BLOOD DROPS ON ROSE PETALS By D. M. Evans Disclaimer - thanks to the miracle of magic I am now Joss Whedon and he's a grad student in the swamps of Florida. No? You're not buying that? Okay then, I'm still the one in Florida and all characters are still the property of Joss W. I'm making zero profit on his creations and I'm just glad he let's us play with them. Rating - R (for violence) Spoilers - This is a Post-Home, Post-Chosen fic so if you haven't yet seen the finales of BtVS S7 and AtS S4 you'll want to wait on this story. Summary - Dawn has been kidnapped by Wolfram and Hart and finds herself running for her life chased by someone she never dreamed existed. Author's Note- This was done for the Lyric Challenge at You can find this challenge and others at - This one is using Forest of the Black Roses Author's Note #2 - Thanks to SJ and Kat for all the editing.


I had given up hope of being rescued. I didn't know any more how long I had been here, days, weeks, months. It all blended together, thanks to all the drugs that they kept pumping into me. They must have backed down on them since I was actually able to walk around my cell. It wasn't much of a walk but there was a window to investigate. It was tiny and so high I had to stand on my tiptoes to see out. I could see the moon and a thick stand of trees. It's enough to tell me I wasn't longer in the city.

How would Buffy ever find me now? We had all gone to L.A. to celebrate, if that's the word for it, the year anniversary of Sunnydale getting sucked to hell. It was more of a 'we survived it and the terrible year that came after so we're gonna party' kind of thing. To say last year had been stressful was beyond understatement. Faith, Buffy, Xander, Willow, Giles and I had traveled the world gathering all the new Slayers to train in London while the Council reformed. It was hard work. Xander had been surprisingly serious about it, but that was probably more to keep his mind off Anya.

Kennedy had been left at the Cleveland Hellmouth to guard it as she was the next most experienced Slayer after Faith and Buffy, but it was more we didn't want her around. After one wild party, she had tried to organize a daisy chain to prove she could be, I don't know, as fun as Faith or something. She had been hitting on me all night. Willow had found out and her reaction had been swift and cold. I was glad she was gone. I had never liked Kennedy. She was too full of herself, a total brat. She reminded me of the worst inside of myself and it was ugly.

Andrew had scuttled off early on once Xander had gotten over the shock of Anya's death enough to blame Andrew for it, for all that had happened to Sunnydale. In many ways, I agreed. He and his friends were the reason Tara died, that Willow had lost it and that the damn seal had ever opened in the first place. I slept a lot better at night knowing I didn't have to worry about Andrew and his camera.

We chose Angel's hotel to celebrate the anniversary. Principal Wood had joined with Angel's group after recovering from his injuries. Wes had asked him aboard even though I never understood why exactly. Now that they worked for Wolfram and Hart they had all the man power they needed. I think Principal Wood had simply seen too much to go back to his old life, but I wouldn't have wanted to stay there. Angel was acting weirder than normal, more short tempered and scary. It didn't help that Wolfram and Hart had brought back Spike as a human and a sort of unpleasant one at that. He whined constantly about all the stuff he had lost. He wasn't adjusting to being weaker, to just being human, very well. And then there was poor Cordy. I hadn't ever been a Queen C fan but I felt sorry for her. She had woken from her coma but her mind was gone. She remained child-like but seemingly happy in the group home Wesley had found for her.

God, Wolfram and Hart, I had to warn Buffy. My sister probably still thought they're simply the group Angel works for but they're not. They're more. They're evil. They're the ones who kidnapped me. I had been going to meet Fred at the law firm and some of the guards grabbed me, injecting me with something.

I didn't remember much after that. Occasionally I woke up to find doctors, I guess they were, taking blood, hooking me up to machines, running tests, doing a gynecological exam. When I was awake and vaguely clear of mind, I felt degraded and terribly afraid. The spookiest part was no one would talk to me. It was like I didn't exist, or I was a lab rat that didn't rate so much as a word or two. Occasionally, I saw Lilah. I remembered her from the tour Fred had taken me on. She was the one who orchestrated my kidnapping. I've never been clear enough to ask questions to find out why she had done this to me but now I felt unfogged enough.

