Title: The Set-Up
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.
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.
Willow and Lindsey waltzed into Angel's office, fingers intertwined, looking like they had all the time in the world.
"You're late," Angel said from the doorway of his office. "Cordelia's going to be here any second."
Willow was in too good of a mood from spending the day in Lindsey's arms to let Angel's disapproval get to her, despite their impending separation.
"Only if I had a bus to catch," she said. "Which I don't."
"You're staying in LA?" Angel asked, surprise evident in his voice. He hadn't seen that one coming. Willow wasn't the kind of girl to blow off school because she had a new beau.
"I wish," she mumbled. "No, Lindsey's going to drive me back." Willow looked up at him as she said his name.
"I wouldn't want you to go to any trouble," Angel said, suppressing the need to punch the pleased look off of Lindsey's face.
"Spending a few extra hours with Willow is no trouble at all," Lindsey said, bringing their joined hands to his mouth to kiss the back of her hand.
"I think I'm going to be sick," Angel griped.
"Then don't watch," Lindsey said, eyes on Willow's face.
"I should go make sure I've got everything packed," Willow said. Reluctantly, she slipped her fingers free from Lindsey's. As she passed Angel, she said over her shoulder, "Play nice."
Once Willow was out of hearing range, Lindsey said, "Save the big brother speech."
Angel frowned. "I wasn't going to give a speech."
Lindsey gave him a look of disbelief. "C'mon. Willow just told you that she's not going to take the nice safe bus back to Sunnydale so that she can spend more time with the 'evil lawyer'."
Angel forced himself to take a deep breath. He wanted to argue with Lindsey. He wanted to beat him into agreeing to stay away from Willow. He didn't care how repentant the lawyer pretended to be, he wasn't fooling Angel. But for Willow's sake, he'd hold himself in check. She'd be back in Sunnydale soon enough and he could only hope that the distance would clear her mind.
"I am not going to fight with you right now," Angel ground out. "Not with Willow downstairs. I am not going to make her upset with me for fighting with you."
"Wouldn't want that halo of yours to get dirty, would you?" Lindsey sneered.
Angel stepped into Lindsey's personal space and looked down into his eyes. "Let's get this straight. I don't like you. I don't know what Willow sees in you. And I don't like the fact that I can't stop you from dating her. But since Willow is my friend I will not stand in her way. It doesn't mean that you and I have to get along though."
Lindsey remained perfectly still, drawing on years of experience dealing with the demon world in order to do so. Finally, he cracked a smile and took a step back. "See? Don't you feel better now?"
There was something about the twinkle in the other man's eyes that made Angel smile too. "Actually, yes, I do."
At that moment, the door to the outer office slammed open and Cordelia rushed in, looking frazzled. "I'm so sorry that I'm late. There was this big accident. It was really...big, and there were cars and people bleeding all over the place and--"
"Willow decided not to take the bus," Angel said, cutting her off.
"Really? Oh, good." Cordelia was instantly relaxed. "Because there was this really great sale that I couldn't pass up."
"Now that's the Cordelia I know," Willow said, suitcase in hand.
"How long have you been standing there?" Angel asked.
"Just since Cordy's entrance. Why, have you been misbehaving?" Willow said, moving to Lindsey's side.
"Of course not," Angel said too quickly, looking guilty.
"What'd he do?" she asked Lindsey.
"Same old, same old," he said, wrapping an arm around her. "Nothing I haven't heard before."
"So I'm guessing Mr. Casual over there is the reason my chauffeur services are no longer required," Cordelia said.
"Yeah, Lindsey's going to drive me back to Sunnydale. We weren't ready to say goodbye yet."
"I get that," Cordy said with a sigh.
Willow moved over to stand before Angel. "Thanks for letting me crash here," she said, pulling him into a hug.
"My home is always open to you. I hope you know that," he said. Before he released her, noting the glimmer of jealousy in Lindsey's eyes, he whispered in her ear, "Be careful."
"Always," she whispered back, before stepping out of his embrace.
"It was good seeing you, Willow," Cordelia said.
"Yeah, you too," Willow agreed.
"Ready to go?" Lindsey asked, standing by the door with her bags.
"Yep. Oh, and when you get back, you and Angel can discuss you coming to work here now that you quit Wolfram & Hart."
Willow quickly pulled Lindsey outside, ignoring the exclamations of protest from Angel and cheering from Cordelia.
As they moved to the car, Lindsey groaned, "Did you have to tell them? I was enjoying them thinking I was still evil. Besides, I told you I didn't want to work with him."
