Title: Escape Rating: PG-13 I guess for violence. Summary: This takes place days before Ats S.3 "The Price" and it ends exactly where Connor bursts through the portal in "The Price" It's a day in the life of Steven and Holtz in Quor-toth. Written for the Connorficathon for Dana (Happy Birthday!) Requirements at the end.

Steven stood at the mouth of the cave and sniffed the air. It reeked of sulfur but he had grown accustomed to it. He was scenting the air for the things that lay under the sulfur smell, the scent of prey and other predators. He stood poised, completely still, the reddish light of the ever present sun making him a silhouette.

He glanced back at the still sleeping man in the cave. His watch would be over soon, his father would be waking and it would time to go hunting. Lately he had been doing more and more of the hunting on his own. Holtz was getting older and while he insisted he was still capable of hunting, he seemed more and more at ease with allowing Steven to do the hunting. Holtz prepared the food, gathered firewood, sewed the clothing they wore and helped Steven with the tanning of the hides.

Steven walked over to the east wall of the cave and began sorting through their weapons. He selected a spear with a sharp stone head. He tested its balance, even though he used it on an almost daily basis. He ran his fingers lightly over the edge. It was still sharp. Holtz said it was crafted from flint.

Steven felt Holtz stir before he heard him. He glanced over his shoulder and confirmed that Holtz was awake. The older man sat up stiffly and coughed. Steven rose and walked across the cave with a fluid grace rarely seen in anything human. He handed the water skin he carried to Holtz. The older man nodded, his eyes red and puffy with sleep and age. He uncapped the water skin and drank deeply from it, handing it back to Steven when he was done.

"Going hunting?" Holtz asked, gesturing to the spear with a nod.

Steven nodded. "We'll eat the last of the meat for breakfast."

Holtz nodded and stood up, leaning against the rough wall of the cave. He coughed wetly and set about stoking the fire with the meager supply they had. Steven watched him with careful eyes. His father was getting older every day it seemed. The atmosphere here might not affect Steven much but it was definitely affecting Holtz.

"Wait until I come back to go get firewood," Steven said and walked out of the cave.

He prowled the landscape, sticking close to rocks and scrub brush. The heat made the air shimmer. It made the beasts gathered around the watering hole seem even more unreal then the assortment of horns and colored hides.

Steven crouched behind a cluster of brush. He sliced the stone edge of the spear across his forearm and held his arm over the brush. He backed away from the brush, leaving a line of blood along the trail and around a corner. He trailed the blood all the way into the small canyon and then retraced his steps to the mouth of the canyon. It was the perfect ambush spot, sheltered on three sides by tall rock walls. He stepped into a crevice in a rock wall and licked his arm, helping the wound to seal up.

He waited patiently until he heard something snuffling toward him, sniffing at the trail of blood he'd left. He watched as the creature and its companion made their way into the canyon. They whispered between them in a language Steven didn't understand. He waited until they had come to the end of the blood trail and stepped out from his hiding spot. He threw the spear and it arced through the air. One of the demons turned and looked up as the spear arced, hitting his right eye and thrusting all the way through his brain. The creature fell where it stood.

Steven grinned as the second demon rushed toward him with a feral war cry. He answered with his own wordless battle cry and ran toward the demon. They met with a crash that Steven felt shudder his bones. It didn't slow him down. He and the demon scrabbled on the dirt, each fighting for the upper hand. Steven drove his thumb into the demon's eye and kept shoving until he felt the eyeball burst under his thumb. The demon screamed in pain and fell back. Steven kicked the demon's knee hard and it buckled. The volume of the demon's screams increased and Steven grinned maniacally.

Steven placed one hand on the demon's head and the other on its chin. He twisted and the crack of the demon's neck resounded through out the canyon. He pulled the spear from the other demon's head and tied it at his waist. He crouched and managed to sling the much larger body of one of the dead demons onto his skinny shoulders. It was a short walk back to the cave. He could skin, cut and slice the demon up there. This particular demon had a set of wicked looking fangs. He decided he'd take those for his trophy this time.

Steven stepped side wise through the narrow opening of the cave. He tossed the demon carcass to the dirt floor of the cave. Holtz stepped over the carcass and outside to gather firewood without a word. Steven went to work gutting, skinning and cleaning the demon. He tried to keep the hide in tact. If it could be softened it would make good clothing. It was tough hide.

The sun had gone down and a dinner of fresh demon meat had been eaten. The fire burned low and Steven was stretched out on his side amongst a pile of skins and hides. Holtz sat against the smoothest part of the stone wall with his eyes closed. Steven watched him with careful eyes. Holtz coughed wetly, and Steven handed him the water skin. Holtz took it and drank deeply. They had to find a way out of here. From the stories Holtz told, Steven knew the other dimension had beings called doctors that cured people when they were sick. He was fairly sure Holtz required a doctor. The sulfur air and diet of various demon meats couldn't be good for him. He seemed to age a bit more every day. And then there was the question of revenge, it had to be paid and it could only be paid in the dimension Holtz came from, the dimension that included the vampire, Angelus.

"Are you ready to begin the story where I left off last night?" Holtz asked.

"Yes, Father," Steven said.

"Alright then, you see Paris fell in love with Helen, even though he knew she belonged to another man. On the night they were to leave, Helen agreed to run away with Paris. She loved him as he loved her so he took her to Troy, knowing it would cause a war," Holtz begin.

"That was stupid, to start a war over a woman," Steven said.

Holtz smiled in the firelight. "Why? Men have wars over land, religion and politics. Why is it so foolish to have a war over love?"

Steven shrugged in the fire light. "It's just a girl. There are other girls."

"No, my son, for some men there is only one girl," Holtz said in a half whisper.

Steven had been watching this particular clan of demons for weeks. He had seen several of them leave this dimension. He had even caught a glimpse of the dimension they were going to. That night when he returned to the cave he told Holtz what he had been doing.

"There is this clan of demons, they can punch a hole in this dimension and jump through to another. They aren't really a fighting type of demon. They growl and posture but they jump dimensions when they feel threatened," Steven said.

Holtz looked down at his hands, examining them and measuring his words precisely. "There is only one dimension for demons leaving Quor Toth to go."

"Yes Father?" Steven said content to let the man speak in his own time.

"I did not think it was possible but things leaving Quor Toth can only go to one dimension, the dimension I left, the dimension you are from," Holtz said.

The dimension with Angelus lay unspoken between them.

"Good. We need to get out of here, and I think I know a way," Steven said.

The demon screamed as Steven slashed at it with the curved serrated blade he'd strapped to his arm earlier that morning. Holtz waited, watched, from a protected crevice behind Steven. Steven slashed at the demon again and it scrambled, looking for an escape but Steven cut him off at every point. There was no where to go. The demon shouted some words in a language Steven did not understand and struck out at the air behind him. A rip appeared and the demon leapt through. Steven cast a glance behind him and saw that Holtz was already on the move toward the rip. Steven dove head first after the demon.

Dana wanted:

No pairing but Holtz as a father figure would be welcomed. 2 things she wanted: Set in Quor-toth or that dimension plays a huge role in the story. Up close hand to hand combat 2 things she didn't want: No character death Genre: action/adventure and/or angst Rating: G-R

Hope you enjoyed!