They leave early in the afternoon, loading up the El Camino with Tamsin's assortment of weapons before starting the drive to No Man's Land. Mayer had given her directions and Tamsin was vaguely aware of its location. She knew enough to realize it was in the midst of the wilderness, in an isolated area far from the city. As they drive down yet another dirt road, Kenzi began to hum dueling banjos from Deliverance. Tamsin snorted in amusement while Bo glared at her best friend.
"Kenzi," Bo heaved a sigh, somewhat exasperated.
"What?" replied Kenzi, looking the like the portrait of innocence from where she sat next to the window. She gestured to the mass of trees and the general backwoods eeriness of their surroundings. "Look at where we are, it totally fits!"
"She's kind of right," Tamsin remarked as a smile formed on her features. "This is redneck central."
"I shouldn't have let you become friends," said Bo in a mutter. "Of course you'd always defend each other."
Kenzi rolled her eyes expressively then she quickly formed a sly smile as she said, "Don't worry about it, Bo. I'll never replace you as Tammers favorite fae. She'd throw me over in a hot second if you told her to."
"Enough," stated Tamsin forcefully, shooting Kenzi a glare. "We're ending this conversation."
"You're no fun," said Kenzi with something of a pout.
"I thought that was obvious already," said Tamsin in droll tones. "Besides," she murmured as she leaned forward, studying the upcoming path as the road died off. "I think we're here." She exited the car and walked to the trunk, deliberating over the weapons as the other women joined her. Studying the options, she handed Kenzi a shotgun, and Kenzi released an excited squeak as Bo stared at Tamsin with mild disbelief. Giving Bo a sword, Tamsin explained, "She can't miss with it."
Her pistol in its holster, Tamsin grabbed a sword for herself, sliding it into the scabbard on her back. Weapons distributed, they started on the worn down path, Bo leading the way. Tamsin absently patted the inside pocket of her jacket, wanting reassurance the spell she bought off a dark fae warlock was still in there. It wasn't anything earth shattering, just a simple transportation spell that would remove them to the location where it was anchored. Tamsin had carved off a piece of the bar from the Dal Riata for the casting and if things got bad, she planned on magically getting them the hell out of dodge.
No Man's Land wasn't like Brazenwood in that there was a gatekeeper and land mines to keep people in and out. Its reputation spoke for itself and that's what kept people from going there. Those who lived there policed themselves and as they neared the territory, Tamsin could see abandoned cars, and several oversized trailers. Kenzi snickered, saying they found fae trailer park terrorists but before Bo or Tamsin could reply a massive ball of fire flew at them. The valkyrie cursed and dropped to the ground, pulling Kenzi with her, well aware that Bo could take care of herself. When she looked up, several Salamanders were approaching, and they were the worst sort of fire fae. They had nasty dispositions and a tendency to burn things first and ask questions later. By the look of them, they were enthralled, and Tamsin didn't know the extent of Aife's control but they had to stop them before they were burnt to a crisp. The revelation of her true face was always a strange experience, like stripping back the layers and leaving herself naked to the world, it left her vulnerable as she displayed her powers but Bo and Kenzi were there to keep her safe. She trusted in them as she strode forward, telling the Salamanders they didn't want to do this, and slowly, one by one, they started to drop but just as her mask fell back into place, the last of the enthralled threw his fire at her. She cursed and tried to move aside but it was was jarring, shifting from one form to the other, and she couldn't move as quickly as she needed. Tamsin felt the fire burn through her leather jacket and she couldn't help but release a scream. Bo rushed to her side, helping her extinguish the flames, and she grimaced, clutching onto her arm.
"Fuck, I hate fire fae," Tamsin muttered, looking for anymore attackers.
"Are you okay?" asked Bo worriedly, inspecting Tamsin's injuries.
"I'll be fine," said Tamsin and her gaze became alarmed, "but it looks like we have more company."
There had only been a dozen in the initial attack and now there was at least thirty. Tamsin shook her head, trying to erase whatever exhaustion she felt. It was difficult at first, using her powers after rebirth was as tricky as using them at the end of her life cycle. At both ends of the spectrum she wasn't at her full strength and that was unfortunate considering their current situation. It was only moments and then they were attacking, all of them elementals, and Tamsin cursed again. Aife had been smart with her choice of thralls. These were fae who could thrive in any environment and could make anything their weapon, pull the water from the air and attack with a swath of destruction. Just as some were doing now and it was too much. Bo didn't want them dead but Tamsin wondered if that was an option at this point. Then she saw the succubus stop in the middle of her fight, dropping one of the wood nymphs, and her eyes were bright blue. She heard about this, Bo's ability to take chi from multiple targets, but she had never witnessed it. There was something mesmerizing and terrifying about it, watching them drop like flies and their strength flow into Bo, and Tamsin was frozen by the sight.
Kenzi rushed forward though, going to Bo when it was done, and talking to her. It was only when Tamsin approached them that she realized Kenzi was making sure that Bo was still Bo. That she hadn't let him take hold when she drained all those fae and Tamsin's heart leapt in her chest, full of fear, but those blue eyes faded back into brown. Letting Tamsin know her worry was unfounded. At least until she saw a figure emerge in the distance. "Shit," Tamsin muttered and her companions looked at her in confusion. "Your mom is making her appearance," she supplied, nodding to Aife who was walking towards them with a good fifty more fae behind her. Honestly, when was it going to end? How many had she enthralled anyway?
"I don't think a shotgun is going to do it," said Kenzi, nevertheless holding the gun in a tight grip.
"Nobody else is getting hurt," said Bo with determination, striding forward to meet Aife. "Mom!" she called out and Tamsin looked to Kenzi who held up her shotgun with a nod then they followed after the succubus. When they reached her, Bo was standing in front of Aife who was wearing an amused smile. "I don't want to fight you."
"Really? Because you just devoured half of my army, sweetums," said Aife thoughtfully, tilting her head to one side, her gaze going over the thirty something fae that Bo had taken out just moments ago. "And no leftovers for mommy, that's not nice."
"They attacked us, crazy lady," Kenzi accused and Aife's eyes narrowed at the smaller woman.
"You're fae," stated Aife, a dangerous tone in her voice as she walked closer. "How did that happen?"
"Mom, please listen to me," Bo pleaded, stepping in front of Kenzi, and reaching for the older woman. "I'm here because I need your help. After we escaped from that horrible place where they were holding you, my father came for me."
"Your father," Aife whispered and her attention was immediately on Bo. In a flash of movement she was in front of Bo, holding her face in her hands, looking deep into her daughter's eyes. "Oh yes," she murmured with something akin to glee, "I can see him lurking in there. He's got his hooks into you, hasn't he baby girl?"
"Yes," said Bo and her fear was entirely visible now. "I need your help," she repeated, covering Aife's hands with her own. "Please, I don't know if I can beat him on my own."
"You are strong," murmured Aife, pulling away, though her hand lingered on Bo's cheek in a tender touch. "I know you're fighting him but it isn't doing much good, is it? He's more powerful than any of us. I can attest to that."
"There has to be a way," enforced Bo, almost desperately, "you escaped, didn't you?"
Aife didn't respond, she just slid backwards in a smooth movement, and considered her daughter. "Come along," she said finally, turning on her heel. "We should discuss this in a more comfortable setting."
As she left, Aife raised her hand in an entirely elegant motion and snapped her fingers, causing her small army of fae to follow after her. Tamsin watched her exit, her eyes narrowed at the subtle display of power. It was more than obvious to her how the elder fae managed to escape from Odin now. There was a tenacity in her, something that kept her from ever being completely beaten down, no matter what happened to her. Aife's resilience probably only grew stronger with each new act of cruelty and that made her a particularly dangerous enemy. This was good, Tamsin thought, standing at Bo's side.
They had a chance if Aife was with them.
Tamsin wasn't especially surprised to find that Aife wasn't living in a trailer or a shanty like the other fae in No Man's Land. Somehow or other, she was occupying a rather large Tudor house that looked like it should be in the middle of an upper class suburb instead of the wilderness. Their journey was accompanied by countless eyes on them from the fae hiding in the safety of their lesser quality homes and Tamsin could feel their fear as they walked past. It was a reaction Tamsin understood.
The enthralled fae lined the entrance to the home, holding the door open for them, and a few trailed behind Aife as they followed her into a grand sitting room, complete with chandelier and large bay windows. Aife perched on a love seat, her gaze astute and vigilant, studying them as if they were insects in her spider web. "Tell me about daddy," Aife demanded.
"He took me to where he is," said Bo, swallowing hard, sitting next to her mother. Kenzi sat in a nearby chair and Tamsin remained standing, her hand on her hip, watching the mother and daughter with careful eyes. "I was there with him for almost a year but it didn't feel like that. It was more like weeks and he said he wanted to teach me things..."
"Oh, I bet he did," said Aife with a mocking smile curving on her lips. "He's always wanted that." She lifted her hand, her fingers running through Bo's hair, and she murmured, "It's like a whisper at first, isn't it? Then it gets louder and louder and soon it becomes impossible to know what thoughts are yours and what belongs to him." Aife slowly turned to Tamsin, taking her in with a knowing gaze. "You belonged to him too, didn't you, Valkyrie?"
"I was under contract," Tamsin replied and Aife laughed, pulling her hand away from Bo, and walking over to her.
