."
Tamsin paused at this, considering Hale's words. It was what she had been wanting to hear. If Evony was gone then one of the biggest problems in rejoining the dark was eliminated. Of course, there were other fae in power that she had problems with throughout the years but they weren't nearly as bothersome as Evony. She tended to make grudges easily and hold onto them for centuries with a level of antagonism that was impressive, even for the dark fae. Distinctly aware that her drinking companions were of the light, Tamsin gave no reaction to Evony's displacement. Instead, she cocked her head to one side, a bored expression overtaking her features. "How did you manage that?"
"I have a friend on the inside," said Hale mysteriously.
Rolling her eyes, Tamsin looked to Dyson and said in dry tones, "You want to elaborate?"
"Vex," said Dyson, ignoring Hale's elbow in his side, meeting Tamsin's gaze steadily. "He's The Morrigan now."
"Really," Tamsin drew the word out in supremely amused tones. Shaking her head, she poured herself another glass of scotch and snorted. "Things have changed." Looking between the two men, Tamsin said, "He's still in politics but what about you Dyson? Are you the only detective on the block?"
"For the time being," said Dyson knowingly, flashing her a crooked smile. Tamsin knew the look in his eyes all too well and the warmth in them touched something in her. He was a good man and she felt proud to have been his partner.
"Well," Tamsin drew the word past her lips with a sardonic pop, a smirk curving on features. "If you want me back I've got to have a talk with my new fearless leader. Convince him to keep up our little dark and light exchange program."
"That isn't your only option, you know," said Dyson seriously. When Tamsin frowned at him, he leaned forward, across the table, his gaze had an entreating tinge to it and she wondered at it. "You don't owe them anything, Tamsin. Just because you pledged to the dark before doesn't mean you need to again." Tamsin blinked at this but before she could say anything he was reaching for her hand, grasping it in his hold, and his voice was so sincere in its care and concern it stilled her protests. "Hear me out," he murmured. "Your clan was dark?" Tamsin narrowed her eyes at him but dipped her head in concession. Dyson breathed visibly at this and continued, "Maybe I'm mistaken but I don't think they're around anymore, are they?" She looked away from him, knowing well enough he could read her reactions to find the truth for himself. Taking a slow drink of scotch, she watched Bo laughing with Kenzi, taking in her carefree posture and the simple joy on her features. In this moment, she was the most beautiful thing that Tamsin had seen in centuries. "Tamsin," Dyson said her name almost urgently now and she turned to look at him. Her gaze unflinching. "You can have a family with us. Swear allegiance to the light."
"And if I don't, what, I'm on the outs?" asked Tamsin, her words were soft but held an underlining threat. She believed she knew where Dyson was coming from. That he was trying to make her see that everyone she had joined the dark for, all of her family and close friends, they had long since gone from this existence. They had left and there was nothing of any true significance to tie her allegiance to the dark upon rebirth. The light, on the other hand, was where her partner resided, and it was the side that Bo had given a clear preference to. Whether she chose to admit it or not. If Tamsin thought about it, choosing the light would be the easy way out. The simplest way to promise herself to Bo and find herself as Dyson's true partner with no doubts of loyalty between them. It made sense and yet, she still didn't like it. "Is that what you're saying?"
"No," said Dyson with a frown, jerking backwards. "I just meant--"
"Enough," Tamsin interrupted, staring down at the scotch in her hand, fingertips running over the rim of the glass. How to explain to him the reasons behind her refusal? She respected him too much to give him nothing. And there was Hale there as well, watching her with that subtle gaze. He saw more than he let on and she knew he was studying her, perhaps to bring information back to his new Ash, to speak to her of Tamsin and where he thought her loyalties resided. "I was there in the times before light and dark, when we had no allegiances," said Tamsin quietly, staring them both down. "The Great War was a vicious and bloody thing, handmade for Valkyries," she said in scathing tones. "I swore allegiance to the dark because I saw in them an honesty that the light did not possess. An acknowledgement of what they were, both good and bad, while the light strived to be something else. They aspired to be not what they were but instead what they wished to be." Tamsin snorted and drank the last of her scotch, eyeing the bottle as she considered pouring herself another drink. "It's noble, in theory, but theory rarely applies to life, does it?" Hale reached for the scotch, refilling her glass, and she thanked him. "My mother died with her only allegiance being to my father, myself, and her duties as a Valkyrie. And my father's loyalty was to the land he protected and the fae that resided on it. He wanted nothing to do with war, it was forced upon him."
