Elisabeth (dragonydreams) wrote,

  • Mood:

Fic: The Set-Up 3/? (Willow/Lindsey) PG-13

Title: The Set-Up
Author: Elisabeth
Email: dragonydreams@yahoo.com
Website: http://www.dragonydreams.com
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Willow/Lindsey
Summary: Willow and Lindsey are set up by a mutual acquaintance.
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership over these characters. I am merely borrowing them from Joss et al. The song 'Why Georgia' belongs to John Mayer.
Distribution: My site, the usual lists, anyone with previous permission. Anyone else - just ask.
Feedback: Yes please! It makes me happy and keeps me writing.
Author's Note: Thanks to velvetwhip, emeraldswan and strangecreature for all of your help.
Author's Note 2: Written in answer to mrsdrake's Unanswered Challenges, Challenge #12: Pick two characters from the BTVS/ATS universe that have never met on the shows. Then send them on a blind date together. That's it. Be creative with it.

Previous chapters

Chapter 3

Lindsey sat in his car outside of Caritas, the engine idling. He stared into the middle distance, trying to figure out how he came to be here. Yesterday he'd been perfectly content with his life. He had a high-paying job that gave him the respect he'd always craved. One blind date later he was ready to give it all up for a sweet smile and big green eyes. What had happened to him? He didn't fall in love at first sight. Especially not with women who were younger than him and as pure and innocent as they come.

He wanted to call up his cousin Tara and either yell at her for ruining his life or thank her for sending him the best thing he'd ever met.

Looking up at the garish sign for the demon bar, Lindsey realized he knew exactly why he was here. He needed to know if he'd lost his mind. Or had he finally found the missing piece that would make his life complete?

With a deep sigh, Lindsey turned off his car and opened the door, stepping out to face his future.

Inside, he took in the myriad of demons and humans milling about. A demon that looked like a giant slug was squeaking through some unrecognizable song on the stage. Lindsey scanned the room for the green-skinned demon that owned the club. Spotting Lorne at the bar, Lindsey crossed the room to him.

Lorne was trying hard not to cringe at the singer's rendition. Its future wasn't so bright either, which he also was trying not to show.

Seeing Lindsey approach, his red eyes sparked. "Well, look what the cat dragged in. It's about time you gifted us with your vocal talents again, pumpkin."

"I've been busy," Lindsey acknowledged.

"Working where you do, I would expect so," Lorne jeered. "But look at you now. You look like you lost your puppy."

"Worse," Lindsey smiled as he thought of Willow. "I've met someone."

"Be still my butt, which is where my heart is located," Lorne exclaimed. "That's wonderful news. So why the glum? Don't tell me; she's too good for you."

"That's not even half of it," Lindsey agreed. "Got an open slot tonight? I could really use some advice."

"For you, of course." Lorne glanced at the stage and applauded as the slug-demon finished. "Just let me give Clyde there his reading and we'll get you set up."

"Thanks, Lorne. I really appreciate it."

"No, sugar, thank you. It'll be a pleasure listening to someone who can actually carry a tune."

With that, Lorne left to consult with Clyde, leaving Lindsey a moment to gather the courage he needed to bare his soul for the second time in one evening.

When he saw Lorne gesture him to the stage, he wove his way through the tables, picking up the club's guitar on the way. He tuned the strings, dimly aware of Lorne introducing him.

"Ladies and demons, we've a special treat for you this evening. I give you Lindsey McDonald, of the illustrious Wolfram & Hart. Give him a warm welcome."

Lindsey blinked as the spotlight temporarily blinded him. He closed his eyes and began to sing:

"I am driving up 85 in the
Kind of morning that lasts all afternoon
Just stuck inside the gloom
4 more exits to my apartment but
I am tempted to keep the car in drive
And leave it all behind

Cause I wonder sometimes
About the outcome
Of a still verdictless life

Am I living it right?
Am I living it right?
Am I living it right?
Why Georgia, why?"

Lindsey could admit to himself that he wasn't proud of working for Wolfram & Hart. He'd suspected there was something different about the firm when he'd started working there, but he'd had no idea it was as bad as it was.

For all of his tough upbringing, he had been completely naïve when it came to what went bump in the night. Accepting that there were demons in the world, real ones, had not been easy. It had been even harder hardening his heart and conscience to help these demons.

"I rent a room and I fill the spaces with
Wood in places to make it feel like home
But all I feel's alone
It might be a quarter life crisis
Or just the stirring of my soul

Either way I wonder sometimes
About the outcome
Of a still verdictless life

Am I living it right?
Am I living it right?
Am I living it right?
Why Georgia, why?"

In one evening, Willow had reminded him of what his goals had been before he'd ever heard of Wolfram & Hart. Her joie-de-vivre was infectious. She made him believe that he could have a life outside of Wolfram & Hart. Something he'd stopped believing was possible.