"Oh yes, that is what your sisters prefer to call it," Aife drawled as she circled Tamsin. "Still," she remarked airily, "a slave is a slave is a slave. You and your sisters were imprisoned by him just as much as I was, don't you think?"
"No," said Tamsin, her courage steadfast as she looked Aife in the eyes. "I think you had it worse."
"Yes, I was his favorite," remarked Aife and her smile was twisted in its pain. "A special project," she announced grandly, turning back to Bo, reaching out to her gaily, "because he knew I would bring him you. My beautiful girl."
"What does he want with me?" asked Bo, holding Aife's hands, trying to focus her mother.
"I stole you away," Aife whispered, kneeling partially on the love seat, her touch loving and almost desperate. "Escaped from that horrible place. Lou Ann helped me. He should've never brought her to me, that was his mistake," she laughed. "I couldn't enthrall him but I could do it others and they were the ones who freed me. Who helped me take you from him. You were never his to own, not my daughter. I would never let him have you. I promised myself that."
"Mom," Bo's voice was commanding and forceful but there was a gentleness in it too. Tamsin thought that was what pulled Aife out of her crazed musings to focus on Bo again. "I need to know what he's planning."
"He's safe, where Dagan banished him," said Aife finally. "Ruling over his own small kingdom, pulling pawns from our world into his with the help of his Valkyrie slaves. It's not enough though. Ysabeau will be my voice and under her they will submit to my command. That was what he told me." Aife's eyes narrowed and she looked at Bo with a severe expression. "Only I refused to let him have you."
"You saved me," murmured Bo and Aife smiled, happy Bo acknowledged this. Looking at them, they were the picture of a loving mother and daughter, and Tamsin wondered if this was all Bo had ever wanted. To have this sort of relationship in her life. Maybe when this was all over, something could be done to help Aife, to repair the damage that Odin inflected to her mind during her centuries of captivity. "He's trying to do it though. Make me his voice. It's like what you said before, the whispers that get stronger? I can hear it sometimes and I need to stop it, Mom. I won't let him win." Bo swallowed hard and her eyes darted nervously towards Tamsin and the blonde could see the apology in them. The silent plea for forgiveness then she turned back to Aife and continued, "I feel so angry sometimes and that's when it happens. I've already done things, I tried to control Tamsin, and it's been twice so far. I don't want to be that way... I don't want to be anything like him."
"You're not," Aife spat this out almost viciously, "you never could be." She rose to her feet and looked at Tamsin, her gaze analytical and Tamsin knew she was being weighed and assessed. Her worth being determined. "Is this true?"
"Bo overcame his influence," said Tamsin by way of a response, her tone even, and her expression resolute. Aife wanted to know what she was made of? What her value would be in this war against Bo's father? Then she would show her the same bravery she knew the elder fae possessed in order to escape him. Let her see that she wasn't afraid anymore. Not when she had Bo to fight for. "Nothing happened. She wouldn't let it."
Silence and then Aife looked to Bo, a proud smile painting her features. "Of course," she said this in a lilting tone as if Bo shrugging Odin's influence was to be expected. "It doesn't matter though. He's not going to give up," Aife mused and then she frowned severely. "Not when it comes to his little girl."
"What should we do?" asked Bo and Tamsin could see the plea there, however slight. Bo wanted someone to give her the answer, to tell her what to do, because she had no idea where to begin with Odin. And Aife, however crazy and unstable she might be, knew more about her father than anyone.
"It's really quite simple, darling," said Aife with a charming smile. "We're going to kill daddy."
When they regroup at the Dal Riata, Tamsin doesn't know what to expect. She suspects that Trick won't be happy that she went to Bo over him. As much as he loves his daughter, he doesn't trust Aife or her intentions when it comes to Bo, and it isn't like Tamsin can argue with him over that. Aife is hardly a blameless figure in the history of the fae. After the Great War she led the rebellion to restart the bloody massacres with her assassination of a dark fae elder and then upon her escape from Odin she restarted this campaign. Although Tamsin felt Aife's fixation on creating civil war and seizing power for herself was more a result of the helplessness she felt at the torture she experienced at Odin's hands. While his prisoner she had no control, not even over her own body, and when she was freed of him Aife wanted to regain her sense of self.
And have a nice taste of revenge as well.
It was an impulse Tamsin could relate to and she was more than happy with Aife's plan to execute the dark king. They just had to find a way to get the light to work with Aife. Tamsin didn't think the dark would be much of a problem. Over a thousand years had passed since her attack and that was more than enough time for the dark to forgive her sins. To them, she was far less of a concern than the vengeful dark king they had displaced. Aife joining them on a quest to kill him would just serve to increase her popularity with the dark as she was already seen as sympathetic figure by some in their numbers. Of course, dark fae had a fondness for people who reveled in their power. This was a trait Aife had in abundance.
"You went to Aife without consulting me," Trick said this with the sort of gravitas only a fae of his age could possess. It was solemn and severe and Tamsin had to repress the urge to flinch at his tone. Bo never wavered though. She held his gaze and didn't seem the least bit phased by his anger. Tamsin supposed that was one of the benefits of growing up outside of fae society. She wasn't inhibited by the same social norms as other fae but in a way it was dangerous as well. The succubus had a habit of disregarding the opinions of those older and wiser than her. Respect went a long way in the world of the fae and Tamsin wondered if Bo showed a little more of it how much further she might go. "Why?"
"She's my mother, Trick," said Bo strongly though there was a plea there, one that asked for his understanding. That was what got to him. Tamsin could see his stance soften as he gazed at Bo and she continued, "I had to see her." She wore a wry expression and sat down on the small couch in his study. "I know you've got your family feud going on but I needed to talk to her. I had to find out if she could tell me anything about my father and his plans for me."
"What did she say?" asked Dyson, his voice echoing with concern.
His reaction had been the same as Trick's when they arrived. Anger and confusion that they had gone to Aife without telling them anything about it. While she could see why they felt this way, Tamsin honestly believed it was for the best that they weren't included. The light would always have a certain viewpoint on Aife and her crimes. She would forever be a pariah because of the assassinations she coordinated and her plans to incite another civil war. When it came to the dark, Aife was more of a figure of grudging admiration because she exhibited the sort of ruthlessness they often embraced. Certainly, the dark didn't want to be ruled by her anymore than the light but they held a strange sort of respect for her that would let them work with Aife. It wasn't a sentiment that Tamsin could ever see the light reciprocating in regards to the woman.
"I wasn't planned at first," said Bo, giving a broken sort of laugh. "That he went after my mother as an amusement and it was only after he was banished by the dark that he realized her real worth. How being the child of the Blood King and a succubus made her thrall stronger than any he'd ever seen. And when combined with his own abilities, their child would have an even greater ability to control the masses." Bo swallowed hard and looked up at Trick with an imploring gaze, as if trying to get him to see the good in her, that she wasn't what Odin wanted her to be. "Aife said I was born to rule in his place."
"Well," Trick said with a sigh, reaching out to squeeze Bo's hand in a gentle hold, "from what we know of your father, that sounds accurate. Did Aife have anything to say about defeating him?"
At this question, Bo hesitated, looking away from Trick and seeming at a loss. That's when Kenzi stepped forward and offered, "Mama Succubus says that we should off him." She moved her index finger across her throat, creating a gurgling sound effect to emphasize the gesture. Bo formed an empty sort of smile and Kenzi rested a comforting hand on her shoulder. "She said the longer that big daddy is around stronger his control over Bo is going to get."
"I see," said Trick solemnly and he shifted his attention to Tamsin. "Other than Aife, you have the most experience with Odin and his abilities. Do you agree with her assessment?"
There were so many different ways she could answer this. Bo was strong. She had said this so many times, to Trick, to Aife, and to Bo herself, but Odin... he was something different altogether. He was a monster not a man and in his presence she felt lesser always. There was an innate intimidation and mercilessness in his thinking that she knew was granted from his ability to manipulate all who came into his contact. How could you possibly respect anyone or anything when you knew full well that you could easily shift them to your side? None were his equal and all were his potential servants. The only consideration he would give Bo was due to his own vanity. She was his daughter and as such, she was an extension of his will. Bo didn't matter to Odin as an individual, she only mattered as a herald of his warped gospel, and in her role as his chosen regent.
"Yes," Tamsin finally replied, her jaw clenched. "He's a threat and the longer that he isn't dealt with then the more chance he has of influencing Bo. I've seen what he does to people and there's no coming back from it. The damage done to Aife's mind alone is proof of that." Tamsin mulled over Aife's words, crazed as they were, and she knew they held importance. It wasn't the safest option but it was the only viable method for defeating Odin that Tamsin had ever heard. "Aife has found a way to disable the koushang that Odin has been using. With that, she thinks it's possible to overpower Odin."
You remember those shots Lauren gave me?" asked Bo almost anxiously. It seemed to Tamsin as if she was trying to not only convince Trick of the validity of this plan but herself as well. "I was thinking, if I took them all at once, then we went after him they'd help keep him out of my head. If Aife takes care of his koushang, we both could take him out."
"It could work," said Trick, though there was a definite undercurrent of concern in his voice. "But how do we get to him? Tamsin, you can't take us there, can you?"
