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Fic: With Great Care.

Lost Girl.

Kenzi consults a doctor about a complicated problem.
Some grown-up language.
Feedback appreciated.

Disclaimer: This show and these characters are not my toys. 

***





Carefully, Lauren allocated a precise amount of dye to a sample slide. 

Lauren did everything with great care. Her circumstances required it. Her unique position in the world was a much more precarious one than she liked to make apparent, and it did not permit for a margin of error. Habit had fostered her fastidious nature, and time had honed it to a fine edge. It had been a hard won lesson that would be hard lost even if, by some extraordinary turn of fate, her conditions should ever change. 

She was reaching for another slide when the lab doors burst open, and the room’s busy, professional calm evaporated instantly. It was the kind of commotion that she knew - before looking and without a doubt - could only represent the touchdown of Hurricane Kenzi.

She put the slide back down, and wondered a little wistfully when she might get to see it again.

Kenzi didn’t need to be actually saying or doing anything to generate a tangible presence of chaos, it just seemed to accompany her like a faithful companion. Chaos came with Kenzi just as surely as Kenzi came with Bo; a constant accomplice, like a jealously protective little guard dog. 

Bo was very different from her younger friend in this regard. It always seemed, to Lauren, that Bo could appear out of thin air; materialising suddenly and distractingly close. She had wondered if this was the product of some supernatural predator stealth or simply the effect Bo had on her. Maybe it was just Bo; maybe she would always leave her feeling a little startled, a little disarmed, a little off balance. The doctor had yet to reach a conclusion on the matter.

By now though, Lauren could see that today Kenzi was alone, and the realisation made her heart sink just a little more than she was prepared for. She missed Bo so much it made her chest ache. She missed the ease they'd shared right from the start, and taken for granted. She missed the person she felt like when Bo was around. She missed the many little touches they'd constantly exchanged, deliberately casual in appearance, and anything but in their intent. Someone's fingertips finding the other's forearm. Someone's hand brushing across the other's lower back. 

She missed blushing quite so much.  

She felt a little guilty that the very things she was no longer rightly entitled to preyed on her the most. Intimate details, only briefly known, moments she'd tried desperately to bury deep down in the darkest recesses of her mind. She missed the heat of Bo's breath against her throat, the curves of Bo's body to her touch and the beat of Bo's heart against her own. And she missed - dearly - the fierce look of raw unadulterated want in the other woman's dark eyes which, for one night and perhaps only that, had been hers alone. 

She just missed Bo. She missed everything about Bo. 

But that was a  big enough problem to keep itself for now. What troubled her now was the much less complicated truth that anything which could compel Kenzi to seek out her company didn't bode well for anybody. She also wondered, vaguely, how in the hell the girl had gotten past security, but the rules of physics hardly seemed to apply to Kenzi sometimes, nevermind any lesser ones.

Diminutive feet pounded heavy biker boots in Lauren’s direction, and the doctor duly stood up to offer a greeting.
“Hello Kenzi.” she started, already scanning for visible injuries and thankful to find none. “To what do we owe the pleasure?”

“Mornin’ Captain Labcoat. I’ll save you the pleasantries and get to the point. I need me a doctor, and you’re the only one I know who’s not also a tattoo artist or a circus performer.”

“Well...I’ll take that as a testament to your faith in my abilities. What seems to be the problem?”

“I was kind of hoping we could talk, you know, privately.” Kenzi nodded broadly at a nearby lab tech, and then made a theatrically indiscreet pantomime of whispering past her hand. 

"Girl stuff.” she said, her voice somehow even louder than usual.

The lab tech, seeming mildly affronted, continued about his business with an equally artificial display of rigid distinterest.

Human girl stuff.”

The tech's lip twitched minutely. 

“Embarrassing human girl stuff.” she said finally, dropping all pretense of discretion.

Lauren raised her hands, in a gesture that perhaps signaled either placation or defeat, or both.

“Of course, yes, let’s go somewhere a little more private.”

The lab tech shot Lauren a sympathetic eyeroll as they walked past, and for one instantly-regretted split second, Lauren was tempted to meet it. She couldn't help appreciating such precious gestures of camaraderie from her colleagues, even if it was probably founded at least partly in the tech's distaste for humans.

