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Cold Clarity

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Kenzi was cold and still denying it as Dyson stripped off his leather jacket, draping it over her quivering shoulders, so thin and pale under the flickering lights. It didn’t help matters any that she was in a low-cut strapless dress, while Dyson fortunately bore warmer clothes: long pants, a long-sleeve shirt and jacket, since he had only intercepted Kenzi at the gala rather than having been invited. At least the boots Kenzi so frequently boasted about were keeping her feet warmer than sandals.

Dyson once again considered their situation: after having been locked inside a freezer, which he was convinced had been intentional, they were trapped with no way out and nowhere to go but the ice cold floor. There were no vents, no door save for the one and no hidden passageways. Dyson had spent long minutes that felt more like hours pounding on the door and then on the walls, paying no mind to how uncharacteristically quiet Kenzi was in his frustration and rage.

When he did tune back in to how she was doing, he was scared half to death at how vulnerable she looked, her gaze shifting listlessly every few moments and settling on anywhere but him. If Kenzi wasn’t panicking or screaming for help then something was really wrong. And Dyson didn’t want her thinking for even one second that he wasn’t going to get them out of there.

Some time later, having given his fists a break and needing to rest his legs, he settled down on the floor next to a huddling, viciously shivering Kenzi and tried to mask the panic that would soon enough emanate from every tensely coiled limb.

There wasn’t even any furniture to sit on to prevent the burn the temperature of the floor caused, so Dyson repeatedly pulled Kenzi closer until she was frozen enough to no longer protest sitting in his lap, allowing him to bear the brunt of the cold. This was after he had tried to shuck his jeans and give them to her and Kenzi halfheartedly threatened him if he even tried it, knowing full well he had nothing but boxers on underneath and didn’t need to freeze to death any sooner than she.

Then again, Dyson would give his life for Kenzi without a moment’s thought, if only she would let him.

“So, freezer-mate,” Dyson grit out, trying to lighten the mood a bit. He was also hoping to pull Kenzi back to full consciousness, whose eyelids were drooping more with each passing minute.

Even given the dire situation they were in, Dyson couldn’t ignore how pretty Kenzi looked, the dress hugging her small frame in all the right places. It was hard to see all that he desired to now that she was covered up with his jacket, but stumbling upon her earlier had been quite a sight, enough to take his breath away and give himself a mental head shake at how Kenzi could always manage to top herself from the last time she got all decked out for an occasion. Kenzi probably never would have noticed if he hadn’t said how beautiful she looked, even though he had, and she was comfortable enough around him not to beam under his attention like she deserved to.

He hated that. Sometimes he just wanted to be the guy Kenzi didn’t know, only so that she could feel special under his gaze and check him out from the bar afterward.

Dyson snorted at the thought and then came crashing back down to reality… literally. He was shaking uncontrollably now, teeth chattering, limbs screaming in protest whenever he so much as thought about moving them. He hoped Kenzi was feeling it too, only because if the numbness had already set in then they had less time than Dyson figured. But she was shaking just as heavily as he and groaning occasionally, and while he missed hearing her voice that was better than nothing.

He nudged her and it took her far longer than it should have to shift her head and look up at him. Dyson meanwhile purged his face of the worry intensifying by the second, but his eyes would no doubt say it all and those he couldn’t clear. Kenzi’s own had lost their vibrancy due to the cold and its ensuing disorientation, but he held onto them.

Say something else say something else say something“Tell me the first thing you’re going to do when we get out of here.”

Kenzi pushed against his arm, which had apparently unconsciously tightened around her. “You know you’ve got arms of steel?” She drifted for a moment, eyes clouding until Dyson shook her roughly, panicking. They were running out of time and Dyson couldn’t keep sitting here, but he wouldn’t let go of Kenzi either. He wouldn’t leave her alone. “May not be as fragile as I look,” Kenzi picked up where she left off, as if nothing had happened at all. “But ‘m still breakable.”

Dyson felt like he was clutching at a rope attached to her waist, fingernails cracked and bleeding, and with every inch he tugged her closer she slipped back several more. It was just a matter of time before his hands froze enough that he couldn’t hold onto anything.

But he would hold on with his teeth when that happened.

“No you’re not, Kenzi,” he whispered, pressing a kiss into her hair. “You’re the strongest person I know. Couldn’t figure out Bo’s attachment to you at first, until I got attached.” He allowed himself a reprieve, turning away, body trembling so violently he thought his teeth would shatter and perforate his gums. He swallowed down the pain that necessarily giving up some control of his body caused, relieved he could still feel pain at all. Soon, he wouldn’t be able to feel anything. “But then I realized… you’re Bo’s strength. You get her up everyday and send her out into the world, and you back her up every step of the way. You realize how tough you have to be to…?”