"Not anymore," Tamsin said this without any inflection, folding her arms across her chest. "I'm not under contract. That means I'm banished from automatic entry to Odin's super torture time realm." After she said this, she thought about the upcoming open council session. The entire dark fae community had been alerted it would take place this weekend. It was a coming out party for Vex as The Morrigan and for the reformed Council of Six. The dark fae elders who would be present were among those responsible for Odin's banishment. She had already told Trick that she would speak with them, to ask for their help in defeating him, but now she had another request in mind. To ask them for way to get into his realm. They had to know this as they were the ones who trapped him there in the first place. Tamsin took in all of the worried expressions that surrounded her, the fear and the concern for Bo, and the succubus' words echoed in her mind.
You have us now. We'll be your clan.
Seeing their faith in her and the trust in their eyes was all it took for Tamsin to decide. It didn't matter that she was dark and they were light, they cared for her and believed in her, just as she did in them. She would not let them down. "The dark fae are having an open council session this Saturday," she began. "Among the guests will be many of our most powerful fae elders. Some of which helped to banish Odin after the Great War. I'll go and plead our case, try and find out from them how we can get into his realm. I figure that's the best chance we've got." She arched an eyebrow and looked at Trick with a droll expression as she remarked, "But you've got to convince your prissy judgmentals to work with us and Aife too. We'll need everybody in on this one if we're really going to take him out. We need to come in with a major overkill in firepower."
"I think I can handle that," said Trick dryly. He looked around Bo to speak to Hale. "You can set up a meeting?"
"I'll get with Mirasol and the High Council," Hale nodded, already reaching for his cell phone.
"Fantastic," Tamsin drawled. Then she directed her attention to Bo, forming a smirk as she tilted her head to one side. "How about it, succubus? You want to be my plus one and go to the annual dark fae ball? It'll be like Cinderella but not."
"Sounds fun," said Bo and she wore the first genuine smile since they started this discussion.
"Whoo hoo! It's gonna be one big dysfunctional fae family takedown," Kenzi whooped, rising to her feet, and forming her finger into a gun, mimicking shooting their invisible enemies. "We've got this thing in the bag." She paused and they watched her expression shift. "Hey, Tammers," she started rather hesitantly. "What about the other Valkyries? Will they fight us?"
"I don't know," said Tamsin honestly, thinking of the few sisters she had contact with while in Odin's realm. "It depends if he's managed to break their spirits but some will help us," she said this confidently, thinking of Sigrun and Brynhild. "They'll do it to have their freedom again." After she said this, Tamsin tried to keep the memories from surfacing, the flashbacks of the time spent in his dungeons, trapped in his torture devices, and all the ways he killed her. Each more horrible than the last and it was only the gentle touch of Bo's hands on her face that drew her back to the present and she moved on instinct at first, jerking away, as if it was him touching her. Only it was Bo and she could never be him and Tamsin sighed and relaxed into her touch, finding comfort in it, enough that she could try and ignore Dyson's gaze burning into them. She didn't want to hurt him with this, he was a good man and she cared for him as a friend but Tamsin would never deny Bo or her feelings for her. That was her promise to herself, her attempt to return to being a person without regret and who wasn't ruled by fear. "I'm okay," Tamsin said in a reassuring murmur, covering Bo's hand with her own. "Really."
Bo didn't reply, she just smiled tenderly, her touch and expression full of love and devotion and it was all Tamsin could have ever wanted. Then she turned to her grandfather as she reached down to hold Tamsin's hand. "There's something else," Bo said this rather seriously and he frowned as he looked at her. "Aife's got an army of fae under her thrall. We need to free them. She's my mother and I want her help but I won't let her do that to people. They should have a choice to fight."
"And now we're missing a human chick," said Kenzi wryly, shifting awkwardly on her feet.
"Don't worry," Trick reassured, walking over to his massive stack of books, "you can help me find another way to free them. One that's more convenient than cutting their hands one by one and reciting an oath." He then gave Kenzi a significant look and she heaved a sigh, trodding over to the elder fae with the beginnings of a whine forming on her features. "Read this," he instructed, handing over a distinctly large tome and Kenzi stumbled a bit under its weight. "It should have some information on the different methods for overcoming a succubus' thrall."
"Fabulous and fun," said Kenzi tiredly, flopping down on a chair and preparing to read. Sensing Tamsin's amusement, she glared at the valkyrie and pointed at her, wearing a thoroughly pissy expression. "You need to get me the down low on sucking info out by touch. This is not Reading Rainbow and I'm getting sick of taking looks in books. Anansi braille ASAP."
"I'll look into it," Tamsin promised, chuckling and going over to Trick to help out with the reading.
Dyson and Bo soon followed suit, and they set up a small research session in Trick's study, pouring over the tomes and sharing the information they found. There was a camaraderie in this that Tamsin hadn't experienced in centuries and it warmed her heart to be experiencing it again. This was why she was going to fight and this was why they were going to win. Their belief in one another and their desire to help, it was so damned goody two shoes, but it was glorious all the same. It was the way of true heroism and it was what Valkyries championed above everything else in this life.
It was why Tamsin loved Bo.
By the time they're done with research and planning, it's well into the evening. As they walk into the shack, Bo sighed heavily and began unbuttoning her leather corset, tossing it onto the couch. "I'm taking a bath," she announced and Tamsin nodded absently, going to the refrigerator and retrieving a beer. She had just popped the top on it when Bo sidled up to her and lifted an eyebrow as she cocked her head to one side and offered a teasing smile. "You want to join me?"
This shouldn't have been surprising, it was something utterly Bo in that it was sweet and sexy, but there was a familiarity to the question that tugged at Tamsin's heart. It was almost like she was more than a friendly fuck or a pleasant distraction with how Bo was looking at her. The succubus cared for her, Tamsin knew that, because she cared for everyone but Tamsin was starting to think it might be something more. There were echoes of Tomoe in how Bo treated her and it made Tamsin so very afraid, because she knew with all that you gained from those type of feelings you could lose equally as much.
Still, Tomoe was her past, and Bo was her future. Tamsin wouldn't allow fear rule her anymore and so she stepped closer to Bo, entwining their fingers as she replied in a slow drawl, "How could I possibly say no to that?"
"Well," Bo remarked playfully, happiness alight in her gaze as she pulled Tamsin after her and headed towards the bathroom. "I was hoping you wouldn't." She walked over to the tub and turned on the tap, testing the heat of the water before putting the plug into place. Bo turned to Tamsin who was slipping out of her shoes and socks, a serious expression on her face as she held up two different choices in bubble bath. "Sensual Amber of Paris Amour?"
Tamsin put on a face of mock contemplation, then tapped on the pink bottle. "Paris Amour," she said seriously.
"Good choice," congratulated Bo and she turned to add the bubble bath to the water. "According to the bottle, it's a dreamy blend of French tulips, apple blossoms, and sparkling pink champagne that is inspired by a romantic stroll through Paris."
"Paris wasn't such a romantic stroll during the French Revolution," said Tamsin in wry amusement, pulling off her shirt and hopping out of her jeans. She moved over to Bo, hands warm on her sides as they slid upwards, removing first her shirt then bra. Bo put the bubble bath down and turned to face her as Tamsin unbuttoned her black pants. "Other than that, it's a nice enough city," she said this in a conversational tone as she kneeled, helping Bo step out of the pants, one leg at a time. Tamsin peered up at Bo, a slow smile curving on her features as her hands trailed up her legs. "Have you been?"
"I don't have a passport," said Bo and it seemed to Tamsin as if she was holding her breath in anticipation. It was altogether amusing and amazing to Tamsin that she could have any sort of effect on the succubus. Tamsin didn't reply, she just nodded her head and moved closer, her hands firm on Bo's hips, pulling the other woman to her. She dipped her head, breathing in Bo's scent, it was sensual and comforting, and it made Tamsin want to wrap herself up in it and in Bo herself. "Tamsin," Bo's voice was a husky plea and she lifted her head, gazing into questioning brown eyes. "Are you all right?"
There were so many different ways she could reply but Tamsin settled on not replying at all. Instead, she smiled and kissed Bo lightly. It was just a brief press of their lips, a simple affirmation of emotion, then Tamsin ducked around her, reaching down to turn off the tap before the tub overflowed. She smiled again and nodded her head towards the bath. "We should get in before the water gets cold," Tamsin said.
"Right," said Bo quietly, a thoughtful look on her features. Then she stepped into the bath and tugged on Tamsin's hand as she sank into the water. "Come here," Bo murmured, her brown eyes opening and inviting. "Get in. I want to hold you."
No smart remarks or sardonic expressions came in a response. Tamsin did as requested, stepping into the water and lowering herself in front of the succubus. Repressing a sigh of pure contentment upon feeling Bo's arms surround her as she sat in the bath. They sat quietly for several moments, enjoying the feel of one another and the hot water on their skin. Then Tamsin felt Bo brush her hair aside, nuzzling into her neck and breathing her in and it was wonderful.
"Do you remember the last time that you took a bath with me?" asked Bo teasingly, forming a fond smile as she slid her hand down to entwine her fingers with Tamsin's. The blonde huffed and rolled her eyes, looking away from Bo who chuckled. It was not one of her best moments and Tamsin would prefer to not relive it. Bo was silent, holding their hands up, her fingers playing over Tamsin's skin, examining her in a gentle caress. "I knew something was wrong then," she confessed and Tamsin craned her head, looking at the brunette, and it seemed to Tamsin as if she was feeling guilty.
