Rating: PG for now, might go up later
Summary: Leaving Wolfram & Hart was the best decision Lindsey could have made.
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership over these characters. I am merely borrowing them from Joss et al.
Distribution: joss10k, my site, the usual lists, anyone with previous permission. Anyone else - just ask.
Feedback: Yes please! It makes me happy and keeps me writing.
Thanks to my betas: strangecreature, kallie_kat & emeraldswan for all of your help.
Author's Note: While this takes place during season 5 of Buffy, I'm leaving out some things to suit my purposes. 1) No Dawn & Joyce isn't sick, so Buffy is still living in the dorms with Willow as her roommate. 2) Tara is just a friend.
Chapter Word Count: 1947; Total Word Count: 1947
He had only been on the road for a couple of hours after leaving Los Angeles, for good. After a minor hassle with the California State Highway Patrol, courtesy of Angel, Lindsey was finally on his way. Of course, he had no idea where he was headed. All he knew was that he needed to leave the high-powered, evil-filled, life of Wolfram & Hart far behind him.
He passed the sign welcoming him to the town, idly noticing that it seemed to have had been run over a few times. He'd heard of Sunnydale while he'd lived in LA. How could he not have heard of the town sitting on the Hellmouth? After all, the Master had been a client before he had gone and gotten himself trapped underground for decades. His Darla had served the Master here; it's where she was first dusted.
Shaking his head to rid himself of his melancholy thoughts, Lindsey re-focused his attention on his driving. As he passed his third cemetery, he caught a flash of red hair bobbing above the headstones, rapidly being pursued by a vampire.
Instantly realizing that as a former bad-guy he should help this girl, Lindsey moved to intercept the pursuit. His tires squealed to a halt just as the redhead dashed through the exit of the cemetery. Leaning across the cab, Lindsey opened the passenger door as she got closer.
"Get in," he called out, and after a moment's hesitation, she climbed in.
"Thanks," the girl panted, slamming the door shut as the vampire reached for her, catching his arm in the frame. She pulled a stake out of an inside pocket in her jacket, rolled down the window, and stabbed it through the heart, firmly shutting the door as the vampire turned to dust.
Lindsey was pretty sure his mouth was hanging open, but was afraid to check. He had been expecting to have to explain to this girl that that really had been a vampire chasing her. Apparently this girl not only knew it was a vampire, but how to kill them.
Willow fidgeted nervously under the stranger's stare. She was extremely grateful that he'd stopped and provided her shelter from the vampire, but now he was just staring at her, and it was making her uncomfortable. She really didn't want to have to explain to him what had just happened.
Inching her way back towards the door, Willow said, "Um, thanks for helping me, but, uh, now that he's gone, I should be on my way."
Lindsey immediately panicked when the beautiful redhead said she was going to leave. "No, wait," he exclaimed, reaching out to grasp her arm. "Please. Are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine; thanks for asking. Bad guy's gone, so I should be too," Willow politely answered, growing more nervous by his reluctance to let her go.
'Just great!' she thought. 'Escape from a vampire to get kidnapped by a lunatic.'
Lindsey still stared at her, but it was no longer in amazement. Sure, he was still surprised she knew what went bump in the night, but now he was really looking at her. Fiery red hair was wind-ruffled from her pursuit. Bright green eyes, which he noticed were starting to show fear, stared back at him. Her pale skin was luminescent in the moonlight.
"I didn't mean to scare you off," he apologized, realizing he was still holding onto her arm. "You startled me s'all. Here I thought I was going to have to play the hero, save the damsel in distress from the monster, and you did all the work."
Willow relaxed a bit once her arm was free. The handsome stranger didn't seem so bad once he stopped manhandling her. And handsome he was. His hair was short, but not too short, beautiful face and sparkling eyes.
"Y-you know about monsters?" she hesitantly asked. "Did you mean bad guy monster or Dr. Frankenstein monster?"
Lindsey couldn't help laughing and the sound was music to Willow's ears. "Actually, I meant vampire monsters."
"What do you know about vampires?" she asked suspiciously. She wasn't sure if she could trust someone who knew about vamps. "Are you one?"
"If I was, don't you think I'd have bitten you by now?" he teased. At her skeptical look, he held his arm out for her to inspect. "Go ahead, test for a pulse."
Willow cautiously reached out and rested two fingers against his wrist. She sighed when all she felt was warm skin and a strong pulse. And maybe a little something more.
"So you're human. How do you know about vamps?" she pressed.
"Stubborn little thing, aren't you? I lived in LA. It's got all kinds of demons runnin' loose. I used to work for a place that worked with demons, including vamps."
"Are you evil?" Willow nervously asked, panic once again filling her.
"No," Lindsey rushed to assure her. "At least, I'm trying not to be. It all just got to be too much, ya know?"
Willow nodded. "Well, good for you."
Lindsey smiled at her affirmation and was about to ask her for her name when she spoke up.
"Look, thanks again for helping me, but I really should be getting home."
"I could drive you," Lindsey offered. "It's not safe out here."
Willow raised an eyebrow at his comment. "Thanks, but I'm not so sure I should be accepting rides from strangers."
