Slight AU for season 5 of Angel in that Lindsey showed up to help, not, you know, do what he did.
by Imagine Dragons, Whatever inspires you. Although preferably gen, het or slash in a fandom I'm familiar with. ::wink::
Written for Dragonydreams in honor of my 10th Writing Anniversary. This one stumped me for a while. Initially, I was chuffed at having carte blanche to pick the pairing and fandom. Then reality set in and I couldnít decide who I wanted to write. After studying the lyrics until I earwigged myself, I figured out who the song was about and Ta Dah! I now give you fic. I hope you like it, honey! Thank you for your support and friendship over the last ten years. I love you. ::squishes::
Authorís Note the 2nd: Big thanks to Velvetwhip for the beta. Any remaining mistakes are my own. And, although I doubt they will read this, Iíd like to thank ThaliaClio on AO3 and her Avengers/Psych crossover series Demons and Playmates
for introducing me to the excellent quote of, We are all searching for someone whose demons play well with ours.
-Unknown. It meshed rather well with the prompt, I think.
Written: February 4, 2014
Word Count: 1,308
He had to get out of here.
If he loved her at all- and he did, he really did- then he had to let her go so he didn’t suck her down into the abyss with him. She had worked so hard to come back from the darkness and he didn’t want to take that away from her.
He’d worked hard to come back from the darkness, too, but apparently he wasn’t strong enough to stay away. He was slipping, drifting closer and closer to what he’d struggled to escape many years ago.
Lindsey stared down at Willow, her face peaceful in repose. He admitted, if only to himself, that leaving while she was asleep was a coward’s way out, but he didn’t think he’d have the strength to go if she was awake and tried to talk to him.
It wasn’t that he wanted to leave, but he couldn’t stay- not if he cared about her. A part of him, though, wondered if maybe there was another way. There wasn’t. He shook his head, disgusted with himself for being so damn indecisive. He was Lindsey McDonald. His life had no room for this kind of waffling.
With a last look at his girl he resolutely turned away, then picked up his bag and headed for the door.
“You’re really just going to walk out without a word?”
Lindsey froze at Willow’s soft voice. Without turning, he said, “It’s better this way.”
She sniffed contemptuously. “That’s crap and you know it. If you’re going to leave me, at least have the balls to tell me why to my face.”
He blinked at her colorful turn of phrase. She was pretty ticked if she was getting close to swearing. He hung his head in defeat and turned back towards the bed.
Willow turned on the light and sat up; the look on her face inscrutable. Lindsey set his bag down and shoved his hands into his pockets, settling his gaze just over her head. “I have to go,” he mumbled.
“I got that you think that. Care to vague it up any more?” She crossed her arms and pursed her lips and he knew she was one step away from breaking out her Resolve Face. He’d never known a facial expression could actually make someone do something they didn’t want to do until he met her.
“I’m tryin’ to protect you, alright?” he half-shouted.
She blinked at him. “Protect me from what?”
She frowned at him. “I don’t understand.”
He looked at her as he weighed his options. This was exactly what he didn’t want to happen. He finally decided the hell with it and sat down at the foot of the bed. Resting his elbows on his knees, he let his hair fall around his face as he started to talk.
“Reps from Wolfram & Hart, or whatever name they’re using now, came to see me a few weeks ago. They want me back. And I don’t think I’m strong enough to stay away from them. I don’t want to drag you down with me. I know they’re evil, but that life is so seductive. You have no idea.”
“Bullshit,” Willow said harshly.
Lindsey’s head came up and he looked at her in surprise. He could count on both hands the number of times he’d heard her swear and still have a few fingers left over. He didn’t have a chance to say anything before she went on.
“You think I don’t know what power feels like? That I don’t understand the seduction of the easy path? Jesus, Lindsey, I sucked the magic out of every single book in the Magic Box so I could end the world! You think it was easy for me to stop? That it was a cakewalk to learn how to control it? That I don’t occasionally dream about letting that kind of power loose again? Have you really forgotten who I am and what I’ve done? Do you think so little of me that you think I can’t or won’t help you?”
Tears gathered in her eyes and Lindsey wanted nothing more than to pull her into his arms and hold her close, but he wasn’t sure if the gesture would be welcome or not. Gods, but he hated feeling so uncertain.
“No,” he said softly. “I know you’d help me. But…what if I don’t want your help? What if I want to go back to them?”
She stared at him, her mouth slightly open in disbelief. “Do you really? Do you want to go back to watching your back and living in fear that death might be just around the corner?”
He huffed out a laugh. “How is that any different than how we live now?”
Willow thought about what she’d said and scowled at him. “You know what I mean. At least here you’re not worrying about being stabbed in the back by your own co-workers.” She cut him off when he opened his mouth to argue. “Angel and Spike don’t count. The three of you buried that hatchet a long time ago and don’t try to tell me any different. You may not be friends, but you aren’t enemies anymore either.”
Lindsey reluctantly conceded that point.
She looked at him with narrowed eyes. “Did they threaten you somehow?”
Lindsey shook his head and looked away from her. “No. They just…reminded me who I really am.”
“And again, I call bullshit.” He didn’t flinch when she laid her hand on his arm, but it was a near thing. “Lindsey, you aren’t that man anymore. You were on your path to redemption before we ever met. The Council is full of people who’ve walked in the dark and found their way back to the light. You can’t tell me people can’t change. Yes, we’ve all got our weaknesses and scars. We may be more gray than black and white, and our moral compasses may not always point North, but we’re doing our best.”
She looked away and fell silent for a moment then murmured softly, “We are all searching for someone whose demons play well with ours.” She looked up at him beseechingly. “Don’t you think our demons kinda go together?”
Lindsey looked into Willow’s eyes, saw her darkness and her light coexisting in relative harmony, and felt the hold the new incarnation of W&H had on him slip away. He felt like an idiot. He should have known they’d try to compel him. He should have known she’d keep him in the light, where he belonged, where he wanted to be. Granted, their light was a little grayer than the slayers’, but maybe that’s why people like them existed. They could keep each other’s demons at bay. It had worked pretty well so far.
He finally gave in to the urge to pull her close and he was relieved when she came to him easily. He wrapped her tightly in his arms and pressed a kiss to the top of her head. “I’m sorry, darlin’.”
She squeezed him tight and mumbled into his chest, “Just, just talk to me Linds. I can’t make you stay, but I deserve the chance to try. I love you.”
He breathed deep and let the last of his fear go. “I love you, too, Willow. More than you’ll ever know.”
“Can we go back to bed now,” she asked plaintively. “I’ve got a conference call with Tokyo in about three hours.”
Lindsey huffed out a laugh. “Yeah, we can go back to bed.”
There were still things to talk about and he’d probably always be a little afraid of slipping and taking her with him, but as they settled into bed and he pulled her close, Lindsey was pretty sure they’d come out on the right side as long as they stayed together.