Title: Chapter 20
Series: The Key, the Dark-Hunter, and the Link
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.
"You can't do this!!!!" Artemis screeches, her perfect porcelain complexion reddening with anger.
"It's already done." Zeus merely lifts an eyebrow at her anger. "You were warned, Artemis. It's your own fault for not heeding said warning."
"I didn't know it was her." Artemis whines.
"No, you didn't want it to be her." Savitar corrects. "Because then you would have to admit defeat. As long as she was some faceless human, you convinced yourself you had a chance."
"It's not going to work anyways." Artemis crosses her arms over her chest and glares at the two men. "He is bound to me. If he doesn't feed from…"
"He's bound to your God-Powers, not you." Zeus corrects. "In all reality, he could feed from any of us and be fine."
Savitar laughs at the outrage on her face. "It just kills you, doesn't it? To know he doesn't need you at all and now, he'll finally be free from you."
"They gave their souls to me." Artemis tries desperately. "They serve me."
"And they will continue to do so." Zeus replies. "You'll just no longer have any power over them, or him, at all."
"You know, I'm almost glad you I couldn't kill her." Savitar smirks. "Because this, this is so much worse than death."
"And now just to finish it completely." Zeus snaps his fingers.
Artemis takes a step back and clenches her fists when Ash's human appears in the middle of her room. Moments after she appears, Acheron's very unique powerbase literally shakes the room, the Atlantean doing nothing to hide his presence. She takes one look into his blood red eyes and knows that if weren't for his human, she would be meeting her death very soon.
"I'm sorry that your brother's a butthole." Dawn whispers against Ash's right pec. "I can't imagine….Buffy gave up everything, even her life for me. I can't imagine her being like him. I can't imagine growing up like that."
"It wasn't pleasant." Ash runs his fingers through her hair. "But when it's all you know, you get used to it."
Dawn props herself up on her elbows and looks down at his face. She briefly wonders why there's not even the slightest smidgen of fear when she looks at him, her attacker looked exactly, a hundred percent like him but knows why. It doesn't matter that he looked like Ash…she knew he wasn't. She smiles down at him and reaches a hand up to rub the furrowed spot between his brows. "Well, now you have me. I'm going to make sure your life is pleasant from now on."
Ash turns them until they're both on their sides. "Dawn, it's okay if you're scared of me. I'll understand it. I know Styxx looks exactly like me."
"Yeah, but he's not you." Dawn lifts her right leg up to rest on his hip. "It's….I'm not going to lie and say I wasn't terrified. I was. He was going to rape me and I don't think I've ever been scared like that before. But the scariest part out of all of that wasn't what he was going to do to me. It was losing you. I thought something happened to you, like you were possessed or something and that scared me so much. I can't lose you."
"I promise, baby, you're not going to lose me." Ash rubs his hand up her bare thigh to rest on her hip. "I'm not going anywhere."
"I love you." Dawn rubs her thumb along Ash's bottom lip.
Ash cups the back of her head and pulls her mouth towards his. "I love you too."
Dawn smiles, that loopy, happy smile that only Ash can bring out, and nips his lip playfully.
Ash starts to slide the t-shirt she's wearing, one of his plain black ones, up her side but before he can even reach her waist, she's gone.
He knows he can't track her but also knows there's no reason to. There's only a handful of beings that could have taken her out of his home and one of them is the same person that sent Styxx after her.
He's going to kill Artemis.
Dawn shuffles backwards, eyes darting around the room. It's beautiful, lush and gorgeous, and there are currently three people in the room. Two she doesn't know but one she does. "Savitar?"
"Dawn, it's okay." Savitar casts a look at Zeus. "You're fine."
Dawn bites her lip nervously but before she can say anything, she feels Ash behind her. Instantly, she feels safe.
"Auyun, go over to Savitar." Ash urges. "This is about me."
"Atlantean, whatever you mean to do, don't." Zeus warns.
Ash lifts Dawn up and hands her to Savitar.
"This has nothing to do with you, Zeus." Ash growls loudly. "This is between Artemis and me but if you get in my way, I will kill you."
"You don't have the power." Zeus growls back.
"You have no idea the power I have." Ash waves his hand at Zeus, tossing the God a few feet across the room, pining him to the wall. "But believe me when I say you're about to find out."
The door to Artemis's chambers slams open. "Artemis, I've told you time and time again, not to have him in your chambers or if you're going to, make him disguise….."