I tried to move the cot so I could see out the window better but it was bolted down. I had been moved from L.A.. Maybe many times for all I knew. I couldn't wait for a rescue. I flopped back down on the bed, wondering about my new state of awareness. Had someone mistakenly not given me a dose of the drugs or maybe they wanted me awake for whatever came next?

It was so hard to keep track of time but it felt like hours before I heard the locks on my cell door moving. I wasn't surprised when Lilah came through the door. She smirked at me, sauntering into my cell, her heels making annoying clicking sounds on the cold floor. She paused, waiting for me to speak, to cry or rave or something. I didn't give her the satisfaction.

"Nothing to say?" She cocked an eyebrow at me.

"What would you like me to say? Want me to beg you to tell me what's going on? To tell you my sister is gonna get you good for this?" I think I had been picking up Faith's sarcasm, and oddly enough the old Dawn would have done just that but this last year has aged me a lot.

"I doubt that she will." Lilah beckoned me forward. "Let's go for a walk and you'll see why you're here."

I didn't argue. I might as well go with her. After all, what did I have to lose? If I saw where I was, maybe I'd see a way out because I wasn't going to get out the little window. Lilah led me out of the room into a corridor that was too bright, too antiseptic and it put me in mind of a hospital, only the hall was deserted except for what looked like guards at either end. One stood aside and let us pass into another bright hallway.

"Does Angel have any idea?" I asked.

"Of what? That we have you? No, but Angel's an idiot," she replied, daring me to contradict her. She seemed disappointed when I didn't oblige. I've learned a lot this past year, grown up fast and one of the things I learned was not to volunteer information. "He's been battling us ever since he arrived in L.A. We make one pitch on how there's been a change in management, that we were the good guys now and how we wanted to help him help the world. The square-headed doofus of the night bit on that so hard and fast he doesn't even realize he has the hook in his belly. If we had known how easy it was to buy off Angel Investigations, we would have tried it years ago."

"That doesn't sound like Angel." I wrinkled my nose. "Why would he believe that?"

"Not just him, they all did because they're greedy and despite one or two of them having a modicum of intelligence, it's strictly book smarts. The combined common sense of Angel Investigations is somewhere less than a sea cucumber's. All we had to do was give Angel the one thing he wanted most in the world," Lilah said, going through another door and down the stairs.

We left the hospital, going underground into a maze of corridors. I could tell they were well traveled. There were a few tricycles, adult-sized with baskets on the handle bars that suggested people carried stuff from here to who knew where. I got the sense this complex was huge and it was one of the reasons I didn't just charge Lilah and run for it. I didn't know enough yet to do more than get caught and I still felt a little wobbly from all the drugs. I tried to look for markers to navigate by should I get free.

"I know you're lying, Lilah," I said, thinking on her last statement. "You haven't given him the one thing Angel wants most. He's still a cursed vampire. He can't be with Buffy or anyone."

Lilah's smirk made me feel young and stupid. "That wasn't what he wanted. He wanted us to erase something from everyone's memory."

I made a face. "What?"

"We'll get to that when we get where we're going," Lilah said, then patted me on the shoulder, a happy look on her face. "But you, Dawn, were a bonus. We've been looking forward to getting hold of you ever since we first learned of what you are. You can do a lot for good for us, Dawn."

I knew she meant things that didn't require my cooperation. She was giving me a look that reminded me of Glory. But like Glory, she talked too much. Giles said that was probably one of the reasons Buffy managed to beat Angelus way back when. He talked so much instead of acting that she had time to find the strength she needed to skewer the man she loved. Don't even think about it, Dawn. You're scared and depressed enough as it is. "The time has passed for me to open the gate to Glory's realm, all the alignments are off."

"Awww, sweetie, you're not a key for just one place." Her tone was saccharine. "You're a skeleton key to all sorts of places. One such place will be ready for opening soon. You don't even need to die, just bleed a little in the proper spot."

