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The Key, the Dark-Hunter, and the Link

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Summary: After moving to New Orleans, Dawn quickly finds herself thrust into a new world that feels oddly familiar. Daimons and weres, she can handle; one overly bossy, protective god/man named Ash, not so much. Add in one spoiled demon and you get her new life.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Literature > Dark Hunter Series(Past Donor)sevangelFR1829180,525149882264,74913 Feb 072 Nov 08No
CoA Winner

Chapter 12

Title: Chapter 12
Series: The Key, the Dark-Hunter, and the Link
Author: Sevangel
Disclaimer: Nothing belongs to me. Joss Whedon owns anything Buffy or Angel while Sherrilyn Kenyon owns everything Dark Hunter. I am just playing with them.
Rating: PG-13

-

"NO!" Simi screeches loudly, her hands pressed tightly over her ears. "No. No. No. Nooooooooo."

Dawn patiently waits for Simi to finish her tantrum before speaking again. "Simi, I have to go."

"No!" Simi orders, shaking her head wildly. "Akri, tell my akra she can't go."

Dawn shoots Ash a look before turning back to Simi. "Sweetheart, that's not Ash's decision, it's mine. I know you don't want me to go but I have to."

"You want to leave your Simi?" Simi's bottom lip trembles and fat tears fill her eyes.

Dawn's heart breaks. Completely breaks. She's used the same look on Angel and Spike countless times and now she finally understands the power of it. She pulls Simi into her lap and gently rocks the distressed demon. "No, I don't want to leave you but I have to. You know I have to go back to L.A. for Xander's wedding. I told you all about it, remember?"

Simi nods. "The Simi go with you."

"Sweetie, you can't go with me." Dawn tilts Simi's head back and wipes the tears off her face. "You have to stay here with Ash."

"Akri come with us." Simi insists.

"It's not safe, Sims." Dawn shakes her head. "You can't come, baby-girl, not this time."

"How is it not safe?" Ash lifts them both up and then sits down on the couch with them on his lap. "If it's not safe, you're not going."

"Excuse me, I believe I am the boss of me." Dawn argues. "And don't growl cuz it isn't going to change anything. It's safe for me but not for Simi."

"Because she's a demon." Ash states.

"No….okay, sort of." Dawn sighs. She doesn't know what to tell him, how to make him understand that it's not just because Simi's a demon. It's because Simi is a demon bound to a God. And she's a demon that doesn't completely understand right from wrong. Simi is too different, even for the scoobies. Eventually, they would get used to her, she's pretty sure Buffy and Simi will click well, both of them shopping addicts, but that's going to take some time.

And there's going to be too many slayers at the hotel for the wedding. And no matter how many times it's been drilled into their heads not to attack just because something is different, they sometimes do. Especially the younger ones. They get scared and attack. Ash will kill anybody that tries to hurt Simi if Simi doesn't kill them first.

It happened once before, almost the exact same thing. It was eight months after Sunnydale sank and Buffy wanted to move back to California. Dawn was okay with that, she missed the states. She should have known what was really up when Buffy insisted they move to L.A. but she didn't catch on until they were in front of Angel's hotel. To cut a long and rather boring story, Buffy and Angel got back together pretty quickly, only two road blocks in their relationship. The most obvious being Angel's soul (which was fixed with the help of one red headed witch and one big demon) and the other being Angel's 'daughter'.

Phoebe was, at the time, so weak she couldn't even leave her room. Buffy was completely jealous of the taller blonde at first but once she could see past that, she saw what everyone else saw. Angel loved Phoebe like a daughter. Eventually, Buffy bonded with the fourteen year old. At that point, only the AI team knew of her existence. Whistler told Angel that he had to protect the girl, not matter what, at any cost.

After Willow helped fix Angel's soul, she decided she wanted to move back to the states too, dragging her at the time girlfriend with her. Kennedy didn't like it from the start, it was easy to tell. She barely tolerated Angel, Spike, and Lorne, even treated the very human Fred weirdly. Some of the other slayers eventually came too, Vi, Cho-Ann, Veronica, and Melody, Angel letting them stay in the hotel with only a few rules. One, they couldn't slay any demon that walked into the hotel unless Angel, Spike, or Buffy attacked first. And two, Angel's room and the room next to it were completely off limits.

