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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)sevangelFR1829180,525149882262,13013 Feb 072 Nov 08No
CoA Winner

Chapter 7

Title: Chapter 7
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
A/N: Other Buffyverse characters will appear (the wedding for example) but other than that, they won't have a lot to do with this story outside of the occasional cameo. The Dark-Hunter world and the Buffy World are not made to mix (which I will explain why later on in the story).

-

"Dawn, you should eat more." Ash says, nodding towards the barely touched food.

"Can't." Dawn curls her legs up under herself, grabs a pillow, and hugs it to her chest. "It'll make me sick. I'm okay, I'm kinda used to the not eating. I'll try some more later."

Ash nods and sits down beside her. "Did you know what was going to happen?"

"With the portal thing, no, not really." Dawn replies. "But once it started opening again I figured it out. That's why I knocked Aimee out of the way and tried to grab Simi."

"You knew it was another dimension?" Julian asks. "How?"

"I know a little about other dimensions." Dawn looks down at her hands. That's an understatement. She knows a heck of a lot about other dimensions. After finding out about being the Key, she tried to learn as much as she could without anyone knowing she was researching about the key. Giles figured it out eventually and let her read everything he found, which wasn't much. Then after she met Fred, she learned tons more. The scientist was fascinated by the prospects of the key and in return for Dawn letting her test her blood, she shared everything that she knew and learned because of the blood. They never tried to open any portals but now Dawn is thinking they should have. She's smart enough to know that her blood made the bolt-hole thing open a portal to some hell dimension and she also knows her blood opened the portal home. She's just not sure how. It can't just be because she was bleeding, she's bled before and never opened anything. Then she remembers something Lorne once mentioned; hot spots. Places all over the world that are thick with supernatural air or something like that. The bolt-hole was an already opened portal so her blood must have just accessed a hell dimension when she told the Daimon to go to hell. And the one home, if they were near a hot spot and her blood touched it….

"Dawn." Ash grabs her shoulders and shakes her slightly, a little worried that she hasn't responded.

"Huh?" Dawn blinks past her thinking and looks up to see Ash's concerned face. "Sorry, I zoned out."

"I noticed." Ash agrees. "What were you thinking about?"

"It's not important." Dawn waves it off. "Um, you were asking about something."

"I just wanted to know what happened when you got to the other dimension." Ash lets go of her bare arms.

"Nothing at first." Dawn wraps her arms tighter around the pillow. "Um, I was knocked out at first and when I woke up, Simi was trying to eat a rock. I tried to use my cell but no service so I turned it off. And Simi found out she couldn’t change or barbecue anything; she kinda freaked out about that."

Ash nods, not surprised. She must have been so scared.

"She wanted you." Dawn says. "She was so damn sure her akri could fix her but…she didn't understand the reality of the situation we were in. There are hundreds of dimensions, probably thousands, and it would have taken you years if not decades to find and open every one. And then to search them….well, if we waited for that I would have died of old age. We had to find our own way so we started walking. And walking. And then for a change, walked some more. Simi let it slip about the Daimons right after we got there and then she wouldn't say another word about it, not for two weeks. It took that long to convince her that if she wanted her akri back, she needed to tell me everything. She was….she didn't understand how much danger we were in. Food, there was almost none and she loves to eat. And she didn't understand that when we found food, she couldn’t pig out, that we needed to ration everything. It took almost a month to teach her that."

"She's…" Ash tries to explain.

"Spoiled rotten, yeah, I got that." Dawn interrupts. "She would get mad when I told her she couldn't do something and she would start pouting. Then she would threaten to barbecue 'the Dawnie' and then she would start bawling when she remembered she couldn't barbecue anything. After that, I'd spend at least thirty minutes trying to calm her down enough that we could start walking again, which isn't that easy to if you want to know the truth. But most of the time, she was okay. I think she thought it was one big adventure, though half the time she'd about give me a freaking heart attack with her death defying climbing. I understand now why Buffy's a big worrywart; it's not that easy to be completely responsible for someone else's life."

