Grasping For Control
By Alicia "Kamitose" Hackney
Disclaimer: I think its pretty obvious that I don't own Angel, and that I am not, nor ever have been affiliated with Mutant Enemy. Donavon is however my own little sick creation. This fic takes place in season 5. Before 5x15 "A Hole in the World"

Rated R for: Strong language, violence, non-sexual nudity, and human nature at its barest and worst.

A/N: I took psychology in college because I'm who likes looking into other possibilities for character development. Who likes to look deep into the inner workings of the mind. How things develop and deteriorate. Any chance to bring out a side of the character not yet shown or bring back a side buried in the past. That is what this fic, my first Angel fanfiction, is aiming to do. To study human and inhuman nature. The possibility of hope in a hopeless world. Of a chance when there normally wouldn't be one. And how determination and free will can change what is normally fated to happen. This is not so much focusing on shippers as it is on the emotional and mental impact the events have on each character. That being said... Here is Grasping For Control.

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Vapors hissed slowly from the manhole covers, snaking towards the midnight sky. They covered the street like a blanket, giving the atmosphere a nightmarish state.

Shoes softly clicked on the Los Angeles pavement in the late hour haze. The young woman needed to get out of the stuffy lab she worked at. She needed the fresh air. This air however was not as fresh as she would have liked it to be. Pollutants and pathogens plagued the airs here. This was anything but the fresh crisp air she remembered from her rural Texan home. None the less, she made due with it.

She had been working herself to near exhaustion on a new case that came to her department. Never being one to let something slide or in the wings until the morning, she had taken it upon herself to get to work on it right away. Sleep or no sleep. Some would say her dedication to her work was admirable, if not a curse.

She didn't care.

Tonight, however, she needed to get out. The lab felt like it was getting smaller on her because she had kept herself confined to it for so long.

She stopped momentarily. A small whimpering had cut through the night air. It was faint but still present. A tugging at her heart urged her to find the source of the sorrow and pain. To ease it. It was her nature.

She followed the sounds to a small alley a few steps ahead. She slowly turned the corner to find a small boy, no more than seven years of age, curled up on his haunches, crying into his knees.

She approached the boy slowly, as not to frighten him. She kneeled beside him.

"Are you lost?" She inquired softly.

The boy looked up at her, eyes swollen and red from the mass amounts of saline they had produced. His cheeks were rosy, his hair blonde and ruffled. He had blue eyes, innocent blue eyes.

He nodded at her shyly.

"What's your name? Do you know where you live?" She asked with concern.

"D...Donavon." He said meekly. He told her the street he lived on but he couldn't recall the house number.

That was enough for her information. She held her hand out to him.

"Want me to get you home?" She said softly.

Nodding slightly the young boy took her hand and they quietly walked down the desolate street.

After a few minutes of silence she broke it. "Perhaps a song is in order. Songs always makes me feel better, what do you think?" She said attempting to comfort the lost child.

He nodded.

"What do you want to sing?" She asked.

"London Bridge." He said quietly.

"Alright, why don't you start." She smiled at him.

He nodded. "London bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down, London bridge is falling down my fair lady."

The sound of the boy singing eased her tension a bit. It was comforting. She began to sing along. She had only gotten a few words into the song when a loud noise interrupted the melody.

From the shadows emerged six brutish men. They looked at the young woman, ignoring the boy. She stood in front of the boy, straightening her back, a stern look on her face. She tried to assert herself as being fearless, but she was scared.

"Donnie, I want you to go and hide somewhere close, if I'm not there in 5 minutes go run to the police station, and don't stop for anyone! I mean it, don't stop until you get there." She sternly whispered.

He didn't move. She feared the boy had grown paralyzed with fear. After all, these men wore viscous scowls and were fairly sizable.

"Go, Donnie... please." She urged.

He still didn't budge. The girl grew nervous. She looked back at the men in front of her. They suddenly had changed. She knew what they were. She stepped back.

"Vampires!" She gasped.

Two of the vampires approached her swiftly, each grabbing one of her shoulders. She struggled but to no use as they were much stronger than she. Violently they spun her around, forcing to her knees. She was now eye level with Donavon.