That wouldn't stand, not for Tamsin. There was nothing that happened to Tamsin in this often horrible life of hers that Bo should feel responsible for. All the awful things that happened, they were of her own making, and it was only after meeting Bo that some measure of happiness had returned to her. "You couldn't have helped me," Tamsin said this softly and this was a revelation being dragged out of her. It was something she would prefer to keep hidden but she knew she couldn't. Not if she wanted to rid Bo of whatever feelings of responsibility she had taken onto herself. "I wouldn't have let you."
"Why?" Bo questioned and Tamsin sighed, staring at their entwined hands, raising them up for examination.
"Acacia," said Tamsin finally, "she was killed right around then. That's why I was so messed up." Bo didn't reply, she just held Tamsin tighter, her free hand moving more firmly around the blonde's waist and to Tamsin it felt as if she was being surrounded by Bo's warmth. It was soothing and provided such a feeling of belonging that it made her think of days long gone, when she and Tomoe planned their future together. "Your father wanted me to deliver you to him. I did it a thousand times before, handing over Odin's targets, but I couldn't give you to him," Tamsin trailed off, thinking back to that time, and even now she didn't know why she refused to hand Bo over at first. Why she avoided it so much, her feelings for Bo then were nothing compared to now but even still, she couldn't bear the idea of letting Odin have her. "He killed her and sent me her hand as a message to get the job done. That's why I tried to use that stupid rune jar on you. It didn't work though." Tamsin paused, thinking about this and she looked at Bo with a wry expression. She touched Bo's features, memorizing them with her touch as she murmured, "I think I fucked up the amounts. Subconsciously or whatever."
"I hate him for what he's done to you," said Bo in a quiet but severe proclamation. "What he's done to everyone he's controlled and enslaved." She frowned then sighed deeply, burying her face in the crook of Tamsin's neck, holding her closer as she murmured, "I don't understand how he could do all of those things. How he could keep my mother a prisoner for hundreds of years, torture and rape her, and then speak to me about her like he actually loved her." Bo lifted her gaze and looked at Tamsin helplessly. "What sort of person does that? I mean, is he even a person? There's this feeling I got when I was near him, everything became fuzzy, and all the stuff I knew I should hate him for sort of faded away..."
"That's what he does," said Tamsin softly, trying to comfort Bo with her touch, cupping her cheek. "It's another way of controlling people. He gets in your head and fucks with what you think is right and wrong and soon it's just Odin that matters." They were silent then and Tamsin sank back into Bo's arms, studying her with a lidded gaze, and she could see the worry there, the conflicting emotions, and she could guess the cause. "I'll kill him for you," Tamsin murmured and Bo jerked her head, looking at the valkyrie with wide and disbelieving eyes. "You don't have to do it. I'll take care of everything."
"Tamsin," Bo said her name breathlessly, tears forming in her eyes.
"He's your father," Tamsin said and it was the truth of the matter. As horrible and vile as Odin was, he was part of the reason Bo existed in this world, and some part of Tamsin was thankful to him for that. And while Bo knew of all the evils he had done that probably didn't make killing him any easier for her. That's not the type of person she was. "I understand."
"No, he's not," Bo shook her head, "my father's name is Sam Dennis and he's dead. Odin is just the man who raped my birth mother and is trying to get into my head so I'll do what he wants." She was silent for a moment, holding Tamsin closer as she rested her chin on Tamsin's shoulder. "I have to be the one to kill him," she said finally and there was a quiet conviction in her words. As if Bo knew this was the way it had to be and there was nothing that would change her mind. "I should be upset but I'm not," Bo said, looking lost and almost confused to be admitting this. "I don't feel anything when I think about it." She lifted her head and looked at Tamsin, there was a fear there, and it made Tamsin's heart ache. "It scares me."
"You're a succubus," said Tamsin in a whisper, holding Bo's face in her hands, caressing her gently. Trying to provide some sort of comfort and she felt Bo relax into her touch. "You're a creature of emotion, Bo, and not feeling anything isn't normal for you. Of course you're scared," she said this softly, "that's normal. Fuck," Tamsin cursed and a small smile curved on her lips and she ducked her head down. "I'm scared too. Your dad's a scary guy and we're going after him full force."
Bo didn't reply verbally, she just nodded her head, and they were silent, holding onto one another. Then she looked at Tamsin, her brown eyes pensive. "I already talked to Kenzi about this," she murmured, "but I'm going to tell you the same thing. If we get in there and I can't fight him... if he gets control of me... I want you to end it. I won't live under his thumb and I won't let him use me to make other people miserable. I'd rather be dead."
This was a grave request, one made out of trust, but Tamsin didn't know if she could do it. Even if it was Bo asking. It was monstrous, killing Tomoe, and it had nearly destroyed her but after hundreds of years, Bo had somehow picked up the pieces of her heart and put them back together. She did all that, she had given Tamsin her true self and her freedom, and the idea of killing her was horrifying. Tamsin didn't know if she would ever have the strength for that. She would rather die first.
That thought paramount in her mind, Tamsin replied steadily, "It won't come to that. I won't let it." She could see the protest forming on Bo's lips and Tamsin pressed her fingers over them lightly, cutting it off. "No," she muttered, shaking her head, "I need you to listen. I'm not going to let him take you like he took Tomoe. I'll do anything necessary to make sure that doesn't happen and I won't be alone. Kenzi will be there along with Dyson, Trick, Aife, and a goddamn combination dark and light fae army. We will come down on him like the fucking hammer of Thor and there won't be shit left when we're done." Tamsin formed a shaky smile and cupped Bo's face in her hands, murmuring against her lips, "He doesn't get to have you."
The kiss they share is slow and sweet but it soon turns into something else. Something stronger and more fierce, their emotions are on edge, and there's an honest need for reaffirmation between them both. Proof they were here and they were alive and nothing could control them in this moment. It was theirs to have, along with one another, and when they parted, Bo was breathing hard and she smiled as she said, "Maybe he doesn't but you do."
Tamsin laughed and leaned down, kissing Bo again, pressing for entrance with her tongue and sighing at the taste of her. Shifting her body, their forms wet and slick against one another, lacking that delicious friction but didn't matter, it was good, it would always be good because it was Bo and Tamsin never felt so much as when she was with her. The succubus raised her hips, moving into Tamsin's touch, and when she entered her, they both smiled at the feeling. They were kissing again, kissing long and lazy, as if there was nothing better in the world and maybe there wasn't. Tamsin honestly couldn't think of anything she wanted more than this, more than Bo, and when she felt Bo clench around her fingers, giving proof of her desire, it never failed to provide a dizzying satisfaction. Bo was feeding from her as they continued to kiss and Tamsin had to fight to keep her wits about her, concentrate on the feeling of Bo's inner walls clinging to her, keeping her thrusts steady but it was difficult. So very difficult in the face of such enormous pleasure and Tamsin wondered how it was being fed on felt so very good. It was better with Bo than any of the other succubi she had encountered and it probably had to do with her own feelings. The fact that it was Bo made everything better exactly like Tomoe and there were so many parallels it almost frightened her.
She didn't want to think about having that sort of love again and losing it. The idea was terrifying and Tamsin wouldn't allow the thought to remain in her mind for long. The future didn't matter and the past was only a memory, she had to focus on the here and now, Bo riding her hand, her hips moving in a glorious gyration, and when Tamsin added a third finger then curled them upwards, rubbing her thumb over Bo's clit as the succubus continued to feed, she felt her orgasm. Their kiss ended in several small nips and tugs, Bo laughing against her lips and Tamsin smiling. She was exhausted but it was pleasantly so, and she wouldn't do anything to change it. Although the water was getting cold and she felt like a prune.
The valkyrie said as much and Bo laughed again, moving around Tamsin to pull the plug from the bath and standing up. Stepping out of the tub, she reached for a nearby towel and held it up as she beamed at Tamsin who shakily stood on her feet. Then Bo wrapped her up in the towel, drying her off, and smiling at Tamsin's grousing complaints. Once they were both warm and dry, Bo took her by the hand, leading Tamsin into her bedroom and Tamsin arched an eyebrow in silent expectation. Wondering what exactly was happening and then Bo was in front of her, standing on her tip toes, her arms around her shoulders and a smile on her features that was bright and beautiful.
"Paris Amour," said Bo softly against her lips, forming a cheeky smile, "doesn't it put you in the mood?"
"Nope," Tamsin's lips popped on the word and Bo frowned at this response. Then Tamsin bent down, easily hitching the succubus' legs up with her hands, lifting the other woman off the ground and Bo laughed, her legs immediately going around Tamsin's waist. "You're more than enough," she muttered, kissing the line of Bo's neck and breathing her in. "I don't need any stupid pink bubble bath to want you but it was sort of fun."
"Sort of fun, huh?" questioned Bo playfully, laughing as Tamsin dropped them onto the bed with a noticeable bounce. Grabbing the blonde's hand, she pulled her forward with purpose, hooking a leg around Tamsin to keep her in place. She pushed a lock of hair from Tamsin's eyes as she murmured, "That's a ringing endorsement."
"I'm old and simple," drawled Tamsin, sliding down Bo's body. As she did this, Tamsin left a trail of kisses, her hands moving in a lingering caress. "Just give me booze and a pretty lady. I'm easy to please."