"So, we just did the walking thing for the first month while I tried to figure out a way to get us home." Dawn continues, looking back down at her hands and away from the looks she's getting. She's the youngest person in this room but at the same time, she's older than everyone here, even Ash. She wonders what he'd think about that. "Then, about a month after we'd been there, we came to a little village. It was the first human life we'd seen and…Simi was so excited. She was completely convinced that they would help us get home, that they would get us back to her akri. I knew it was a bad idea and I should have listened to my gut but she made it impossible to say no." Dawn takes a deep breath and looks up at Ash. "We were captured within minutes of stepping into the town. I tried to fight them but….there was too many of them. They..um took us to a castle type place and threw me in a dungeon and took Simi away. They took my bag and then pretty much let me be. They fed me once a day and took me to the bathroom twice a day. On the seventh day, there was a knife by the toilet hole and I grabbed it."

Dawn stops, her eyes closing as she remembers it. "You know, I've killed animals in those woods, for Simi and I hated it. I cried the first time I killed a deer; I used to love Bambi, it was my favorite movie when I was little. And I've killed demons and Daimons and other things but it's not….in the movies they just die but he didn't. He just looked at me and his blood was so warm and I just shoved him aside like he was nothing and killed the other guard, shoved his own sword into his chest. The sword kept slipping in my hand from all the blood on it and I just remember not caring. I didn't care about anything but finding Simi and if I had to kill everyone in that damn castle to do so, I was going to." She pauses, brings a hand up to wipe away the tears she didn't even realize were there until they dripped off her face and onto her hand. "God, Buffy would be so disappointed in me. I can just hear her, 'Dawnie, you're supposed to use your powers for good, not evil.' and Angel, he spent so long training me how to be one with my sword and I used it to kill three men, four if you count the first one. And I didn't even think about it while it was doing it." She drags in another deep breath. "After I killed the three guards guarding the room Simi was in, I opened the door and….I've seen stuff before but….if it weren't for her wings, I wouldn't had known it was her. She was naked and tied to a table, her entire body covered from head to toe in blood, bruises, and cuts. I honestly didn't think she'd survive but I knew I had to get her out of there before they came back. I cut her away from the table and she just screamed. I tried to be as gentle as I could but I know it hurt her. As we were leaving, I felt somebody move into the room."

She can feel Ash's anger building up again, can taste his rage in the air. Without really thinking about it, she leans against his side and wraps one of his arms around her, resting his big hand on her belly. It's how she comforts Simi, though it's normally her arms around Simi not the other way around. "He was short and skinny and probably the only reason we made it out of there. He was the one that left the knife for me and he gave us Raven. And some medicine that's probably the only reason Simi got better. He was scared of Simi but he said that was done to her makes those that did it the monsters, not her. Then he gave me a carrier to carry Simi in and told me we had to go deep into the woods and they wouldn't follow as long as we stayed on the other side of the river. I just rode, I don't think I stopped for twenty hours. Simi slept the whole time, he gave me some kind of sedative to give her, I think. Anyways, she started to heal physically after a couple weeks but she wouldn't talk, not one word. And she wouldn't leave my side for even a second."

It isn't until he feels Dawn's stomach muscles ripple under his hand that he realizes he's digging his fingers into the warm flesh. He can feel rage fill his body but he's able to push it down to focus on what Dawn is saying. He doesn't like that she feels guilty for killing those that were holding her and Simi hostage. But at the same time, he does like it. She feels compassion and guilt for killing humans that would have killed her given half a chance. He's not used to that.

Dawn reaches forward to grab the bottle of water and takes a drink, relaxing into Ash's hand. "Then I got stupid again and while she was sleeping, I left to get her something to eat. I remembered how much she loved the deer so I found her another one. Raven was with me and before we even made it back, I knew it was a mistake. I could hear Simi screaming. I pushed the deer off Raven and jumped onto him. She was huddled in a little ball and nothing I did would get her to stop screaming. I don't even know where it came from, but I started singing a lullaby. She stopped instantly and that’s the first time she called me akra. She…uh started to get better after that, she still has the nightmares sometimes, especially when I questioned her about what happened, what they did to her. She hasn't really talked about it except to say it hurt."

Ash stands up in one fluid movement and walks out the front door without a word.

Dawn sets the bottle on the table and stands up though not as fluidly.

"Dawn, you should let him be." Julian says quietly, looking at her in a new light. She's a part of this group now, under the protection of every person loyal to Ash which is all of this room and hundreds of others.

"Yeah, but I can't." Dawn replies, smiling at him. "Don't worry, Professor A, it takes a lot more than a year spent in a hell dimension to knock me down." Then she walks out the front door and runs into Ash, almost tripping over him again. In fact, only his hands keep her from hitting the ground. "Thanks."