"Well Master, is this the girl?" The vampire at her right shoulder inquired.

Donavon's face contorted until the girl was facing a sinister looking vampire child.

"Winifred Burkle, you are familiar with a vampire named Angelus, is this true?" The boy asked.

Fred's eyes went wide. "How do you know my name?" She stammered, her fear starting to become evident.

"I have a certain interest in your role in Angelus's life. You are valuable to him. That makes you priceless to me. He would do anything to get you back safe and unharmed. This is good for business." Donavon said, a smile washing over his face.

"What do you want from me? And he isn't Angelus anymore! He has a-" She was cut off mid-sentence.

"Soul. yes I know. But he has something of mine. Something of great importance. So, the way I figure it, Angelus will be forced to make a trade. My precious belonging, for your life. Seems fair to me... seem fair to you?" He mused to her.

"But why me?" Fred said, the thought of what may happen to her finally sinking in.

"Why not? Hm? He's coming. I will see you later, my lovely." The boy said disappearing.

Fred looked ahead and heard familiar voices approaching.

~~~

"It's jus' a bloody turf war Angel, so why's the damn git got his knickers in a twist 'bout it?" Spike loudly protested. He liked a good fight but he wanted something big tonight, not some turf war between rival demon clans.

"Gunn said the Qu'al Zhunzti had a restraining order against these guys and they are breaking it by being here." Wesley replied while loading his gun.

"Well thank you very much, Angel for your answer." He said to Wesley.

Angel looked at the two. "Oh just knock it off you two." He said. He was about to say something else when something caught his eyes. Fred.

"Fred?" He dashed forward a bit to see what was going on, Spike and Wesley promptly followed.

A look of fear was very apparent in Fred's eyes. They were begging for help.

"Guys! Help me, please!" Fred pleaded. The vampires jerked her back violently.

"Let her go." Angel commanded.

"Donavon says he wants it back. Until then the girl is ours." The vampire holding her left shoulder snidely remarked. They pulled her into the shadows and vanishing from the scene.

Wesley dashed forward a few paces before realizing they were gone. He turned to the remaining four vampires. Cocking his gun, he glared at them. "You bloody bastards!" He charged at them engaging them in combat.

"Wesley!" Angel barked.

"Oh, let the sod have his fun. He's been in front of boring, dusty, ol' books all day. He needs to let it all out." Spike said smiling.

"Yeah, but we need one alive so we can get some answers." Angel retorted.

Spike just watched Wesley as Angel lectured.

"Sorry, mate, but looks like Wes didn't get the memo." He noted.

Angel looked over to see Wesley stake the final vampire. "Wesley! We needed one alive so we could get information on where they took Fred!" He snapped. Wesley looked over to the angered vampire.

"I..." He lowered his arms in resignation. "wasn't thinking." Wesley said.

"But since they want something in exchange for Fred, wouldn't they try to contact you? You know, set up a place for the trade off? Thats the way it works isn't it?" Spike asked.

"I guess you're right... for once." Angel grimaced having to admit that. "Lets get back and find out what we can in the mean while... I want to get her back as soon as possible."

~~~

Fred slowly opened her eyes. Her current surroundings were unfamiliar at best. Something about this place was comforting, yet at the same time terribly sadistic. At first look, she could see the walls were a faded yellow. There was an old wooden rocking horse in the corner. Building blocks and Lego bricks laid scattered about the smooth wooden floor. In one corner was a big stuffed rabbit. She smiled as it reminded her of Feiganbaum. Her smile suddenly faded.

As her eyes adjusted to the light she saw the happy child-like environment was more of a slaughterhouse. The walls and floor was stained with blood. A victim lay dead in the corner by the rabbit. Her face twisted in discomfort. She looked for a way out.

"Don't bother Winifred Burkle, escape is impossible." A small voice said.

Fred turned her head in the direction of the voice to find Donavon. He stepped into the light. He was dressed in an old fashioned school boy outfit. He smirked wickedly at Fred.

"Welcome home, Winifred."

~~~

"What'cha got, Gunn?" Angel said meeting with Gunn in the main lobby of Wolfram and Hart.

"A whole lot of nothing. Thats what we've got. All we know is this Donavon guy is one of your old victims from when you were Angelus. Thats about the extent of what we could find. Seems he didn't want anyone finding him." Gunn said holding a clipboard.

"Figured as much." Angel said sighing in frustration. He headed off to his office and closed the door.