Drinking slowly, she tried to process her thoughts, trying to find the simplest way to explain her decision. "The reality is," she said wearily, sighing as she rubbed her forehead, feeling a headache forming behind her eyes. "I've seen and done a lot of things in my many years, things that I regret, but pledging to the dark was never amongst them. It's where I feel comfortable, it's where I know that I belong, because in them I can see shades of myself and those that formed who I am. I care about you, Dyson, and I care about Bo, even though she's a huge pain in my ass," Tamsin said this wryly, chuckling after she spoke. "But I know where I belong and it's not with the light. It never will be. Besides," she smirked, arching an eyebrow. "I'd think you would rather have a friend on the other side when things get tough. You can't say it wouldn't be useful." Her gaze drifted back to Bo and Kenzi, the smiles and the laughter, but when she saw the succubus turn her attention their way, she immediately focused on her companions. "Vex might be your man," Tamsin said, looking to Hale, "but the dark loves a good overthrow of power so, mesmer or not, his rule at the top isn't exactly guaranteed."
"Still, he's the man now," Hale replied and Tamsin didn't know what she saw in his eyes. It wasn't happiness or relief. It was more like she had confirmed something for him and he was satisfied with the results. "I'll talk to Vex. Get you put back on the force." With an easy grin, he jerked his thumb at Dyson. "Somebody's got to keep my boy in line. He's been running wild."
"Hey," said Dyson with false offense, glaring at the other man. "Watch what you say when all you do is sit behind a desk."
"It's a nice desk," Hale defended, "it's made from Brazilian Rosewood."
"He got it on the black market. From a pixie," said Dyson confidentially and Tamsin snorted with amusement.
"It was a gift!" exclaimed Hale irritably. "You don't listen to him," Hale leaned across the table seriously, "he's filling your head with lies. It's because he can't handle how fine my desk looks compared to the metal monstrosity he's got in the precinct."
From that moment onwards, the conversation flowed as freely as the liquor, and eventually they left the booth to play a round of pool and a game of darts. Tamsin falling easily into her old relationship with Dyson, exchanging verbal barbs and listening to stories of everything that had developed in her absence. The most entertainment being found in the fact that Kenzi had been turned into an Anansi, one of the least combative fae in all of creation. Tamsin burst out laughing when she heard this and half the bar turned to look at her. She didn't stop laughing though, not even when Bo and Kenzi joined them, the succubus' smile was blinding while Kenzi looked suspicious. Eventually she stopped laughing, unwilling to leave herself so open around Bo, but she couldn't help but snicker on thinking of the good that absorbing wisdom would be in a fight. Tamsin supposed it might be useful to have knowledge all of the ways you had been beaten up. Still, she considered, if the right person had the ability it could be used to learn all forms of combat. Kenzi narrowed her eyes at Tamsin when she thought this, remarking to Bo that the blonde looked like she wanted to jump on her. At this point, the liquor had started to have some effect on her and Tamsin bared her teeth, saying that Kenzi wished. Bo and Hale both intervened, Hale wrapping an arm around his girlfriend, while Bo steered Tamsin towards the door of the Dal, saying they were leaving. They stopped to say goodbye to Trick and when he told Bo to go into the back to grab some things, he turned to Tamsin, telling her quietly they would talk soon, and she nodded. He smiled at her then and gave her a bottle for the road before Bo reappeared.
It was only when they stepped outside and into the cool night air that Tamsin realized what she agreed to. She was going home with Bo, she would be alone with her again, and she was decidedly tipsy. Excuses filled her head, one after the other, and Tamsin almost felt dizzy at it but she didn't say any of them. Instead, she allowed Bo to lead her to the cab and she sat inside, silent, as they drove back to that broken down building the succubus called a home.
Fuck, Kenzi. Tamsin cursed inwardly. Why did you have to move in with Hale?