Vi caught sight of Phoebe accidentally, some of Spike's poker kittens got loose one day and she was helping him round them up. One went into Angel's partially open door and Phoebe was sitting on his and Buffy's bed, watching television. The teenager was instantly fascinated by the kitten and once Vi got it off the curtains, the redheaded slayer sat down on the bed and the two girls played with it.

Angel was a little peeved at first but Phoebe and Buffy eventually calmed him down and Vi was allowed to come back. And the slayer did almost daily, sharing tall tales of her slaying adventures, making the sick girl laugh. When Dawn wasn't in school and Vi wasn't slaying, they would hang out with Phoebe, playing games, watching television, primping and talking about boys.

Kennedy saw Vi leave the room a few weeks later and snuck in. Dawn can still remember the terror filled scream and can still see Kennedy kick Vi across the room when the redhead returned and tried to take the stake out of the brunette slayer's hand. But most of all, she can still remember the roar Angel gave when he pulled Kennedy off Phoebe's prone form, the tip of her stake having actually pierced the skin over Phoebe's heart.

Angel threw her through the wall, literally, down the hall, and over the banister to the first floor. It took Buffy, Spike, and Vi to pull the vampire off the broken and bruised slayer. Kennedy stayed true to 'spoiled little rich girl' form and started screaming about how he was evil. How they were all evil for protecting a vampire girl. That the girl was evil and once something was evil, it always stayed evil. That was pretty much the end of the Willow and Kennedy's relationship. Willow erased Kennedy's memories of what happened, made up a stupid reason why she was hurt and why she was breaking up with her, and then Kennedy was sent to Cleveland.

That's when everything changed. Angel had Willow make a charm that masked Phoebe's essence and all the slayers' memories were erased of there ever being anybody in the hotel that they didn’t know ever get to see. Phoebe was banned from leaving the top floor and only the core scoobies, AI, and Vi were allowed up there.

She doesn't want anything like that to happen to Simi. She doesn't want some slayer going over board and calling Simi evil because she isn't. And she doesn't want to be put in the middle of her family in California and what's becoming her family here. This is something that has to be broken to Buffy and the gang over time, not completely out of the blue. And broken to her when the people in question aren't actually there. It's just the way it has to be and no matter how much she wants Ash and Simi with her, they can't be.

"Dawn?" Ash prods, nudging her face with his.

"Oh, sorry, zoning." Dawn smiles reassuringly up at him. "I love my sister and everybody back home but….they're a high strung group. And I'm one of the babies of said group. I mean, Spike and Angel are still trying to come to grasps with the fact that I'm no longer the little girl that used to have major crushes on them. They're not going to handle you well. And not just because you're all superpower guy but because you look at me in a way they're not ready to accept. Buffy either for that matter. I have to break it to them slowly." And she's going to probably need help doing so, help in the form of a British Head of the Watcher's Council. And a very powerful witch. Along with some tranq guns and heavy-duty chains. Yes, chains will be very helpful.

"It's not fair, akra, you left your Simi two times already." Simi waves two fingers in the air, emphasizing her point.

"I know it's not fair baby, but you…."

"Life isn't always fair, Simi, and you can't always have your way." Simi interrupts, her tone mocking Dawn's. "Sometimes things will happen that you don't like and you just have to get over it. The Simi didn't like it before and she doesn't like it now."

"I know you don't but you just have to deal." Dawn kisses her forehead. "I'll be back before you even know it."

"Then you won't leave no more." Simi states.

"I still have to go to school, Sims, but whenever I'm not in class, I'll be with you." Dawn replies.

Simi lets out a deep, long, dramatic sigh. "I guess the Simi has no choice, does she? I'm not sure I like this trying to be a reasonable demon, akra, it's hard work."

Dawn giggles and then flat-out laughs at the shocked look on Ash's face. "That it is, Sims."

-

"Simi, I have to go." Dawn squeezes the demon tightly and kisses her forehead.

Simi just squeezes tighter, refusing to let go.

"Miss Summers, I must insist that we leave." A pleasant voice says from outside the partially open front door.

"Yeah, I heard you the first four times." Dawn yells back. "I'm just getting the rest of my stuff; give me another second."

"As you wish, Miss Summers." He replies pleasantly.

Dawn rolls her eyes and once again kisses Simi's forehead. "All right, Sims, I really have to go…that means you have to let go."

Simi shakes her head.

"Ash, please." Dawn looks up at him.

He wants to say no. No, he wants to grab her and take her back to his home and never let her out of his sight but he knows he can't. "Simi, let Dawn go."

Simi sniffles loudly, grumbles under her breath, but obeys his order.

