Bo had caved to Trick’s insistence that she go through a meeting with Hale. Not as friends, as Ash to... whatever they decided Bo’s title would be.
So now Bo was entering the room in the back of the Dal that Hal had commandeered for his own use. Buffy followed her close behind, the group in front of the bar deciding it would be best if she was there when Bo explained the situation.
“Ash,” Bo spoke, causing Hale’s attention to snap firmly to her from the papers he’d been going over.
“Bo...” the leader of the light Fae started hesitantly.
Bo responded equally hesitant, “This is Buffy-”
Hale smiled, hoping the awkward greeting was just Bo not wanting to ask for help, interrupted, “Ah yes, the newest Slayer to come of age, you’re already in trouble and needing Bo’s help?”
Buffy looked to Bo who shook her head, “As I was saying, this is Buffy... Neutral Fae.”
The look on Hale’s face could probably cure a child’s cancer with the power of laughter if they ever saw it. Sadly Bo had promised to keep her phone put away, Trick had asked her not to embarrass the leader of the Light Fae with a picture of something like this, plus as leader of the Neutral Fae it would be... politically awkward to do that. “I’m sorry, did I just hear-”
Bo nodded, more confidently than she felt, “Neutral Fae. Yea, we’re a thing now.”
Understandably, Hale was still confused, “How? That’s not...”
“The way Trick explained it, everyone just assumed I was unsided. That’s why other fae who tried to go undeclared went insane but I didn’t. Only, no one knew that at the time. So when Buffy,” Bo paused to wave her hand toward the slayer, “came to me and declared herself I officially became a side of my own. We figured that we should probably talk to you, and possibly the Light Fae elders to avoid any... mishaps.”
Hale clamped down on his own confusion and took a breath. As calm as he could be under the confusing circumstances he looked up at Bo, “Trick’s probably right, as much as I like you the elders wouldn’t accept that as an excuse once they learn you’re on your own side. Give me a moment to make a call... we have to meet with them.”
“Great... Do they still hate me for what Aife did?” Bo winced, Buffy casting a sidelong look at her which was ignored.
Hale gave her an amused look, “I believe the lecture Trick gave them less than a month after she did it corrected that misjudgement, I know my father went back home wincing.”
Sighing Bo sat down and motioned for Hale to make the call. She didn’t really have a problem with the Light Fae Elders, but damn if they couldn’t be stuffy old fucks sometimes.
It only took a couple minutes for Hale to arrange a meeting, when the Ash asked for an audience with the elder’s about Bo, they arranged a meeting.
“Well, I didn’t tell them why we’re having this meeting,” Hale confessed as he hung up the phone and stood.
Bo groaned, “You’re gonna make me tell them? Ugh.”
“Well I sure as hell wasn’t going to tell them that the unaligned succubus isn’t unaligned and is, in fact, on her own side now. Plus, the look on their faces is going to be priceless, I’m just sorry I won’t be able to laugh. She should come with us by the way,” Hale pointed out motioning at Buffy who, as of yet, had played the role of silent bodyguard.
“Yea, not that I think this is gonna go badly, but she is
proof we’re not fucking with them...” Bo allowed with a mischievous smirk.
As expected the reaction the elders responded with was about as shocked as they could claim to have been seen in recent memory. One of the elders, an eight hundred year old frost giant “B-but, the blood king’s laws! They clearly stated two sides, the Light and the Dark. How is this possible?”
“As it was explained to me there was nothing preventing a third side from being formed,” Hale responded as Bo was opening her mouth.
“The Ash is correct,” Trick remarked from his side of the dias the elder’s sat behind. “The Blood King knew the sides were already firmly established and so wrote nothing forbidding a third side from being formed.”
The other elder’s nodded acceptance of that line of thought. “Well then... what do the... Neutral Fae want with the Light Fae elders?”
“We would like to discuss terms of a treaty, perhaps the acquisition of some land to call our own aside from my current abode,” Bo replied, very carefully choosing her words as Trick had asked her to.
Ordinarily she might have been her usual up-front, almost rude, self but in this case she couldn’t afford to be. Trick had explained all too clearly what could happen if she used her usual level of politeness to talk to the elders this time. They might still be grateful for her defeat of the Garuda, but their pride was still very much intact.
The elder’s exchanged glances, one or two glanced at Trick subtly, it was the Blackthorn. One of the only light fae alive who knew Trick’s true identity as the Blood King. Trick nodded imperceptibly and the Blackthorn sighed inwardly. “Very well.”
The negotiations were, as Bo had feared, long and boring, until hours later some semblance of an agreement had been reached. “So I’ll get all Light Fae territory within ten square miles of my property, including businesses, as long as I allow the light fae there to continue as if nothing has changed, though half of their tithes would be sent to me instead of the office of the Ash. Eighty percent of all neutral territory, save for a small number of totally neutral meeting places, to become mine, including all fae owned businesses who would then pay seventy-five percent of their usual tithe to me, hinging upon the Dark Fae’s cooperation. In exchange I will continue to allow light fae free passage through my territory, and should a problem come up inside my territory involving a light fae, I will allow the Light Fae to police their own, though I would retain ability to inject myself into an investigation. The Light Fae also agree to allow neutral fae free passage on their land, under a similar understanding to the light fae on Neutral territory. Oh, and in the event of a Dark on Light or Light on Dark crime I would be forced to act as the mediator in the ensuing... discussions, once again assuming the Dark agree to it. Did I forget anything?”