Truthfully though, in many ways Lauren thought of herself as more doctor than human, and it was that instinct which came first. She had already started mentally cataloguing symptoms and illnesses and treatments as they made their way to an exam room. She and Kenzi were unlikely to ever be the best of friends, but so long as she was Lauren's patient, nothing and nobody else mattered.

She pulled the exam room's door behind her. Kenzi threw off her jacket and hopped up on a bed without waiting for an invitation. Lauren rolled a chair closer and took a seat, although it didn’t escape the notice of either woman that she still maintained some distance.

“So Kenzi, how can I help you?”

“Well Doc." she started, without urgency. "It’s not so much me. I’m kinda here on behalf of somebody.” The girl reclined back onto the bed and folded her hands over her stomach, clearly intent on settling in for a while. Lauren let her shoulders drop ever so slightly, before guiltily correcting herself.

“See, I’ve got this friend.”

The doctor, having heard this old chestnut so many times by now it had long since lost its entertainment value, only nodded.

“And my friend, lately she's not in great shape. She’s got this thing about doctors, and I don’t know how serious this deal is, so I figured I’d run it past you and get some advice about what I ought to tell her.”

“Sure, sounds like a plan." Lauren relaxed back into her chair, not a little relieved to be starting out on familiar territory at least. "So, first things first, what specifically are the symptoms?”

“Long story short Doc, she’s lost her hustle.” Kenzi started, gesturing elaborately as she struggled to articulate the issue. 

“She's lost her.... like... pizazz. She just lays around the house all day like a big… I dunno, a big…. … walrus or something. Something better. Something hotter than a walrus that lays around all the time. Anyway. She doesn’t want to show it, and she's still working and whatever, so I guess you could call her functional. If you didn't know her, you wouldn't see it, but for real, she's just going through the motions, there's no juice in the tank.”

“This kind of... lethargy isn’t really something you’d associate with her?” Lauren enquired, although it was only half a question as much as it was a statement.

Kenzi shook her head. “This girl Doc, she’s usually a violently irrepressible ray of sunshine. Some would say it’s one of her most charming charming characteristics, as a matter of fact. And right now, she's just...” Kenzi threw up her hands with a frustrated note of defeat.

“I see. Go on.”

“And she’s distracted all the time. Can’t seem to focus.” The doctor nodded, even as she watched Kenzi's eye wander from the sterling silver Parker pen in the her own labcoat pocket, over to the windowsill, and down to the computer.

“She’s lost her appetite, she’s sad all the time, she’s touchy… I just… I don’t know what to tell you Doc, but this isn’t her kind of normal. This isn’t her kind of normal at all.”

Lauren nodded reassuringly. “You should trust your instincts about your friend." 

The slightly uncomfortable third person charade quite aside, Lauren was sincere in this. She admired Kenzi's keen instincts very much. On reflection, she realised that they were probably a large source of the distance between them - Lauren could never quite shake the sense that Kenzi could see right through her, even if she didn't quite know what she was looking at. The girl had an unnerving, pitiless sense for ugly truths, and Lauren certainly had plenty of those to keep her own. 

"How long has your uh, friend been feeling like this?”

“A while. She’s a little better now than she was, but it’s been like this way too long."

“Any physical symptoms that you're aware of?”

“She hasn’t been sleeping properly, but otherwise, no. I mean, my friend, she’s kind of a night owl anyway, but… now it's different, she lies awake for hours just... lying awake.” She shrugged.

Lauren drummed her fingertips thoughtfully. Taking a moment to choose her words with care. Never without it; never again.

“Well, I’d need to know more to make a responsible diagnosis, but… from what you’ve told me, it sounds very much like a psychological problem than a physiological one. Which can be no less serious, certainly.”

Kenzi frowned. “Psychological?” Then she brightened. “Does that mean you can prescribe something fun?”

“I’d need to know more, I’m afraid.” 

“You can but won’t, right? That’s what you’re saying, that’s what I’m hearing?” 

Lauren smiled in spite of herself.

“This isn't necessarily something long term that's going to persist, and there are a lot of steps before we try medication. Can you think of anything significant that happened in your friend lately that might have triggered this sudden mood change? Something that might have upset them deeply? Some kind of trauma, or even a personal loss?"