Willow giggled. "Sorry. I couldn't help myself. I don't see why you won't work with him though."
"We've been over this," Lindsey said, trying not to get upset with Willow for pressing the issue. He held the door for her before moving around the car and getting in himself. "There's history between us. Bad history. I've disliked Angel from the first moment that I set eyes on him. Granted, he was there to kill one of my best clients, but that doesn't change the fact that it was hate at first sight."
"Hate's an awfully strong word," Willow pointed out.
"Hasn't there ever been someone you couldn't stand the sight of?" Lindsey pressed. He knew there had to be a way to make Willow understand how he felt about Angel.
"Actually, yes. We had a whole club dedicated to her, of which I was President," Willow said. She snuck a look at Lindsey, trying to keep a smirk in check, but failing miserably. "It was the 'We Hate Cordelia Club'."
Lindsey felt himself go from smug to desperate in two seconds flat. "Please tell me that Cordelia was a common name in Sunnydale."
"Only one that I've ever met," Willow said. "And I believe that you know her too."
Lindsey looked crestfallen. "But you looked so comfortable with her."
Willow shrugged. "We've learned to put the past behind us. Kinda had to for a while when she was dating my best friend. Then we hated each other again when she caught me and Xan in a, um, compromising position. But we've worked on putting that behind us too, since she started working for Angel."
Lindsey frowned at the phrase 'compromising position'. "You had an affair with her boyfriend?"
"Affair is an awfully strong word," Willow protested, shifting uncomfortably in her seat. "An accurate one, I guess, since we were both technically cheating on the people we were with..."
"Wait a minute, you were with someone too?" Lindsey interrupted.
"Didn't I mention that?" Willow nervously laughed.
"No," Lindsey answered abruptly.
"Y-you're not changing your mind now? About me?" Willow nervously asked. She silently cursed her tendency to accidentally give away too much information.
"What?" Lindsey whipped his head around to look at Willow. "No. Not at all. You just caught me by surprise. I wouldn't have thought you were capable of cheating on someone, is all." He reached out to take Willow's hand in his, affirming his devotion through touch, as well as words.
Willow smiled slightly. "Normally I would have to agree with you there. Let's call it special circumstances. I'd been in love with Xander forever and then we had this clothes fluke. He was trying on a tux, I was trying on a fancy dress; we were dancing and the kiss just kind of happened. I don't know why Xander suddenly wanted me back, especially when he had someone like Cordelia already. It kinda ended badly when Cordy and Oz caught us making out while rescuing us from the vampire that was holding us hostage. Oz eventually took me back, but Cordelia never forgave Xander."
"And later Oz cheated on you," Lindsey said, more of the pieces coming together.
"Yeah," Willow sadly agreed.
"Shit," Lindsey quietly cursed. "Sorry. Didn't mean to bring that up."
Willow squeezed his hand. "I know. When I caught him, I even asked if it was payback. He said it wasn't, but a part of me will always wonder, you know?"
"Yeah, I know."
They drove in silence for a while, each getting lost in their thoughts.
Eventually, Lindsey asked, "So what's your major?" He then promptly kicked himself for asking such a lame question.
Willow giggled at the absurdity of the question; after all of the time they'd spent together. "I'm double majoring in Computer Science and Wiccan studies, with a minor in Dead Languages."
"Wow, you're quite the overachiever, aren't you?"
"It's not overachieving if you know how to balance your schedule properly," Willow pointed out.
"I'd imagine you're pretty good at that if you're involved with the slayer, on top of school," Lindsey said.
"You betcha," Willow agreed. "I'm a multi-tasking machine."
"I don't doubt it," Lindsey said, the affection in his voice causing Willow to blush.
Lindsey cleared his throat, then asked, "So, do you and Mouse have any classes together?"
"Unfortunately, no. We didn't meet until after classes were well under way. But we've already decided to try to take some of the same courses next semester." A thought occurred to Willow. "Are you going to try to see her when you drop me off?"
"I hadn't planned in it," Lindsey admitted, "but I probably should stop by and thank her."
"She's going to be almost as happy as I am that you're leaving Wolfram & Hart. If she even knows that's who you work for and what their clientele is like."
"Don't I know it," Lindsey muttered. He knew what Tara's family was like, the lies they told the womenfolk to keep them subservient. He didn't doubt that she thought she was a demon, at least partly. She would probably take offense at learning that he'd been working with demons for the last several years, helping to perpetuate the kind of evil she suspected resided in her.
"Ooh, I think we should stop by her dorm first, together," Willow said excitedly, practically bouncing in her seat.