Ash cocks his head up at Apollo and with a wave, flings Apollo against the wall beside Zeus. Then, turning back to his ex-lover, he lifts her up and pulls her to him with just a crook of his finger.
"Ash…" Artemis gasps out, her hands moving up to her throat.
"Don't." Ash clenches his fist.
Artemis gasps, her face turning red and her hands scratching at her throat like somebody's strangling her.
Savitar smiles in appreciation, enjoying Artemis's torment just as much Ash seems to be; he wants to watch her die. It's all he can really think about right now; making her pay for almost taking his little girl away again.
Dawn honestly has no idea what's going on but figures if Ash is about to kill somebody, they probably deserve it. Ash's face distorts, becomes all demon-y, way more than he was before. He frankly looks homicidal but funny enough, she's not the tiniest bit scared. A new guy walks in, who Ash pins against the wall with the other guy, then Ash turns to the gorgeous redhead. Seriously, she's the most physically perfect woman Dawn's ever seen. Perfect hair, perfect skin, and a perfect body wrapped up in some beautiful gauzy looking thing. Makes her feel completely plain with her t-shirt, no-makeup, and messy hair.
Then the redhead is being strangled, how, she's not really sure because nobody's actually touching her, but if she had to guess, she'd say Ash is somehow magically doing it. The perfect woman scratches at her throat and Dawn can't help but sympathize; she's almost been strangled and it truly sucks. Then, almost like a mirror image of what's going on in front of her, Dawn gasps, the breath being chocked out of her by invisible hands.
Savitar hears Dawn gasps and looks down to see complete and utter confusion on her face, her hands scratching at her throat in a perfect replica of Artemis's. Then he remembers. "Ash!"
Ash twists his fist, squeezing the life out of Artemis second by second. It's something he's wanted to do for as long as he can remember. In the back of his mind, he registers that Savitar is yelling at him but it isn't until he hears Dawn gasp that he can push through his anger. His fist still squeezing the breath out of Artemis, Ash turns his head to look at Dawn.
He drops Artemis and crosses the floor to Dawn in two steps. Her face is bright red and she's gasping desperately for air. He cradles her to his chest, sliding down to the marble ground of Artemis's floor. Her throat is covered in vivid red marks, marks identical to the ones around Artemis's neck. He heals her wounds with a thought and then rubs soft circles on her back while she pants against his neck.
"What's happening to me?" Dawn digs her nails into Ash's back.
"I don't know, baby." Ash tilts her head back and wipes the tears off her cheeks. "But I will find out."
"Zeus had the fates combine their life forces." Savitar gestures between Dawn and Artemis. "If Artemis dies…."
"Dawn dies." Ash finishes. "I am familiar with the concept."
"Wait a second, she's Artemis?" Dawn points to the beautiful redhead, who is now standing between the other two men in the room. "The Artemis that you serve, who's symbol is tattooed on your shoulder….your lover?"
"Former lover." Ash corrects.
"You never told me she was so freaking gorgeous." Dawn casts a look over at said redhead, who looking at her with clear disdain and hate in her eyes. "How am I supposed to comp…." Then Savitar's words register completely and she turns her head to look at him. "What do you mean our life forces are combined? She's a goddess, right? So that makes her immortal….which if we're combined would either mean she's going to die in sixty years or so when I die or I'm going to live forever."
In that moment, Ash is grateful that Zeus had their life forces combined. He would never let himself think about it but the reality of the situation is, Dawn is a human and therefore will only live so long.
"You're immortal whether or not your life forces were combined." Zeus clenches his fists, gathering up power in his hands. "The key makes you so. Unless your body is physically destroyed, you will live forever, bound to Artemis or not."
Dawn digs her nails in deeper to Ash's shoulder, burrowing her body even further into his.
"I am not going to hurt you." Zeus assures her. "Not really."
Ash shifts Dawn in his arms, his eyes following the Greek god closely; he's not prepared for what happens next.
Zeus places his hand above Artemis's forehead and a small stream of gold-tinted light flows between the two. Artemis gasps and drops to her knees, her back arching in half and a low scream leaving her lips. After a few moments, the stream breaks and the goddess collapses backwards. Then Zeus spins and in two large steps, places his hand over Dawn's forehead. The stream returns, flowing between Zeus's hand and Dawn's forehead and she arches backwards with a scream.