Dawn grabs her newly altered dress off the back of her couch and tosses it over her arm. Her suitcase and backpack are already out in the limo along with her purse. "Okay, you have my cell phone number and I have yours so you can call whenever you want. I'll be back sometime Sunday; I'll call to let you know when." Then she throws her arms around Ash, her dress falling from her arms to the ground and due to the fact that he's so much taller than her, her face smashes against his sternum.

Ash wraps her arms around Dawn and lifts her up until she's face level with him. "If you need me for anything, you better call."

"I will." Dawn nuzzles her face into his neck. "I'll miss you."

Ash just wraps his arms tighter around her body and buries his face in her hair. It takes every ounce of control he has not to flash her to his home right now, every part of him screaming to do so.

Dawn kisses his neck, right where her hickey is. She's pretty sure it's only still there because he wants it to be and that makes her giddy inside. She tilts her head back to look at him and bites her lower lip nervously. "Don't forget about me, okay?"

"That is impossible." Ash dips his head and nuzzles her lips with his. "You are completely unforgettable."

Dawn sighs into his mouth but breaks the kiss after a few moments. "Bye."

Ash sets her on her feet and kisses her forehead. "I will see you soon, Dawn."

Dawn nods, once again biting her lip, only this time to hold back tears. She pulls his head down and kisses his cheek. Then she turns to drop a kiss on both of Simi's horns, her forehead, hugs her briefly, grabs her dress off the floor, and then runs out the front door before she can't.

She's in the air, flying towards L.A. before she even realizes it, lying on the queen size bed in the back off the jet. She doesn't completely remember getting there, just remembers biting her lip and clenching her fists tightly to keep from crying. She's not sure who the limo driver was but most likely works for Angel; he'll probably be questioned on his pickup. Anything she does is going to be told to Angel and then to her sister. It's the same reason she wouldn't let him into the house and why she kept Sims and Ash from the door. It was all she could do to keep from crying but now that she's alone, she doesn’t need to worry about it.

It wasn't this hard to leave Buffy. Sure, she cried when she left L.A. but it didn't hurt like this. She feels sick, physically ill and it's getting worse the further they fly. What if something happens to them? While she's off in L.A. having a grand ole time, Ash and Simi could be attacked by who the hell knows what. She wants to go back so much that she has to force herself not to stand up and tell the pilot to turn around. She has to remind herself over and over again that Ash is over eleven thousand years old and quite capable of looking after himself without her. And Simi is just as capable. It doesn't work like she wants it to but eventually, the churning in her stomach lessens and she falls into a dead sleep.

-

Alexion stands up when he feels his boss's presence and is once again treated to the sight of Simi cuddled against Ash's chest, her tiny body shaking. She's not crying this time though, just being deathly silent. And then there's the look on Ash's face; he never thought he'd see his boss look defeated. The Atlantean looks completely broken.

"Don't." Ash growls a warning as he passes the couple. He carries Simi to his room and lies down beside her on his bed. There are a lot of different things he should be doing; he's been putting off his duties for two days but he doesn't give a fuck. He just wants to sleep.

-

"You came." Dawn throws herself at Ash.

Ash catches her with a relieved sigh.

His arms wrapped around her back and her legs wrapped around his hips, Dawn leans back a little to look at his face. Then she squeals happily and presses little kisses all over his face. "I missed you so much."

His arms squeeze tighter, knowing exactly what she means. They've only been separated for a couple hours but it feels like years. With a slight growl, he pulls her mouth from his forehead and down to his.

"Mmmm." Dawn hums against his mouth. "Is Simi okay?"

"No." Ash replies honestly. "She misses you too."

"I know." Dawn sniffles.

"Don't cry, auyun." Ash whispers against her mouth.

"That boat already sailed, Ash." Dawn murmurs back.

Ash conjures a bed and then lies down with her on it. He rolls onto his back and lifts her to straddle his hips. "You're not leaving again, not unless I come with you."

She should yell at him. If it were anybody else giving her a blatant order like that, she would. But she can't because she completely agrees. She's going to have to start breaking this to Buffy now because when she comes back to L.A. for Christmas, she won't be alone. "Are you always so bossy?"

"Yes." Ash pulls her body down flush with his and buries his face in her neck.

Dawn runs her finger up and down his arm. "Well, for future reference, I don't respond well to orders; I tend to do the exact opposite of what I'm told to do…."

"Dawn.."