"I don't know if I should be insulted," said Bo, her voice hitching as Tamsin stopped her descent, lifting Bo's legs and placing them over her shoulders. Her tongue exploring with a slow and single minded intent. "You're just being mean," Bo accused, tangling her fingers in Tamsin's blonde hair, a smile on her lips as Tamsin stopped what she was doing to look up at her.
"No, I'm not," Tamsin muttered, her hand traveling up Bo's body to cup her breast. The succubus arched into Tamsin's touch and she smiled, lowering her head and releasing a breath of air, lightly blowing on Bo's pussy as she sucked on her clit, tongue flicking it before she pulled away and she heard the succubus curse at her. "That was mean," she mocked, arching an eyebrow and peering at the other woman. Bo scowled at her and Tamsin chuckled, tweaking her nipple, enjoying the way it hardened under her touch. "All right," she said this softly, affection lilting in her tone, "I'm done playing with the pretty lady. Besides," Tamsin snorted and lowered her head, "I know I can't win at sex games with a succubus."
"I'm glad you realize that," muttered Bo peevishly, making Tamsin smirk before she took Bo into her mouth.
The taste of a woman was nothing new to Tamsin. She had lived for a very long time and had been with a great many people, most of which were women. Bo was different though, she was special, just as Tomoe had been and her taste was unique as the succubus herself. Tamsin wasn't surprised to find she enjoyed the taste because it seemed there was very little about Bo that she didn't enjoy on some level. No one was perfect, Tamsin knew that despite what she had told Bo in the bath that day, but they could play perfect roles in each others lives. Bo was just that for Tamsin. She woke her up from the nightmare of her existence, shaking her out of the stupor that years of being under Odin's boot had put her in. That made her irreplaceable in Tamsin's eyes because so much of her defied expectation. What she was supposed to be never mattered to Bo, instead she cared about what could be, and what was. It was the same damned foolish optimism that made the dark hate the light but with Bo it lacked their careless cruelty because unlike the light she acted on her convictions.
When Bo climaxed, her thighs clamped down, and Tamsin smiled, pleased with the reaction as she squeezed Bo's breast and pulled away, kissing first the left thigh and then the right. Resting her face against them as she peered up at the brunette whose eyes had long since turned blue. Tamsin smiled as Bo tugged on her hand, hauling her up to capture her lips in a fierce kiss, and Tamsin moaned into her, opening her legs wider when she felt Bo's hands slide down her body. They were kissing again and Tamsin bit Bo's bottom lip, her voice low and urging, telling the succubus to feed from her. She wanted it, she insisted, and that was the truth of the matter. It was painful on some level but it was incredibly satisfying all the same to have the knowledge that she was sustaining Bo, that her chi was becoming a part of the other woman, and it added another dimension to sex. One that made Tamsin's desire increase and she could feel herself become flush as Bo began to feed, she was wet already but it was more, so much more, as Bo's fingers slid into her.
Penetration had always been particularly enjoyable for Tamsin, the feeling of taking in her lover fully, and it never failed to make her feel close to another person. It created an undefinable connection and when Bo fed from her as her fingers moved deep inside of her, moving with glorious conviction, the feeling was that much greater. There was nothing between them in this moment and nothing mattered but Bo feeding from her and Bo fucking her and Tamsin clung to the succubus, bringing her as close as possible as she raised her hips, urging Bo to increase the strength of her thrusts. Bo had stopped feeding and Tamsin wanted to protest though she felt herself becoming light headed but then she saw her eyes. Glowing bright blue but they were calm and there was such care in them. A gentleness and consideration that made Tamsin bite back a sob as Bo flicked her clit with purpose, curling her fingers, and bringing Tamsin to orgasm. Bo's forehead rested against Tamsin's and she watched her, observant and knowing as Tamsin shifted, releasing the brunette from her body.
Her fingers were wet as they moved across Tamsin, tracing her curves, and Tamsin hid her face in Bo's neck. That same feeling of peace that she had yesterday washed over her again. This wasn't something she had encountered in hundreds of years and for a long time Tamsin thought she would never feel this way. She had seen and done many things in her millennia worth of existence and she would like to think that she knew what was truly important. This feeling she had now? It was the most important thing to her. In fact, it was all that mattered to Tamsin and having it once again was the ultimate reward. This feeling of complete peace and contentment, where everything was right with the world, was perfection.
And Bo was person who gave that to her.
There was a certain level of pretense that Tamsin despised when it came to the dark fae. Overall, they were more honest than the light but that didn't mean they didn't play games and indulge in subterfuge. It was quite the opposite. The dark loved to offer a mild exterior, genial smiles and flattering words, then they would promptly stab you in the back. Of course, everyone much preferred to be honest with their disdain and just kill you and be done with it but sometimes parts had to be played and masks of civility maintained. Tamsin knew that was the reason why they indulged in things like this council session. Where everyone got dressed up in their best clothes, smiled and danced, putting on a well mannered exterior.
Honestly, it was exhausting and Tamsin wanted nothing to do with it. The only thing that made this halfway tolerable was Bo and the evening gown she was wearing for the occasion. It was silver and had a plunging v-neckline bodice, complete with a fitted corset lined with contrasting shimmering stripes. Bo was wearing heels and the additional height almost put them eye to eye as Tamsin refused to wear anything fancier than her black suit and oxford shoes. Tamsin parked the El Camino and they headed towards the estate, Bo's arm slipped through Tamsin's as they walked.
"I hate this shit," muttered Tamsin, grimacing as she observed the droves of dark fae in their fanciest dress. "It's fucking pompous. Just like the Romans." An amused smile tugged on Bo's lips at this and there was a silent question in her gaze and Tamsin groused, "What? I hated them. They invaded everything and thought they were superior to everyone."
"Romans bad, check," said Bo humorously, nodding her head, and Tamsin eyed her at this. Bo laughed and leaned into Tamsin as they walked up the entrance. "I'm trying to keep a mental list of all your likes and dislikes. You don't talk much, you know. I only get bits here and there so I have to do my best to keep track."
"What are you going to do with the information that I dislike Romans?" asked Tamsin sardonically. "Their empire is gone."
"Well," Bo drew the word out slowly as she put on a facetious look of contemplation, "I guess I'd tell you when Gladiator is on TV. You'd probably like seeing Russell Crowe kill them."
"That movie is historically inaccurate," said Tamsin, though she smiled at Bo's words. "I like Ben Hur."
"Ben Hur is autobiographical?" asked Bo humorously.
"The chariot race is cool," Tamsin shrugged and Bo laughed as they were greeted by security at the door. Frowning irritably at the guards, Tamsin pulled out her folded invitation and handed it over. The ogre looked at it then nodded his head, allowing them to pass as he gave the paper over to the steward who cleared his throat and straightened his stance. Tamsin winced in preparation then moved closer to Bo, muttering in her ear, "I hate this part."
Before Bo could question her on this, the steward announced loudly, "Tamsin Dagmaeresdottir of the Clan Lundr and Bo Dennis the unaligned succubus!" He then banged the large and ostentatiously jeweled staff on the floor.
"So lame," Tamsin said this mournfully.
She led Bo into the drawing room that was attached to the council chambers. She ignored the stares they were getting and did her level best not to get aggravated. This was part of the game and she had to play along or ignore it. Mere moments had passed and she already knew they were becoming the talk of the room. The first open council session in three hundred years and she brought the unaligned succubus as her date. This would bring speculation upon speculation, Tamsin was sure.
"Hale says this junk is for stuffy old people who like stuffy old things," said Bo and she took in the assortment of dark fae. They were all dressed to the nines and were milling about the room drinking and eating hors d'oeuvres.
"That sounds about right," said Tamsin in droll tones, snagging two glasses of wine and handing one to Bo. While she did think the dark superior to the light in many ways they both shared a horrid love of tradition. Doing things just because it was what they had always done and they had to respect the past. Blah blah blah. It was exhausting. She took a long drink of wine and smirked as she lowered the glass, taking in the oh so shiny and sequined green dress in front of her. "Lola," she greeted.
"Tamsin," said Lola, lifting up her own wine glass and tapping it against Tamsin's. "I didn't think you'd show."
"Normally I wouldn't but I need to have a talk with the elders," said Tamsin plainly. As she said this, she shifted on her feet, distinctly aware of Lola's status as one of the Japanese fae in their territory. She bit down on her lip lightly and searched the room, looking for a familiar figure, tall and elegant, and enchantingly beautiful.
"She's not here yet," said Lola, drawing Tamsin's attention back to her. There was a soft look in her eyes, concerned and understanding, and it reminded Tamsin why she liked the younger fae. Most kitsune were decidedly immature in their lust for shiny things and their love of playing tricks but Lola was more serious. Tamsin often thought she should rise higher than the pack leader for her den but she supposed Lola didn't want more at the moment. She was only two hundred years old, after all. "If she was then all the Japanese fae would be shitting bricks and going into worship comas."
Tamsin snorted in amusement and drawled, "That sounds about right."
"When was the last time you saw her?" asked Lola.
"One hundred and forty five years ago," Tamsin replied, all too aware of Bo's curious gaze.