"What are you, five?" he laughed. Noticing Willow's scowl of indignation as her arms crossed over her chest, he said, "Look, I'm not gonna try anything, I promise. You've already been attacked once tonight, let me get you somewhere more populated at least."
Willow scrutinized him for a moment longer before relenting. "Okay, thanks. You can drop me off at the UC Sunnydale campus."
"My pleasure," Lindsey said, turning back to face the road. As he started driving, he sheepishly asked, "Now that would be where?"
Willow giggled. "I'll show you. It's not out of your way, is it?"
"I'm not going anywhere in particular. I'd just arrived in town when I saw you. Know of any good hotels?"
Willow blinked, pleasantly surprised that he wanted to stay in Sunnydale after he'd just had to save her from a vampire. "There's one near campus for when parents come to visit. I've never been there, so I don't know what it's like, but it's gotta be better than the motels near the other side of town."
"Thanks, I'll take a look. It's been kind of a long day."
"How long will you be staying in town?" Willow asked politely, starting to hope she'd see this handsome stranger again.
"Don't know. Until I get bored." Lindsey shrugged. "Didn't really have a plan when I left."
"You can pull over here," Willow said as they drew near to the library. She wasn't ready to have him know which building was her dorm, yet. "Well, as long as you know about vamps and demons, you'll be kept on your toes. Thanks again for the ride."
"You're welcome. My name's Lindsey, Lindsey McDonald." He offered her his hand as she slipped out of the truck.
"Willow. Willow Rosenberg," Willow offered with a smile. She shook his hand and could have sworn she felt a tingle all the way down to her toes. She closed the door and walked towards the library.
Lindsey watched her go for a minute, amazed at how infatuated he was starting to feel towards this girl he'd just met.
'Willow Rosenberg,' he silently repeated to himself. 'What are you doin', man? She's a college kid, for Christ's sake. You don't even know if she's got a boyfriend. Do you want to be hanging around the Hellmouth lusting after some kid?'
Staring down the path Willow had taken, he decided that he did.
Putting the truck in drive, Lindsey followed Willow's directions until he found the hotel near campus. It wasn't the Four Seasons, but it was clean. There was a restaurant open late attached to the hotel, perfect for a starving ex-lawyer. And the best thing about the hotel: it was only five minutes from Willow.
Granted, he still didn't know which dorm was hers. He couldn't blame her for making him drop her off at the library. After all, she'd just met him; and if she knew about vampires, then she might be afraid that he was some other kind of humanoid demon.
He was having a hard time believing that such an innocent looking girl, young woman, knew about vampires and how to kill them. She didn't seem to be a slayer. Faith had given off a strong vibe that even he could feel. This girl gave off no slayeresque vibes. No, what he felt from Willow was much more pleasant.
Stretching out on his king size bed, one hand behind his head, Lindsey replayed the events of the evening over again in his mind. He saw it all in slow motion. Willow running away from the vampire, Willow jumping in his truck after he opened the door, Willow dusting the vampire, Willow getting all shy and nervous as she tried to get away from him, his inability to think straight as he looked at her shy smile. Lindsey knew it down to his toes; he was infatuated with the red-haired not-slayer.
After watching the red truck pull away and turn the corner, Willow left the library and made her way back to Stevenson Hall.
Buffy was lying on her bed, flipping through TV channels when Willow walked in.
"Hey, Will," Buffy greeted her roommate, sitting up. "Where've you been?"
"Hey, Buffy," Willow replied. "I took a shortcut home through one of the cemeteries and kinda ran into an undead citizen."
"Are you alright?" Buffy asked, immediately concerned that her friend had been attacked by a vamp while she was home being lazy.
"Yeah, I'm fine. The vamp's dust. This guy pulled up in a truck as I was running away from it and helped."
"Did he know what you were running from?"
"Actually, yeah. It was so cool." Willow bounced on her bed as she excitedly told Buffy how she'd killed the vampire using the truck to hold it in place.
"And the guy didn't freak when he saw your attacker turn to dust?" Buffy asked in disbelief.
"Nope. He seemed more surprised that I knew how to kill a vampire than that that's what it was."
"Uh, Will, how do you know—"
"He has a pulse," Willow assured her friend. "He held his wrist out for me and everything."
"So, dish, what's he like?"
"Ohmygod, he's the most gorgeous man I've ever seen," Willow gushed, excited about getting to the fun girl talk. "He said he was a lawyer, but he didn't like where he was working and quit. He's in his late twenties, I think. He has light brown hair and sparkling blue eyes. He had just arrived in town when he found me, so I directed him to the campus hotel."
"You sure you didn't take him to the hotel," Buffy teased her friend.
"Bu-ffy, bite your tongue. I just met the guy," Willow gasped.
"Are you going to see him again?"
"I certainly hope so," Willow dreamily said. "I swear that I got tingles everywhere from when he touched my hand."
Buffy's goofy smile matched Willow's. "I love that feeling. Don't you just love that feeling?"
"Yeah," Willow sighed. "We didn't make any kind of plans to meet up, but I have a feeling that I'll see him again."
"And I hope I'm with you when you do. I can't wait to meet this dreamboat," Buffy said.