~~~

Fred looked scared and confused.

"What do you mean, 'welcome home'?" She asked worriedly.

"Well you'll probably be here for awhile. Angelus is a little slow sometimes." The child vampire smugly replied.

Fred continued to survey the room for a way out.

"Oh, and as added incentive... I may need insurance that you are a good girl and don't run away..." He said holding up shackles. He walked around her. "Take the keys and lock her up, my fair lady..." He sang as he forced her thin arms behind her back and shackled them.

Fred clenched her eyes shut. 'Someone please help me...' Her mind cried out.

The boy moved himself closer to Fred.

"Angelus was my sire. He sired me when I was only seven. Do you know how hard it is to earn a reputation in this world when your clothes all say Osh Kosh on them?! It's been Hell! So I will give Angelus what he wants... but not without strings attached..."

She could feel his mouth was near her neck.

"What do you mean strings?" She had a pretty good idea what her fate would be now. It scared her.

His face was now beside her own.

"So innocent... like I was... but emotion makes one weak, I do not seek my humanity, only revenge."

"But revenge is an emotion..." Fred said hoping to stall him with conversation.

"No, child, revenge is retribution by force." He calmly retorted.

Fred fell deathly silent.

"Stop thinking the world is a fairy tale Winifred Burkle, its not. Its a world of pain and suffering, there are no white knights on white horses... they all died. Welcome to reality." He said, once again leaning towards her throat, his fangs exposed.

~~~

Angel looked at the medium sized chest on his desk. He really didn't want this to fall back into Donavon's hands, but now he didn't have much of a choice. He fiddled with the lock on the chest, anxiously waiting for news of any sort.

A cheery-like voice suddenly chirped in on Angel's phone. "Angel, you have a call on line-one. At first I thought it was some kid making a crank call but..."

"Harmony, did the person give their name?" Angel said annoyed.

"Uhm, yeah, said it was Danovic or Donnivo or ... hold on, I wrote it down..."

"Donavon?" Angel asked.

"Yeah! Thats it! Want me to forward the call to you?" She asked.

"Yes, Harmony."

Angel pressed the line-one button and had set the phone to speaker mode.

"Angelus, its been a long time. How have you been?" The voice on the other end inquired.

"Cut the crap Donavon. Time and place for the exchange. We want Fred back now." Angel said aggressively.

"Ok, you want the details? Fine. There's an old abandoned orphanage on the outskirts of old-"

"Yeah, I know which one you are talking about." Angel snipped.

"Be there in an hour." Donavon replied.

"Fine, but no funny business, Donavon."

"Of course not, and you can invite your friends along, make it a play date." Donavon sneered.

"Fine, what ever. But lets make one thing clear, Donavon, if you touch one hair on her head I will make sure that you get a perfect view of the sunrise. Are we understood?" Angel said, his voice growing cold.

"Cross my heart, Angelus. She will be returned with each precious little hair in its rightful place. In fact, she and I are having a grand time. See you in an hour."