She turned to Bo only to see her looking exasperated as she watched Vex prance over to them. Sliding her free arm firmly around Bo's waist, Tamsin smiled reassuringly when Bo looked to her with surprise. The succubus returned the gesture, her stance relaxing as Vex approached and he exclaimed, "The famous unaligned succubus at a dark fae gathering!" Forming a sly smile, he took Bo's hand and kissed it, smirking as Bo yanked her hand away. "What do we owe the honor?"
"I'm Tamsin's date," said Bo curtly, frowning at Vex.
"Are you now?" said Vex with certain interest and he clucked his tongue as he observed them. Forming a smirk, he raised his hand and moved his index finger to the right, removing Tamsin from Bo's side. "I do believe you're here to seek an audience with the Council of Six, isn't that right love? I think you ought to toddle off and sign your name up." He flashed a smile and a menacing light appeared in his gaze as he looked at Bo and continued, "I'll keep Bo Peep company while you're busy."
Her eyes narrowed and Tamsin clenched her jaw, fully prepared to fight his influence, but then Bo's hand was on hers. It was a gentle and calming touch, her brown eyes soothing, then she gave Tamsin a light kiss. "It's all right," she said in a murmur, her touch lingering as she pulled away. "Just hurry back." Bo wore a humorous expression and she said in wry tones, "I don't want to be alone with him any longer than I have to."
Vex's mocking coo at this exchange echoing in her ears, Tamsin left with a grim set to her jaw. She didn't know what the mesmer was up to but obviously he had some game to play and she wasn't a part of it. Whatever it was, Tamsin took comfort in the fact that she knew Bo could handle herself. As she approached the council chamber, Tamsin reflected on the last time she had attended this sort of meeting. It had been such a very long time and it wasn't even in this territory. Instead it was in the outskirts of Kyoto with Tomoe and Japanese clans gathering before The Zoroaster. No matter where she went the laws remained the same for the fae and this unchanging nature was a strange comfort as were those stuffy rituals Bo complained about. Maybe that's why the fae was so fond of them. Or maybe they were just too old and stubborn to change.
Whatever the reason, the ritual to seek audience with the elders was much the same here as it was in Japan, and Tamsin stepped up to the book of witnesses and wrote her name with a sweeping signature. There were a handful of fae ahead of her but she was confident she would be seen tonight. She knew almost all of the elders personally and then there was Bo herself. Just the fact that she arrived with the famous unaligned succubus would guarantee their curiosity. Taking a stone from the scribe, Tamsin shoved it in her pocket for safekeeping, where it would rest until it emitted the tell tale whistle that signaled her appointment with the Council of Six. Heaving a sigh, she turned on her heel to head back to Bo only to pause at the sight that met her. Vex had disappeared and Bo was surrounded on all sides, enveloped by a crowd of baby fae, all barely old enough to know their species and every one of them fawning over her.
Seeing this, Tamsin couldn't help but smirk. Honestly. She tried to warn Bo about her popularity with the younger generation but she didn't think the brunette fully grasped what that meant until now. Then Tamsin watched as Pike emerged through the mass of people and Tamsin frowned upon recognizing the man with him. He was Reginald Thomas, the head of the Clan Quilan, and an elder in one of the most influential dark fae families for this territory. From the way that he stood, his hand on Pike's shoulder, wearing a proud look on his face, he clearly claimed the boy as his own. No wonder Pike had given them attitude in the bar. He was being groomed for politics and he obviously wanted to make a good show out of confronting Bo about her supposed favoritism involving the light fae. It was a simple method for increasing his popularity.
Straightening her shoulders, Tamsin moved through the guests, heading on a course towards the succubus. Only she found herself intercepted by an achingly familiar figure. One that she hadn't seen in one hundred and forty five years. Her heart felt as if it would beat out of its chest and she lowered her gaze as she said, "Elder Akazome."
"None of that," Akazome's voice was musical as ever, full of charm and guile, but unlike so many others it wasn't false. It was simply the elder herself, her intrinsic nature, and it made Tamsin swallow hard. "Tamsin," she said her name with such deep affection that it startled Tamsin, making her wonder how the elder fae could feel such a thing for her. Then she held Tamsin's chin in her hand and lifted it up so their eyes could meet. Once they did, the smile on her face was bright as the sun itself and nearly as blinding in its beauty, making Tamsin shiver at the sight. Her hand moved to rest on Tamsin's cheek, her fingers stretching out in a warm caress, and she said, "I hoped I would see you here. It has been too long."
"Yes," said Tamsin roughly, nodding her head. She swallowed again, trying to get ahold of herself, but it was difficult with Akazome. There were a rare few who Tamsin truly admired and she was among their numbers. Akazome was oldest fae she had ever encountered, with the exception of Odin, and she was head of the Clan Minamoto as well as the former Zoroaster of Japan. All of these things served to make her an impossibly impressive figure. Trying to distract herself, Tamsin looked away from Akazome's gaze and took in the flowing blue evening gown she wore that accentuated her figure. Tamsin released a muted sigh as Akazome tucked a lock of blonde hair behind her ear in a fond gesture. "I'm pleased to see you, elder," she managed to say. "I was glad to hear of your appointment to the Council of Six."
"Really?" questioned Akazome and there was that playful lilt in her voice. The one that always served to dazzle any who heard it and Tamsin was no exception, lifting her gaze to stare at the elder fae. "Because it seems to me that you've been doing your utmost to avoid me this past century or so," she remarked and she tilted her head to one side, the curls of her hair moving with this action. "I told you then and I will tell you now," Akazome advanced in a smooth motion, pulling Tamsin into a hug and holding her close. There was such a feeling of acceptance with the elder fae and it was almost overwhelming. Tamsin didn't know what to compare it to except to think back to her earliest memories of childhood when she thought her parents hung the moon and the stars. That they knew all there was to know about the world and they could never be wrong. This was the feeling Akazome gave her. Her voice was sweet and soothing in Tamsin's ear, a comforting echo. "You are not to blame and you never were. Tomoe loved you and I love you still, as does the rest of the Clan Minamoto." Akazome pressed a loving kiss onto Tamsin's cheek, smiling at her as she said, "We would claim you always."
It was too much. Having Bo was more than Tamsin thought she deserved but she would never reject her. Not when she was determined to make the most of her life once again. And to have Akazome's forgiveness on top of it all? To know that they were more than kind words, meant to console her after she took Tomoe's life, that they had been genuine? Despite all that had gone on, all of her mistakes, she was welcome in the Clan Minamoto, in the first true family that she had known after her parents passing? Tamsin didn't know it was possible to have such happiness again but here it was, ripe for the taking.
"Thank you, elder," Tamsin said, breaking from their embrace.
"There now," soothed Akazome kindly and her smile was radiant. "I'm happy that's finally settled," she said this with a beaming expression, hugging Tamsin again, rocking her to and fro. "I have missed you dearly and it would be awkward if you continued to ignore me while I sat on the council."
"Yeah, it would," said Tamsin, a bit embarrassed at the thought. "Why is that anyway?" Akazome looked at her with a bemused expression and Tamsin elaborated, "I mean, why are you here instead of Japan? You were the Zoroaster for so long. If you wanted to retire and be on a council I can't see them saying no. You've got major influence there."
"That is true," said Akazome in agreement, offering her arm in an elegant motion and moving them through the crowd. Dipping her head at those who greeted her as they passed, she flashed a brilliant smile. "I suppose I wanted to escape the cage I'd built for myself over time. Pretend to be young and carefree?" Akazome arched an eyebrow playfully and Tamsin laughed at the notion, trying to imagine the elder fae acting like any of today's youth. "Silly idea, I know," she revealed, "but it's not entirely a flight of whimsy. For too long the clans in Asia have isolated ourselves from the rest of the world. It's far past time we become a greater part in the global power structure of the fae. My relocation is the beginning of that."
"Makes sense," mused Tamsin, thinking this was altogether logical decision for the clans she knew in Asia.
"I've heard much about your companion," said Akazome conversationally, "the unaligned succubus." Tamsin stiffened and Akazome clearly noticed this, her dark eyes full of care and concern, and she patted Tamsin's arm in reassurance. "She has been good for you," Akazome murmured, her expression compassionate and her gaze understanding. "I can see it."
"Elder," said Tamsin roughly, swallowing hard, not knowing what to say.
"We should rescue her," said Akazome, lighthearted and charming. She raised an eyebrow and nodded towards Pike and Reginald Thomas who were still flanking the succubus. "While I think she shares your disdain for politics, she doesn't seem to have your skill for escaping situations gracefully," Akazome teased and Tamsin snorted humorously.
"What are you talking about? I always got drunk or hid behind Tomoe," retorted Tamsin, a grin tugging on her lips.
"Precisely," Akazome nodded, shooting Tamsin an affectionate smile. "Your Bo doesn't seem to be following your wise example. She remains where she is, surrounded by imbeciles, looking painfully bored and desperately requiring a rescue. She also appears to be regretfully sober," Akazome said this somberly and Tamsin laughed, reminded in this moment why she loved the older fae so much. Though she presented a wealth of wisdom and sage advice, she wasn't humorless and staid as so many elders tended to be. Akazome found amusement in the folly of youth and in life itself and never failed to point out the innumerable foibles of existence. It made spending time with her a constant delight. They easily made their way through the crowd surrounding Bo, many of the fae seeming to fade away with Akazome's presence, and Tamsin smirked. "Reginald," his name rolled off Akazome's tongue and he reddened on seeing her. "How are you?"
