Rating: NC-17 overall
Pairing/Characters: Willow/Lindsey, AtS team
Word Count: 1,879 this chapter; 8,241 total
Summary: Willow goes in search of Lindsey when he suddenly disappears.
Timeline: BtVS: Post-Chosen, AtS: During Underneath (some dialog may be borrowed from the episode).
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 1: Written for the Which Witch Ficathon. I didn't entirely follow my prompt - What if Willow joins Wolfram & Hart with Angel's team after leaving Sunnydale? - but I hope you enjoy it anyway.
Author's Note 2: This is a non-direct sequel to my story Searching for Stability. I have a story in mind that takes place in Sunnydale between that one and this one, but it is currently incomplete. The main thing you need to know (if you don’t want to go read SfS) is that Willow and Lindsey met while she was in England for her magic rehab and Lindsey was there hiding from the Senior Partners after he left LA.)
Author's Note 3: For the purpose of this story, Lindsey and Eve were never lovers, just partners.
Willow and Lindsey stayed up late into the night... talking. With nowhere in particular they needed to be, they luxuriated in being in the other's arms.
"Good Morning," Willow purred, rubbing her face against Lindsey's chest.
"Mmm... 'morning to you, too." Lindsey ran his hands along her body.
Willow stretched up to kiss him, morning breath be damned.
"Isn't this sweet," commented a voice from the bedroom door.
"Angel, get out," Lindsey growled as Willow 'eeped' and pulled the sheet up to her neck.
"What are you doing here?" Willow managed to squeak.
"You missed the morning meeting," Angel informed them.
"What morning meeting?" Lindsey asked, knowing the answer.
"The one where we decided what to do with you," Angel said.
"Wait a minute... What?" Willow stuttered. "You can't just have a meeting like that and not tell us!"
Angel held up a memo. "This was put under your door last night."
"Give it here," Lindsey demanded. He and Willow quickly skimmed the memo. "You know, for something like this, a phone call would have been polite."
Angel simply shrugged, failing to keep a smirk off his face.
"Can you give us five minutes to get dressed so we can talk about what happened at this meeting?" Willow requested.
"Fine. Be my guest." Angel went back out to the sitting area, closing the door behind him.
"Of all the nerve..." Willow started, but Lindsey cut her off before she could gather too much steam.
"It's typical is what it is," Lindsey said, pulling on his boxers as he got out of bed. "It's much easier to plan my immediate future if I'm not present."
"I still say you should have been there," Willow pouted, rising naked. Last night she'd found a couple of robes in the closet, like at a four star hotel, and she went to retrieve them now.
"Not disagreeing with you on that point. I'm just not surprised, is all." Lindsey took the robe Willow handed him and they both pulled them on.
Angel was standing by the windows when they came out and turned to face them. He raised an eyebrow. "You call that dressed?"
"I don't call it naked," Willow retorted. She and Lindsey settled on the couch. "So tell us what you decided about our future."
Angel sat in a nearby chair. "You're free to do whatever you want now, Willow. You're welcome to stay here for as long as you like, but if you're needed back in Brazil, I won't stop you."
"I hate to say 'I told you so'," Lindsey said.
"So it's true then?" she asked Angel. "You're going to keep Lindsey prisoner here, even after going to some holding dimension to bring him back. Not that I'm ungrateful, but why bother?"
"Lindsey has information that I need. That's the only reason that he's here and not still receiving his daily dose of torture."
"So you plan to keep him as your hostage? Yeah, sure, that's a good way to get someone to be honest with you... take away his freedom!" Willow felt Lindsey's hand settle on her thigh.
"Lindsey knew very well that we wouldn't be simply letting him go once we brought him back."
"I tried to tell you last night," Lindsey reminded her. "I know the way things work here, even with someone new in charge."
"So what am I supposed to do?" Willow asked, the urge to cry making her voice thick. "I'm not just going to leave you here."
"I'm not asking you to. I'd love it if you could stay here until Angel's satisfied that I've told him everything I know. But who knows how long that will be." Lindsey spared a brief glare in Angel's direction.
"Willow, I meant what I said," Angel interjected. "You're welcome to stay here with Lindsey for as long as you want."
"Give me a minute here." Willow stood and went to the window. After several minutes of silence, she finally said, "I know Wes is your go-to magic guy, but he's doesn't have anywhere near the kind of power that I have."
"What are you sayin', babe?" Lindsey asked, going to her. "You want to work for Wolfram & Hart?"
"Wolfram & Hart, no. I already have a job with the Watcher's Council. But until Angel's ready to let you go, I'll help him out." Turning to Angel, she asked, "What do you think?"
"I think you'd be a welcome addition to the team," Angel agreed.
Willow gave him a watery smile. "Uh, thanks."
Standing, Angel said, "I'll leave you to get properly dressed. Willow, I'll give Wesley a call and let him know what we've discussed. When you're ready, head on down to his office. If he's not there, try Fr--, um, try the lab."
"Sure thing," she agreed.
Once he was gone, Willow let out a breath she hadn't realized she was holding. "What have you gotten us into?" she muttered.
"You having second thoughts already?" Lindsey asked.
"And third and fourth thoughts even." Willow gave him a tentative smile. "I'm not changing my mind. If being here with you means that I have to work with Wolfram & Hart for a while, then I'll do it. Giles would probably love to have some inside information on the place. And let me tell you, mister, that is not a chat that I am looking forward to having."