Kenzi considered this for a moment, and eyed the doctor suspiciously.

"You don’t have to tell me the details if you don't want to. But if there is something then your friend might need to talk about it, and she might be more comfortable speaking to somebody else."

Lauren reconsidered this choice of words.

"Somebody better equipped. I could set up an appointment with a therapist friend of mine, if you want, I can get you his details." 

The girl didn't respond at first, and Lauren stood and stepped over to the desk to look for a business card.

“Well, there is one thing, but it’s probably nothing.” 

Kenzi turned to face Lauren, a little sorry that the other woman's back was turned so that she wouldn't be able to enjoy seeing her expression change.

“See, some bitch she trusted fucked her ‘cause her asshole boss blew his fucking dogwhistle and told her to; and now my friend's moping around the house like an idiot and acting like a jerk, ‘cause she just can't quite understand how somebody she cared about so much could hurt her like that."

Lauren stiffened instantly. She opened her mouth to speak, but no response presented.

Kenzi took a long moment to appreciate the doctor’s new, stricken body language.

"You think it would be too much to make a crack now about how "gee doctor, I think it might be her heart"?” she continued, now sitting up to watch her words land. Lauren could almost hear venom drip off every syllable.

“Mmm. Probably.” Kenzi continued, nodding sagely to herself. 

Lauren marshalled herself to turn and face the younger girl, even as her features flushed with anger and shame.

“Kenzi-”

“Don’t bother. Just let me say my piece and then I’ll be out of here, ‘cause believe me I don’t love your company any more than you’re enjoying mine.” 

Lauren’s eyes dropped to the floor. As if pinned by Kenzi's fierce, dark gaze, she grimly resigned herself to whatever was going to follow.

“What do you want, Kenzi? I’ve already-.”

“Just shut up Doc, and let me get this done with. See, my friend, this friend of mine, I think she’s in a lotta pain. And as much as it makes me nauseous to my ass to watch you squirm and act like you’re the victim here, I hate seeing that even more. I mean, I guess it's kinda funny, that you hurt a succubus so bad by acting like a whore, but man I don't think anybody's gonna laugh about it for a while.”
Lauren visibly flinched at this blunt implication. “That’s not… fair, Kenzi” she said quietly, curiously unsurprised to hear her defence sound so feeble even to her own ears.

“Shit’s not fair, Sawbones. Lots of shit is not fair. So let’s just talk about my friend, so I can get gone and bother somebody I like instead.”

Lauren gave a defeated shrug, and sank against the desk feeling a hundred years old. Suddenly every muscle in her body was tired.

“See, my friend, she’s not like you and me. She’s had a very weird life, and kind of skipped the whole difficult-second-album learning curve most of us have to go through with relationships. So she knows people can be assholes, but she’s having to play catch up on what kind of assholes they can really be." 

Lauren shifted uncomfortably, but said nothing.

"‘Cause man, was she ever crazy about this girl.” She widened her eyes for effect, clearly hitting her stride.

“She used to find lame ways to talk about her at home, then get all… like, schoolgirl when she came up. God, she’d talk and talk about her, all the time, it was ridiculous. And she’d find all these weak ass excuses to visit her where she worked. All that shit, the whole nine yards, absolutely crazy about the girl.”

Lauren felt as though her chest was full of lead, and she found her hand raised as if to shield her from a physical blow. 

“Kenzi, please just… make your point.”

“I’m getting to it. Anyway, so my friend; the point is, this girl got under her skin in a big way, and then totally screwed her over in the kind of big, huge, 4th of July, Oscar ceremony, Barbra Streisand kinda style that makes you wanna hate somebody’s guts. Really hate 'em. Like, you wanna smash the shit out of stuff and pretend it’s them. Or mail them a bunch of something really gross, because what they did is exactly as disgusting as a padded envelope full of racoon parts and dogshit and rancid bacon.”

At this, Lauren started to make some plea for mercy, but Kenzi charged ahead and talked over it.

“But that’s the thing, Doc, she’s not.” 

Lauren looked up and met the other girl’s eyes in surprise. Kenzi continued, a little softer now.