Flashlight in hand, Bo led the way into the warehouse, and Tamsin followed carrying the oil lamps. They were a gift from Trick seeing as the building currently had no electricity. When they walked into the kitchen, Tamsin set the lamps down on the island and sat on one of the stools as Bo muttered about getting the utilities turned on tomorrow. The Valkyrie wondered how that would work since she was certain the building was considered abandoned. Ultimately it probably came down to succubus charm. With a sigh, she removed the glass chimneys from both oil lamps, raised the wicks, then lit them with her Zippo. Replacing the glass chimneys, Tamsin adjusted the thumbwheel, ensuring they burned as brightly as possible. The moment that she was done, she reached for the bottle of alcohol that Trick had given her, assured by having it in her grasp. It was a comfort somehow, it gave her something to focus on other than Bo, who was wandering about with the flashlight.
"I can't believe nobody stole anything," said Bo, one hand on her hip while the other gestured with the flashlight to the television and couch in what passed for a living room. "Kenzi said she hasn't been in here for eight months!"
"Why would anyone break in here?" asked Tamsin in droll tones. "I'm pretty sure it's condemned, succubus."
Bo huffed then narrowed her eyes, staring at the bottle of alcohol that Tamsin was holding. She walked over to the blonde and teased, "What's with you and that bottle? You haven't let go of it since Trick handed it over. Is it magic fae booze?"
"You shut up," Tamsin scowled darkly, "it's akevitt."
"What-a-vitt?" asked Bo curiously, sitting across from Tamsin and reaching for the bottle. When Tamsin held onto it stubbornly and looked at Bo suspiciously, she burst into laughter. "Come on, Tamsin," she wheedled. "I won't keep it. I promise." Tamsin reluctantly released the bottle into Bo's grasp and she lifted it up, eyeing the label with a frown. Studying the ship and man straddling a barrel while holding two more barrels underneath his arms. Bo then screwed off the cap, sniffing the bottle experimentally, frowning as she stared at it. "This isn't that awful stuff you were drinking in the woods, was it?"
"No! And there's nothing wrong with mead. You've just got a problem with your taste buds," said Tamsin with great offense, grabbing the bottle back. She leapt off the stool, opening random cabinets until she came upon two glasses. Heading over to Bo, she wiped them down with her shirt and poured a small amount of the caramel colored alcohol into the glass that she gave to the succubus. "Drink," Tamsin ordered, shoving the glass under Bo's nose. When the brunette hesitated, she groused and rolled her eyes, pushing the glass into Bo's hands. "Drink it and rescind your insults immediately."
Eyeing the drink and sniffing it once more for good measure, much to Tamsin's irritation, Bo took a slow drink. After several moments, she pulled the glass away, then looked down at the brown liquid. Tamsin's impatience could be seen clearly on her features and somehow Bo found it endearing. Finally, when it seemed as if the Valkyrie might burst, Bo formed an impish grin and remarked, "It's good, Tamsin. I can see why you're so attached."
"You're making fun of me," Tamsin grumbled, pouring some of the drink into her own glass.
"I'm not," soothed Bo, unable to fight the smile tugging at her lips. "It really is good. Whatever what-a-vitt is."
"Akevitt, succubus," drawled Tamsin grouchily. "You're supposed to drink it after you have a beer." Bo didn't reply, she just gazed at Tamsin with that interminable affection in her brown eyes that made Tamsin feel things that she knew she shouldn't. It was a mistake to come here. She didn't know why she had gone along with it. True, she had no truck to sleep in but she had been in worse situations and she'd find someplace to go. She always did. With this thought clear in her mind, Tamsin sighed and slipped off the stool, replacing the cap on the bottle of alcohol. "I should go."
"What?" said Bo, following after Tamsin and standing. "What do you mean?"
"I mean I should go," said Tamsin, shifting her weight from one foot to the other, avoiding looking at the brunette. She didn't want to lie to Bo but she supposed it was necessary. The succubus was stubborn and for whatever reason she had decided to involve herself with Tamsin. On one level it helped because it would make protecting her from Odin's control easier but on the other it made things decidedly more difficult because the more Tamsin was around Bo the more that she made her feel and that was not a road the Valkyrie wanted to go down again. For her sake as well as Bo's. "I have business."
"Right," said Bo skeptically, her gaze narrowed and her arms folded across her chest. She stood in front of the blonde, blocking the path to the door. "You've been resurrected for what, six hours? It's two in the morning and nobody knows you're even back except for the five people you've talked with tonight and maybe a few random strangers in a bar that might have recognized you. So you tell me, Tamsin, who do you have business with?"