Ash tries to use his powers to stop Zeus from doing whatever he is doing to Dawn, but nothing happens. The connection lasts for only moments but for Ash it feels like hours. When the stream stops, Dawn collapses against his chest and Zeus stumbles backwards, the God visibly weakened. "Dawn, can you hear me?"
"Ouch." Dawn whispers, her head lolling back on Ash's shoulder. "This really hasn't been my day."
Ash cups Dawn's face and soothes his thumb over her cheek bone. "Are you okay?"
"I'm not…..Ash, what the hell happened to me?" Dawn pushes up on her hands until she's sitting up. "What's….what did he do to me? I don’t….how could this…I thought there had to be a whole sucking portion…"
"I'm honestly not sure what the hell he did to you but….." Ash's sentence trails off when he finally sees what has Dawn so flustered. He cups her chin and peers into her mouth. Then he looks at Zeus. "Why the hell does she have fangs?"
Vi flops down heavily on the couch between Xirena and Simi.
"Is the Vi okay?" Simi cocks her head. "Is something wrong with the Vi like with my akra?"
"I'm fine, Simi." Vi assures her. "My skin just feels weird."
"It looks normal to the Simi." Simi captures a small bit Vi's flesh and pulls on it. "Like all humans."
"First off, ouch." Vi taps Simi on the nose. "Pinching isn't very nice."
"Sorry." Simi grins tooth-fully at her. "Why does the Vi's skin feel weird?"
"Itchy." Vi leans her head back on the couch and flops her booted feet up on the coffee table in front of her. "I wish Connor was here."
Fury straightens up with a growl.
"Fury, I'm really not in the mood for your male posturing stuff." Vi opens one eye up to glare at him.
"I'm not in the mood to hear about your human lover." Fury growls.
Vi snorts. "Please, me and Connor? I'd sooner sleep with Dawn before I'd sleep with Connor. He's too much like me." She cocks open her other eye to see Fury standing directly over her, his body ripe with tension. He looks ready to kill something and damn if that doesn't set her body on edge. Which isn't a good thing because she's already tensed up from the semi fight with Ash's brother. She wants Connor here, needs Connor here because she needs something to hit.
"What's wrong with you?" Fury nudges her knee, feels her tension almost like it is his own.
"I need to hit something." Vi looks down at her hands. She knows the slayer is just part of who she is but it still makes her feel like a killer to admit that she needs violence. "That why I wish Connor was here. He makes a hellova good punching bag." She picks at her cuticles, chipping of the remaining nail polish from the wedding off her nails. "Will you spar with me?"
"Are you serious?" Fury places a finger under her chin to tilt her head back.
"I'm assuming that being a Were thingie makes you stronger and less breakable than most humans." Vi says. "If that's not true, don't worry about it. I can run the tension off."
Fury grabs her hand and tugs her to her feet. "Alexion, there somewhere we can go?"
"Two doors down from yours." Alexion nods towards the hallway.
Fury wraps an arm around Vi's waist and leads her down the hallway, throwing a 'thanks' over his shoulder.
The room Alexion told them to go to is huge, the interior the same as the rest of the house, but instead of carpet, is covered with blue mats. One corner of the room is pure workout equipment; weights, a hanging thing to do vertical sits up (she doesn't remember what it's called), bench press machine, and a bunch of other stuff she doesn't use. There's a pommel horse set up on one side and Vi runs at it, flipping once in the air until she's gripping the handles. She see-saws her legs a couple times, and drops down to straddle the pommel.
"Having fun?" Fury asks, a smile covering his lips.
Vi swings around until her feet are in the air and then pushes off, flipping a few times through the air to land on her feet. "Yep." Then she starts stripping down, getting ready for their sparing session.
When she takes off her shoes and socks, Fury doesn’t think anything of it, he just does the same. He raises an eyebrow when she takes off her shirt but she has on yet another white tank-top. But when she takes off her jeans, he can't not say something. "You always spar with your pants off?"
"Sometimes." Vi pushes her jeans down her legs and kicks them towards her shoes. "Mostly when I have shorts on under them."
Fury pulls off his shirt and tosses it at his shoes. "Those aren't shorts."
Vi looks down at the pink shorts she's wearing, a pair she borrowed from Dawn, and then back up Fury. "Yes, they are."
"They barely cover your ass." Fury eyes said ass, licking his lips at the firm globes under the pink cotton.
Vi wiggles said ass at him and while he's distracted by that, she playfully roundhouses him across the chin.
Fury falls back a few paces. "That was rather low-handed."