"Go inside, Dawn." Ash orders.

"Told you I don't take orders, Ash, I know you're old and stuff but I don't think you're senile." Dawn replies. "Or at least Simi didn’t tell me you were."

"Dawn." Ash warns.

"She's okay now, Ash." Dawn pushes up on her tiptoes and cups his face in-between her hands. In the back of her mind, she realizes that she's much more touchy-feely with him than she should be but it feels so natural, like she's always been. "She's not great and I'm pretty sure that eventually, it's all going to come flooding back, but she's okay for now. And she needs us to be okay. You're all she talked about while we were gone, well you and Travis Fimmel. She needs her akri back with her, keeping her safe. And I know you're mad, heck I can practically taste it but you're going to have to get over it."

"Get over it?" Ash repeats with a bark of humorless laughter. "How do you suggest I get over it?"

"Go out and kill every evil thing you come in contact with." Dawn shrugs. "Take all that anger and fury out on some Daimons. You're a warrior so kicking butt should be like a big ole tub of Rocky Road to you. And then come back and be here when she wakes up. Keep her safe. And don't feel guilty that you couldn't."

"That I can't do." Ash drops his hand to her waist, mostly to steady her and partly to touch her skin.

"You think I don't feel guilty?" Dawn asks. "It's my fault; if I had just told her no than none of that would have happened to her and she'd be safe and god, you must hate me for not protecting her like I should have, like you would have….."

Ash pulls her against his chest, literally to about the center of his chest since she's over a foot shorter than him and strokes his hand through her long hair. He whispers comforting words to her in Atlantean, telling her over and over again it wasn't her fault, that she kept Simi safe. He can feel her tears soak the front of his t-shirt and he wonders how much she's held in but he already knows that answer. She's held everything in, every drop of fear, pain, and anger just to keep Simi safe.

Dawn's sobs turn to sniffles after a few minutes and she eventually pulls back to smile reassuringly up at. "Thanks, sometimes a girl just needs to cry." And then she pinches his side. "And I am not little; you're just overly big."

Ash laughs. "You are to…" She understood what he was saying, what he said to her in a language that she shouldn't even know really exists. The lullaby aside, she shouldn't know Atlantean. "How did you understand me?"

"You mean the Atlantean thing?"

"Yes."

"I can speak it." Dawn shrugs. "I don't know how I know it, I just do."

"That's impossible. Simi must have taught you some."

"No, I knew it before I met Simi."

Ash arches an eyebrow in disbelief.

"You don't believe me?" Dawn places her hands on her hips and glares up at him. Then she pushes open the front door and stalks inside, not even acknowledging the people in the room that try to talk to her.

Ash follows at a slower pace, curious as to what she's doing. She can't leave from upstairs, not unless she climbs out a window…which she would probably do just to irate him. He walks towards the stairs right as she comes down them, her eyes blazing.

"Here." Dawn slams one of her journals into his chest. "And you can just bite me." Then she crosses her arms over her chest and gives him the glare she normally reserves for her sister.

Ash looks down at the journal, a cartoon kitten on the cover, and then opens it. And almost drops it at what he finds. It's Atlantean, written perfectly and covering page after page in different colored gel pens. It's impossible, there's no one alive that would teach any human this language and she is human. He flips through to the back and stops to read when something catches his eye.

Dawn watches his face go from disbelief to shock in a matter of seconds, and can't help the smirk that covers her face. Serves him right for calling her a liar. Then his shock fades to amusement and she realizes what he's actually reading. She reaches for the journal with a embarrassed squeal.

Ash holds it above her head with a laugh while he continues to read it. It's a recent entry, made the morning after they met, and he plays the leading role in it.

Tabitha nudges her twin who nudges Grace, all three women watching the scene with amused smiles; Ash doesn't act like this.

Dawn climbs onto the back of the couch, muttering an apology to Sundown when she steps onto his shoulder and then jumps at Ash.

Ash drops the journal to catch Dawn.

Dawn scrambles down his body to grab her journal off the ground and then jumps back a few feet with a triumphant look. Then she sticks her tongue out at him. "Don't ever come between a girl and her journal, it's libel to start a war."

"And kind of pointless when you can read the girl's mind."

