WALK A MILE WITH SORROW By D. M. Evans Disclaimer: All characters belong to Joss Whedon et al. I'm just doing a little nonprofit playing with them. Feedback - Yes please, Connorsdom@yahoo.com Rating: PG-13 Spoilers - Post Chosen, Post Home fic, nothing really spoilery for S5 of Angel other than Spike's in L.A. Summary: Dawn wrestles with the biggest problem she has ever faced. Author's Note - This was written for a challenge by Ragna at Sunnydale Writers. Challenge details at the end of the story.

I walked a mile with Sorrow and ne'er a word said she; But, oh, the things I learned from her when Sorrow walked with me. Robert Browning Hamilton - Along the Road

How can I tell her? I couldn't look her in the eyes and see the hurt, anger and disappointment. How can I tell him? Will he freak out? I told him this couldn't happen. It shouldn't have happened. I was supposed to be protected.

Spike and Angel were out of the building for the night. I stared out the window of Spike's suite, looking out over the night skyline of Los Angeles as if I'd find answers there. Spike lets me come to his suite since he's got a nicer TV than my room has.

Of course, I wasn't watching it but maybe I should. I could use something to take my mind off my problem, only I knew it wouldn't work. As much as I wanted to run and hide, I couldn't do it. That kind of escape wasn't possible. I contemplated Spike's mini-bar, eyeing the bottles of amber liquor. Drinking would only make things worse. I've never been a drinker. Oh, I've had a few sips of beer in my life but I thought drinking's kinda dumb. Being in Spike's room was foolish, too, but all things considered I felt pretty stupid.

I headed out of Spike's suite, the cigarette smoke making my head throb. I should just use Angel's suite when I wanted a bigger TV but I couldn't look at him. If I looked, he'd know. He'd know and I wasn't sure I was ready for that. I didn't know what Angel will do when he finds out. It might even be worse than what Buffy might do. Soon they'll all know, be staring at me with reproach, with pity. I want to die and that wasn't just teenaged angst.

At least Buffy was back in England so I won't have to look her in the eye when I tell her. She would blame herself for not being here to protect me from myself. I wouldn't have to tell her just yet, though. I could call her but I couldn't bring myself to admit to it now. What if she blamed Giles and Xander for not watching me better or Wes, who was my new guardian as weird as that was. Dad still wasn't ready to step up to the plate and who wanted him to? He was never there for us and I didn't want him around, especially now when I was in the biggest crisis of my life.

I would have wanted Giles to be my guardian but he was going back to the reforming Watchers' Council. He was still in California only to retrieve books stolen from the Watchers for Wolfram and Hart. Wes was helping to sort it all out. Giles was my father as far as I was concerned and Xander my big brother. I wished either of them could have stayed in LA with me but the new Slayer team needed them more.

Buffy insisted I needed to finish my schooling and I couldn't do that following her around rounding up new Slayers. I wasn't arguing. I'd like to put my artistic talent to use but I still needed an education. I wanted one. I might even want to be a Watcher, not that I would tell Buffy that until I was all set and enrolled or however it was done.

My eyes were too full of tears to keep wandering the halls of Wolfram and Hart's big, cold, ugly building. Why did Angel want to live in such a heartless place? Going back to my room, I tossed myself onto the bed and cuddled with Krychek, my stuffed Alien in a gold body suit. My tears fell on his little body. What was I going to do? Had I ruined my chance to get that education and do what I wanted with my life?

Buffy wanted me to go to college, hence my return to California so I could finish high school and go to college for free, more or less. That's why Wes became my legal guardian while Buffy, Willow and Faith went back to England to do their work. Xander and Andrew stayed behind to help Giles with the books and to help me settle in.

I wished they would have taken Andrew with them or else maybe he could just wander off. One of the things I don't like about alcohol, why I thought better about taking Spike's booze, outside of what it would do to my body, was how it loosens your tongue, takes your control away as Andrew found out. He, Spike and Xander had been drinking to Anya's memory after we all visited the pit that had once been Sunnydale. He made a 90 proof confession about what he, Warren and Jonathan did to Katrina. If all the evidence hadn't been destroyed, I would have wanted him punished for it. As it is, he helped subdue a girl to be raped and ultimately murdered and threw the blame on my sister and he was going to get away with it. Worse, he still acted like nothing had changed, like he didn't see what he did was wrong. Okay one thing has changed, he's mad at me but not because of this. Good, let him be.

I rolled over and plucked the picture off my night stand of me in Disney with Peter Pan and a skinny young man who looked a little afraid of Peter; someone I wouldn't have met if not for Willow; someone Andrew was jealous of. If it wasn't for Willow's spell gone wrong, I wouldn't have come to L.A. and gotten into the trouble I was in. Okay, that's not entirely true. Buffy wanted me to stay here to be educated but the idea didn't hit until we came back here so she could have a long talk with Angel. That was a result of Willow's spell. It all came back to that spell.