"I'm sure that you'll be able to convince him it's for the best," Lindsey assured her, sliding his arms around her waist. "What do you say we grab a shower and some breakfast before anything else."
"Sounds like a plan to me."
After a long shower, followed by a quick brunch in the Wolfram & Hart cafeteria, Willow and Lindsey went in search of Wesley. As Angel had guessed, he was not in his office, but rather in the lab. As Willow looked around, she could just picture Fred in there, in her element.
She was brought down to a harsh reality when she looked ahead of her to find a woman with Fred's face, only blue, with blue hair and a skin-tight red leather outfit.
"Fred?" she gasped and backed up a step.
The person before her stiffened upon hearing Fred's name. "You knew the shell."
"Willow, Lindsey," Wesley said, stepping out of an office, presumably Fred's. "I see you've met Illyria."
"I sense power," Illyria said, cocking her head.
"Hi, I'm Willow. You're probably sensing me."
Illyria took a step closer and Willow tried not to flinch under the cold, intense stare. She felt like she was being evaluated. Like Illyria could see straight through her.
"Like me, you have great power in a deceptively weak package. Are you here to challenge me?"
"Challenge you? Goddess, no," Willow insisted.
"Which goddess do you refer to? I was once revered as a god, although not female. Do you pray to me?"
"No, I was referring to the Mother Earth Goddess."
"A human delusion," Illyria sniffed with derision. "If you are not here to offer challenge, then I shall challenge you. I will not have my power questioned."
"I don't want to challenge you."
"You fear me, as well you should." Illyria seemed almost pleased.
"Okay, sure, I can fear you. I mean, you're way scarier than Glory," Willow said.
"Glory?" Illyria considered the name. "Do you refer to that petulant child Glorificus? A spoiled excuse for a hell god. It was wise of her siblings to cast her out."
"Yeah, that would be her," Willow agreed. Willow noticed that Wesley had come to stand beside Lindsey, who was wisely staying out of it.
"I grow weary of this conversation," Illyria announced, turning with accuracy to where Wesley now stood. "While this one has great power, it is no threat to me."
"Would you care to return to our work, then?" Wesley inquired.
"I would," Illyria agreed, crossing to the far side of the lab without a look back. Wesley watched her go.
"What happened to your little Texan geek?" Lindsey asked, slightly confused by what had just happened.
"You saw what happened to Fred," Wesley bit out. "She was infected by Illyria who carved out her body. Fred's soul was obliterated by that...thing."
"And you let it stay here?" Lindsey asked.
"Illyria has nowhere else to go. Her kingdom has long since been destroyed. Besides, I think you know how Wolfram & Hart likes to keep its enemies close. She could also be a powerful ally."
"So could I," Willow said. "Did Angel talk to you?"
"Hm? Oh, yes, he mentioned something about you helping me out until Lindsey decides to stop messing us about."
Ignoring Lindsey's smirk, Willow said, "Yeah, that about sums it up. If you could use me, that is."
"Of course I could use you," he said, finally meeting her eyes. "I'm sure your skills in both magic and research will be invaluable." Glancing at Lindsey, he asked, "And what will you be doing?"
"I'm the guy that knows about the Senior Partners, remember?"
"Yes, so you'll be doling out little tidbits of information as you see fit," Wesley surmised.
"Exactly," Lindsey said, wearing the biggest shit-eating grin Willow had ever seen.
"Can you two please play nice?" Willow asked, pleadingly.
"Doubtful." "Probably not."
She threw up her hands in exasperation and glared at both of them, but let it go.
"Willow, why don't you take today to get settled in your suite? Anything that is on my desk will hold until tomorrow."
"Thanks, Wes," Willow said, dragging Lindsey out of the lab.
As they crossed the lobby, Angel stepped out of his office. "How'd it go with Wesley?"
"Great! He gave me today off and we'll get down to business tomorrow."
"I think you'll enjoy the work he does."
"Bloody right she will," Spike agreed, seeming to appear out of nowhere. "We'll enjoy having her here, too. What with Fred gone, we're sorely lacking for female company." He ignored the indignant 'Hey!' that came from Harmony's desk.
"Spike," Angel growled. "Where did you come from?"
"Accounting. You really gonna stay, Red?"
"Well, since Lindsey can't leave, I guess I am," Willow acknowledged.
"Yeah, heard about your house arrest. It's not so bad, really. Was trapped here myself while I was a ghost. And hey, at least you're corporeal and can enjoy the company of your woman."
"Uh, yeah, when you put it that way..." Lindsey agreed. "Look, I meant it when I said I'd help you take down the Senior Partners You just make sure Willow stays safe. We don't know what they'd do to her after she created an army of slayers."
Hitting Lindsey on the arm, Willow protested, "Don't talk about me like I'm not here. I know the risks of staying, but it's not like I haven't spent the better part of my life at risk."
"I just got back to you, I don't want anything to happen to you."
"Oh, get a room," Spike complained.
"You know, that's not a bad idea," Lindsey agreed, nodding towards the elevators."Care to take this somewhere more private?"
"I like the way you think, mister," Willow agreed. Following Lindsey, she called back, "See you guys tomorrow."