“Dy… son,” Kenzi interrupted. “Can we talk about this when we’re not stuck in a freez… er?”

He jostled her lightly when her eyes started to close. “Stop, Kenz. You’ve gotta stay awake,” but the words started slurring before he even finished them.

Stop, just stop. Lemme rest my eyes and my head for a minute.

No!

He had to stay awake, just in case someone decided to come back and hurt Kenzi. Or if he had an idea to get them out of here. He had to stay awake…

Dyson made the decision within a split second. He cupped Kenzi’s head in his hands, her cheeks as cold as ice and his thumbs not far off as he rubbed them, trying to give her back a fraction of her former warmth. He pulled her closer, lips finding hers without sight and without thought, kissing her and hoping some warmth would enter her that way, and also desperately needing Kenzi to know what his intentions were.

After seeing her standing there in that dress, completely unfazed by his bewilderment… let’s just say things became a whole lot clearer.

Like how Kenzi had burrowed her way quickly into his heart, leaving behind her own particular brand of sass, not to mention filling him up with warmth, loyalty and devotion. 

He fought hard to make his mouth move, relented when Kenzi pulled away. She was so cold, barely trembling against him, and he couldn’t be sure whether she was even registering what was going on, but her small, overjoyed smile and the hint of a sparkle in her eyes told him otherwise. “Thought I was gonna hafta make… first move.”

Dyson kissed her again, this time on the forehead. “I’m never wasting time again, Kenzi. We are going to get out of here and then we’re going to figure this out. The two of us. No more denial and no more waiting.”

“Pinky swear?”

Dyson smiled and linked their pinkies together, remembering when Kenzi had first held hers out for him, when she was in that hospital bed and dying and wanting more than anything just to not be alone. He hadn’t kept his promise then but he had come back for her, he always would, and he’d be damned if he didn’t keep his promise now.

Dyson could just barely feel his curling around hers, but it was worlds enough.

After that, reality flickered in and out with the dying lights, begging him to stay but then pushing him back down just as fiercely.

“Kenzi! Dyson!” The screams were nothing but memories at first, Bo’s beautiful voice beckoning him, but he jerked as they increasingly grew louder, no longer giving him the mercy of ignoring them. His eyes opened painfully, and he could just barely feel Kenzi pressed against his chest, but it was reassurance enough to make him almost lose consciousness again. Until a hand slapped his cheek hard enough that he couldn’t ignore it. “Dyson, wake the hell up!”

His eyes widened as he piece by piece took in Bo. Fae! But how gorgeous she was, the most perfect image Dyson had seen in ages. Until he caught sight of Kenzi again.

“Bo Bo,” Kenzi murmured, her small form shifting in Dyson’s hold. Despite hardly being able to feel his own limbs, Dyson held her tighter than he had ever held anything in his life. Content nothing could tear her away, he allowed the darkness to claim him.


 

“Something happen between you two in that freezer you wanna tell me about?” Bo teased, having walked in on the tail end of a kiss.

Kenzi bit down on her lip hard and shook her head, slapping Dyson’s hand away with a small smile when his thumb pulled her lip out from under her teeth.

“Nothing much,” Dyson shot Bo a relieved glance. He had been the first to wake up, and Bo’s eyes as he had taken in the fact that she was really there had spoken volumes. It made Dyson realize that all this time he was just hiding from himself, and he figured Kenzi had beat herself up and done the same thing. And all this time Bo had just been watching and waiting from the sidelines. “Just realized where my priorities lie.” In the romance department.

Bo was glowing at the unspoken comment and that meant she was silently cheering him on. They both loved Kenzi and they both wanted her to be happy, and while Bo gave Dyson’s life purpose, he was truly happy nowhere unless he was holding Kenzi.

“You two lovebirds make sure to get some ice cream when you go out. Chunky Monkey,” Bo reminded her roommate, who gave her a playful punch.

“Yeah yeah, go find us a flick before you forget. Preferably zombies.”

Dyson shook his head, “Uh uh. Werewolves.”

“Zombies,” Kenzi insisted, sharing a high five with Bo. “You’re outnumbered two to one, bucko.”

Dyson rolled his eyes and wrapped an arm around both his girls. He figured the least he could do was give Kenzi movie pick when her being in his life gave him so much more. 

FIN