Dawn spins around with a squeal, her empty fist moving out to punch the person that spoke in her ear. It hits a hard wall-chest harmlessly and she's once again looking up to someone else over a foot taller than her. He's dressed like your average surfer but she can tell there's nothing average about him. Then what he said registers and she's spins around to look at Ash. "You read my mind?!"

Ash opens his mouth to respond only to be hit in forehead with her journal.

"What gives you to right to read my mind without asking?" Dawn growls from between clenched teeth as she stalks towards him. "That is so incredibly rude and…well I can't really think what it is right now because I'm so pissed but whatever it is, it's really bad and it's what you are." She punctuates each word with a poke to his chest.

Ash grabs her finger on one of his hands and wraps his other arm around her body when she starts to struggle. "I didn't read your damn mind!"

Kyrian looks at Julian, his eyebrow raised. Ash doesn't yell; he doesn't need to.

"Oh." Dawn smiles up at him sheepishly. "In that case, I'm sorry about the poking. And throwing a book at you."

"Don't apologize yet."

Dawn leans her head backwards to look at the man that scared her, the hand Ash still has wrapped around her back keeping her from falling. "Huh?"

"He didn't read your mind because he couldn't."

"Sav." Ash warns.

"In that case…" Dawn kicks Ash in the shin and then jerks out of his arms to walk over to where her journal is lying on the floor. "Wait a second, how did you know he couldn't?"

"Because I couldn't." Savitar replies. "And if I can't, he can't."

Dawn throws her journal at him. "You tried to read my mind and you don't even know me?"

Savitar doesn't so much as flinch when the diary hits his chest, he just looks down at it on the ground.

"Dawn, maybe you should sit down." Julian suggests, stuck between completely amused by her behavior and worried what's going to happen because of it. Ash, he knows, won't hurt her but Savitar, he's got no clue what he'll do.

"Hell, no, let her go." Talon grins. "This is entertaining as hell."

Ash glances away from Dawn long enough to glare at him. He just grins back.

"Who the hell are you anyways, Mr. I'm just going to read somebody's mind I don't even know guy?" Dawn knows she's overreacting but….Ash is a god. Pretty much. And this guy is all kinds of powerful, she can tell that right off. And she's the key. And the last god that found that out, tried to kill her.

"His name is Savitar." Ash says. "He's a friend."

"What, you two have some 'we like to read people's minds club?" Dawn crosses the floor to once again pick her journal up.

"Do you have any idea who I am, human?" Savitar asks, watching as she bends over to pick up her journal.

"Would I have asked if I did?" Dawn wraps her arms around the journal and steps back away from the powerful surfer man.

Savitar laughs. "You're feisty for a human."

"I'm also pissed but who's counting?" Dawn shrugs.

"Savitar." He holds out his hand.

"Dawn Summers." Dawn reluctantly places her hand in his and looks completely into his eyes for the first time.

A flash of emotion crosses Savitar's face but it's gone so quickly behind a mask of indifference that no one notices. "You're the human that went with Simi?"

"That'd be me." Dawn agrees, stepping away from him and backwards towards the bag she brought down from upstairs. She stuffs her journal inside of it and then slings it over her back. "Ash, you done with questioning me for now?"

"No." Fury growls before Ash can answer. "Why can't we track you?"

The question comes out of nowhere and she can't think of a good reason. And then she spends too much time trying to think of a reason to feign ignorance.

"You know why." Fury accuses, his voice more of a growl that words.

Dawn shakes her head in denial. "No."

"You're lying." Vane accuses.

"I am not." Dawn denies.

"We can smell it, human." Wren adds, his voice mostly a growl.

Dawn casts a panicked look towards the door, knowing if she can get out and run, they can't find her. Not if she can get out. It's dark. As long as she gets a good enough of a head start, she can loose them. And she wants to, fear flooding her body in a way she hasn't felt since she was fourteen and in that alley with Ben-slash-Glory.

"Knock it off!" Ash orders, stepping in front of Dawn protectively. She's terrified, he can smell it, can practically feel her fear as if it were his own.

"She knows we can't track her." Vane says. "What if it's something she can teach? Can you imagine if certain people learned how?"

"They can't." Dawn whispers.

"Dawn." Ash turns around and cups her shoulders gently. Her eyes are huge and her skin is pale, almost like she's in shock. "You know why, don't you?"

Dawn nods.

"Tell me." Ash orders softly, his thumbs rubbing gentle circles on her shoulders.

Dawn shakes her head.