"Hey, it's not my fault you got distracted by my butt." Vi throws a series of punches at him and grins with satisfaction when he blocks them all. "Okay, you can't hold back because I'm a girl or I'll seriously hurt you."
It isn't until she kicks him across the room and he slams into the wall hard enough that if he were human, he would have broken bones, that he realizes she's not kidding. She really wants to fight. He's been fighting most of his life so he should be used to it but this isn't about fighting, not completely. Somewhere between the first kick and the punch he just blocked, this became something else.
It isn't until Fury kicks her in the chest that she knows he's in really in the fight. She lets herself go at that point, kicks and punches at him like he is a living, breathing, but wonderfully fighting back punching bag.
Fury was half hard when she started flipping about but this, fighting with her hardens him to steel. There is just something so absolutely beautiful about the way she moves.
She's supposed to wait. She told herself she would wait. She could blame it on the H's of slaying or the whole 'mate' thing but deep down, she knows it's just Fury. He effects her in a way that nobody else in the world ever has. A way nobody else ever will. She catches the roundhouse aimed at her stomach and flips him over her head and onto his back. He grunts loud with the contact and even louder when she pounces on him.
"Vi, what are you doing?" Fury growls, his hands moving up to grasp her waist.
Vi grabs his hands and pins them over his head. "You're like really old. Shouldn't you know by now?"
Fury flips them over and pins her hands over her head. "Are you playing?"
"Uh huh." Vi nods, licks her lips, and wraps her legs around his hips. "I'm redoing our relationship."
Fury grinds his cock into her cunt and bends down to nip her lips. "I'm not going to like this, am I?"
"I think we should just do the get to know each other thing as we go." Vi bucks against him and snags his bottom lip between her teeth. "And get to the sex part right now."
Fury flashes their clothes off. "Okay."
"Wow." Vi collapses forward onto Fury's chest. "Was it like this before because I don't completely remember, not all of it…that was just….if I knew sex was this good, I wouldn’t have stopped having it."
"Who?" Fury cups her naked ass, holding her sweaty body against his.
"Who what?" Vi nuzzles his neck.
"Who did you stop having sex with?" Fury growls.
"What the hell…..you're silly, you know that." Vi rests her elbows on his chest. "It's an expression, Fury."
"You've had sex before." Fury states.
"Sort of." Vi wrinkles her nose.
"How do you sort of have sex?" He can't believe the possessiveness he's feeling towards a girl he's only known a few days. He wants to rip whatever boy she had sex with into a dozen pieces.
"It was right after my watcher found out that a few potentials had been killed." Vi rests her face on his chest. "I got freaked out….then he died and I totally freaked. I didn't want to die a virgin. He was some guy I went to school with and we went to some place kids park." She absently kisses the growl rumbling up his chest. "It wasn't good, at all…he didn't even get completely…inside before he came. Then he took me home. Giles showed up the next day and the rest is history."
"Why haven't you since then?"
"That's not an answer."
Vi buries her face into his skin and whispers against it.
"Why do you think you would hurt somebody?" Fury tugs her body upward until her mouth is by his.
"Did you miss the part where I tossed you across the room?" Vi asks. "Or where I almost squeezed the life out of you when I came?"
A wolfish grin crosses Fury's lips.
Vi smacks him on the chest.
"What?" Fury flips them over with a laugh. "I don't remember. Maybe we should do it again. I'll take notes this time."
"What's wrong, baby-girl?" Angel sits down on the cold, wet grass, grimacing as it seeps through his pants.
Phoebe leans her head against Angel's shoulder. "I'm not sure."
Angel runs her fingers through her hair and kisses her forehead. "You're keeping something from me."
"Yes." Phoebe agrees.
"Why?" Angel takes his coat off and wraps it around her already bundled up form.
"Something big is going to happen." Phoebe cuddles into his side. "I can feel it."
"What?" Angel prods.
"I'm not sure yet." Phoebe tilts her head back to look at the stars. "But I do know it's not something you can protect me from."
"There is nothing I won't protect you from." Angel growls. "You are my little girl and I will kill anyone or anything to keep you safe."
"I know." Phoebe says. "But just the same, you can't protect me from this." She turns her head to look at him. "My past….it's coming back."
Angel tightens his arm around her and kisses her forehead again. "We'll be ready for it."
Phoebe leans her head back against his shoulder. "No matter what, you're my dad and I love you."
"I love you too, little one." Angel rests his chin on the top of her head. "I always will."