"Is that what all the exams were for?" How many right turns had we made? I was already losing track.

"No, that was to test how human you are. You'll be delighted to know that the monks seemed to have made you human in every way that counts. The doctors even went up and saw you have active ovaries. Isn't that nice?" She smiled at me again. Ugh, did Glory have children?

"Not especially." I so did not like where this was going.

"We're curious to see what we might be able to breed from you. Given the amount of hormones the doctors have been pumping into you, you should be ready soon."

"What if I don't want to be a mom." Damn, my voice was shaking. She knew I was scared but that was okay if I could just keep her talking while I decided if I had a chance of breaking free. I had no desire to be a mother. I was barely eighteen. I haven't even graduated high school yet. Giles was home schooling me now. I was still a virgin and I had no plans of losing that to some damn science experiment.

"Don't judge it too fast. You haven't even met Daddy yet." Lilah took me through another door into something that looked like a zoo exhibit behind thick glass and bars. There had been an effort to create a rocky wall on one side with a cave-like area. The rest was greenish but battle scarred, like the indoor grass had been torn and bloodied. There were a few trees inside the cage and some ropes. It reminded me of the gorilla exhibit in San Diego's Zoo. There was auditorium seating all around the enclosure, and the rocky theme had been continued there. It smelled worse than the gorilla exhibit, hints of blood, sweat and stuff I'd rather not think about.

"It's a thousand dollars a seat to watch him fight. He's earning the firm a ton of money," she informed me proudly.

"Who is?" I didn't want to look. I didn't want to know what they thought I'd be sleeping with.

"He's there."

She pointed into the cavernous area. I peered into the darkness. I could barely see him moving, more of a shadowy blur than anything.

"What is he?"

"The son of two vampires," she replied. I whirled to face her. "What? That's impossible!" I wished I sounded more convincing but why did it have to be impossible? I should be impossible and yet here I am.

"He's Darla and Angel's son. He was the one thing Angel wanted protected so much so he signed off on joining with us and signed over all his friends, too. Just be grateful he didn't hand us Buffy and Faith in the process. We should have asked. He would have given them to us." She sounded smug, so sure of herself.

I wanted to argue but I could barely form thoughts. "Angel...he doesn't have a son. We'd know."

"Maybe you did know once. We erased him from all memory, similar to how the monks installed you," Lilah said.

"Angel couldn't possibly have wanted this." I stabbed a hand at the enclosure.

Lilah laughed so coldly she invoked Glory in my mind once more. "Angel's an idiot. He thinks a golem we placed with a family is his son. He believes the boy is studying abroad in Russia."

"Why did Angel want his son to disappear?" I couldn't help staring into the shadows, looking for him. I got the impression he was studying us as well. Angel had a son...I couldn't comprehend it.

"Connor went insane. We've been tracking him ever since he was born. He's prophesied to do great things but with the Beast destroying much of the firm, we didn't have time to act. I told the Senior Partners to snag the unnatural brat during the summer when Angel was MIA but they wanted to wait and watch him. A critical mistake. We never took away the Observers we had watching him. Ever seen an Observer? Cute little things, look like butterflies. They transmit massive amounts of information. We saw Connor go insane after he killed Jasmine."

"Who's Jasmine?" I felt so lost but since Lilah was obviously having fun showing me how little I knew, it was okay.

"Oh, right, you were busy with the First, weren't you? Jasmine was going to bring world peace."

"We did hear something on the news about L.A. going all mellow."

"That was Jasmine's doing." Lilah ticked a finger against the bars. "Until Connor put a fist through her skull. So what if she was eating several dozen people a day to bring peace to the rest?"

I wrinkled my nose. "Sounds like a hell goddess."

"I guess in a way she was." Her eyes bored into me. "She was Connor's daughter. We're hoping he'll continue to father children with such great potential."

"" God, this was worse than I feared. "The two of you could produce wonderful kids," she informed me. I tried to ignore that so I fished for more information. "I still don't understand why Angel turned to you for help."