"I'm not going to hurt you." Ash assures her. "I'm not going to let anybody hurt you."

"You won't be able to stop them." Dawn murmurs.

"Dawn…" He doesn't like the fear in her voice, doesn't like the way she's trembling under his hands.

"No, I'm not telling you and nothing short of torture is going to get me to." Dawn shakes her head.

"Dawn, nobody here is going to hurt you." Julian assures his terrified looking student. "Nothing you say is going to make us hurt you."

"You can't know that." Dawn wraps her arms protectively around herself and steps away from Ash. "And you can't promise anything."

"Dawn.."

"NO!" Dawn cuts Ash off, her voice edging on hysteria. "You want to promise and everybody always promises but in the end, it's just words. Words can't protect me, nothing can. Not you. Not Simi. Not anybody but me and I can only do that by not telling."

"Dawn." Ash tries again.

Dawn tugs the waistband of her sweats down under her hip bones and pulls up the bottom of her tank-top. "She tried so hard to keep me safe and she did, in the end, but she couldn't prevent everything."

Ash's first reaction is to yank her top back down and tug her sweats back up, not comfortable with her revealing her body like she is. Then he sees what she's referring to, the two pale, faded scars flanking her pelvic region. Scars that could have only come from a knife. "When?"

Dawn adjusts her clothing and then wraps her arms back around herself. "When I was fourteen."

"Somebody attacked you?" Tabitha asks quietly. Her own life is dangerous and mostly due to something she can't control but she's chosen to keep that life and she was an adult when she did so. She can't imagine having done it when she was still a child.

"Kidnapped me." Dawn corrects. "Then tied me to an alter and tried to sacrifice me. You'll have to excuse me for not being in a sharing mood about it." Then she looks at the group of weres. "Look, I get that you're all pissed because you can't track me or whatever. Get over it. It's something unique to me and I can guarantee you that nobody else in any dimension has the same problem."

"And we're supposed just trust you?" Fury asks.

Dawn shrugs. "I didn't say that but I am saying you won't find out, not from me and not from anybody else that knows. They will all kill and die to protect me."

"People know?" Ash tries to probe her mind once again but finds nothing. It's like when he tries to track her; she's not there. It's extremely frustrating.

"A small group of people who were all mostly there when it happened." Dawn replies. "And stop trying to read my mind."

"Did you know that we couldn't do that?" Ash asks.

Dawn shakes her head. "No." But as she says it, she thinks back. She was only around Buffy, when she had the aspect of the demon, after she was pretty much insane and unable to distinguish one thought from another so Buffy claims she can't remember any of Dawn's thoughts. And the only other person she's been around with the ability to read minds would be Willow; she makes a mental note to ask the witch about it.

"Look like you have your hands full, kid." Savitar pats Ash on the back.

Then he's gone.

Dawn shivers, though she doesn't know why. She can feel the room staring at her and it frankly freaks her out. She pushes aside the urge to run, Simi would literally freak out if she was gone without a word, and picks her bag up that she doesn't actually remember dropping. "I'm going back to bed."

Ash watches her leave and fights the urge to go with her. He has so many unanswered questions but has already pushed the limit too far. She's just a girl. Just a human girl that's been through too damn much in her short life.

"I can't believe you." Bride berates her husband and then his brothers the second Dawn is gone. "She's just a girl and you three were ganging up on her like she tried to hurt one of your pack."

"She's right." Marguerite agrees, also glaring at her husband. "She was absolutely terrified and you four didn’t even care."

"It's not that we didn't care, baby…" Wren speaks softly, his voice a little more than a whisper.

"You just cared more about figuring out why you couldn't track her." Marguerite interrupts. "Because your egos can't handle the fact that a human girl can get the best of you."

"That's not…" Vane tries to defend his actions.

"You bet your bottom it is." Bride interrupts her husband.

Sundown laughs and then holds up his hands defensively when the wolf's mate turns to glare at him. "Hey, I was just amused you can make bottom sound intimidating."

"Come on, Sundown, let's go hunt before you get your ass in a sling." Ash orders. "Aimee, we'll take you home before your folks send out the quad."

Fang tenses.

"Wolf, you know she can't stay." Ash reminds him quietly. "That'll start a war I frankly don't have the time to deal with right now. Let it be for a while."

"You can walk with us." Aimee takes Fang's hand in hers.