"But," Dawn continues as though he didn’t interrupt. "I kinda agree with you on this one so I'll let it slide."

"Most people wouldn't even think of arguing with me let alone directly disobeying me." Ash says.

"Yeah, I kinda got that." Dawn lifts her head up and bites his chin. "I'm just strange."

Ash half smiles and pulls her mouth up to his.

She really likes his kisses, even in dream-land. They're better when they're actually kissing but she'll take them anyway she can get them. Fairly soon the kisses escalate into groping which progresses to the removal of clothing. And right when his hand pushes beyond the waistband of her sweats and into her panties, she goes flying off the bed and hits the ground with a loud grunt.

"Wake up, sleepy head."

"Con?"

One second she's over him, writhing against the hand he has in her panties and the next she's gone, flying across the room, whispering a name before she disappears. He wakes up with a loud growl, Simi jumping in her sleep, and grabs his phone. He should have never let her go.

-

"Con?" Dawn opens her eyes to see the destroyer's blue ones looking down at her, a cheesy grin covering his lips. "What are you doing here?"

"Picking you up." Connor holds his hand out to her.

Dawn looks up at his hand and then down at herself, finally realizing she's on the floor instead of the bed, the blanket half on and half off her body. Her thankfully fully clothed body. "You're an ass, Connor."

Connor just grins and puts the mattress back on the bed frame from where he dumped her. "Hey, I said your name and you didn't get up. You know that warrants a dumping."

Dawn kicks him in the leg right as her cell phone rings. She knows who it is before she even answers it and the quiet rumble of Ash's voice makes her belly tingle.

"Who is Con and what happened?"

Dawn glances at Connor and then rattles off her response in Atlantean. "Con is Connor, he's Angel's son. He's an ass who thought it would be funny to dump me off the mattress."

"Dawn, who are you talking to?" Connor tilts his head and steps closer to sniff Dawn.

Dawn smacks him on the head. "Stop sniffing me, Lassie."

Connor growls slightly and continues to sniff her.

"What's going on?" Ash demands, fully growling into her ear while Connor continues to sniff her.

"I'll call you back, later, okay." Dawn tells Ash in Atlantean. "I'm fine, there's nothing to worry about, and nothing is going in. Bye. Give Sims a kiss for me." Then she hangs up the phone and glares at Connor.

"So, was that your boyfriend?" Connor crosses his arms over his chest and arches an eyebrow.

"Her what?" Behind Connor, Dawn can see Willow walking into the room but thankfully her sister isn't with the witch.

"Where's Buffy?" Dawn asks.

"She said she's going to give you a little space and not crowd you the second you get here." Willow replies.

"So basically, she didn't want to get up before ten." Dawn interrupts.

"Basically." Willow agrees. "What boyfriend?"

"The one whose scent is all over her." Connor grabs Dawn's suitcase and backpack.

Willow sighs and rubs her forehead. "We can't handle this right now. Xander's insane family came in last night for the wedding, Faith is freaking out, the hotel is overrun with fifty plus slayers, and we still have a dozen things to do before tomorrow. Plus Angel is already beyond stressed out since Phoebe's coming…"

"He's letting Pheebs come?" Connor interrupts, arching an eyebrow. "I didn't think he let her outside her room."

"He doesn't." Dawn turns her cell on vibrate and pockets it.

"Buffy's trying to work with him on that." Willow glances down at her watch. "We have to hurry up; Vi's plane should be here soon." She gestures towards the door. "So anyways, Buffy is trying to get Angel to relax a little about Phoebe but so far, it's not working very well."

"She's almost seventeen." Dawn says. "Or she could even be seventeen, we don't know. Angel's going to have to deal with the fact that's she's almost an adult."

"You're almost twenty and they haven't dealt with that." Connor reminds her.

"Hey, you're right." Dawn agrees. "How come Buffy's all into letting Phoebe grow up but I had to fight her every damn step of the way?"

"Because Phoebe isn't a mystical ball of energy that frequently gets herself kidnapped." Willow reminds her. "It doesn't matter how old you get, Buffy still closes her eyes and sees Glory taking you away. She's trying Dawnie but she's never going to completely let that go."

Dawn sighs. "I know."

"Now, about this boyfriend, how long have you been seeing him?" Willow asks.

"Not very long." Dawn replies honestly. "A few days."

Connor arches an eyebrow. "And you're already that physical?"

"How physical?" Willow asks Connor.

"She's still a virgin." Connor replies. "Barely."