There was no reply that she could give that would possibly satisfy Bo and so Tamsin didn't try, she just clenched her jaw and attempted to shoulder past the succubus, doing her best not to hurt her. Unfortunately, Bo didn't feel like letting Tamsin go all that easily and she grabbed onto her wrist, stopping her progress out the door. Keeping her gaze focused ahead, Tamsin muttered, "Let me go. I don't want to fight with you over this."
"Then tell me," said Bo in a soft but strong tone, her voice not brooking any arguments.
"Look," Tamsin practically growled, turning to stare down the succubus, clearing her expression of any and all emotions. "It's like what those guys said in the bar. You claim to be unaligned but you're in good with the light and that's fine except I'm not and I never will be. In fact, first thing tomorrow morning I'm going to give my brand spanking new Morrigan a visit and let him know that. So," Tamsin's lips popped on the word and she smirked, "I don't think it's in my best interests for me to be here."
"Okay," said Bo quietly, nodding her head, as if in understanding. "I don't believe you."
"That's your problem, succulette, not mine," said Tamsin, laughing caustically. "Listen," she jerked her arm out of Bo's grip and stared her down. "You might want to pretend this divide in the fae world doesn't apply to you but it does. People do pay attention to what you do and who you spend time with. How do you think it looks to all of your light fae buddies when the famous unaligned succubus returns from being kidnapped by her all powerful dark fae father only to hook up with one of his former underlings who also happens to be dark fae?" Tamsin smirked and leaned in close to Bo as she drawled, "Not good, that's how it looks. So if you're smart and don't want a political shitstorm, you'll let me go."
"Then I guess I'm not smart because you're not going anywhere," said Bo decisively. Tamsin tossed her head back at this, laughing and she finally had enough, moving past the succubus not so gently but just as she got past Bo, she found herself grabbed and slammed against the wall. Plaster fell from the shoddy ceiling, raining down on them and Tamsin grimaced, staring at Bo with something akin to shock. She hadn't expected that. Honestly, she hadn't. It wasn't like she was doing anything horribly offensive to the brunette, she just wanted to leave, and she had no idea why Bo was so against that. She was about to say so when she saw an all too familiar look in her eyes. It wasn't that they had changed shades, from brown to blue, that worried Tamsin. Instead, it was the gleam in her eyes, it echoed of Odin, the sick pleasure and enjoyment she always saw when he exerted his control over others. She could see it right now in Bo and it made Tamsin freeze. "I've never liked picking sides," said Bo in a low utterance. "In fact, I think it's pretty fucking stupid and I'm not starting to do it now. I can see why the dark would think I favor the light because of who my grandfather is and who my friends are but I can honestly say that I don't think the light are any better than the dark."
"Joy," Tamsin snarked, meeting Bo's stare head on, and calculating all the ways in her head she could get out of this without seriously injuring the succubus. She had a decent idea of what her strength level would be but she wasn't positive. With every rebirth her body was slightly different, one cycle she would be faster, another she would be stronger, and her abilities were similar but never exactly the same. Something always got better and inevitably, something always got worse. That left Tamsin questioning what she could do in her current situation. "I'll release a memo. The unaligned succubus actually likes the dark despite all proof otherwise. Fantastic. Now let me go."
"Why do you lie," said Bo in a curious murmur and her breath was hot on Tamsin's skin. Bo was flush against her, their bodies pressed closely together, and Tamsin fought the attraction she felt. It was her succubus charms, she knew that, she knew and yet it still took everything in her to not jerk her hips forward, to gain some friction. Their faces were just millimeters apart and Tamsin could see the that awful discerning look in glowing blue eyes that told her Bo knew. She knew how much Tamsin desired her in this moment, how wet she was, and how she wanted nothing more than to give in. It was the same look she had always gotten from Odin when she tried to pretend that her assignments didn't affect her. That it didn't matter to her what he was making her do and the more she tried to stonewall herself against him the worse the treatment was but Tamsin never allowed her mask to break. Never. It was the one thing she could hold onto, the one piece of herself that survived, it was her own sad rebellion and maintaining it helped to save some small part of herself while under his control. Bo was different though. She wasn't him, she never could be him, and seeing her act this way... it made Tamsin want to shatter the mask she created. If she left it up, continued to act in a contrary manner, it might encourage Bo to mimic him further. Tamsin couldn't bear that and she knew how to stop this when she heard the succubus whisper, "Tell me the truth."
