MAD, BAD AND DANGEROUS TO KNOW By D. M. Evans Disclaimer - I don't own them. We all know who does, yep, Joss owns all and I'm grateful for the chance to play (non-profit might I add) with them all. Though I do lay claim to Ms. Josephine Billie Rating - R for violence and language Summary - Realizing Wolfram and Hart has betrayed him, Angel must rescue his son and his friends. Spoilers - all the way to the finales of AtS S4 & BtVS S7 Author's Note #1 - THANK YOU to my two beta's Yseult and Christine. I ran out of time to implement all the polish I wanted to but never fear it shall be done. Author's Note #2 - This was written for the Angel Book of Day's challenge. Here are my challenge requirements, writing for S. J. Smith umbrella themes of AtS and Summer Must Have -- Angel and Kite Flying Restrictions -- No Slash and No C/A Rating Restriction (no higher than): R Spoiler Restriction (must be set before): End of S4. And the funny thing is S.J. is not only my roomie but my usual beta, so she knows I wrote this but not WHAT her story is (and she okayed me straying a little into realm of speculation on S5. I assure all readers there are NO spoilers in this. I don't read spoilers. This is just what I would like to happen but I know never will) Author's Note #3 - All monsters in this fic are drawn from legend. I didn't invent them or any of the ways to defeat them. I did invent the Seminole ceremony used here but only because the book on the subject didn't get here in time. Pout.

CHAPTER ONE

I tell thee, minstrel, I must weep,

Or else this heavy heart will burst;

For it hath been by sorrow nursed,

And ached in sleepless silence, long;

And now 'tis doomed to know the worst,

And break at once - or yield to song. My Soul is Dark - Lord Byron

I have been through so much. I have survived for over two hundred years; more if you count the centuries in Hell. You'd think I'd be smarter. I certainly should be but desperation has a way of draining intelligence. It has been too much for me. My life has never been on an even keel but since Darla waddled back into my life, our son almost done growing in her belly, I have been caught in a maelstrom. One which worsened almost hourly until the tragic, predicable end. I watched my son slaughter his daughter, Jasmine who had sprung full grown like Athena from her mother, with an appetite like Kali Ma. I wondered, now that Connor didn't exist, who everyone thought Jasmine's father was.

I saw Connor slide into insanity, nearly taking me with him. I would have given anything to protect my child, and I did; a verbal agreement to work with Wolfram and Hart. I gave them my friends and myself. In return, they gave my son a normal life with a good family. All I had to do was sign the contract to make it official once I returned from Sunnydale.

Lilah made a huge deal about Wolfram and Hart's show of good faith in giving me an amulet that could help defeat the First and erasing Connor from everyone's memory before the contracts were signed. She seemed almost desperate to make me believe Wolfram and Hart had changed their ways. She even let me go see Connor even though that wasn't part of the deal.

I visited him even before taking the amulet to Buffy. That alone proved to me how much Connor ruled my life. I knew how much trouble Buffy was in, the whole world when you got down to it, and I jeopardized it to see my son in his new life. Lilah didn't want to tell me where to find him. She should have stuck to her guns. Letting me see him was a mistake. It was the reason I had the limo drop me off at the hotel and I walked to a park. It was the reason I stopped at a pay phone and called Wes to tell him to get to a pay phone and call me back. Wolfram and Hart had bugged us before. Why should things be different now?

I should be on my way to Sunnydale, riding in like a white knight. For once, Buffy might actually need me to be that for her. Instead, I was waiting on Wes. I tried to think up reasons for what I was about to ask, ones that Wes would believe. I couldn't mention my son since I no longer had one.

The boy I had seen in that house looked and sounded just like Connor, but when he got close enough to the window, his smell was all wrong. He wasn't even human. Maybe death had rattled Lilah's memory. Maybe she was just too cocky or she simply underestimated how good a vampire's sense of smell is. Humans depend far too much on what their eyes tell them. The remarkable simulacrum wasn't my son, so where the hell was Connor?