"Sure, why not." Ash mutters. "Not like I don't have enough issues to deal with right now. Let's go."

Julian kisses his wife and stands up to join the retreating group. Kyrian, Valerius, and Talon do the same. Within a few minutes, the house is cleared of everyone but Tabitha, Grace, Amanda, and Sunshine, the weres following the group of warriors out.

"Tabby, you're not going?" Amanda asks, rather shocked.

"No." Tabitha places a protective hand over her stomach.

Amanda's eyes widen and then she hugs her twin tightly. "When did you find out?"

"Yesterday." Tabitha replies. "I'm two months along."

"Congratulations, Tabby." Grace says, hugging her friend.

"Thanks." Tabitha hugs her friend back and then hugs Sunshine when the other woman steps forward.

The four friends move into the kitchen to start cooking for the group of men that will eventually return, starving.

-

Savitar stalks through Olympus without regards to the various gods and goddesses staring at him in shock. He hasn't been back here in almost ten thousand years and he wouldn't be if it weren't for what he discovered a few minutes ago. What shouldn't be. What he was assured would never happen again, not after what happened before. He flings open the door to Zeus's private sanctuary with barely a thought. Pure white marble walls greet him, intricate patterns weaved throughout the pale stone in pure gold. The room is perfection, any man's dream of a perfect paradise; a huge flat screen 'television' covers one long wall, sectioned off in squares with hundreds of humans, demons, and gods life's playing. The room, while it looks almost bare, is large enough to house a football stadium. A huge feather bed floats in the middle of the room with a gorgeous couple writhing on it. "Leave us."

Hera cranes her neck behind her, her hands braced on her husband's broad chest. "You don't belong here."

"Leave us." Savitar growls. "Now."

"You dare presume to speak to me in that tone?" Hera arches an eyebrow.

"Get her out of here before I do it." Savitar orders Zeus.

"Hera, leave us." Zeus sits up, his long chiseled body rippling as he does so. Human myths have it wrong; he's not an elderly man, in fact, he looks the same age as most of his children. He is as close to perfection as a man can be with an ego to match.

"Zeus." Hera warns.

Zeus sends her away with a wave of his hand and stands up to walk across the soft, warm floor of his sanctuary. A white robe covers his naked body as he moves to sit on a throne that appears out of nowhere. "What are you doing here? We agreed you would never step foot…."

"We agreed on a lot of things but it seems as if you've forgotten the most important one." Savitar interrupts.

"I don't know what you're speaking of.."

"She's alive, again." Savitar growls. "We both agreed that would never happen after…."

Zeus's face visibly pales. "That's impossible."

"I saw her." Savitar snaps his fingers and a large, leather recliner appears in the middle of Zeus's floor. He folds his long body up into it, barely holding onto his anger. "I touched her."

"No, it's not possible." Zeus argues.

"Maybe you've forgotten that I'm the only one that can know her even through the human form she wears on Earth." Savitar says. And he knew, he felt it the second he touched her hand and saw it the second he looked into her eyes. The essence of the key is closer to the surface than it should be, given the green swirl of her eyes, but still protected by the safeguards he himself put on it. "And that I created the soul that bounds the key to her very core. Or that we both agreed after the last time she was human and killed, that we would never risk it again. Risk her again."

Zeus waves his hand and a door appears. He opens the door and reaches inside to pull out a plain wooden box which he opens. Then shakes Olympus itself with his anger at what he finds or actually, what he doesn't find. "She's gone."

"I told you that." Savitar says, cocking his head to look at Zeus. "You didn't know?"

Zeus shakes his head, his hands shaking as he puts the box back where it's set for longer than most of life itself. "We are the only two that knows where she was kept."

"Not the only two."

Both men whip their heads around to see three beautiful women standing behind them. Three women they both know they should fear but both know they would never admit doing so.

"What did you do?" Zeus demands, his big body shaking with barely controlled rage.

"Bite your tongue, Zeus." Atropos, the fate responsible for cutting the thread of life, mimics a pair of scissors with two of her fingers. "You know the Gods aren't immune to our wrath."

"She was kept there for a reason, Atty." Zeus softens his tone.

"And she was let out for a reason." Clotho, the fate responsible for spinning the strings of fate replies, smiles at both men.

Lachesis, the fate who weaves the pattern of fate, joins her sisters in smiling sweetly. "Not even the Key itself is safe from her fate."

-
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