"She's standing right there and do you know how freaking rude it is that you're smelling me and announcing to the world my virginal state?" Dawn punches him on the arm.

"You don't think you're going to be able to hide it, do you?" Connor asks with a laugh. "Angel and Spike are going to smell it the second you walk into the hotel."

"No, they're not." Willow smiles at the airport employee holding the door to the private hanger open for them and glances down at her watch again. Vi's plane is probably landing and she doesn't want the slayer to get off without anyone being there; she's always had a soft spot for her fellow redhead. The airport is packed, like normal, but she's been here so many damn times in the past two years she can find her way without even looking at the signs.

"Whoa, what's that supposed to mean?" Dawn jogs to catch up to the witch. "They lose their sense of smell or something?"

"Xander's wedding is going to go off as easily as possible, with as little bumps as I can make." Willow says firmly. "I'm not having it ruined by another legendary Summers fight. I'll mask your scent and glamour the vamp bite on your neck until after the wedding."

"Thanks…"

"Don't thank me yet, little missy." Willow interrupts. "You have a lot of explaining to do; a few days and you're close to losing your virginity?"

"Why don't you just have if flashed over all the flight boards?" Dawn blushes a little when a few people look her way. It's a good thing Ash isn't here; he wouldn't like the looks she's getting off Willow's little announcement.

"Dawn, you have no idea how stressed I am." Willow sighs. "Something big is going to happen soon, I can feel it in my bones, I don't have my speech ready yet, and I'm pretty positive no matter how much we try to prevent it, the wedding is going to be crashed. So excuse me if I'm a little with the announcing of things you'd rather not have announced."

"I know it's happening fast." Dawn lowers her tone when Willow's hands spark; she knows by now when to back off. "And don't think I haven't been thinking the same thing but….it's…"

Willow stops walking and turns to look at the youngest Summers in shock. "You're in love."

"What, no, I don't know Ash that well." Dawn protests.

"Ash." Connor snorts.

Dawn smacks his arm.

"Dawn, I can feel it." Willow's lips form into a huge smile. "You're in love; whether you want to admit it or not, it's true."

"I've only known him for a few days." Dawn shakes her head in denial.

"Buffy fell in love with Angel just as quickly." Willow reminds her. "And Angel loved her the second he saw her. Some things are just meant to be."

Dawn lags behind after Connor and Willow, the witch's words repeating over and over again in her head. She really wishes she could talk to her sister about Ash without her sister acting like…herself.

Willow pushes up on her tiptoes, trying to see through the blanket of people walking through Vi's gate. "Okay, I can't see her but I can feel her."

Connor tilts his head to the side, discretely sniffing the air. "So, Dawn, did you two get together and decide it's time to drive Angel insane?"

"What are you talking about?" Willow huffs out a large breath, counting backwards in her head from a hundred. Next person that gets married, is eloping; the stress is going to kill her….or the world if she's not careful.

"Vi." Connor says.

"That's my name." Vi pops up and hands her bag to Connor.

"Vi!" Dawn throws her arms around the slayer. "How've you been? How's the 'lone ranger' thing going? Are you being careful?"

"Good, it's lonely, and yes." Vi squeezes Dawn tightly. "I've missed you and dipshit over there."

Connor punches her on the arm. "Hey, shorty."

Vi punches him back. "Hey, sneer boy."

"I'm still waiting for an answer." Willow hugs the slayer briefly. "Do you have luggage?"

"Nope." Vi replies. "Not beside my bag."

"Okay, let's go." Willow orders. "And while we're doing that, Connor, make with the explain-y."

"Vi had sex." Connor announces, sniffing over her head. "A lot."

Vi squeals and turns bright red.

"Way to go Vi." Dawn interlocks her arm with the slayers.

"No, no way to go." Willow mutters. "Do you know what Angel is going to do when he finds out."

"Why is Angel going to care?" Vi questions. "I'm just another slayer….."

"No, the second you stood up to Kennedy and tried to protect Phoebe, you got yourself adopted into this insane family." Willow interrupts. "You don't even want to know the king-size fit Angel threw when Giles sent you out on your own. It was all we could do to keep him from sending people to trail you, heck there's a slight chance that he did anyways."

"But…"

Dawn laughs and pokes Vi in the side. "And you used to make fun of me; well get prepared, Vi cuz if Wills is right, you're about to have one over zealous vampire and one insane blonde trying to control your life."