"So what, so I've got a smile on
But it's hiding the quiet superstitions in my head
Don't believe me
When I say I've got it down

Everybody is a stranger but
That's the danger in going my own way
I guess it's the price I have to pay
Still "everything happens for a reason"
Is no reason not to ask myself

Am I living it right?
Am I living it right?
Am I living it right?
Why Georgia, why?"

As he strummed the last cords of the song, a round of applause went up. Lindsey had gotten so lost in his thoughts that he had forgotten about the audience.

He stood, said his thanks, and left the stage, eager to hear what Lorne had seen.

"Step into my office," Lorne suggested, waving Lindsey to his private table in the back.

"Is it that bad?" Lindsey was afraid to ask.

"Well now, that depends on who you ask," Lorne smiled. "By the way, I can understand your dilemma. Your redhead is quite the looker."

"You know Willow?" he asked in surprise.

"Honey, you're falling so fast that you were sending her picture out far and wide."

"I could have told you I was falling for her fast. But what do I do about that? She said she can't be with me while I work for Wolfram & Hart, but I don't know if I can leave."

"We both know you're up to leaving, so we're going to skip over that good news," Lorne said, taking a sip of his Sea Breeze. "The big question is: Is it safe for you to quit?"


"Talk to Holland. I think he might surprise you," Lorne suggested.

"That's your advice?! Talk to my boss! Holland hand picked me to come work for him. He won't want to hear that I want to leave. I signed a contract with Wolfram & Hart, in blood, for Christ's sake!"

"You just answered your own question. Pull out your contract. Read the fine print. I think you'll find a loophole or two that will help you out."

Lindsey blinked in disbelief at the green demon. "You're telling me that my contract has an out-clause? Why don't I remember that?"

"You never thought you'd need one," Lorne pointed out.

Before Lindsey could ask any more questions, Lorne stood to leave. "Don't over-think it. Go home, get some sleep, and read over your contract. Look inside yourself. You know what you want." He started to move into the room, but turned back. "For the record, there's nothing worth fighting for more than the love of a good woman."

Lindsey remained glued to his seat for many long minutes before finally rousing himself and heading home. He collapsed into his bed, falling into a restless sleep. He was plagued by dreams of Willow, and what Wolfram & Hart could do to him -- or her -- if they objected to his leaving.

In the morning, after a hot shower and a good breakfast, Lindsey went in search of his contract of employment. When he found it, he settled himself at his desk with a pad of paper and pen, ready to go over it with a fine tooth comb.

He was a little surprised that he had so quickly decided to leave his job. He wasn't even aware of having made a conscious decision to quit. It just seemed like the natural thing to do in the face of Willow's insistence that she couldn't be with him if he worked there.

Was he really prepared to change his entire life for a woman?

'Willow is no ordinary woman,' he reminded himself.

'No, she's a sweet girl, a witch, who is younger than you, and is friends with Angel,' the devil on his shoulder countered. 'She doesn't even live in L.A.'

'She's what we didn't know we were looking for,' he insisted. 'She's the answer to the self-loathing we've been feeling since we got in deeper with Wolfram & Hart.'

'But will she still want you when the danger is gone?'

'She liked me before she knew where I worked.'

'And where will you work when you quit your job?' the devil pressed.

'I'll find another job. I'll go work for the ACLU, like I wanted to when I started law school.'

"Enough!" Lindsey shouted, trying to quiet the conflicting voices in his head so that he could concentrate. For good measure, he popped a Les Paul CD into his stereo system to distract his turbulent thoughts.

After an hour and a half of carefully reading his contract, line by line, even pulling out a magnifying glass to read the fine print, Lindsey sat back, hardly able to believe what he'd just read.

Reading aloud, Lindsey spoke the relevant lines, "If, at any time, the signed employee discovers his true path, his destiny as it were; and finds that it cannot be fulfilled while employed by Wolfram & Hart, he is free to pursue it. All cases will be reassigned to another and the signed is free to leave, provided he takes nothing pertaining to any client, past or present of Wolfram & Hart with him. Any attempt to sabotage open cases or projects in the works will nullify this clause and the signed employee will suffer the consequences."

Had he found his true path? Lindsey wondered. Was Willow his destiny?

"Talk to Holland," Lorne had said.

Lindsey glanced at the clock, and despite it being a Saturday, knew he'd find his boss in his office. With a sigh, Lindsey stood and moved to his bedroom. If he was going to confront his mentor, he needed to dress the part.

Half an hour later, Lindsey pulled into his spot in the parking garage below the Los Angeles branch of Wolfram & Hart.

He knocked respectfully on Holland's door, then waited to be admitted.

"Lindsey," Holland greeted him, looking up from the papers on his desk, discreetly gathering them together. "To what do I owe this pleasure?"

"Mr. Manners," Lindsey formally greeted his superior. "Sir, if you have a moment, I'd like to discuss the terms of my contract."

Only years of practice enabled Holland to mask his surprise. Deliberately misinterpreting Lindsey, he said, "Of course. I'd be happy to review any contract you're working on. Although by now I'd expect you to know what you're doing."

