Author: dragonydreams (Elisabeth)
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: 2,328; Total Word Count: 6,590/10,000
Buffy led the way into the Magic Box, as Giles had decided to call his shop. Lindsey had barely set foot inside the building before Buffy had yelled out, "Giles," in a piercing tone. Lindsey couldn't help wincing at the urgency behind the word.
A middle-aged man wearing jeans and a flannel over his t-shirt stepped out from behind a bookshelf. Lindsey assumed that this was Giles.
"I'm right here, Buffy. There's no need to shout," Giles automatically said. It was obvious that he'd said these words to Buffy many times before. When his eyes caught sight of the newcomer, Giles said, "Oh, I'm sorry, but we're not open for business yet." He gestured to the work being done on the shop around them.
"Oh, he's not a customer," Willow quickly said. "This is Lindsey. He helped me get away from a vamp last night. Giles, Lindsey. Lindsey, meet my friend Giles."
Giles looked a little surprised when Willow said Lindsey had helped her with a vampire, but he recovered quickly. Holding out his hand to shake, Giles said, "It's a pleasure to meet you, Lindsey. Thank you for assisting Willow. She is very dear to us and we would hate for anything to happen to her."
"It's nice meeting you too, Sir. And it was my pleasure to help Willow," Lindsey said, flashing a grin in Willow's direction, causing her to blush.
"I suppose you have some questions about Willow's attacker…" Giles guessed. "Is that why the girls brought you here?"
Before Lindsey could say anything, Buffy jumped into the conversation. "Oh no, he already knows all about vamps and other things that go bump in the night. Don't you, Lindsey?" Buffy said, glaring at the lawyer.
Giles' eyes grew colder as he reevaluated this stranger, trying to determine if he was a threat to them.
"Buffy," Willow admonished her friend, "stop it."
"What? I'm only telling Giles the truth."
"But it's not your truth to tell," Willow insisted.
"It's okay, Willow," Lindsey said, placing his hand on her arm. He tried to ignore the warmth he felt at touching her. "It's part of why we came here, isn't it?"
"I know," Willow said, placing her hand over his, "but she's still being rude bringing it up like that. I wanted Giles to like you before bringing up your past."
"Maybe he'll like me anyway," Lindsey said, his confident grin making her knees weak. "You seem to still like me, after all."
"Yes, perhaps I will still like him," Giles said, interrupting the moment. "Or at least I might if I knew what was going on."
Three voices spoke at the same time, each wanting to clarify the situation best. Buffy said, "He's evil," as Willow said, "He's from LA," and Lindsey said, "I worked for Wolfram & Hart."
Giles took in all three answers and turned to Lindsey. "You were a lawyer for Wolfram & Hart? In Los Angeles?"
"And he's evil," Buffy added, in case Giles hadn't heard her the first time.
"I heard you, Buffy," he said, still scrutinizing Lindsey. "Is she right?" he asked the man before him. "Are you evil?"
"Do you really think that I'd admit it if I was?" Lindsey defensively snapped. He felt like he was being evaluated by his potential girlfriend's father. Which, given what he'd observed so far, was probably the case. Calming down, he apologized. "I left Wolfram & Hart because I couldn't handle working there any more."
Willow squeezed his hand encouragingly.
"And you chose Sunnydale to start over?" Giles asked, doubt shadowing his voice.
"I didn't set out to move to Sunnydale, no. I didn't know where I was heading when I left LA. I was just going to pass through here, until I met Willow."
Willow blushed and gave Lindsey a shy smile. She'd had a feeling that Lindsey was attracted to her too, but was surprised to hear him pretty much admit it.
When Buffy saw that it looked like Giles was going to believe Lindsey, she triumphantly said, "He tried to kill Angel. Lots of times."
Giles raised an enquiring eyebrow as Lindsey scowled. Unfortunately, for Buffy, her words had the opposite effect than she'd been hoping.
"I'm sure that he had it coming," Giles said, much to Lindsey's surprise.