Reginald immediately puffed up and blustered, moving his attention to Akazome, full of flattery and compliments. Tamsin watched, quietly amused at Akazome's barely hidden tolerance for his ass kissing and slid over to Bo's side. "How you doing, succulette?" Tamsin inquired, reaching down to lace her fingers with Bo's and giving her a smile. "It looks like they had you trapped here for awhile. Were they reading you the riot act for not showing enough dark fae love?"
"A little," said Bo wryly, "but I think showing up with you makes them believe I can be converted to the dark fae side." She tugged Tamsin closer, her hands slipping under Tamsin's black suit jacket to rest on the small of her back. "As they say," she began playfully, "once you go dark fae that's all with you want to play."
"That's really bad," said Tamsin laconically, looking at Bo with an overdone sad expression, but she was unable to help smiling as Bo formed a jaunty grin and kissed her. When they parted, she remarked, "You need to get Kenzi to help you with your lines. It's depressing that she's such a superior smart ass. You know she's the sidekick, right?"
"Ha ha," said Bo in sardonic tones. There was silence as she focused on Akazome who was busy charming Reginald into speechlessness. Appearing impressed, Bo leaned closer and murmured, "Who's your friend? I need to thank her for getting Board Member Blowhard off my back. He was getting seriously annoying. I didn't even know we had fae public officials."
"It isn't really like what you're thinking. There's no voting or anything remotely democratic about it. The members are leaders of the various dark fae clans in the territory," Tamsin explained in a low voice. "They don't hold any real power, they can only bring matters before The Morrigan and Council of Six, not actually employ the changes themselves."
"Got it," said Bo slowly, nodding her head. She paused and for a moment it seemed like she might question their role further or perhaps ask about the council. Instead she looked at Tamsin, her brown eyes searching, and she murmured, "What about your friend? You still haven't answered my question: who is she?"
"That's Elder Akazome of the Council of Six," said Tamsin. She swallowed the lump that appeared in her throat as she tried to work out the best way to clarify everything Akazome was to her. Tamsin found it next to impossible though. Almost as much as attempting to verbalize the extent of her feelings for Bo. They both were so very important to her and along with Tomoe, her parents, and Acacia, they helped to form who she was. Bo was the newest addition to her life but that didn't make her any less significant. In fact, it was the opposite, Bo mattered the most because she was the here and the now, Tamsin's present and her future. Bo was her hope for better days and a happy tomorrow. "She's the head of the Clan Minamoto and the former Zoroaster of Japan." Tamsin watched as Bo's eyes filled with recognition and Tamsin gave her a wan smile, squeezing Bo's hand that rested on her hip. "I know her from when I was with Tomoe."
Silence and Bo studied her with those all seeing eyes and Tamsin found an unusual solace in it. She had always been disconcerted by Bo's ability to look at her and simply know but now it was almost comforting. No words were needed in this moment because Tamsin knew Bo could just look at her and see her thoughts and feel her emotions and it was a relief. To not have to search for the words and the explanations, to just relish in the warmth of Bo's touch and the kindness in her gaze, smiling into the gentle kiss Bo pressed against her lips. This was good, Tamsin thought, this was everything.
When they parted, Bo smiled at her again, her voice soft and comforting. "She seems nice," she offered.
"Yeah," said Tamsin with a chuckle, "she is."
"What's a Zoroaster?" asked Bo, tilting her head, her nose scrunching up in confusion. Bo then wore an altogether mischievous expression and there was a distinct twinkle in her eyes as she asked, "Is it like Zuul and Gozer?"
Releasing a bark of laughter, Tamsin pinched the succubus, who yelped and whapped Tamsin's hand before moving back into her embrace. "No," Tamsin said in supremely droll tones. "The Zoroaster is just the title of the dark fae governor in Japan. You know the deal, dark fae leaders are named for fallen warriors and light fae leaders are named for sacred trees."
"Oh yeah," said Bo vaguely, "I remember Trick mentioning that."
Whatever Tamsin was going to say next was silenced by a burst of flames and the surprised cries from several fae. Tamsin whirled around, moving in a protective stance in front of Bo, only to groan at the sight that greeted her. An petite woman who looked to be in her late fifties stood in a tower of fire that was quickly spreading to the embroidered curtains. Bo poked her head around Tamsin's shoulders curiously. "Elder Niobe," Tamsin remarked, watching a Snow Lady rush forward to put out the fire while Vex took Niobe's hand and led her into the council chambers. "She loves to make an entrance."
"What did she burn this time?" asked Akazome, appearing at their side, her brow furrowing.
"The curtains, a bannister, and a fairy," Tamsin said with dry humor. "Not her most impressive effort." Akazome laughed and Tamsin smiled at the elder fae then reached for Bo, holding her hand in a firm but gentle grip. "Elder Akazome, this is Bo."
"Nice to meet you," said Bo and she wore something of a nervous smile as she held out her hand.
"The pleasure is all mine," Akazome insisted and she took Bo's hand, depositing a kiss on the top of it, then releasing it with a laugh when she saw Tamsin's disgruntled expression. "I only jest," she assured the blonde, leaning in to kiss her cheek softly, looking inordinately pleased when Tamsin blushed in response. "I think I have tormented you enough for one evening and so I must take my leave. The council session will soon be starting since Niobe has decided to grace us with her inflammable presence." She smiled softly and cupped Tamsin's cheek as she questioned, "Will I see you in chambers?"
"I wrote us down for an audience," said Tamsin, nodding her head.
This information gave Akazome pause and she searched Tamsin's gaze before offering another smile. Then she turned her attention to Bo and murmured, "I hope one day we might talk at greater length, Bo. I suspect I have many embarrassing tales about Tamsin that you would be interested in hearing. I might even have pictures."
"We're so having lunch now," Bo agreed with a laugh and a bright smile while Tamsin grumbled her objections. At this, Akazome smiled and took her leave as Bo pulled Tamsin to her, an affectionate look on her features that only seemed to increase the more irritated Tamsin became. "I definitely like her," Bo said playfully as she gave Tamsin a kiss.
"You get to be her age and your personality becomes warped," Tamsin groused, rolling her eyes.
"You're the same age then?" Bo teased and Tamsin huffed in annoyance. Bo laughed and held onto Tamsin, rocking them from side to side then she tilted her head, listening to the music emerging from a nearby ballroom. "Come on," she said as she tugged on Tamsin's hand and guided her through the crowd. "I want to dance."
Dancing was never a favorite pastime of Tamsin's but she wouldn't deny Bo's request. Particularly when it led to their bodies being in gloriously close contact as they swayed to the music. Tamsin was well aware of the curious eyes on them once again and it was something of a nuisance. Enough that she glared severely when she caught their gazes, her features darkening to such a degree that they blanched and quickly looked away, well aware of her valkyrie abilities. Bo's laughter was soft and her expression tender as she smiled at Tamsin and directed the blonde's attention back to her.
"Ignore them," Bo murmured, lacing her hands around Tamsin's neck. "They don't matter."
"They're a pain in the ass," retorted Tamsin, annoyance clear on her features. Bo didn't respond, she simply gazed at Tamsin wearing an expression of utmost patience and Tamsin heaved a sigh. "It's stupid as shit," she started her explanation with a good degree of frustration. "All the politics and the gossip and it's not like this means anything. You coming here with me but it's going to feed rumors for months, if not a year, about you coming around to dark fae's policies." Tamsin paused and considered, "I don't know if it'll end up helping or hurting Vex's popularity. It might help with the kids." She was silent as she studied Bo's features, taking in the frown that formed on her features and the hurt look in brown eyes. "What is it?"
"I want to be here with you," said Bo simply. "That means something to me." Tamsin didn't know how to respond to this and like so many times before, Bo appeared to know this. She just looked at Tamsin with that dark and understanding gaze, a tender smile crossing her lips as they moved to the music. Bo's fingers played lightly with the hairs at the nape of Tamsin's neck and she got a distant look in her eyes as she said, "I never went to my prom."
"Me either," said Tamsin with dry humor. In response to this, Bo rolled her eyes and hit Tamsin's back lightly, causing the valkyrie to chuckle. Then just a moment later, Bo bit her lip and looked around almost anxiously. "Looking for something?" asked Tamsin, altogether amused by the way Bo was twisting about.
"Ryan Lambert," Bo said and she lowered herself to her normal height, looking at Tamsin. "He's dark fae and we sort of had a thing." She bit her lip again and confessed, "I rather not see him. He kind of got enthralled by my blood. Not good."
"And the guy still has a thing for you?" asked Tamsin, inspecting the other fae in the room.
"No, no, Kenzi cured him. He doesn't want me anymore," Bo shook her head fiercely. "I think," she admitted sheepishly. "I don't know! It was embarrassing. I got amnesia from this Addonc we almost wound up married. I mean, he tricked me into it," Bo said this with a scowl, "but he was under my thrall so I don't know how much of that was really him and how much was my magic obsession creating blood."
"Right," said Tamsin slowly, trying her best to fully grasp the story. Seeing that worried look continuing to cling to Bo's features, Tamsin continued, "It's no big. If he shows up and makes a scene we'll kick his ass. Problem solved."