"He lost track of his son in all the craziness after Connor snuffed his daughter. Our Observers didn't. We watched him go off on a cop, babbling about family. We already knew how much that meant to him. It didn't take a shrink to see he had had a nervous breakdown so we stepped in and showed him a whole bunch of people acting very unfamily-like and told him how to punish them. We rounded them up, wired them with explosives and wired him, too, since he was nuts enough to want to die. We even provided him Cordelia all wired up like a Christmas tree because we knew how much she meant to him."

"Wait? What does she have to do with this?" This must be how Buffy feels when Giles starts going off about things he thinks she already should know about some demon or another.

"They were lovers. Cordelia was Jasmine's mother. Angel was busy telling me what I could do with Wolfram and Hart's deal while I was showing him the perks of his new office so I knew I had to do something to hook him before he got away. I let Angel see a newscast portraying Connor as a hostage taker. I guess he was, after a fashion." Lilah shrugged. "Angel's skull is so thick he never even stopped to think how an unarmed boy, even on as strong as Connor, could to subdue some thirty people in a place as big as a mall. Did Angel think Connor managed to carry an unconscious Cordelia into the mall like a gunny sack or did he think the hostages just sat there and waited while Connor ran out to get her? He never even questioned it, the moron. Hell, he never even stopped to think how Connor learned to make bombs. The boy was raised in a hell dimension with no education. He's lucky he can tie his own shoelaces and somehow Angel figured out the boy learned advanced munitions somewhere. I hate working with stupid people." Her face went dark like she was pissed off at Angel for not being challenging.

Put that way, Angel did sound like an idiot. I hated to think of him like that. "Why didn't Angel just try to help his son instead of using magic to erase him?"

Lilah shrugged. "It involved actual work? He's a lousy father? He's dumb as a brick? How should I know? Angel beat the shit out of the little snot then asked us to erase all memory of him and to give him a nice normal family to live with."

"And instead you brought him here?" Mom told me once a parent would do anything to protect a child, that sometimes they're so afraid for their babies they don't stop to think about the danger they're risking. I guess that was true since Angel had believed his enemy would help his son.

"Of course. Angel somehow forgot that we've been after his kid since before Darla dusted herself to give birth to him. He robbed the boy of anyone who could have rescued him from his father's stupidity by erasing all memory of him. The only people who know is Angel, me and now you and I'm only telling you because it hardly matters if you know."

Meaning I was never getting out of here as far as Lilah was concerned. "And you're what? Playing fight club with him?"

"Oh, just until the time is right to stage our apocalypse. The fighting helps to keep his skills sharp."

"And he's not insane any more?" I swallowed hard, hoping that was true if they thought he was getting near me. "Did he recover from his breakdown?"

"Possibly he could have but we give him enough LSD to keep the delusions coming."

I stared at her, horrified. "Why?"

"Because it makes him more vicious and he's learned to come to me for comfort. It took most of the year to train him but like Pavlov's dog he responds to me. He's a good little hound. I should change his name to Cuchulainn." She sounded proud, almost motherly. "Will he come out of the cave?" I asked, trying not to let it show I didn't get the reference she made.

"Sure." She opened a rock shelf the cage was anchored into and it turned out to be a cover for a refrigerator. She pulled out some tupperware. "You can feed him if you want."

"What do you mean feed him?"

"Watch." She grabbed up a slab of raw beef. "Come on, Connor. I know you're hungry."

He came out of the rock like a cat, stealthy and fluid. He was across the enclosure in one graceful leap. Lilah opened a small window in the bars and held the meat out. I thought he'd tear off her arm, the look in those startling blue eyes was that insane. Blue? How'd Angel's kid get blue eyes?

He grabbed the meat and stuffed a huge mouthful of the bloody stuff into his mouth, chewing greedily. As thin as he was, I was sure he was starved. His shapeless clothing hung on him, a tattered red shirt and baggy brown pants at least one size too big. Both were crusted and stained. His hair spilled to the middle of his shoulders in a greasy, lanky mess.

"That's a good boy, Connor. Want some more?" Lilah patted his shoulder.