~~~

Donavon hung up the phone and looked at Fred. Her hair lay haphazardly across her face as she lay on the floor in her special 'time out' room. He went over to her and propped her up against the wall and carefully fixed her hair. "Each little hair is in its rightful place. Just as well Winifred Burkle. Just as well. Now you be a good girl and stay here until your black knight and his squire gits come save you." He smiled with childish glee.

~~~

Angel, Wesley, and Gunn arrived at the pre-arranged location. Angel had the box with him and the others were only there in case things went wrong. They usually did anyway.

"You ready guys?" Angel asked. "Oh yeah." Gunn said adjusting his tie.

Wes just cocked the gun again. Making sure it was ready. He nodded at them. "Lets do this." Angel said flatly as they entered.

Upon entering they were greeted by a twisted children's haven.

"You have it, good, good, good." Donavon said coming out from the shadows. "Hello Donnie-boy." Angel smirked knowing how much the boy loathed that. "I HATE IT WHEN YOU CALL ME THAT!!!" He said throwing a veritable conniption fit.

"This is the guy? This is big bad Donavon? What did he shrink? Come on, this is some sort of joke right?" Gunn said trying not to burst into hysterics. Angel glared at Gunn who promptly straightened back up and had a serious expression again.

"Just bring us Fred and lets get this over with." Angel said impatiently.

"Of course." He snapped his small fingers. "Bring the girl." The underling nodded and went to fetch Fred from her cell.

"Why all this for something so---" Angel was interrupted. "You know why I want it, Angelus, it is very dire that I have it." Donavon said coldly.

There was momentary silence as they waited for the lackey to return. A few minutes later he returned. His face wore a look of utter confusion. He didn't have Fred with him either.

"Well?" Angel said noticing the lack of Fred.

"She's gone sir. There's only her shoes in her cell... and a make shift rope from her window... I think it was made from the clothes she had on..." He stammered.

"Gone?!? NO! SEARCH AGAIN!!!" Donavon yelled throwing a fit.

Angel's face grew stern. "No Fred, no deal. Wesley, search the grounds." Wesley went without hesitation, scouring the grounds of the building for any sign of Winifred. Finding the same results as the vampire servant, he returned solemnly, to report his findings.

"She's no where to be found, Angel." Wesley said.

Angel turned around abruptly. "If you find Fred first, Donavon, then the deal is back on, but if we find her first then you can forget it. Lets go..." He said leaving, taking the chest with him.

Donavon trembled at the thought that something had gone wrong.

~~~

Winifred had managed to make her way back to the Wolfram and Hart building without being noticed. A hard task considering she was cold, bare foot, and now without clothes.

She stumbled through her lab, almost drunkenly. Vials and beakers shattered to the floor as she blindly ran her hands across the table, trying to navigate her way through the dark lab. She made her way to where her lab coat was hanging and put it on. Her senses were all muddled yet seemed to be overwhelming her all at once. Something wasn't right. She didn't feel alright. She felt confused. She needed to work, to stay busy, erase this feeling from her being.

"I need to work, I'm too far behind..." She paused. "Work..."

~~~

"That was a total bust! What was I thinking? Its never that easy!" Angel yelled in frustration as they entered the law firm's lobby. "Well, we should be out there looking for her." Wesley said interjecting.

"No, we'll get some of our agents out there, have them search the entire city. We need to stay here should she make it back to us. You know how Fred is."

"Yes, perhaps we should check her lab." Wesley responded. Angel nodded and the two headed off to the lab.

Opening the door cautiously Wesley peered in first. "My God..."

"What is it Wesley?" Angel inquired. The tone of Wesley's voice worried Angel to no end.

"What, what is going on here? What did this?" He stammered opening the door further, revealing to Angel the utter disarray of Fred's lab.

"I don't know... but I'm sure we'll find out." Angel said cocking his head to the side. A sound had caught his attention. He put his finger to his lip motioning for Wesley to keep very quiet.

He heard a rattling sound. Like metal hitting glass at an excited pace. "Its coming from that corner..." Angel whispered to Wesley.

Wesley moved in front of Angel making his way towards the corner. He turned ghost white. There sitting on her haunches, was Fred. She had her glasses on, trying to get something out of a glass flask with metal tongs. She was shaking severely.

Wesley kneeled beside the seemingly disturbed girl. He put a reassuring arm around her shoulder.

"Fred?" He asked confused and concerned.

"I have to work... I have things to do, I'm behind. I have... I have to work." She said. Her voice sounded uneasy.

"Maybe you should rest. You had an eventful night." Wes said checking her over. He noticed she wore nothing but the lab coat. "Uhm... are you alright? Did they hurt you?" He asked.

"No, I'm, I'm fine. I just need to work." Fred said concentrating on getting "something" out of the empty flask.

"Fred, maybe you should go home, take tomorrow off, you've been working double time lately and then getting kidnapped tonight, you must be exhausted." Angel said piping in.

Fred looked at them for a second then nods. She walked out of the room bare foot. Wes noticed something odd. On her wrist was a shackle... the chain on it broken.

'What tha...'

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To be continued. Please R&R as this is my first Angel fanfiction.