"You're acting like him," Tamsin uttered, looking at Bo in the eyes, her gaze unflinching. Total and complete silence. Bo met her gaze, her blue eyes blazing and the Valkyrie searched for some sign of the woman she knew. The one that reminded her so much of Tomoe, the woman who cared too much, who couldn't help but feel for everyone she met and trusted far too easily. She had to tell her the truth. What little of it she was willing to divulge anyway. Perhaps it would help Bo to snap out of this and make her understand how dangerous her father truly was. "I can't let myself get close to you. The last time I did that, I ruined someone. Everything they were was erased by your father and I don't want him doing that to you. Bo," Tamsin murmured her name and she cupped the brunette's face in her hands. "This isn't you."
Silence again and then Bo slid away from her. Her body was stock still and Tamsin frowned, watching her carefully, wondering what her next move would be. Then the succubus turned away from her, marching over to the kitchen island and grabbing one of the oil lamps. Her back was facing Tamsin and she could see the tense line of her muscles and the trembling in her stance, as if she was restraining herself. Tamsin felt herself step forward before she was even aware of it, nearing the succubus and she reached out, her fingertips light on Bo's back, wanting somehow to ease her pain.
"I'm sorry," said Bo thickly, her back still facing Tamsin.
"It wasn't you," Tamsin reiterated, her hand clasping Bo's shoulder in reassurance.
"Maybe it was," said Bo in hoarse tones, turning to look at Tamsin with a tortured gaze and the Valkyrie immediately noted her eyes were brown again. They were both Bo, the brown and the blue, and Tamsin accepted each side to the succubus but she did find some relief in seeing that warm brown gaze on her again. Tamsin started to protest but Bo's hand flew forward, lightly pressing her fingertips against the blonde's lips, silencing her gently. The Valkyrie's brow furrowed and a small smile tugged at Bo's lips, weary but full of affection. "Please," she whispered, "stay with me." Tamsin must have shown some sort of reaction to this because Bo laughed quietly and laid her hand flat against Tamsin's cheek. "I won't do anything, I promise. I just don't want to be alone." She looked away from Tamsin, studying the emptiness of the place, loneliness clinging to her features. "It's just so depressing without Kenzi around." Bo looked back to Tamsin with a melancholy smile. "You help."
"Me?" asked Tamsin skeptically, lifting an eyebrow and tilting her head to one side. "You sure about that?"
"Yeah, I am," said Bo, smiling. She paused, swallowing hard, holding Tamsin's hand in her own. "Please," Bo repeated and Tamsin knew what she should say. It would be safer to explain why she shouldn't, to insist that she shouldn't get as close to Bo as the others, that it didn't mean the same thing for her as it did for them. She knew and yet, she said nothing. Instead, she dipped her head in concession and took in Bo's smile, bright and shining like the sun, and bathed in the warmth.
She would worry about the consequences tomorrow.
Bo was true to her word and she didn't try anything untoward by Tamsin's standards. They sleep in the same bed and sometime in the night Bo moved, clinging to Tamsin, resting her head on the Valkyrie's chest. When Tamsin wakes, their limbs are thoroughly tangled and Bo is sleeping with such a peaceful expression she can't bear to wake her. Several centuries of experience aid in helping Tamsin untangle herself though, and she grabs her pants, tugging them on along with her boots. She paused, studying Bo's sleeping form and she suddenly feels guilty. Tamsin isn't sure why, maybe it's the memory of that pleading look in Bo's eyes, the fear and the need she saw there. She sighed, cursing under her breath, and searched the shack for a piece of paper and a pen, eventually settling on the top of an old pizza box and a tube of lipstick. Rolling her eyes, she writes on the box that she'll meet Bo at the Dal later that night. Tamsin brushes off bits of pizza with disgust then rests the box against a pillow and walked away.