“She’s not doing any of that stuff. And I mean, my friend, she’s totally awesome at violence, it’s not like she hasn’t got a healthy anger impulse. This girl got so far under my friend’s skin that even after doing a whole bunch of damage, she’s still there. Much as she wants to, she can’t get this chick out of her system and I don’t think she’s going to any time soon. 

That’s what’s wrong with my friend, that's why she's dragging her sorry ass around pretending she's okay. ”

Lauren searched the girl’s dark features in vain for some hint of where Kenzi was leading her with this.

“And this chick – she’s a doctor by the way, in case you're not following – she’s lotsa things. She’s this like, painfully uptight human icebox who keeps all her personality in her labcoat and wouldn’t recognise fun if somebody accidentally spilled it onto her favourite fucking microscope.-” 

Only a slight twitch at the edge of the doctor's mouth betrayed a reaction, and in spite of everything, Kenzi found herself silently commending the other woman's patience.
“-But... I don’t think she’s cruel. Lotsa other lame things, sure, but she's not cruel. And I don't like her, and I don't trust her, but whatever else her deal is, I don't think she's faking when it comes to my friend. And if I know that, then I'm pretty damn sure my friend knows that, and it seems like that's why it's all such a big deal."

She paused, perhaps only for effect.

 "I mean, don't know how the hell somebody could do something like that to someone they love, but I'm pretty sure somebody did." 

There it was, thought the doctor. Later, Lauren would find time to wonder if Kenzi had known exactly how she felt for Bo before she had herself. Goddamn those keen, pitiless instincts.

A heavy moment settled.

"That was just it." the older woman began quietly, smiling sadly to herself. "I did it because..."

But here, her nerve failed. She couldn't bear to finish that sentence out loud in this place and time.

She let seconds grind past painfully, and breathed a hard sigh.

"God, I never wanted to hurt her." she said, barely more than a whisper.

"It's all so complicated now. But it was so simple. It felt so simple. There wasn't anything else. I wasn't trying to..." She collected herself a little. 

"It was real. It was just... her. It was just about her."  She stared off to something distant. 

"She makes it so easy to believe everything's simple."

Kenzi shrugged.

"That's the thing you've gotta know about her, Doc. She's used to making everything simple. It's either broke or it's fixed, or like... she's breaking it or fixing it. You and me, we don't always get that option. We have to live around stuff the way it is." 

Kenzi waited until the doctor met her eye again before proceeding.

"Look. I don't like you Lauren, but I don't hate you either. I mean, I don't get it. But who gives a shit what I think, I'm not the one who wants to ride you off into the sunset, right?"
The doctor's cheeks pinked just a little, and a little more besides for knowing that was probably the desired effect.

"I'm just saying. I don't know what you guys had going, and sweet Jesus do I not want to, but I don't think it's something she's had a lot of practice with, so she's taken it pretty hard. But I don't hate you, and she doesn't either." 

She paused to rethink this immediately.

"Well, I mean she kinda hates you right now, but she doesn't totally hate you for good. If she did be like, axing you into itty bitty pieces rather than just pulling your pigtails at recess and whatever.  The point is, it only hurt her like it did 'cause it was you. You know that right? She didn't see that coming from you."

Uncomfortable silence descended, and lasted too long. Both women were mildly surprised when it was the doctor who broke it first. She took a deep breath before speaking - slowly, agonisingly, as if any word could choke her at any moment.

"Kenzi... is she only ever going to want me if she can't have Dyson?" 

The younger girl raised an eyebrow, but before she could respond Lauren spoke again; quickly now, as if she feared she might lose her nerve again before she finished.

"I know who she is, I know what she is, I understand that and I know I couldn't be... enough. I don't need her to be exclusive, I can live with being one of a number,  I just... I'm not sure I can live with knowing I was second choice. Knowing wherever we might end up would only ever be.... a consolation prize. That I could never really make her happy. I'm not sure I could bear knowing that." 

She paused.

"Not for long." 

Kenzi regarded the other woman with a fresh and slightly unexpected shade of sympathy, and sighed. 

"Look, Doc... I don't know where that conversation is gonna go. But I do know for sure it's not me you need to have it with. And I don't know if she's gonna run to you if she can't have Dyson, or Dyson if she can't have you, or hey, maybe all three of you can work something out that you should, again, absolutely never tell me about under any circumstances -"

Lauren's features again betrayed only the faintest hint of her distaste. 