Vi groans and leans her head on Dawn's shoulder. "But I didn't ask for this."

Dawn pats her sympathetically on the arm. "Welcome to the club."

-

Vane blindly reaches for the chair behind him, shock causing his legs to almost buckle. "You're mated?"

"Isn't that what I said?" Fury growls as he paces his brother's living room floor.

"Well, where is she?" Fang lounges back on the couch, his long legs crossed at the ankle.

"I don't know." Fury pushes a frustrated hand through his hair. "Dante and I searched the entire fucking city once the sun set but her scent was long gone by then."

"Okay, that's not good." Vane comments. "But it's workable; do you know what pack she's with?"

Fury mutters something under his breath.

"Who's human?" Bride asks from behind the irate wolf.

"Your mate is human?" Vane shouts. "Human?"

"Yes, she's human." Fury shouts back. "Some twenty odd year old human that I picked up in a bar whose last name I don’t even know."

"How is that even possible?" Bride sits down beside her husband and leans her head on his shoulder. "I thought only Arcadians could mate with humans."

"Only they can." Vane kisses her forehead absently. "I don't even know how it's possible….you were born Arcadian, maybe that has something to do with it."

"Or maybe she's not human." Fang says. "But either way, or more screwed than I am. You have two weeks and six days to find this human, convince her that the supernatural world exists, and to let you claim her as your mate or end up sterile until she's dead."

Fury stops pacing to glare at his brother. "Gee, I didn't fucking know that; thanks for telling me."

"First you have to find her." Vane sighs. "Normally I would suggest asking Ash for help but I don't think he's in the helping mood right now."

Fury arches a brow in question.

"Dawn left for California about twelve hours ago." Bride explains. "We went over to her house before she left and Ash wasn't very friendly."

"She's supposed to be back Sunday." Vane tells his brother. "I would wait until then before asking Ash anything."

Fury growls and drops down on the recliner. "I am so screwed."

"No, actually, you won't be." Fang grins. "At least not in two weeks and six days."

Fury flips him off.

-

"What are you doing out here?" Savitar sits down on the warm sand next to Ash right outside the Atlantean's home. "Where's Simi?"

"Inside." Ash props one elbow on his knee and rests his head on his hand, watching the waves crash in. This is the same exact spot he and Dawn met at in their dreams. "Watching television and waiting for time to pass."

Savitar hears a cell phone ringing and looks to his right, barely catching glimpse of Ash's phone a few yards away. "What if they need help?"

"What if I don't give a fuck?" Ash picks up some sand and tosses it. "They're immortal warriors; they can take care of themselves."

Savitar is actually almost shocked. He's never heard Ash talk like that. He's seen the warrior take more shit over the past eleven thousand years than anyone he's met and he's never heard the level of defeat that he's hearing now. It doesn't make sense…not unless something happened to Dawn.

He's still trying to deal with that. With her being back in human form. She's the only being he's ever loved and the only one that's loved him unconditionally in return. And she doesn't even remember him, in fact, she's afraid of him. Which is rather ironic when she's the only being in any world that is completely safe from him. He would sooner kill himself than harm her.

After leaving Artemis's temple, he went home to think (and surf which is where he does most of this thinking). Dawn, or actually Auyn as she was called before (which being the Greek word for Dawn is rather ironic) is a weakness he's not ready to have again. For the past eleven thousand years, he's lived with worrying about no one but himself but now that's not an option. Though technically he's been the key's keeper since almost the beginning of time, when Zeus forced him to make the key human, he could not fight the God's orders.

The key is older than anything and the origins of it thought to be known by many but in reality, almost none know the real truth. The key was formed out of the energy used to create the world, eventually harnessed and channeled into a small orb by the Titans. The Titans then created him as the key's protector, gave him power but not enough to ever challenge them. Or so they thought. The key, worn around his neck with the orb hanging off a simple leather necklace, fed his powers the longer he wore it.

Then Zeus and the other Greek gods overthrew the Titans and the key's ownership was passed onto Zeus. For many years, Zeus paid little to no attention to him or the key but eventually grew curious about it. And because the Greek God has an ego the size of the world he oversaw, couldn't live with just owning the key; he wanted to harness its power. He wanted to make the key human.

As the key's protector, he only had power over its safety, but none over how the key was used. Even though it went against what he wanted, Savitar knew that as long as Zeus wasn't endangering the key, he couldn’t go against the God's orders, not when Zeus had ownership of the key.