Not that I'm blaming Willow. No, I would take responsibility for my own mistakes. I was just grateful it wasn't a spell Willow had been teaching me that had gone bad. It was hard enough sneaking around learning magic. Buffy didn't want it and Kennedy was jealous of me spending time with Willow; something that had been wearing thin. She'd probably get a good laugh out of my situation.

One of the big bad's we ran across in Snowdonia had used a magical whatsis to lay waste to the very land. It would have killed every living thing in Wales and probably beyond. Willow only meant to stop that magic and reverse it. She tried a spell, backed by the coven that Giles had borrowed magic from to stop Willow went she had gone mad with grief. The counterspell drained all active magic from darn near everywhere, reversing all sorts of spells. It didn't last too long but much of the magic remained reversed. Luckily Buffy being alive wasn't among them. Magic wasn't keeping her alive. That spell had ended when the urn broke. The monks' magic seemed pretty permanent, too, since I didn't revert into a ball of energy.

Gunn wasn't as lucky. His new brain power was drained away and he had to go through the pain of having it replaced. Worse, for Angel, what he had done to Connor reversed itself. Willow and Faith remembered he existed and told Buffy. We all headed to L.A. for that big talk. At least Connor wasn't crazed like Angel said he had been when he had the spell cast. Poor Angel, I know he had the best of intentions but it bit him in the butt bad. This came on top of Buffy remembering the day Angel turned back his humanity so he could fight the good fight and keep her from dying too young. Again he forgot what hell uses as paving materials.

Poor Connor was pretty confused by it all. His fake parents no longer remembered him. He wasn't in college any more and he had lost the knowledge he had been given. He had only vague memories of it happening in the first place. When he saw Gunn's brain hadn't been scrambled by the knowledge implantation, Connor was willing to get a high school education crammed back into his head. It beat having nothing beyond some reading skills.

Some good came out of the bad spell, though. Cordelia woke up from her coma, no longer half demon, that bit of magic turned back on itself. She had no memories of her time as a demon hybrid, including Connor being a teenager. Even Doyle's pushing the visions on her seemed to be gone. She was the same old Cordy she had been in Sunnydale, for better or worse.

Connor was weirded out so bad about that Angel asked me to try and help Connor adjust. Angel figured I could relate to him better than anyone else. I was a little younger than him. I'd be seventeen in a week. Angel liked the idea of Connor having a friend nearer his age. Buffy liked me having a friend who wasn't a Slayer or a Watcher. I hoped they all remembered that when I told them about the mess I was in.

Connor didn't trust me at first but we had things in common. I came into this world in a manner kinda like how Angel took him out. He listened with interest to my arguments that he was better off with a father like Angel who tried to love him, rather than a father like mine who couldn't give a damn. We both had lost our mothers. Connor didn't talk much. I talked too much. He was confused by me half the time and it went both ways.

We liked one another a lot. He was gentle and sweet with me, with most women; that didn't escape my notice. He liked women and got along with them. He didn't get along quite so well with men except Giles. Angel thought it was because Giles was older and reminded Connor of Holtz. I could see how much Connor loved Holtz, but there was something about their relationship that bugged him but he wouldn't tell me what.

I tried to teach Connor how to be a real teenager like Xander had tried to teach Anya. I took him to Disney and Knottsberry Farms and he developed a taste for roller coasters. We went to the beaches and for walks in the woods. Buffy went back to England, thrilled I had something to do other than fight monsters. I was enjoying it, too, since it was the first time I felt like a normal kid. I think Connor felt the same. I missed Buffy, though, but she had work to do over there and right now she couldn't bear to be around Angel or Spike for that matter.

Like Xander and Anya, Connor and I were feeling something more than friendship. We were feeling each other hot and heavy. I hadn't had much experience with boys. The first guy I'd ever kissed had been a vampire. Now I was kissing the son of two vampires; guess that was just how Summers' luck ran. Connor was good at kissing. At least he didn't slobber too much on me like Andrew had the one time he had dared a kiss.

Connor was the reason Andrew was mad at me. Andrew, more than anyone, suspected we were lovers. Andrew probably thought it before we really were. The actual event was as a romantic as I could have wanted it to be. Okay, that was mostly because of me but I don't hold not being romantic against Connor. He was raised in hell after all. The day it finally happened, we had played tourist all day since I hadn't ever really been to L.A. then we went back to the Hyperion.

Connor refused to live in Wolfram and Hart's new building. He didn't trust being that close to Angel. I was working on that failing. The law firm was restoring the hotel to have it for clients. Xander and Andrew stayed there too, mostly because Xander wanted to get his hands back into construction work. I knew he feels bad that his lack of depth perception effects something that he was really good at. Xander was not perfect by any means but he didn't deserve this.

