Title: Darkness Binds
Author: Karen U
Disclaimer: All Angel characters belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, the WB, and others. LotR characters were created by JRR Tolkien and belong to his estate
Distribution: ask first
Rating: PG-13 for now
Spoilers: um... Set after the season 3 episode Forgiving
Summary: After baby Connor is taken to Quartoth, an attempt is made to follow him... With unexpected results...
Tears streamed down her face as she stood in the room, her hands shaking wildly as she turned the pages of the book that lay on the table before her. Her stomach twisted and rolled as she thought of the news that had been brought to her just hours before.
Connor was gone.
That terrible man Holtz had stolen baby Connor, whisking him off through a portal to another dimension, taking Angel's son away from him. A portal. A terrible, horrible portal where there was nothing but swirling blackness and nothing to hold onto. A portal that led the way to Quartoth, a hell dimension that made Pylea look like paradise. The mere thought of it all nearly caused her to lose the entire contents of her stomach, which she was well aware was more than most women her size deemed fit to eat over the course of several days, much less a single day.
She shook her head to try to clear her thoughts, nearly choking on her tears, the pages swimming in front of her as she tried to decipher their words. She was of no use right now, not to herself or anyone else, but she had to try. She had to do something. After everything Angel had done for her... Saving her life in Pylea, and then he and the others had brought her back here with them and given her a place to stay... Even though she had been pretty much out of her mind. Even now she still had her moments, and she couldn't remember if it was simply a character trait of hers or not. Maybe she was still half-crazy.
She had to be in order to be doing this.
An almost hysterical laugh bubbled up in her throat at the thought, and she ruthlessly forced it down, knowing that she couldn't even begin to attempt what she was trying to do if there were tears in her eyes and the was reduced to nothing more than a sniveling mess. She had to be strong right now, and not just for herself. She had to be strong for Connor. Strong for Angel and the others, too. More Angel than the others... He was the one that had his son stolen from him.
Fresh tears filled the young woman's eyes as she contemplated that fact... How much it had meant to Angel to be able to have a child in the first place. The pain he went through when he thought Darla and the baby were going to die together in that alley... The stunned disbelief when Darla had staked herself, thus saving the baby both from death and from herself. From her fears of what she would do to him once his soul stopped nourishing her.
"This is wrong," Winifred Burkle whispered softly, her tones broken and lost, her hands still trembling as she went through the book, though now she looked at the pages with more purpose, able to decipher most of the words. "Angel and Connor didn't deserve this..."
She wasn't a fool. She knew well the things that Angel had done when he was without a soul. Wesley had left his books unattended on more than one occasion, and Fred wasn't sorry that she'd snuck in and read them. She also wasn't sorry for putting her trust in Angel. Angelus was not Angel, and she knew the version he was now was sorry for what his evil counterpart had done. She understood Holtz's need for revenge, maybe even understood his refusal to see Angel as anything but the demon he had been two hundred years ago. But Connor... Connor was nothing more than an innocent baby. He didn't deserve this, to be thrust into the middle of this centuries old blood feud between his father and the vampire hunter. But he had been... And now he was gone.
Connor was gone, and Angel was falling apart, and Wesley was in the hospital with his throat cut, and Cordelia was off someplace nice and sunny and unreachable with Groo, and Lorne was drinking too much, and Gunn... Well, from what she could tell, Gunn was off somewhere killing anything that went bump in the night in order to work off some angry energy. She wasn't quite sure of exactly what he was doing, but she was pretty sure that was it. She could only hope that he didn't make a mistake and kill the wrong thing.
Sighing, Fred continued to page through the book on the table, a soft gasp coming from her lips as she read the English words posted above some spell. This was it! This was exactly what she needed! Quickly, Fred leaned down over the book, mouthing the words to herself, carefully writing them out as best she could phonetically, hoping that would help her from stumbling over the words when she said them for the spell. It was frighteningly simple, really, to tear a hole in reality. Simply say a few words... It was what had put her in Pylea all those years ago. Reading a few words aloud just by accident. And then five years of her life were spent in a hell dimension.
She shuddered at the thought of it happening again.
"But I have to. I have to go," Fred whispered to herself as she finished writing out the words, not sure of the pronunciation of some but hoping it wouldn't make a difference. Taking a deep breath, the brunette stepped back from the table a little, holding the paper in her hands as she slowly began to read aloud what she had written.
Within seconds, wind began to pick up inside the room, and her eyes widened as she saw the swirling lights begin in front of her as the portal began to open. Trembling wildly, Fred finished the words, feeling the winds drawing her toward the dark hole, blowing the paper from her hands as she was sucked into oblivion.
As the portal closed, cutting her off from her own world, Fred couldn't help but scream.