"Giles," Buffy whined. "Didn't you hear me? I said he tried to *kill* Angel."
"Who tried to kill Angel?" Xander asked as he entered the shop. "And more importantly, please tell me they succeeded."
Lindsey turned to the new voice, surprised to hear the venom in the voice of someone so young. Whoever this boy was, he obviously hated Angel, maybe even as much as he did.
"Xander, this is Lindsey," Willow said by way of introduction. "Lindsey, this is my other best friend, Xander."
Xander looked Lindsey over, appraising the man Willow seemed to already know, trying to decide if he'd be good enough for her.
"You're the one who tried to kill Angel?" he asked, his voice flat, giving nothing away.
"Um, yes?" Lindsey answered, thrown by the boy's tone.
Xander grinned. "Well then, you're very much welcome here."
Xander ignored Buffy indignantly crying out his name in order to whisper in Willow's ear, "I approve," causing her to blush and nod her head in acknowledgement.
Lindsey was a bit floored by the different reactions he was getting from this group of people. Xander seemed like a good guy, and one he could definitely see himself becoming friends with, especially over a shared hatred of Angel. Giles he was still a little unsure about. While he seemed to be very concerned about his knowledge of vampires and the evil of the world, he also seemed to be open to giving him a chance to prove himself, which is what Lindsey needed right now. Buffy, on the other hand, was prepared to hate him simply because he had tried to kill her ex half a dozen times or so. As the slayer, it wouldn't be smart to piss her off too much. But Willow…
Willow was quickly becoming someone he wanted to stick around for. She was open-minded and forgiving, and seemed interested in him, too. Even after learning about his past, she still wanted him to meet her friends and was trying to help him find a job. She was definitely someone he wanted to get to know much better.
"Doesn't anyone here care that this man has tried to kill my ex-boyfriend?" Buffy practically shouted, having gotten fed up with the apparent lack of concern for Angel's safety.
"Not really," Xander answered.
"Buffy," Giles said, trying to placate his Slayer. "Perhaps if Lindsey had succeeded in staking Angel, we would be a bit more hesitant to get to know him. However, as he has only attempted to kill Angel, obviously unsuccessfully, I don't see why we should hold that against him. As the…" He paused, realizing he was about to reveal that Buffy was the Slayer, "You can hardly fault him for wanting to kill a vampire."
"It's okay, Giles," Willow said, having caught his near-slip. "Lindsey figured out that Buffy's the Slayer."
The coldness was back as Giles asked, "He what?"
"It wasn't all that hard to suss out," Lindsey said. "I've…met Faith before, so I've felt the energy that comes off of a Slayer. It didn't take long to put together Willow's knowledge of how to kill a vampire with a roommate being a blonde named Buffy living in Sunnydale. The fact that Buffy's ex is Angel just cemented the fact, since I'm very familiar with his history."
"Buffy gives off energy?" Xander asked. "What are you, radioactive?" he teased his friend.
"Not that kind of energy, Xan," Buffy said with a roll of her eyes.
"No," Giles warily agreed. "It's one not normally felt among the general population. Mainly only magick-users and creatures of evil are aware of it. Which are you?"
"Neither really," Lindsey said. "I have no Talent to speak of. I may have worked for a firm that represented evil; but I don't believe that I, myself, am evil. Let's just call it an…awareness. I've been working alongside demons and truly evil lawyers for so long now that I've had to strengthen my perceptions to be aware of those who might wish to do me harm." He didn't feel comfortable mentioning the fact that he had an evil hand, although he did unconsciously rub the faint scar.
"So what is it that you plan to do here in Sunnydale if you are not, as you claim to be, planning on carrying out nefarious plans," Giles asked.
"Actually," Willow nervously started, "I thought that maybe Lindsey could, um, work here?"
Giles turned surprised eyes on Willow. "Y-you expect me to hire a man who admits to having worked with evil for I don't know how many years, and expose him to books and other implements of power?"
