Chapter 1: Kenzi
That’s the best word Kenzi can come up with to describe how it felt being in Dyson’s body. Sure, there was power, right under her skin (or his), but there was this huge hole inside her (him – this body swapping business was confusing) that made her feel weird.
But to be perfectly honest none of it felt right and Kenzi was relieved to be back in her tiny human body.
She preferred to wear the awesome boots than just look at them.
Back in her tiny body, in her awesome boots, and looking up at Dyson, even though she was sitting on the high bar stool and he was standing next to her, she couldn’t help but to hug him extra hard. He deserved to feel t least some connection.
It became a thing. Her hugging Dyson with all she had.
Every time she and Bo were leaving the Dal and Dyson was there, she hugged him goodbye. Every time she noticed him drinking by himself, she walked over and hugged him. Every time she was in a good mood and he wasn’t smiling as well, every time she bought a new pair of shoes – she hugged him.
She kept hugging him weeks after the body swap and nobody said a word, which was fine with her.
Dyson asked her once what was all the hugging about. She shrugged and tried very hard not to look like a kid who was caught stealing from the cookie jar.
“Look, Dee, I know that no amount of hugs is going to fill that hole you have in your chest,” she said quietly putting her hand on his chest. “And I’m still Bo’s best friend, so I’m not switching to your camp any time soon. But you’re a good man. Wolf. Fae…” None of the words felt right. “You’re a good Dyson and I just want you to be happy… er, happier.”
She shrugged, because she didn’t know how else to explain it, but she had to say something right, because Dyson’s expression shifted from amused to gentle.
“Thank you, Kenzi,” he said with a smile.
“It’s nothing. I’m awesome like that.”
He chuckled at that.
The next time she hugged him, he hugged her back.
Chapter 2: Dyson
If Dyson had to describe Kenzi with just one word, it would be “small”. He never gave it much thought, because Kenzi was loud and brave and always, somehow, capable of getting out of trouble alive. But Kenzi was small, and vulnerable and powerless; and after the whole body swapping experience Dyson was more aware of those facts than ever.
He knew that, technically, she was Bo’s human, even if Bo had a different understanding of that than Dyson and other Fae, but he couldn’t stop himself from paying extra attention to Kenzi, while she was around.
It helped that she kept hugging him, allowing him to get familiar with her scent, establish that extra link to her.
Every time Kenzi came to the Dal, even though she was usually the only human in the pub, she was left alone. Fae didn’t bother her because she was officially claimed by Bo, even though she wore no markings, and Trick has extended his protection over her. And Dyson, who usually sat within earshot, could be really intimidating when he wanted to; and he tried extra hard when somebody was sitting too close to Kenz.
Thankfully, he didn’t need to intervene too often and only once when he felt Kenzi was in a real danger.
The elemental Fae was having her time of the month and decided Kenzi would be a perfect distraction. It took some convincing, with Dyson earning several bruises in the process, but Kenzi didn’t end up a snack to the Dark Fae, so Dyson knew it was worth it.
“Is Bo meeting you here?” he asked Kenzi while Trick was checking if his ribs were cracked.
“Nah, she’s stealing some time with Lauren. I promised to stay out of the apartment for a while, and since Trick usually lets me drink for free, it’s my favorite hangout spot. Minus the angry earth Fae. I swear to God, Dee, I did not step on her toes… or roots… or whatever it is that she stick in those really fun heels!”
Dyson couldn’t help but smile.
“It wasn’t your fault, Kenz. She just wanted to pick a fight,” he assured her and it seemed to ease her mind a little. “I’ll take you home, though. Just in case other Fae feel like picking a fight as well.”
“I can get home on my own, you know?”
“Indulge me,” he said with a smile.
It didn’t take long to get Kenzi home, especially when she was recapping his fight with the elemental Fae from her spectator point of view, which turned out to be highly entertaining.
“Pow! Wow! And then, when you wolfed out I almost cheered. You look seriously badass when you do that. Not that you aren’t badass all the other times, but…”
“I get it Kenz. You’re more than welcome,” he interrupted her with a laugh.
They stopped when they reached the door.
“You wanna come in?” she asked him. “Bo would love to hear the story and all.”
He shook his head. “I don’t think that would be a good idea.”
“Because Lauren might still be inside,” Kenzi didn’t even try making it sound like a question. Dyson didn’t even try denying it. “Well, alright then,” she smiled and hugged him tight.
He hugged her back, since it was becoming their little ritual.
“Thank you for saving me. Again,” he heard her whisper.
He moved away to look at her. Without thinking he moved a stray of hair from her face. She looked so fragile; it tugged on something inside him.
“Don’t mention it,” he told her. “I’ll always be there to help.”
“I know. You’re kind of awesome.”
“You’re a friend. A pack, if you will,” he explained. “You could say my wolf wants you safe. Nothing will touch you, Kenzi.”
“Thanks Dyson,” she sent him a brilliant smile. “But what do you mean your wolf? Is it like, separate from you? Because maybe I shouldn’t call you wolfman, if I hurt its, uhm, his feelings… How does it work? Are there two of you there?”
He put his fingers on her lips to silence her, just like he did at the Dal, after their body swap.
“There’s no two of me. It’s just an expression. The wolf isn’t separate entity. I just wanted to make sure you got how important that is. You’re part of my pack, Kenz. I know your scent and I’ll always find you. If it didn’t raise too many eyebrows, I’d even mark you the Fae way, just to make sure you’re safe. You’re getting in way too much trouble than I’d like.”
She stood there a moment longer, without saying anything. Dyson counted that as a win, because nothing ever made Kenzi speechless.
“Go inside,” he told her. “Bo’s probably wondering how you managed to stay away for so long,” he joked.
She laughed and hugged him again.
He waited until she closed the door behind her and he heard her lock the door.
Just to make sure she was safe.