Silence and then Bo burst into laughter, making Tamsin grin in response. "Thank you," she said, kissing Tamsin and her hands moved to hold Tamsin's face, caressing it fondly. "But as Trick often reminds me, violence isn't always the answer."
"Then we'll insult him until he goes away," Tamsin suggested, arching an eyebrow. "That work?"
"It's genius," said Bo in agreement, nodding her head. An impish smile crossed her features as they kept dancing and Bo remarked in altogether casual tones, "This has been like a date, hasn't it?" Tamsin blinked at this, having no reply, and Bo continued, "We put on our nice clothes. Now we're dancing. All that's left is dinner."
"What about the small talk?" asked Tamsin sardonically.
"That's an easy fix," Bo huffed, her fingers once again playing with the hairs on Tamsin's neck. "What's your favorite color?"
"Blue," said Tamsin immediately, already intrigued with this game. "Favorite food?"
"Chocolate," Bo smirked. "Do you have any hobbies?"
"Whittling," said Tamsin and this answer slowed the pace of their questions as Bo looked at her blankly. "It's when you carve shapes out of wood or bone with a knife. Acacia taught me. She liked to do it to pass the time." Bo looked fascinated to learn this and Tamsin observed her wryly. "This isn't small talk as much as a game of twenty questions, succubus."
"I liked it," said Bo with a shrug, grinning at Tamsin. She was quiet for a moment and a sentimental look formed on her features, making Tamsin's heart beat rapidly in her chest. "We should go on a real date when this is over."
"Yeah," Tamsin barely got the word past her lips, her voice thick with emotion. "That sounds good." By way of a response, Bo smiled again and moved closer to Tamsin. Resting her head on Tamsin's shoulder as they danced and that was how they stayed for the next ten minutes. Until a tell tale whistle sounded from Tamsin's pocket, announcing their appearance before the Council of Six. "We're up," said Tamsin quietly, taking Bo's hand and leading them to the council chambers.
Tamsin felt a sense of foreboding as they walked towards the council chambers. Whatever was said in the room, it wouldn't be good. Getting the dark to work with the light would be a near impossible task and if anything would set the elders on edge it was Odin's return. No matter what happened they had to get their help because Tamsin couldn't allow Odin to take her happiness again. She would rather die than let him erase Bo as he had done to Tomoe and this thought foremost in her mind, she set her jaw in determination as they walked through the doors together.
The drive home was silent, each of them lost in their own thoughts. It had gone as well as expected and Tamsin was surprised to find Petra on their side, pulling the information from Vex that Evony was indeed alive and had escaped from her execution via Odin's powers. Neither Tamsin or Bo had seen Evony in his realm and that left Tamsin with the belief she might have never left the territory and was simply hiding somewhere. In the end, the most important piece of information were the particulars of Odin's banishment following the Great War. The elders spoke of tiring of his madness and the bloodthirsty killings of his own people and how they sought to overthrow him. It was all done thanks to the abilities of Elder Dagan as he had been a Shadow Person. A fae that possessed the ability to become a shadow and take others with him, pulling them not only through matter but time and space as if it was little more than a drive to the store. Dagan had banished Odin to his realm and that was why Evony had killed him during her reign as Morrigan. She did this at Odin's behest and suddenly so many pieces started to fall into place but it left them with the question of how to get to Odin once more. After all, Dagan was dead.
But his son, Duncan, was also a Shadow Person and he would be more than happy to help them kill Evony and Odin. This was according to his mother, Magda, who sat on the Council of Six, and she had a dark gleam in her eyes at the prospect of finally ending the lives of those who took her husband. They finished the meeting with a timid agreement to meet on neutral grounds the following day with the leaders of both the dark and the light. Vex then waved them off, forcing them to make their exit and Tamsin was grateful for it to be over and done with.
Their movements upon returning to the shack were comfortable, as if they had done this a thousand times before, with Tamsin shrugging off her suit jacket and tossing it onto a the kitchen island as Bo flopped down on the couch. Tamsin then went to the fridge and retrieved two beers and sat next to the other woman on the couch, handing her a beer and Bo put her arm around Tamsin, causing the blonde to sink into her embrace. They sat in silence, drinking their beers, and Bo kicked off her high heels, resting her feet on the coffee table. She sighed quietly and rested the side of her face against Tamsin's head, her hand moving in lazy circles on Tamsin's arm, writing something indecipherable on her skin.
"I can do this," Bo broke the silence and Tamsin turned to look at her. The succubus seemed to falter as she looked at Tamsin, her brown eyes wide and uncertain, and it tore at Tamsin to see her like that. "Right?"
A frown on her features, Tamsin took both of their beers and placed them on the coffee table. Her attention fully on Bo, she looked her in the eyes and said firmly, "You can and you won't be alone. It'll be just like Kenzi said, one big dysfunctional fae family takedown, and everyone will be there for you. Kenzi, Trick, Dyson, and Lauren--"
"And you," Bo interrupted rather insistently and a smile quirked on Tamsin's lips on hearing this.
"Of course me," drawled Tamsin, lifting an eyebrow and wearing a haughty expression. "You think I'm letting you take all the credit? No way, succubus, I'm getting in on this action. You'll finally see what a Valkyrie is really capable of." Bo was smiling again and it made Tamsin so very happy to see her this way. She didn't want Bo doubting herself or her abilities, she should never do that, not when she was such a very good person who had done such incredible things. Tamsin wanted more than anything to just be there for her, to be of some support, and in this moment she felt like she succeeded. Drawn forward by an inexplicable force, Tamsin held Bo's face in her hands and kissed her. Like so many times before, one kiss led into another, and Tamsin groaned as she felt Bo's hands move over her chest, unbuttoning her shirt and shoving it off her shoulders. "My room or yours?" Tamsin mumbled against Bo's lips and the succubus chuckled, pulling Tamsin into her room, removing the valkyrie's bra along the way. "Your room then," Tamsin observed, smirking as Bo yanked her belt off and sent it flying across the room with a thump. "Aggressive," noted Tamsin in husky tones. She laughed as Bo tugged her forward with definite purpose, leaving their bodies flush against one another, and she flashed her teeth in a rakish smile. "I like it."
"Good," said Bo in a mutter, her voice filled with passionate intent, "because I'm in charge tonight."
No response came from Tamsin because there was nothing to say, not with Bo sliding down to her knees, pulling Tamsin's pants down with efficiency, removing her oxfords and socks then lifting one leg than the other to leave her standing in nothing but her black panties. She didn't want to say anything to break this spell, to take away the delicious desire that burned in Bo's bright blue gaze, looking at her as if she was the only thing in the world that mattered. Bo was kissing her again, feeding almost delicately, taking small amounts of chi at a time as she applied her charms. Tamsin shuddered in her arms, her hips instinctively jerking forward as Bo's hand slipped underneath her panties and stroked her pussy. Then she ripped Tamsin's panties off her body, leaving her naked. Another kiss, deep and all encompassing, feeding from her, and sending a rush of pleasure through her as Bo circled her clit with her thumb.
It was too much and Tamsin felt herself stumble but Bo's arm was around her waist, holding her up, and there was such a strange feeling of safety in this moment, as she gave everything to the succubus. Some part of her recognized this should be a terrifying thing, exposing so much of herself to Bo, allowing herself to be this vulnerable but there was only a funny sort of relief instead. That she had found someone she didn't need to pretend and have pretense with and Bo was there, her mouth loving and insistent, taking everything she had to offer and giving just as much in return. Her hands moving with a wicked objective across her body, fingering the length of her pussy then entering her in a teasing stroke.
Nothing in her long life was like this moment now, not even her time with Tomoe, and it was as if nothing else mattered but Bo in this instant. Not the fae and not Odin and not any of the awful plans of the world, it was all immaterial in comparison to the wet hot press of Bo's mouth on her skin and Bo's fingers thrusting into her. Tamsin gasped as Bo hitched her leg up to grant her greater access and Tamsin wrapped it around her waist, clinging to Bo and burying her face in the crook of her neck. There was no thought beyond Bo being inside of her, making her wonderfully full, until finally she couldn't take it anymore and she climaxed with a muffled shout, biting Bo's shoulder and trembling in her embrace. Tamsin felt like she was going to fall apart but Bo was there, holding her together. Her leg fell from Bo's hip and she stood on shaky feet, still being supported by the succubus who smiled at her with enormous tenderness and pushed a sweaty lock of hair from her eyes.
"You all right?" Bo questioned in teasing tones.
"Fuck you," Tamsin retorted and Bo burst into laughter, hugging Tamsin to her, uncaring about the sweat that would surely ruin her dress. Tamsin made a show of grumbling but she sank into Bo's embrace, sighing at it, her arms wrapping around the brunette's waist as she rested her head on her shoulder. Eventually, Tamsin lifted her head and looked into Bo's eyes, taking in that burning blue gaze. She caressed Bo's cheek in a whisper of a touch and she murmured, "Take whatever you need. I want to give it to you." Bo drew back at this, seeming almost startled, but Tamsin held firm, her gaze steady and encouraging. "Please," Tamsin said against her lips, drawing Bo into another kiss. "I want to."
There wasn't anything Bo could say to argue with that. Not when Tamsin suspected she wanted the same thing too. And so, they fell onto the bed, pulling Bo's stained dress from her body, and spent the rest of the night and most of the early morning in each other's arms. Able to rest easy in the knowledge that this was where they belonged.