Lindsey chuckled. "Sounds like a plan. I'm actually looking forward to seeing her. Aside from having to thank her for introducing us, it's been ages since I've seen her. Probably not since her ma's funeral."
"Well, this will be a much happier occasion," Willow said.
"Definitely." Lindsey saw an exit for a rest stop and signaled to get off. "But first..."
"Where are we going?" Willow asked, realizing they were getting off the highway. "I thought we were going straight to Sunnydale."
"We are," Lindsey agreed. "I just needed to make a stop."
"Oh," Willow said in realization. "You need to..."
Lindsey pulled into a space apart from the few other cars at the rest stop and put the car in park. "Yes, I need to..."
He unclasped his seatbelt, but instead of opening the door, as Willow expected, he leaned over and pulled Willow into a searing kiss. Willow whimpered against his lips, her need as strong as his. After talk of her past relationships, they both needed the reassurance of the other's feelings, and this kiss was laying any doubts of their mutual attraction to rest. Willow fumbled with her own seatbelt, needing to press herself closer to him, but unable to do so, restricted as she was. When she finally freed herself, Willow wrapped her arms around Lindsey's neck.
His hands were roaming over her back and into her hair, never stilling. Lindsey wished they'd taken his truck. He realized that people were smarter in the 50s; no stupid consoles dividing the front seats, preventing a desperate couple from finding the full-body contact they needed; just one nice, big seat to stretch out on.
"Next time we're taking my truck," Lindsey panted when they parted for breath.
"You have a truck, too?" Willow asked in between kisses to his neck.
"Yeah," Lindsey said, groaning as Willow's teeth nipped at a sensitive spot on his neck. "A real beauty, a classic."
"Should I be jealous?" Willow asked, switching to the other side of his neck.
"I think you'll get along great," he said.
"Yeah," Lindsey said, pressing his thigh harder against the console between the seats in an effort to get closer to Willow's questing lips. "No fucking console between the seats."
Willow laughed, the sound vibrating against Lindsey's skin. "So this is like the parental car, keeping horny couples from getting too couple-y?"
"Something like that," Lindsey had to agree. He tried pulling her closer again, but groaned in frustration at the barrier. "Wanna move to the back?"
Willow glanced out the slightly foggy windows. There were people out there, families with kids. She nibbled her bottom lip as she debated doing something like that in such a public place, during the day. Granted, clothes would be staying on, so it's not like people would see anything other than an amorous couple.
Lindsey took Willow's silence as nervousness, so after a few seconds, he said, "Look, it was just an idea. We don't have to, if you're not comfortable with it. I just thought that since we were... It was stupid, I'm sorry."
"No, it wasn't stupid," Willow quickly said, pulling him in for a quick kiss when he started to settle back in his seat. "It's just, we're in a public place where anyone could walk by and see us. I mean, granted, the windows are all foggy, so they wouldn't really be able to see anything, but they'd know what we were doing."
"And that bothers you? Even though we don't know these people from Adam?"
Willow blushed at how naïve she sounded. "I guess I'm still a little shy when it comes to such public displays of affection."
"But we're not in public. We're in my car," Lindsey protested, trying not to get upset. He wanted to be close to Willow so desperately that he was letting his emotions get the better of him.
"The car is in a public place," Willow pointed out. "If it weren't, then I'd so be in your lap by now."
"Yeah?" Lindsey looked at her hopefully.
Willow let her eyes slowly eat up Lindsey's disheveled appearance and breathily answered, "Oh yes."
Lindsey hungrily kissed Willow again, showing her how much he wished they were truly alone at that moment. "Right, then. What do you say we go find that secluded spot you were talking about?"
Willow laughed as she put her seatbelt back on, as Lindsey did the same and started driving again. "What am I going to do with you?" she asked.
"Whatever you want," Lindsey said, his voice husky with desire. "Whenever you want and however you want."
Willow gulped. She instantly sobered. "How am I going to let you go?"
"The same way that I'm going to have to leave you," Lindsey said. "Knowing that we will see each other again, and it will be better for having been apart."
Willow snorted. "You don't really believe all that absence makes the heart grow fonder crap, do you?"
"I have to," Lindsey said. "How else am I going to leave your side to drive back to LA?"
"I don't want to think about this yet," Willow said, shaking her head in denial. "It's too soon to worry about good-bye."
"You're absolutely right. We still have another hour to go until we get to Sunnydale. Then we'll go and see Mouse, and then..."
"Then we'll do what we have to do," Willow resolutely said.