Lindsey shifted slightly in his seat, uncomfortable now that he was having this conversation. He knew Holland had understood him from the beginning. His mentor had an uncanny way of seeing through people's masks.

"No, sir," Lindsey started, opening his briefcase and removing his copy of his Terms of Employment. "I was referring to my contract of employment with Wolfram & Hart."

"Don't tell me you're thinking of leaving me," Holland mock-gasped.

"I'm sorry, sir, but I believe that my path has diverged from the firm's," Lindsey said, using one of the key phrases he'd found earlier.

"I'm sorry to hear that," Holland admitted. "Let's have a look."

Lindsey passed over the document. "I've put an arrow next to the relevant passage."

Holland skimmed over the passage, already having guessed which one Lindsey had wanted him to read. He'd been afraid this day would one day come. Lindsey had always had the kind of passion and eagerness to please that could one day bring about a crisis of faith. Not everyone had what it took to last in this organization. Most were used up and spit out. But then there were a few smart ones who figured it out before they got in too deep or gave up.

"So, you believe that you have found your true path?" Holland slowly asked, sitting back in his chair, meeting Lindsey's eyes.

"I do," Lindsey smiled.

"What's her name?" Holland smirked knowingly.

"Wi--What do you mean?" Lindsey stumbled.

"My boy, more often than not, when a man tries to leave here, citing this particular clause, it's because of a woman. Now what's the little lady's name?"

Lindsey smirked. "Now if I told you that, you'd just go after her and either try to force her out of my life or worse. I think I'll keep it to myself."

"So there is a woman," Holland gloated.

Lindsey groaned. "Yes, alright. I met someone, who I think could be…"

Now it was Holland's turn to groan. "If you say soulmate, I'll throw you out the window. Spare me the poetic musing of young men in love."

"I was going to say my future wife," Lindsey said, although he'd been thinking 'soulmate'.

"Let me guess, she heard you worked here and demanded your resignation," Holland smirked.

"Actually, she said that she wouldn't ask me to leave my job for her. Granted, she said we couldn't be together if I remained here…" Lindsey couldn't believe he was admitting all of this. He idly wondered if that truth spell was still in effect.

"But you're so head over heels in love that you're going to do it anyway," Holland finished. "Need I remind you that love is not a 'true path'?"

"No, and I'm not mistaking it for one. In all honesty, it isn't even love; yet. But it could be; and I'd very much like to have the chance to see if love is a possibility with W--her. However, while discussing all of this with her, I came to realize some things about myself that I'd long forgotten about. This isn't what I'd set out to do with my life."

"Lindsey, when I met you, you were young, an idealist. Just because your path has taken you down a different road, doesn't mean that it's any less valid a direction to be headed."

"For me it is," Lindsey argued. "This isn't what I wanted for myself, it never was. I'm grateful for you taking me in and teaching me. But these aren't the lessons I want to learn. These aren't the kind of clients that I want to represent, they never were. But I told myself that in order to make an impression, I needed to hold my tongue and defend them to the best of my ability. And I did that. Until now. I've met someone who has held up a mirror and shown me that I don't recognize the man that I see reflected back in it. This isn't me, Holland."

Holland's smile was genuine. "You've never done that before, called me by my name."

"I wasn't able to before," Lindsey replied.

Holland heaved a put-upon sigh. "Is there nothing I can say to convince you that you're about to make a terrible mistake? The Senior Partners won't be happy about this. They had high hopes for you."

"Tell them Lilah's a better man for the job. She was made for this firm. I was groomed well for it, but you and I both know that I could never have gone all the way."

"No, perhaps you're right. I guess we'll never know," Holland said wistfully.

"Then you won't protest when I submit a formal letter of resignation?" Lindsey asked.

"I may try to change your mind again, but if this is truly what you think is best for you, then I will accept your resignation."

"I'll be completely free?" Lindsey pressed. "They won't be able to pull me back in, for any reason?"

"Provided you leave only with what you brought in with you, and nothing else." Holland's voice held a wealth of warning.

"What could I possibly want to take with me from here?" Lindsey laughed.

"Oh, I can imagine a few things, but I'm not about to go giving you any ideas that we both know you already have."

Lindsey stood, retrieved his contract from Holland's desk and placed it back in his briefcase.

Holding his hand out to Holland, he said, "Thank you for understanding."

Holland took the offered hand, shaking it solemnly. "While I may not like it, or approve, I do understand."

"I'll have that letter for you first thing Monday morning," Lindsey said as they walked to the door.

"I've no doubt that you will. Take care of yourself, Lindsey."

"I will."

Holland closed the door behind Lindsey and returned to his desk. Picking up his phone, he hit speed dial.

"We've lost him."

Lindsey was humming as he slipped into his car and headed home. He felt lighter than he could remember feeling in years.

Continued in Chapter 4
Tags: btvs fic, fic:the set-up, lindsey, willow, willow/lindsey

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.