So they made the key human. He created a soul for her and bound it to the key's essence. He made numerous safeguards for her. First, only he can see the key's essence through the human form. Second, the key is not traceable in any way which makes the human form untraceable. Third, her thoughts are unreadable, even by him.

She was beautiful. Only a few inches shorter than him, long blonde hair, pale marble skin, and the clearest green eyes. And her innocence was unlike anything he'd ever seen. Being in her presence was completely humbling. She was a quiet soul, very soft spoken and calm, nothing like anyone on Mount Olympus.

Zeus had originally planned for her to be his lover but one look into her clear green eyes and the God loved her like a child. Just like he did. She was young, only sixteen at the time, and had both of them wrapped around her little finger without any effort.

Hera hated her from the second the Goddess laid eyes on her. As did some of the other Gods and Goddesses on Mount Olympus. Apollo wanted her for his own and after the God of Sun was able to corner her once, she was no longer allowed to walk Mount Olympus alone. If he nor Zeus couldn't be with her, she was sent to stay with either Hades or Poseidon, both who doted on her like uncles.

He hated living on Mount Olympus, hated most of the Gods (though he found Ares, Persephone, and Aphrodite to be decent enough), and spent as much time as he could on Earth, leaving Auyn with Zeus.

But unlike him, Zeus tended to let her out of his sight at certain times, leaving her to roam Mount Olympus alone. And one of those times, she literally ran into someone exiting Artemis's temple. Someone he's sitting beside right now.

"Where's your human?" Savitar asks, trying to mask the concern from his tone but given the sudden stiffening of the Atlantean's shoulders, he knows he was unsuccessful.

"You know something." Ash cocks his head to look at Savitar. "About Dawn."

Savitar sighs. "I know a lot of things."

"What do you know about Dawn?" Ash demands with a growl.

"Don't take that tone with me, boy." Savitar growls back. "I'm not one of your Dark-Hunters; I won't bow down to you."

Ash takes a deep breath and then asks again, this time lowering his tone.

"You're not ready to know yet." Savitar pats him on the back and stands up. "And you know as well as anyone that you can't push a person onto their path, you can only lead them to it. You're already on yours."

Ash glares at him, clenching and unclenching his fists.

"You have to let her tell you on her own." Savitar says.

Ash starts to reply when he feels Alexion walking up behind him. "What?"

"Artemis is here." Alexion says. "She's waiting inside."

Ash exhales slowly through his nose and stands up. His phone flashes into his hand and he wordlessly walks back into his home. The Greek goddess is standing in the middle of the living room, nose turned up as she impatiently taps her foot. Simi is sitting on the couch between Danger and Xirena, seemingly being held back by the two of them.

"Where have you been?" Artemis demands, her voice actually shrilling. "I've been calling…."

"What do you want?" Ash interrupts.

"I need to see you." Artemis replies.

"Why?" Ash asks. "Unless you've created a new Dark-Hunter or need to have one reassigned, you have no need to see me. And since I need nothing from you at the moment, I have no reason to see you."

Artemis actually flinches.

Ash laughs, a low, mocking laugh. "What, you don't think I actually come to you because I want to, do you? You know better than that, Artie. I only have contact with you because I have no other choice. If it were up to me, I would never set eyes on you again." Then he holds his hand out to Simi who jumps off the couch and into his arms. "Now, get out of my home." Then he carries Simi out of the room without another word.

Savitar grabs Artemis's shoulder when the goddess starts to follow. "Don't. Go home."

Artemis growls at him but obeys, disappearing with a loud pop.

"Xirena, come to me." Alexion orders and waits until his demon is resting over his heart in her tattoo form before looking at Savitar. "What is going on? Ash can be an asshole at times but he's not usually so…."

"Mean." Danger provides.

"Ash doesn't feel emotions like you do." Savitar runs a hand through his long hair.

"That's something I've always know." Alexion says. "But I've never seen him like this."

"It's only going to get worse." Savitar sits down on a leather recliner. "Do you know where Dawn went?"

"Simi said she went home to California." Danger replies.

"And did she say how long Dawn will be gone?" Savitar asks.

Danger and Alexion point to the wall behind Savitar.

Savitar turns his head to see a black board with red digital countdown: 5:2:36:23.

"Five days, two hours, thirty six minutes and twenty some odd seconds until Sunday." Alexion explains. "Which is when Dawn is coming home; Simi had Ash make it."

Savitar sighs deeply. "He's only going to get worse the longer she's gone."