"-all I'm saying is... I dunno what I'm saying. I just know you idiots need to try and fix this yourselves, 'cause I'm sick of watching my best friend pretend she's not miserable, and making you feel bad is too easy to be fun anymore. And I'll be damned if I'm going to be the designated grown-up here anymore. So just like... fix it."

The doctor absorbed this silently.  

"Anyway. I'm done Switzerlanding for you guys, and my Xbox patiently awaits." Kenzi straightened up with a note of finality. 

"So what's it to be, Doc? In your expert opinion, what should I tell my friend about her stupid problem?"

Lauren considered this carefully. And, with great care, she said:

"Well, as I said before, I'd advise her to speak to a medical professional. And... I'd tell her to expect a house call."

Kenzi nodded with approval, like a teacher watching a particularly slow student finally negotiate a very basic math problem.

"Will do." And after a thoughtful pause - "And uh... I will also be staying out tonight. All night. I've got something crazy important to do, whenever I decide what it is." 

A longer pause, and a troubled frown.

"And maybe tomorrow morning just in case."

Lauren smiled a little.
"Kenzi... thanks."

Kenzi pulled on her jacket, and prepared to leave.

"Whatever. Not really for your benefit" she said, and shrugged. And then, with a little grunt of reluctant frustration, added:

"But... I didn't forget you saved my life. After you put it in danger in the first place, but it still kinda counts. And I'm not stupid, I know that was more about Bo than me, but... I figure if you're willing to deal with more of me to get more of her, you gotta be serious. Well I mean, you're always serious, but you know what I'm getting at. I'm babbling, whatever, you know what I mean."

She started for the door, and turned back to fix the doctor with her most fearsome guard dog scowl one last time.
"Fuck it up again and I will be on your ass like the wrath of God, Lewis."

This time, the doctor's expression betrayed nothing.

"I'll bear that in mind."

Evidently satisfied, Hurricane Kenzi made her dramatic departure through the lab, loudly declaring her debt to the doctor for "the giant bunch of penicillin" she had apparently provided, to any and all available ears. 

And with her, Lauren would later realise, went her favourite sterling silver Parker pen.

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
sameafnir
Oct. 31st, 2011 11:04 pm (UTC)
great characterization of those two, three actually. loved that. specially the sterling silver parker pen part ... hehe, thanks for sharing :)
dizzie08
Nov. 2nd, 2011 02:30 am (UTC)
Really terrific piece. You've absolutely nailed the characters' voices.

So pleased to discover well written fic in this fandom, which is few and far between. Thank you for this. Hope there is more to come! :)
(Anonymous)
Dec. 28th, 2011 01:03 am (UTC)
Nice job.
I got the link to this from Doccubus.com. Good job! I would love to read more. I like how you had Kezie take Lauren's pen. Nice touch
(Anonymous)
Jan. 9th, 2012 06:00 am (UTC)
Great Job. You really captured Lauren's character in this piece. Hope to read more.
(Anonymous)
Feb. 17th, 2012 02:18 pm (UTC)
thanks
Not a great deal of good doccubus fiction out there so this was a great find - any chance of a chapter 2 :)
pingback_bot
Feb. 27th, 2012 02:08 pm (UTC)
The BEST Lost Girl Stories
User owelpost referenced to your post from The BEST Lost Girl Stories saying: [...] With Great Care by hasserbine: http://hasserbine.livejournal.com/708.html#cutid1 [...]
(Anonymous)
Mar. 15th, 2012 03:15 am (UTC)
Brilliantly! brilliantly--brilliantly--Kenzi. Wrathfull Kenzi is not one to be reckoned with! And you have shown that tremendously well with no holds barred sharp, hurtful, wrenchingly honest Kenzi. I cannot praise that enough. Love Lauren's clever thoughtful third person references to keep up with Kenzi. Great work.
(Anonymous)
Nov. 17th, 2012 07:42 am (UTC)
Wow!
-Shifty eyes- I didn't just save this fanfiction to my Kobo so I could read it over and over again...nooo ;) Amazing!
dreamincolor
Feb. 13th, 2013 04:20 am (UTC)
That was completely brilliant.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )