“Sing… Dance… Place?” Angel asked.
“In Elvish,” Elrond confirmed. All of the occupants of the hotel had gathered in the lobby, including Lindsey who had finally awoken. He was rather sore, but the place where he had been stabbed was little more than a gash.
“What in the blue hell does that mean?” Angel asked, more to himself.
“She might be trying to tell us something important,” Aragorn started, “And for some reason decided to tell it in Elvish. She learned a few words while trying to translate, but she didn’t have complete knowledge of it.”
“Why would she say it in Elvish?” Fred question as she sat on the lobby counter, Wesley standing right next to her. “If you spoke to her in English or Common tongue, why would she do that?”
“I do not know her motivations,” Elrond replied. “I was hoping one of you would give me a reason.”
“She’s scared,” Lindsey said as he continued lying down on the couch. The occupants of the lobby turned to him.
“Does the word ‘duh’ mean anything to you?” Cordelia asked. “She’s been kidnapped by some demon that’s probably been messing with her head for just under a week.”
“Thanks, I hadn’t noticed,” Lindsey said snidely, purposefully turning his attention to Angel and Aragorn. “If it has been messing with her head all this time, which I know it has been, she’s probably losing her sense of reality. If it’s appearing to her as your wife,” he looked at Aragorn, “her mother, there’s no limit to who else he’s been coming in the shape of. He can see into her nightmares and use them to brainwash her. Worst case scenario, she was afraid the dream demon had managed to penetrate even the deepest part of her mind. She might have thought you were him.”
“But why Elvish,” Gandalf asked. Lindsey shrugged.
“I doubt the dream demon is well versed in Elvish. She probably counted on it. If you were the real thing,” Lindsey turned his eyes to Elrond,” She knew you would know what she was saying. If you were the dream demon, you would have thought she was just completely insane.”
“Maybe she really *is* just completely insane,” Gunn said. Everyone looked at him, incredulous.
“I’m just saying, we have to be prepared. If the beastie’s been messin’ with her head for this long, we have to be ready in case she really has cracked. Baby girl’s got enough abandonment issues as it is. Now she thinks her real momma says it be better if she didn’t exist?” Aragorn’s insides rolled in its own turmoil at the comment.
“There’s no limit to what he’s been telling her,” Wesley said. “Gunn is right. We do have to be prepared in case Dawn has lost her mental stability. But until we know that for sure, we have to assume she’s trying to tell us something.”
“And if she is, that means she’s got it together enough to think of using Elvish to avoid the demon knowing how together she has it?”
“Well, that sounds like Dawnie,” Angel said. “Sing, dance, place?” he repeated. “What is that?”
“Could she be trying to tell us where she is?” Elrohir offered.
“That would be the first thing I’d try to tell someone,” Cordelia said.
“So what? Like a club or something?” Gunn asked. The room looked at him. “Where else has singing and dancing?”
“They probably have her contained, somehow,” Wesley said. “She might be able to hear music.”
“Why would they keep her at a club?” Fred asked the room, confused.
“Bazarias,” Lindsey said suddenly.
“Bazarias?” Angel said. “The club uptown?”
“Wolfram and Hart owns it,” the lawyer replied.
“Wolfram and Hart own a club?” Gunn said, bewildered.
“We’ve never heard of them owning a club,” Fred said, shaking her head nervous.
“Few do,” he said. “Except upper level employees.”
“If they knew you knew about it, why would they take her there?” Cordelia asked.
“Well, they also think I’m dead,” Lindsey replied. “Bazarias is a location for the most important operations. It’s used because no one looks for it at a club. No one expects anything to be going down there. Only partners knew about it. They even have security guards’ memories erased after working there.”
“But anyone can get in there,” Angel said. “It’s just like any other club.”
“There’s a fortress underneath it that no one can get through. If that’s where Dawn is, we’re going to need some serious muscle to break it. And not just the physical kind. On top of the highest level security money can buy, every magical boundary you can think of guards that place.”
“Figures,” Gunn said, tossing his head to the side.
“My security clearance has been erased by now, I’m sure,” Lindsey said. “We’d need at least another Junior Partner to get through.”
Angel suddenly frowned as he looked around.
“Where the hell is Connor?”
Lilah Morgan rarely got to sleep. So when noises disturbed what little sleep she got, she was royally pissed.
The junior partner of Wolfram and Hart walked into the living room of her apartment, her red silk nightgown reflected the little light there was coming from the kitchen sink light. She ran her hands over her face, trying to wake herself up. She saw nothing suspicious, and imagined she hadn’t really heard anything. The whole upcoming apocalypse thing just had her on edge. She walked into her kitchen and opened her refrigerator. Grabbing the orange juice, she closed the door back and turned to the cupboard to grab a glass.
A squeal emanated from her throat when an incredibly strong hand came over her mouth.
“You scream and I’ll break your neck.”
She instantly stilled as the figure behind her wrapped a hand around her and duct taping her hands together with one. She was quiet when removed his hand from her mouth and pulled her into her living room, throwing her down on the couch.
“Turn the light on,” she heard that same voice say. Her lamp switched on, momentarily trying to get used to the light. She looked up to see a face she didn’t expect to see. She laughed to herself.
“Well, well, well,” she said patronizingly. “Daddy’s boy starting to play rough again?” She looked over to the other man… or something, next to the lamp. “And he’s got a new white hat, it seems.”
“Cut the crap, Lilah,” Connor said emotionlessly. “Where is she?” Lilah smiled, which bled into a dry laughter.
“Your little girlfriend?” She chuckled again. Legolas stiffened at the woman disrespecting Princess Arien so much. “Nowhere you can help her,” she continued. “We’ve been waiting a long time for an opportunity like this. The Key to dimensions? She’s ours now.” Connor started the circling, staring at her as intensely as he’d ever stared at anything.
Legolas also did his best to intimidate the woman in question. Connor had prepared him thoroughly for handling this particular woman. As strangely as he felt treating a woman so roughly, Connor of told him of the type of woman she was. She was evil, and surely no lady. Connor had told him that they would kill or even really hurt her too much. But they would put the fear of the Valar into her. She certainly wouldn’t know their intentions.
“Killing me won’t change anything,” she continued. “If anything, you’ll raise suspicion among Senior Partners.”
“Kill you, Lilah?” Connor said, smiling. It wasn’t pleasant thing. Lilah was used to being collected. In control. She was not in control… and she knew it. He approached slowly, his face coming uncomfortably close to hers. “No, Lilah. Of course you’d never give up your life for anything. You love yourself too much.” Lilah tossed an amused, disinterested look of agreement to that side. “But why would I kill you? Couldn’t tell me anything that way.” He circled her again as she continued to stare ahead. “You know, I’ve been learning more about who my father was. You know of his days of Angelus, of course. I thought I should try to ignore them. But I think instead…” Connor walked in front of her so that her eyes had to land on as he pulled out a curved blade. “I’ll embrace them.” The lawyer’s eyes widened. She hadn’t expected that one.
“You know,” he continued, “Angel told me he kept Drusilla alive for weeks before he finally turned her. Some of the things he did to her,” he laughed coldly. “I can only imagine what that kind of power feels like to have over someone. To have them begging for death while it’s yours to give it to them… or not.” Legolas would have felt uncomfortable, if he didn’t know any better. The boy was definitely talented in interrogation. Lilah relaxed her eyes, smiling again.
“You think you scare me, little boy?” she said dryly. “I know your kind. Do-gooders to the end. You don’t kill humans.” Connor gave Legolas a look. The elf understood the cue. Before Lilah could start her next sentence, she vaguely saw Connor’s blond companion move as she felt a sting on the right side of her forehead. She gasped, grabbing the place where she felt pain. A tiny trickle of blood splashed on her fingers as she caught sight of the arrow next to her head. She stared incredulously at the blond who was replacing his bow, then turning her attention to Connor, as he leaned over the back of her couch, speaking into the ear opposite the arrow.
“I’d hardly call you human, Lilah,” he said. He began the circling again. It was starting to unnerve her. “If I remember the details correctly, I believe it was your men that forced Holtz into Quortoth when he had me.” He paused, staring into space. She stared at him, wondering which one of the Fang Gang had told him that particular fact. “Those were long years, Lilah. You wouldn’t want your little minion to get a hold of my nightmares.” He turned his eyes on her. “And I have you to thank for it.” He shifted his eyes toward the knife in his hands. “In this case? I might have to forget about the humanity you pretend to have. And my friend here.” Connor shifted tossed a look at Legolas. “I’m sure a millennia or two has taught him something about extracting revenge, among other things.” Legolas remained silent. He was more of a quick, clean killer. But she didn’t know that. Lilah’s cool demeanor finally began to crack.
“Bazarias,” she finally said, regret immediately penetrating her eyes.
“The club,” Connor said, amused. “Really?”
“It doesn’t matter. You’ll never be able to get in.”
“No,” Connor said, putting the blade back in the strap against his calf, much to the relief of Lilah.
“But you can,” he finished.
“Legolas is missing as well,” Elladan said as Elrohir followed him down the stairs. The search of the hotel had yielded only the fact that two of their members were currently MIA.
“Oh, great,” Angel said, rolling his eyes as he turned to face the rest of the hotel, contemplating what to do.
“What is it?” Gandalf asked.
“He’s gone to do his own searching. There’s no telling when he’ll be back. It could be days if he doesn’t find anything soon.”
“Do you think Legolas could have gone with him?” Fred asked.
“He might have gone to help him, if he saw him leaving,” Aragorn said.
“Okay,” Angel said, trying to clear his head. “Wolfram and Hart is focused on Dawn, right now. They probably won’t be hunting for those two. Even if they were, they’re perfectly capable of handling themselves. Right now we need a plan. A great, big, one. First of all: magic. Whose going to be in charge of this one?” The room was silent.
“Dawn usually handles this field…” Cordelia said, trailing off.
“Fred and I will handle it now,” Wesley said. He turned his attention to the lawyer. “Lindsey, do you know anything about the magical boundaries underground?”
“I know their origin and general mechanics. I have no idea how to counter them.”
“If you know their origin, I can research their weaknesses. You’re with us on this.” Lindsey nodded, raising up, holding his ribs in pain.
“Okay,” Angel said. “And security systems. What kind of power do we have against that?”
“That’s where I can’t help you, Gel Boy,” Lindsey said. Angel narrowed his eyes at the unexpected jab. “The only way we can get in is with someone with a security clearance.”
“Check,” everyone heard. The entire room turned to the entrance and Connor and Legolas walked in with a rather scantily clad woman over Legolas’ shoulder. They continued to stare as the two of them strode in with Legolas none-too-gently dropping the woman unceremoniously on the couch next to Lindsey. She looked at her former co-worker, seemingly still alive, in shock. She might have even said something were it not for the duct tape on her mouth. Lindsey couldn’t help but smirk.
“Hello, Lilah,” he said. “Miss me?” Lilah narrowed her as she brought her bound hands in contact with his nose. He grabbed it in pain, rolling away from her on the couch. In his opinion, it had been worth it.
“Connor,” Angel started slowly, getting angrier every word. “What the hell were you thinking? I thought you’d be safe from Wolfram and Hart with the whole apocalypse going on; and here you are seeking them out?”
“Desperate times call for desperate measures, Dad,” he said smiling. The teenager looked at Lindsey. “I guess you know about Bazarias, now?”
“Yes,” Aragorn said. He still wasn’t exactly sure what a ‘club’ was; but he assumed singing and dancing took place there.
“Well, we got you secret password it seems,” Connor finished, taking his gym bag of weaponry to the corner of the room. Lilah tried to muffle something from the duct tape. Lindsey leaned over, ripping the tape off harshly. Lilah exhaled in pain for a second.
“You left my pass-cards at my apartment, dumbasses,” she said, a smirk playing at the edge of her mouth. “There’s no way you can go back. They’ll know I’m missing by 6am tomorrow.”
“Well, I’m sure when they see some of your clothes gone, They’ll know it was a voluntary leave,” Connor said. Lilah’s face fell.
“You brought me clothes?” she asked.
“No,” Connor said. “I took the liberty of throwing them in the sewer on our way through there,” he said. “You were heavy.” Lilah scowled.
“I was wondering how you got her here over your shoulder with no one saying anything,” Gunn said. Lilah rolled her eyes.
“You still forgot my-” she started.
“Shut up, Lilah. You don’t need a card anymore,” Lindsey said. His former colleague stared at him blankly. “I know they switched to ocular recognition.”
“Ocular recognition?” Cordelia said. “Like… eyes?”
“Only the scan of the cornea of an employee with clearance can open the door to the back. I heard they were changing it before the started it was known to the rest of the firm.” Lilah scowled in her seat, out of moves.
“So I guess we can just remove one of her eyes and send her back then,” Connor said humorlessly. Lilah looked incredulously at the youth while the rest of the hotel knew he was intimidating her… they hoped.
“I think Wolfram and Hart might suspect something if they get one of their partners back one eye lighter than when she supposedly left of her own will,” Lorne said.
“Okay,” Wesley said, trying to summarize the situation. “Lilah should be able to get us pass the initial security. I will contact Willow about barriers.”
“Let’s get to work then,” Angel said.
Dawn had officially had enough.
The more she thought about it, the more she was sure the Elrond guy had been the real deal. Sure the anywhere from 10 to 13 people she knew would be able to decipher what she meant by a place with singing in dancing. She wished she could have known more Elvish to have given him a more elaborate message. Something along lines of “I’m trapped in a cell beneath what is probably a club, I’m starving, tired, dirty, and half crazy, please hurry.”
On top of that, Dawn could not be accused of not doing some soul searching while she was in isolation. For now, she was willing to let herself believe that she was, in fact, Aragorn’s daughter. As unbelievable as she found it, too much of it made sense. Her spell that supposedly went awry would have done exactly what it should have done. Her memories. Aragorn going all wiggy when he saw her blanket. He had known. She had thought she would be furious knowing he had hidden it from her; but it didn’t make sense to be angry anymore to her. She would have freaked, too, if she had found out first. Not to mention she was kidnapped before he would have even had the chance to say anything. She’d have to deal with the knowing who her real parents were later.
She touched the necklace under her shirt. Her… grandfather?... had somehow sent it to her. She wasn’t sure if it was his power or hers. They were connected to one another somehow. How could she connect if she weren’t somehow related? Maybe she could connect with him again, knowing now that it was really him. She hadn’t really been able to control herself for some reason when they communicated. It was time to try again.
It was time for the troops to leave when suddenly Elrond felt the hair on his neck tingle with energy. He stopped dead in his tracks as Fang Gang made ready to leave for Bazarias. As always, they didn’t know exactly what they were going to do, but they knew they had to go immediately. The clock was ticking. Angel caught sight of the elf lord.
“What is it?” the vampire asked. Elrond didn’t respond.They were back in the white room.
Elrond turned to see Dawn standing in front of him. She stared at him, waiting him to realize what she was trying to do.
“Your mind is getting stronger,” he said. She cut her eyes to the side.
“I’m going to have to disagree with you on that one,” she said. “I’m running out of time.” Elrond frowned.
“We are coming for you,” he said. “How are you running out of time?”
“I can’t take much more of this,” she said, quiet suddenly. “If I have one more nightmare that he’s cutting into me…” she trailed off, tears forming at her eyes. “I can feel what he’s doing to me in my head. I can’t take it much longer.”
“Not much longer,” he said. “We’re coming for you now.”
“There’s a barrier around the room I’m in,” Dawn said. “I’ve seen them open and close it.”
“How?” Elrond asked, walking closer to her, placing his hands on her small shoulders.
“It takes someone on both sides of it to open it. Nothing can get through. I’ve seen them do it. They don’t know I’ve been awake.” Elrond was silent.
“Master Wesley was to contact your friend from Sunnydale about this. They say she knows about magical barriers.”
“I know how to open it,” Dawn said. “But I’m too weak to do it on this end.” She paused, looking at him. “If you can somehow work through me, you could do it.” Elrond stared at her for several moments, pacing the little white room of Dawn’s mind.
“When the time comes,” he said as he came to stand in front of his granddaughter, “I can lend you my strength. Our bond is stronger than I anticipated. As you can see.” He reached down and took a gentle hold on the jewel dangling from Dawn’s neck. Dawn closed her eyes and sighed deeply. She opened her eyes again.
“You’re sure about this whole granddaughter thing?” she asked, opening her eyes to look up at him. He smiled the kindest smile she had ever seen; and for a moment, Dawn actually almost felt safe.
“Yes. Know always Arien that you have a family and that you are loved.” Dawn’s eyes went cold a moment before she turned away, her back facing him.
“I already knew she said.” Elrond did not miss what she meant.
“I did not mean to imply Angel and your friends did not love you,” the elf said. “I know they care for you a great deal; but your home is with us now that we final-”
“I can’t talk about this now,” she said quickly, turning back to face him. “When I get out of this place, we can talk logistics.” Elrond conceded, not wanting to pressure her now when she was her most vulnerable.
“Forgive me. Now, tell me how to break the barrier.”
“Well, make sure you bring a sword. A big one. But I know they have to have more than that before you get down anywhere near my level.”
“Master Lindsey is familiar with the-”
“He’s with you?!” Dawn screamed. “He’s the one that attacked me! He’s gone back-”
“Calm down, child,” Elrond said, placing his hands on her shoulders. “It was the dream demon who attacked you. He appeared to you has Lindsey. We found him stabbed when we arrived at your hotel.” Dawn’s face softened. She didn’t realized how relieved she would be to find Lindsey hadn’t betrayed them.
“I hope he knows as much as he thinks.”
The strategy was in play as a section of the Middle Earth party stalked into Bazarias. Elrohir, Elladan, Elrond, and Legolas would enter the club initially, as they did right then. They would act like they were simply out of dimension club-goers, since Wolfram and Hart did not know who they were. Their pointed ears added to the effect. Aragorn would also slip into the club and try to remain as unseen as possible. Angel and the Fang Gang and Gandalf would attack Bazarias openly drawing all of their attention to them. While the guards were busy with Angel and Co. along with the wizard, the elves, Aragorn, and Lindsey would slip Lilah into the bowels of the club and hopefully retrieve Dawn.
Apparently, the magical barrier involved putting magic into a sword in order to cut through it. Dawn had memorized the incantation used and taught it to Elrond. Aragorn carried Anduril with him. It would hopefully a suitable medium to break the barrier. If Dawn could meet them on the other side to grab the other side of the sword, it could be opened.
Legolas and the twins, along with their father stalked through the crowd. Angel had said the best way to blend into the crowd was to dance with women at the club. Legolas’ more reserved nature and Elrond’s widower status kept either of them from feeling comfortable with this, and so the resolved to simply observe the crowd as subtle as possible. Elladan and Elrohir, on the other hand, took great delight at the prospect of inspecting women of the dimension they were in which they were currently. No only that, but they couldn’t very well be admonished for it as they were at home from their father, as now they had purpose for it. Forever their father told them of finding their soulmates like he had found their mother. As the twins had both envied love their atar and nana had shared, they were convinced that it would never happen to either of them. They were perfectly satisfied with settling for female companionship when it occurred to them to want it… and that was often.
The elves stalked through the crowd, waiting for their signal. The twins busied themselves with picking out a few of the females from the crowd and mimicking the manner of dancing which they observed. It was a tad scandalous by their worlds’ standards; but Wesley had warned them of it. Elrond and Legolas sat at the bar where one many were seen getting drinks in hopes of not looking suspicious not dancing on the floor.
Something exploded. None of them had expected that.
Mass chaos ensued when Angel, Cordelia, Gunn, Wesley, Connor, Gandalf, and Fred appeared in the door. Surely some of Gandalf’s old tricks had caused such as ruckus. As the seven of them proceeded to make as much of a fuss as possible and every security guard and bouncer made their way to them, the elves silently slinked to the doorway where many of the officers had come from.
As the four of them entered the now silent room, they found Lindsey (with Lilah over his shoulder) and Aragorn already there. Those not from the world looked around at the dozens of screens in the room. They could see the entire club through the screen.
“Good so far,” Lindsey said, pushing his long hair out of his face as he placed Lilah on her feet. He’d get it cut after this. But it was good as a cover tonight.
“The sooner we find Arien, the better,” Aragorn said, bypassing yet another wonder of this world. Lindsey nodded. Lilah remained silent, as the duct tape on her mouth prohibited much conversation, while her former colleague led her and the others through the door she knew would leave to the lower levels of the club. She was going to be their way into get the little brat; and there was nothing she could to about.
They had guns. A lot of them. Angel had to admit he preferred the old fashioned ways. Skill could overcome hand to hand combat weapons. Any idiot could shoot a gun. They were actually doing better at shooting the patrons instead of his crew. That would be bad for business. As soon as Angel saw the last of the second part of the crew get into the door to the security area and shut the door, Angel put his retreat into action. He looked at Wesley and Gunn as they all, at different time, begin grabbing various parts of their bodies, as if shot. They would know something was up if they just left. If they appeared wounded, they may think they had fought away the problem. They needed now to clear away for an escape plan. Getting to Dawn was half the battle. Getter her out of there was the other half.
Lindsey quickly injected a tranquilizer into Lilah when they got the last of the doors open. It was only magical barriers from here. Elrohir and Elladan stay at the two doors to make sure they weren’t close again while Elrond and Legolas proceeded with Lindsey.
“You killed her?” Legolas asked.
“Nah,” Lindsey said, keeping his eyes up ahead. “Just put her to sleep for a while. She shouldn’t be up till we get our girl ba-”
He felt himself running into a wall that wasn’t there.
“I believe we found our barrier,” Legolas said, a smirk on his face. Lindsey pulled himself up.
“I guess so,” the lawyer replied. “You ready?” His attention was directed to Aragorn who nodded his head in return. Withdrawing Anduril from his sheath, he felt for the barrier with his blade. Lindsey nodded. “Let’s hope this works.”
Elrond began reaching.
“Are you hiding from me Dawnie?” Joyce said to the brunette curled up in the corner. She was crying silently, willing herself not listen. “I know you’ve been hiding from me. Where do you go when you hide from me?”
A brick wall. Just picture it. He won’t see anything in her mind besides a brick wall.
He’d been playing Joyce for hours. That had probably been almost as bad as Angelus. Joyce wasn’t carving her up to bits in this nightmare. She could feel bladed going in and out of her flesh here.
“We can be together, pumpkin belly,” Joyce said sitting next to the girl, putting an arm around her. “All you have to do is tell me that you want that.”
“You’re not real,” she said.
“We are as real as people see us, honey,” Joyce’s impersonator said. “We can be together forever.”
“I have Angel now,” Dawn said. “I’ll have Aragorn. They’re real. I don’t need to cling to a dead woman anymore.” Joyce smiled.
“They’ll never know you like I do,” she said, hugging her closer. “None of them have known you the way I did. You’ll never have to hide from me.”
“I don’t have to hide from them,” Dawn said, tears falling.
“No?” the demon asked. “Why do you grieve alone at night for me, honey? Do you let them know how you hurt? Are you not required to put on a strong face?” Dawn didn’t reply. “Any you thank that man who calls himself your father will love you? He wants you to be his princess, Dawnie. You want that kind of responsibility on your shoulders? All those rules and manners you were never raised in. You’re my baby. You can’t do that.” Dawnie cried harder, finally burying her face in her false mother’s neck, wrapping her arms around her.
“You’re not real,” she wept into the vision of Joyce’s hair. Joyce rubbed her back.
“Neither are you, my little pumpkin-belly.”