Except she can't stop herself from turning to get one last look at Bo, watching the steady rise and fall of her chest, and some ridiculous part of Tamsin doesn't want to leave. She wants to stay and stare at Bo forever. That's dangerous though. An impulse she needed to control and she knows that all too well and so she makes herself walk away. One foot in front of the other, Tamsin repeated to herself, until thought became action. Then she was gone, like she knew that she needed to be.
Tamsin is surprised to find Vex residing in one of the oldest fae residences in the area. It's the dark fae version of Beverly Hills and when she steps up to the impressive gates, she's flanked by ogres. The taller one narrowed his gaze at her and flexed his muscles in a vaguely menacing manner then demanded, "Declare yourself."
"Tamsin Dagmaeresdottir of the Clan Lundr," said Tamsin in bored tones, staring him down. "I'm here to announce myself to The Morrigan."
Muttering into his earpiece and shifting his weight, the ogre nodded at the gatekeeper after a moment and the iron gates slowly creaked open. "I'll take you to him," he said.
Rolling her eyes, Tamsin followed after the ogre, and when they entered the estate, she took notice of several high ranking dark fae elders out of the corner of her eye. Vex had always been popular with them, far more than Evony, and it made her think that perhaps he might have restored the Council of Six after Evony had disbanded it. There was nothing the former Morrigan hated more than hearing opinions of fae she deemed past their prime. Unlike many, she didn't hold respect for age. The only thing that mattered to Evony was power and obtaining it, not wisdom and experience, and as such elders were seen as a nuisance in her reign as The Morrigan. Perhaps things had changed under Vex.
Walking up the elaborate imperial staircase, they stop outside lavish double entry doors. Tamsin studied the stained glass in them, taking in the representations of their most famous warriors. She had met most of them and overall, the artist had done a decent enough job. Although, universally, they were all made taller and a bit more intimidating. Tamsin supposed that was par for the course though. You always want your heroes to be remembered as impressively as possible.
The ogre pushed the doors open, allowing Tamsin entrance, and they slam shut behind her. Striding into the room, Tamsin takes in the floor to ceiling shelving, filled with books and various antiquities, several of which she recognizes as belongings of the heroes depicted on the door. She even spots the famed sword of the first Morrigan and she paused in her walk to take in the gleaming lines, deadly in its beauty, and after all of these years, it still seemed imbued with her power. An impatient cough sounds in the air and Tamsin turned from the weapon, focusing on Vex who was perched on the top of his desk. Eyeing the material, a smirk tugged on her lips and Tamsin can't help but remark, "Brazilian Rosewood?"
"Yes," Vex preened happily, pleased that she recognized it. He was walking towards her with a smirk and said, "I always knew you were a woman of taste. Even if you run around in blood soaked garments half the time."
"Hey," shrugged Tamsin, "it's the life of a Valkyrie."
Vex nodded and murmured to himself, eyes inspecting Tamsin closely, and he quickly reached out, grabbing a lock of blonde hair in between his thumb and index finger then gave it a sharp tug. The Valkyrie winced and scowled at him, shoving his hand away and the mesmer grinned widely, shaking his finger to then fro, making Tamsin's head move in accordance to his movements and she cursed at him. "Now now," he tutted, "I just wanted to feel for myself. Since you're not molting I assume you've gone and reincarnated yourself, yeah? Shiny new life cycle and all that?"
"You betcha," Tamsin bit the words out, glaring daggers at him.
Seeing her ire and presumably pleased with it, Vex danced away from her and clapped his hands. "And what? You've come to give greetings to The Morrigan?" Vex grinned, bowing to her with flourish, peeking up from beneath his eyelashes to look at Tamsin who had no reaction to his performance. "Pleased to meet you. You'll have a smidgen more respect, won't you?"
"A Mesmer with full use of his abilities is always respected," said Tamsin staidly, arching an eyebrow at him. "I've come to declare myself to you upon my rebirth. I, Tamsin Dagmaeresdottir of the Clan Lundr, offer my allegiance to the dark fae and to you, The Morrigan. My sword is yours to command."
"Ohh, I do enjoy the sound of that," said Vex delightedly. He paused to study her for a moment, tilting his head to one side, and then he walked forward, moving around her much like a predator stalking its prey. "Funny thing is," he muttered, "I know you're in with Bo and her gang of light do-gooders, so why return here, eh? You fit in better with that lot, don't you?"