I could only guess that Wolfram and Hart had him. How had I been so monumentally naive? Wolfram and Hart had wanted to get their hands on Connor from the beginning and I, like a great fool, had handed him over, stripped of his memories, and helpless. I did not have time to beat myself up. I needed to get to Buffy and I needed to protect my friends from the terrible danger I had just put them in. If Wolfram and Hart had lied about Connor, I was certain they were lying about everything.

Finally I saw Wes drive up in my car. Wolfram and Hart had found it, miraculously unstripped, and salvaged it. I was disappointed that only Fred was with him. I had hoped that when I had Wes tell everyone to meet me here, that they all would actually do so.

"Angel, what's wrong? What's with all the subterfuge?" Wes climbed out of the car.

"We've been tricked," I said, simply.

His brow lowered. "What do you mean?"

"By Wolfram and Hart? I knew working for them was a mistake," Fred squealed, grabbing my arm. "How could you just make the decision for us, Angel? What have you done to us?"

"Fred, we all were going to sign on," Wes said before I could defend myself. Fred looked like she was about to protest. She averted her eyes guiltily.

"Nothing is final yet," I said. "Whatever you do, don't sign anything. Make excuses if you have to."

"Are you going to tell us what's going on?" Wes was getting impatient and given how cryptic I had been, I didn't blame him. My call obviously had set off the alarms in his head but hadn't given him enough information to put it in perspective.

"I think Wolfram and Hart is going to betray us. Don't ask me how. I'm not sure what their plans are but this deal that sounds too good to be true, is. Where are Gunn and Lorne?" I dreaded the answer.

"Lorne said to take notes," Fred answered. "He was going to get to meet some star he's been dying to see. We tried to tell him it was important but he said so was this opportunity. Charles said he had things to do at work that couldn't wait." Fred's face was sad and her eyes held fear and confusion.

"Damn it." Were Gunn and Lorne already lost? It was possible. I should have never involved my friends in this mess but it wasn't all my doing. Each one of them had snuck out to Wolfram and Hart's limo willingly. They all had been tempted. "All right, this is between us alone then. Agreed?"

"Of course but are you going to tell us what's happening?" Wes' expression said he wouldn't stand for more dodging.

"I'm not sure. I have to get to Sunnydale. I have something that will make the difference against the First Evil but I had to warn you first, especially if I don't come back." What if I don't survive? Who will protect my son then?

"Don't talk like that," Fred snapped, her thin body trembling.

"Don't sign anything. If I don't return, run and don't look back," I repeated. Fred's mouth opened again to protest but it snapped shut when she realized I wasn't being melodramatic. "Fred, I need you to copy all the data you can without raising suspicions. Wes, try to remove the arcane texts."

"All right but I wish I knew why the sudden change of heart." He didn't like taking that big a risk without me telling him why. I didn't blame him.

"Trust me on this, Wes. If you see any files on this boy, his name is Connor, copy them." I handed Wes a quick sketch I had made while waiting. Limo cocktail napkins did nothing to enhance my art. "And if he's in the complex, get him out if you can."

"Connor? Wasn't that the person you were going to see when you left us in the lobby?" Fred asked, peering at the drawing.

"Yes. And he wasn't where he was supposed to be but Wolfram and Hart did their best to convince me otherwise. I think the firm has him prisoner. That's how I know we've been betrayed. I have to go. If I'm not back or have called by dawn tomorrow, just go. I probably won't make it back by this coming dawn."

"Why can't we tell Charles and Lorne?" Fred demanded to know. "I don't like keeping secrets."

"Because if they couldn't tear themselves away from whatever Wolfram and Hart had planned for them then they might already be compromised," I growled, quelling her. I didn't like upsetting Fred but I didn't have time to argue with her. "Leave them out of it until we know more. I've got to get to Sunnydale. I'm losing night. I'll drop you off home."

"No, just take us to the nearest club district and we'll get a cab," Wes said.

I nodded, getting behind the wheel. I nearly broke down when I saw the dent in the car's hood, and smelled the faint trace of blood. I had tossed my own son out a window, done this damage and it was all for nothing. I gathered my wits, dropped off my friends and drove as if the world depended on it to Sunnydale.