He grunted something at her that was too animal-like to be words. She held the tupperware out to me but I backed away. Shrugging, she tossed him another blob of meat.

"Get him one of the bottled waters," she instructed me.

"No, I'm not getting near him." On the surface Angel's son didn't look dangerous, only deranged but I could sense that he was both. "Do it. You might want him to get to know you." She offered me another chilly, flat smile. "It's safer that way."

Somehow I decided she might be right. I took a bottled water and opened it. I handed it over. He caught my hand and I screamed in spite of myself.

Lilah tapped his fuzzy cheek. "Gently, Connor. Be nice."

He stared at me as if there was an open door straight into my deepest parts. His rough hands still held mine but not hurting me. He stank. Obviously letting him bathe was low on Lilah's to do list. His nose flared. He was drinking me in. This strange elfin boy had nothing in common with Angel that I could see except maybe the intensity of his eyes. He took the water bottle with one hand, still holding onto me. He licked the palm of my hand and I couldn't escape the feeling he was tasting me, like a dog. Lilah was right. She had made him the perfect hound. His long tongue lapped my skin again and Lilah laughed.

"He likes you."

I curled my lip at her and said, "Drink the water, Connor."

His eyes widened and then he grinned at me. His smile was so wide I was expecting the top of his head to fall backwards. He reminded me of Lilo's Stitch. His smile was psychotic and the worst part was he looked truly happy. He let me go and guzzled the water, some of it drooling past his full red lips and down the soft scraggly fur of his chin. I wiped my palm on my pants, realizing Connor wasn't the only one who stank. I was still in the clothes I had been wearing when I was grabbed up.

"Visiting time is over," Lilah said, going to close the little window to the cage. Connor shoved his hand back through, groping for me. "Behave, Connor, or the 'you know whats' will come back."

Connor dropped back, fear in those incredible blue eyes. "No."

It was the first word he had spoken. I guess I knew he could speak or at least he used to be able to. I couldn't imagine Cordy letting anyone who communicated with grunts close enough to get her pregnant.

Lilah shut the window. "Come on, Dawn."

"Da-awn." Connor grabbed the bars as he said my name. Two syllables, like he was rolling them around his mouth experimentally.

"Bye, Connor," I said, not knowing what else to do.

He grunted again and scaled up a tree, lounging on a branch. Again the image of a cat filled my mind. Lilah led me back into the underground labyrinth that I had no real hope of finding a way out of.

"So, what do you think of him?" Lilah asked eagerly. "I think I'm not letting him anywhere near me so you can forget your baby," I replied.

Lilah snorted. "Oh, it'll be a lot more mechanical than that. Think turkey baster, dear," she said as light and cheery as if we had been talking about boys after school instead of getting me pregnant against my will. "If we put you in with Connor in that state, he's likely to rip you limb from limb."

I shuddered at that. Then a loud scream echoed in the corridor coming from where we had just been. I looked back wondering what they were doing to the poor boy. Lilah laughed.

"The LSD is kicking in. Back when he spoke more, the things he'd tell you he was seeing, well, let's just say it gave me nightmares for weeks."

"Good," I shot back and she just smirked again. "Why can't he talk better? I mean, he wasn't always like that, was he?"

Lilah shook her head. "They're calling it paroxysmal aphasia, kind of a transient loss of speech due to the fact that's he's out of his little mind. He just doesn't want to talk is my guess."

After that, Lilah went silent as she led me back to my cell. I was too shocked to do more than follow her, desperately trying to memorize the lay out.

"It'll be another few treatments before we're ready to take you in for the procedure," she said. "And luckily it won't even interfere with that little opening we want you to do. Oh and if you're thinking about running, the guards will shoot you. It might not kill you, but don't get it into that little head of yours that you're going anywhere soon."

I just flopped back on the bed, ignoring her. Lilah locked me back in and then I rolled over, burying my face in the thin pillow, trying not to cry. Tears got me nowhere. Buffy wouldn't cry if she were in this situation. I just had to take what I had seen and work on a plan. Easier said than done.