"I care for them," said Tamsin and her voice was hard but honest, and she stared him down, ever aware of his powers of control and coercion. She had never lied to a mesmer and she wasn't going to start now. "But that doesn't mean I belong."
"Ah," said Vex wisely, nodding his head, tapping his index finger against his chin. "Black sheep, is it? Poor Tammers." Tamsin huffed in response, rolling her eyes, and he laughed uproariously, patting her cheek with false affection. "Aww," he teased, "don't pout, love. I like them too. In fact, liking them is what helped me unseat that bitch Evony. You'll never get any slack from me for chasing after that succubus." He shrugged and turned on his heel, waving his hands aimlessly about. "That's a national fae pastime in these parts, yeah? Moon over the unaligned succubus, step right up and take your turn!"
Shaking her head, Tamsin folded her arms across her chest, and that's when she moved her focus away from Vex for the first time and took notice of the hulking figure on the other side of the room. A smile formed on her lips and she said, "Steve?"
"Hey Tamsin," Steve's deep baritone rumbled in greeting. "I'm going by Bruce."
"Why?" asked Tamsin with some confusion.
"It's easier," explained Steve, no, Bruce, she corrected in her mind. When she continued to stare at him blankly, he gave a sheepish smile and explained, "Everybody kept calling me Bruce and, well, it is my middle name."
"Okay," said Tamsin slowly.
As if sensing the silent question on her lips, Bruce smiled and said, "I've been made advisor to The Morrigan. It's been going well," he hesitated. Then he looked to Vex, who was perched on top of his desk once again, uncertain about speaking on his own job performance.
"He's bloody brilliant," Vex announced, crossing his legs. "Evony was an idiot for not realizing his potential."
"Vex is even letting me pursue another PhD," said Bruce happily.
"Yeah?" asked Tamsin, grinning as she looked at the large fae. She always had a soft spot for Bruce since she met him two hundred years ago. There was something charming in the way his personality was in contrast to his exterior. While she didn't always understand everything he spoke about, she had enjoyed their conversations over the years. "What's this one for?"
"Mystical Artifacts of Asia," said Bruce in solemn tones. "I'm curious to learn more about our sacred objects."
At this, Vex released a snort of amusement, and Bruce sighed at him, as if hearing the internal dirty joke his boss had just made. Tamsin chuckled and replied, "I'm still in good with a few clans of Japanese fae. I could help you out."
"That would be fantastic," said Bruce eagerly, a smile lighting his features. "It's been difficult to get any formal introductions."
"I'll call around," said Tamsin, trying not to think about the last time she had seen the Clan Minamoto. She knew they held nothing against her. That, in fact, they held her in high regard for her actions but she had always avoided seeing them after Tomoe's death. Seeing them was like seeing her and no matter how many years passed, it never hurt less. Still, this was a new cycle and a new start, so perhaps she should make an effort to do things she had previously avoided. Well aware of Vex's attention on them, she focused on the mesmer and murmured, "I noticed the elders downstairs."
"Them," Vex said dramatically, rolling his eyes and wiggling on the desk, "yes. They're a big part of Team Vex. I would've had a nasty time of it if they hadn't supported my wee uprising. Besides, age and wisdom, respect your ancient fae elders and all that, blah de blah blah. All I care about is they earn their keep."
"That's true," said Tamsin cautiously, "but Evony never utilized them."
"Evony was a moron," said Vex snappishly, "she didn't bother to play to anybody's fucking strengths. She just did whatever she bloody well wanted, and never took a good look around her to see that, oh hey, maybe all these rotters might despise me and revolt one day." Vex snorted and eyed his fingernails, contemplating a manicure as he did so. "Best to make people happy, if you do then they're less likely to chop off your head. Not that I'm worried about that," he drawled, forming a vicious smile. "I've got the elders on my side, plus Sophocles level intellects like Bruce telling me what's what, so you can damn well bet that no one's deposing my sweet ass anytime soon."
"Thanks, boss," Bruce chimed in, pleased at the compliment.
"You're welcome, Bruce," said Vex, hopping off the desk and strolling over to Tamsin. "The question is though: what to do with you, my little lost Valkyrie? You've returned to the dark fae flock but where to place you, hmm?"