“Other than the inherent agreement to abide by the general fae laws, no,” the Blackthorne replied shaking his head, he was surprised to hear the usually belligerent and defiant succubus being reasonable. It was actually his own idea to give her the portions of the tithes in what would now be her territory as a gesture of good faith. It had been Fitzpatrick’s idea to use her as a mediator for any cross-boundaries crimes, rare as they were, and the Blackthorne agreed with it.
Bo nodded gratefully, turning to the scribe, there was a species of fae that apparently thrived on being allowed to record other people’s agreements and such, they normally ate the discussion papers but any agreements written by them were binding. The scribe in question was holding out the written agreement that she’d just summarized, leaving out that it actually said Light/Dark all over it instead of just Light as she’d verbally said to the Elders and after she signed it, was then shown to the elders who signed it one by one and just like that she owned ten square miles of property in the city for the neutral fae, more property to be acquired if she could convince the Dark Fae to agree to the same deal.
Surprisingly she was given very little trouble when she showed up at the Morrigan’s talent agency when she asked to go up to meet with Evony, she even used the woman’s real name and was given no issue. She found the angry leanan sídhe sitting at her desk, clearly working.
Clearing her throat Bo was mildly surprised to see Evony’s head spring up from what she was working on surprised, “Either no one told you I was here, or you have a surprisingly short memory span.”
Evony’s beautiful face twisted slightly in a small snarl, “Not so small I haven’t forgotten how you humiliated me succubus, but no, no one told me you were here. If they had, you wouldn’t have gotten halfway here before someone would have planted a dagger in your chest.”
Bo gave a small chuckle but otherwise didn’t answer the barb as she moved to take the chair across from the sídhe. “Look Evony, I can call you Evony can’t I?” Evony gave a frown but didn’t verbally reply, “Good, I thought we were on the wrong footing. Look, here’s my problem. You see the girl behind me.” She motioned to Buffy who had been waiting silently behind the succubus.
“She’s mine. She walked up to me this morning and pledged herself to me. See, turns out I haven’t been the undeclared succubus this whole time. I’ve been Neutral. While you probably couldn’t care less if I’m Light, Dark, or otherwise right now we do have to talk. So as a gesture of good faith, here,” Then Bo tossed her phone, still containing the humiliating photo of the Dark Fae leader bound, to a surprised Evony. “That is the only copy of that picture. Go ahead and destroy it, I only took it as a joke anyway. I was never going to actually use it against you.”
Evony quickly did as Bo suggested, the phone flashing a glorious ‘Picture Deleted’, up at her. Mood considerably improved she handed the phone back to Bo, “If you ever tell anyone I said this, I will not rest until you lie six feet under, but thank you. Both for letting me delete that... humiliation from existence and killing that monster before it had the chance to carry out its plans. Now, since you’re here and you seem to have a follower, I assume you need to speak with me about more than just making amends.”
Bo nodded, glad that Evony seemed to at least no longer want her dead for her part in the humiliation. Buffy walked forward and slid the agreement she’d hashed out with the Light Fae elders over the desk for Evony to examine.
Evony slid on a pair of reading spectacles, once again leveling a glare promising death if anyone found out about them, and read the agreement. “I can’t promise a thing but it seems moderately reasonable. Ten square miles of property with fifty percent of the tithe and eighty percent of neutral with seventy-five percent of the tithe doesn’t sound unreasonable. Especially as the Dark have very few businesses outside of Dark Fae territory so the only real impact would be in the ten square miles, which again is a small amount of territory and money compared to the entire rest of the city. I could probably get the Dark to agree to this treaty, but the question I have for you, is why would I? Even disregarding the humiliating picture you’ve hardly been a big help to me personally. You’ve cleaned up several disputes for the Dark, sure. Hell, that’s most of the reason this treaty would fly. You even helped us catch a traitor and for that I thank you on behalf of the Dark. But you’ve never done anything for me personally.”
Bo raised an eyebrow, “Other than preventing you from losing your position as the Morrigan because your seniatta assistant wanted to kill Vex and take your job?”
Evony waved that away, “I already paid you back for that, if you recall.”
Bo nearly growled in annoyance, where’d that come from? Succubi don’t growl, “If you want to be one of the most singularly ungrateful people I’ve ever met, be my guest.”
Evony took a moment and sighed, “Bo... I’ll tell you the truth here and if you say a word to another soul I will hunt you down personally... but I do like you. You’ve got a certain style, and personality that is immensely entertaining to watch and hear about your exploits. You bend our laws and you do it very well, better than most of my own Dark Fae as a matter of fact. Most importantly you don’t give a damn what side someone is on unless it gets in your way. That means that, save for the... embarrassment of that picture, I do like you.” She looked at the neutral succubus and sighed, “I will try to help you with the elders. If Vex were here he’d be helpful... he likes your human but I haven’t seen him since the Garuda mess happened.”
Bo thought about telling the Dark Fae leader about where Vex was and why but decided discretion was the better part of valor in that instance. “Thank you." Bo smiled before a thought occurred to her that hadn't in her previous dealings with the leader of the Dark, "I do have one question... do you know who the leader of the dark was at the end of the great war?” The man who had almost certainly gotten her mother pregnant by repeated violent rape.
Evony took a moment to give Bo a long look, unsure of the source of that question but she answered anyway, “My father.”