"Uh, yes?" Willow uncertainly replied. When she was met with Giles' disbelieving stare, she said, "Look, Lindsey said that he wants to start over, turn his life around, start doing good. What better place to do that than here, helping us?"
"How do we know that this isn't all just some elaborate plot to get close to the Slayer?" Buffy asked. "He could have set that vamp on you last night, just so that he could play hero and get you trust him. He might be using you to get to me."
"God, Buffy, why does everything have to be about you?" Willow exclaimed. "Do you really think he'd admit to having worked for Wolfram & Hart if was trying to infiltrate us?"
"If he was trying to earn your trust with the whole redemption angle, then yes," Buffy answered. "Angel's told us about him before, remember? They've come to blows many times since he moved to LA. You know how tight-lipped Angel can be about what's going on in his life. He wouldn't have bothered mentioning Lindsey if he hadn't been a continuous thorn in his side. And now we're supposed to just believe him when he says he wants to start doing good? I don't think so."
"He really said that about me?" Lindsey asked, sounding a little proud. "I was a continuous thorn in his side?"
"Not now, Lindsey," Willow said in a loud whisper.
"Oh, right. Sorry, just means that I was doing my job right," Lindsey said. Turning to Buffy, he said, "I know that it may look suspicious, but I really don't mean any harm to you and yours. If it's really going to be that big of a problem, me stayin' in town, then I'll keep going. Like I said, I hadn't planned on stayin' here." He turned his eyes back to Willow, who he was pleased to note looked sad at the idea of him leaving. "But if it were up to me, I'd stay here. I'd like to try to make up for some of what I did at my former place of employment, and the Hellmouth seems like a good place to do that. Besides, there's a few other things here that I'd like to have a chance to explore."
Willow's fingers itched to reach out and hold his hand, but she resisted the urge, barely.
"I think you should hire him," Xander said to Giles, allowing Willow and Lindsey their moment. "That way, if he's up to no good like Buffy thinks, at least we can keep an eye on him. But if he's on the level, which I think he is, and I'm pretty confident Willow thinks so too, then it's a win-win situation."
Giles removed his glasses and began to clean them with the edge of his flannel shirt. "Perhaps you're right."
"Lindsey," Giles said, drawing the man's attention away from Willow. "How are you with a hammer?"
"Fine, I guess."
Giles nodded. "Be here around 10 o'clock tomorrow morning. We'll see how you do preparing the shop to open; then we'll see about the rest."
"Thank you, Giles," Willow gushed.
"Yes, thank you Mr. Giles," Lindsey said, somewhat surprised by the offer, temporary as it might be.
"You may want to hold onto your thanks for now. This is just a temporary invitation. And please, call me Giles," he said.
"Of course," Lindsey agreed.
"Oh, now that that's settled, what did you want to see me about, Giles?" Willow asked, having nearly forgotten that he'd asked her come down.
"What? Oh, um, right. I was hoping that you would be able to do a protection spell for the shop when you have some time. We may not be open for business yet, but as we get closer to opening, I rather think that we should ward against anything happening to it to prevent it from opening."
"Of course. No problem. I should have all the necessary supplies in my room. I can do it tomorrow if you'd like," Willow offered.
"That would be wonderful. Thank you."
"Is that all?" she asked, hoping the answer would be yes.
"Yes, that was it," Giles said. "I do have some other business to discuss with Buffy, though."
"Gotcha. I think I'm gonna take off then," Willow said to the group.
"You don't want to hang out for a bit?" Buffy asked, not wanting Willow to leave with Lindsey.
"I was kind of hoping to show Lindsey around a bit," Willow said. Realizing that he might not want to spend more time with any of them, she quickly said to him, "Unless you don't want to, that is."
"I'd love to have a Sunnydale native show me around," Lindsey said, thrilled by the idea of spending some one-on-one time with Willow.
"Good," Willow said with a sigh of relief. "We'll see you later," she called to everyone as they left.
The sound of two male good-byes and a female "be careful" followed them out the door.