The Mesmer circled her and Tamsin steeled herself, keeping her gaze forward. There was a decided difference in his ability and the one possessed by Bo and her father. Vex could make people do things, command their bodies, but he had no hold over their minds. The latter was far more disturbing than the former and while Tamsin respected mesmers for their abilities she had no fear of them. She had learned to think of her body as a mere shell as she disposed of one after the other through her rebirth. It was the mind that was essential. That was who you were and that was the thing that mattered most in this life and she knew true terror from those moments when she felt her mind invaded and controlled, making her do things she would have never done under her own volition. The mind can always fight the body and so, if you possessed enough will power you could battle the effects of a mesmer. Tamsin had done it more than once and she knew she could struggle against Vex's childish control games but there was no need, he would never do anything truly harmful to her. He simply wanted to play about and exert a display of power as The Morrigan and she allowed it because she needed him.
It was far better to have a friend than an enemy in the seat of power. Particularly in the world of the dark fae.
"You're no fun," Vex pouted and heaved a dramatic sigh at Tamsin's total lack of reaction. Tamsin simply stared at him and lifted an eyebrow. Releasing a rather annoyed whine, he tapped his foot. "Speak your request already. I don't have all day."
"I want my old job," said Tamsin simply. "The homicide detective assignment in the 39th Division."
"You want back in with the wolf," said Vex, tilting his head and looking at her thoughtfully. When Tamsin dipped her head in agreement to this, he scratched the side of his neck. "Well," he drew the word out slowly, "I do think it was something of a success. I mean, you didn't murder each other," Vex smirked with amusement. He shifted from side to side and looked over at Bruce. "What do you reckon?"
"It would be advantageous," said Bruce solemnly. "She could keep you informed of any unforeseen criminal elements."
"Yeah," Vex snorted, "and we know there's plenty of those. All right," he said finally, pointing his finger at Tamsin. "You got the gig, blondie. Just make sure you update me regularly, yeah? Report once a week to me or Bruce. Unlike my predecessor I've got a genuine interest in what's going on beyond adding ammunition to a pathetic vendetta against the unaligned succubus."
Tamsin lowered her head in concession and she knew that was the end of their meeting. She could tell by his voice and his gestures but she didn't move. Instead, she looked at Vex and considered him and his leadership qualities. He was a loose cannon, chaotic and easily swayed by his moods and emotions, but there was a consistency in him. There was a grim sort of logic and thought to his actions. No matter what he did it was always to his own benefit ultimately and she knew he would apply the same judgment to his decisions as The Morrigan. That he would do what was in the best interest for the dark fae.
Perhaps it would be unscrupulous but it would be what was best and that was what they needed. It was heartening to see the elders being taken into consideration and just the fact that Bruce was acting as an advisor told her something. Those two acts alone told her that already Vex was behaving wiser than Evony and could see beyond his own ego in order to rule properly.
"Go on," said Vex derisively, a decidedly bored affectation clinging to his voice as he waved his hand and made Tamsin turn around to walk out the door. "Skedaddle! Vamoose! We're done here."
Mind over body, forcing your thoughts to become your will, that was what you had to do. Tamsin told herself this and she clenched her jaw, repeated the words in her mind, telling herself she would stop. That she would not walk out that door and her feet began to slow and then her shoes skidded on the marble floor and she made herself turn to stare at Vex. "No," she breathed heavily, her gaze dark and determined as she looked to him. "We need to talk about something else."
"Is that right?" Vex questioned, his eyes wide. He had clearly been thrown off balance by her ability to fight his control. It wasn't possible for most fae, after all. Not without the aid of a siracon. "About what, my lovely?"
"About Bo," said Tamsin, swallowing hard and she prayed that this was the right thing. It hadn't been. Not when Evony was The Morrigan and she knew Vex's faults. That he was selfish and he was ruthless but she believed in his overwhelming desire to improve his own position and that could only be done by ruling well and ruling with popularity. Something that seemed to escape Evony, no matter how many centuries went by. If Tamsin was to be important, if she was to hold any sort of power in this new regime, she would have to make the dangers known, and help to ready her people. She wouldn't tell him everything, he wasn't Trick, and she held no trust for Vex or his decisions when it involved Bo's well being, but she would tell him enough to prepare. "And her father."