Of course with those two around, being alone with Connor wasn't easy but my man was good at finding quiet places where people couldn't just stumble over us. At first, he was afraid to be with me and I didn't know why. I didn't know until way after the fact. I told him I was protected, that we didn't need to worry. I thought it was sweet that he was concerned. A lot of my girlfriends had told me how their guys didn't want to wear a condom or even think to ask if they were on the pill.

I was on the pill. My doctor had placed me on them because my periods were all over the place from stress or just being young or who knows, maybe it's natural for me but anyhow I was irregular and bled too much so on the pill I went. That was kinda cool. I was spared having to sneak around about it and only had to put up with one speech from Buffy about the pill not being a ticket to all the sex I wanted. I hadn't ever just wanted sex for sex's sake. I wanted it to mean something.

And it had. I thought I had found a guy in Connor who would stand by me no matter what. He was protective and warm but without being smothering. He mostly just wanted to make me happy. How many guys would do that?

What was I going to tell him? That I lied? No, I hadn't. I had thought I was protected. I just didn't know that antibiotics and birth control don't mix. The pill had been made less effective by the antibiotics I had for the little puncture I had gotten on my arm from a tussle with that nest of vampires we had accidently stumbled over - or maybe not so accidentally, knowing Connor. It was the third nest we had found in two weeks. I think Connor was looking for a way to feed Andrew to a nest just to end the annoyance.

No one could be more horrified than I was. How could I tell Connor he was going to be a daddy again when I promised it would be okay? Hell, I hadn't even known there was a first time. The big 'what really happened with the Beast' talk had been limited to the inner circle, of which me and Andrew weren't part of. I'm not sure even Xander got in on that. When I got tired of seeing Connor treating Cordelia like he was walking barefoot on broken glass, I had said something that pissed him off. Angel took me aside and we had our own long talk about Connor, Cordelia and Jasmine.

God, Connor's last child was a demon. What was growing inside of me? I'm not even exactly human either or maybe I am. No one really knew. Maybe Angel and Wes were right and that the demon had just used Connor and Cordy as a host and that it wasn't their DNA that had made a monster. Still, Connor's part demon. I knew that. I was okay with that, but I didn't want to give birth to a devilspawn. I didn't want my lover to have to kill another of his children. I didn't think he'd survive that.

I thought about my friend, Jessica, back when I was still taking classes in Sunnydale. This happened to her, too. She was the best art student we had and was in the marching band. Art brought me and Jess together. I never met the boy she had met at a football game, but I remember holding her hand when she cried over it. I never knew why she didn't just get an abortion. At the time that seemed like the easy solution. I went with her to buy the horribly ugly maternity clothes. I mean, who wanted a big bow square over their huge belly? I will not wear that no matter what. She told me about trying to get child support when she didn't know his social security number or even his real name, just his football nickname, and all the other horror stories about trying to raise a child alone before she dropped out of school. I wondered if she made it out of Sunnydale.

Of course, it was a moot point with Connor. I'm not sure he had a birth certificate and if he did, he'd be like not even two years old on paper. He didn't have a social security number. I wasn't worried about the money. I knew Angel would take care of his grandchild if it didn't have like two heads and horns or something; maybe even then, too.

Still, maybe I didn't have to tell anyone. I could just go for an abortion. I didn't know how I'd get the money. I didn't know if I could even do it. What if my pregnancy was protected like Darla's was? What would Mom have thought if I killed my baby? What would Buffy think? I knew I could never tell Connor I was ever pregnant if I decided on an abortion. He wouldn't understand. I went into the bathroom and splashed water on my face. It didn't help. This wasn't something I was equipped to handle on my own. For all my crying about being treated like an adult, I knew I was still more a kid than a grown up. But I still wasn't ready to face Angel or Buffy or Connor. Xander would freak out. Willow would have been okay but she's in England. It made me wish Tara was still with us. She would have known what to do. God, I miss her so much.

I collected myself the best I could and headed back out of my room, rubbing a hand over my belly. It was still flat and firm but the cravings had started. Or maybe I just thought I should be craving since weren't they supposed to come later? I didn't know. God, I hated this. Either way, I wanted a Subways sub with potato salad. Why potato salad I didn't know but that was what I wanted. If it was cole slaw and fries, I could understand. That's what's on a Primanti's sub and I got hooked on those while we were in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I guess potato salad is close to cole slaw and fries. Just thinking about it made my tummy rumble.

I ignored it as I knocked on a door. It swung open and Giles just stared at me as I broke down crying even before I could say anything.

"Dawn, what's wrong?"

I couldn't talk. I just wrapped my arms around him, burying my face against the soft sweater he was wearing. He smelled like pine. "I'm in so much trouble, Giles. I need your help."

"Of course." he shut the door and led me inside.

Challenge Requirements: Dawn pregnant at age 16, mention of Subways sandwich with potato salad, mention of bad maternity clothes, prefer angst