"He's only known her for two days." Alexion arches an eyebrow. "How can she have this much of an effect over him after such a short amount of time?"

"You should know the answer to that." Savitar nods to Danger. "Love."

-

"I heard you get to go the wedding." Dawn hops onto Phoebe's bed.

Phoebe puts her book down and throws her arms around Dawn. "Dawnie, you're home."

"What, no hug for me?" Vi asks, jumping onto the bed beside the two girls.

"Vi!" Phoebe pulls back from Dawn to hug the other slayer. "I missed you too."

"Didn't miss me?" Connor sits down on foot of the bed. "I'm hurt, Pheebs, really hurt."

All three girls roll their eyes.

"Con, I just saw you a couple days ago." Phoebe reminds him.

"So you didn't miss me." Connor shakes his head.

"Nope, not at all." Phoebe replies.

Connor pounces towards the blonde, not landing on her but on Dawn and Vi, and then starts tickling the already giggling Phoebe, though he does so very gently.

Vi and Dawn grab Connor's arms to push him off them and then scamper on top of him, Dawn sitting on his chest and Vi on his stomach.

"So, Phoebe, what's been going on around here?" Dawn asks, ignoring Connor's growls. "Angel still being all overprotective?"

"It's what he does best." Phoebe taps the growling Connor on the nose. "You'll do the same to your own children one day too."

"Not a chance in hell, little sister." Connor flips up, tossing both Dawn and Vi to the ground, and wraps his arm over Phoebe's shoulder, kissing her forehead. "I'm too laid back to be as anal as Angel."

Phoebe leans her head on Connor's shoulder, swallowing and repeating his words. "Little sister…."

Connor cups Phoebe's chin when the teenager's eyes dilate and she continues to whisper 'little sister' over and over again.

"Phoebe, sweetie, you okay?" Dawn rests a hand on Connor's shoulder to look at Phoebe's face. "Do you want us to get Angel?"

Phoebe blinks rapidly a few times and then shakes her head. "No, he'll change his mind about letting me go if he thinks something's wrong."

"What's wrong?" Connor drops Phoebe's chin.

Phoebe shakes her head.

"Pheebs, are you remembering something?" Dawn asks.

"You have to promise not to tell Angel or Buffy." Phoebe leans her head on Dawn's shoulder.

Dawn looks at Vi and then at Connor. "As long as the world's not about to end or you're not about to die, we won't say anything. I mean, it's not like we're not keeping tons of things from them anyways."

"I keep having dreams but they don't make sense." Phoebe whispers.

"The nightmares." Connor says.

Phoebe shakes her head. "These are different."

"Oh." Dawn says after a few seconds. "They're good dreams."

Phoebe nods.

Connor closes his eyes and rubs his forehead. "No, not you too. Is this some kind of test you three cooked up to test Angel's control? Do you have any idea what he's going to do if he finds out about your boyfriend, Dawn, or Vi's one nightstand let alone you dreaming about some boy."

"He's not a boy." Phoebe replies. "He's older…."

"Oh, that'll make it so much better." Connor cuts in sarcastically.

"It's not just about him either." Phoebe punches Connor lightly on the leg. "I'm not me, not like I am now. I'm me but I'm different. But I think it's me. I'm not sure though. It's too confusing and then he's always gone and I'm alone, scared, and cold. Always so cold."

Dawn runs her hand through Phoebe's long hair and then kisses the blonde's forehead. She can't imagine how hard it is to not remember anything. And Phoebe doesn't. She doesn't remember anything about what happened before Whistler brought her to Angel. In fact, she doesn’t even remember Whistler. The only thing she did know when she woke up was her first name.

"What's it mean?" Phoebe asks quietly after a few minutes.

"What?" Dawn stops soothing the blonde's hair for a moment.

"What you're singing, what's it mean? It's so pretty." Phoebe tilts to look at Dawn.

"I was singing?" Dawn glances over at Vi and Connor who both nod. "Oh, I didn't even realize it."

"Whatever it was, it was pretty." Phoebe says. "Soothing."

"Hmm." Dawn murmurs, wondering if she was singing the lullaby she always sings to Simi. She's not sure if she was, she didn't even realize she was singing.

Lorne backs away from the door, the skin between his horns furrowing with real concern. He doesn't want to know what he just found out, doesn't want to be the messenger of a message that might just get him maimed by one highly irrational slayer and one overprotective vampire but knows he has no choice. This message has to be delivered.

-
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