TITLE: A Soul to Seduce
RATING: NC17 eventually
SETTING: This is set immediately after the AtS S5 episode, “Damage,” but will veer from canon at that point. You’ll very quickly see how. :)
PAIRINGS: Spike/Buffy, Wes/Faith, Lindsey/OC
DISCLAIMER: Not mine, which is a shame because usually we're nicer to them than Joss was.
SUMMARY: When Buffy finds out Spike's alive, she shows up in Los Angeles to demand answers, only to find herself immediately immersed in a web of deceit and betrayal. Who to trust becomes the million dollar question, and her life turns into a race to solve it. Before it's too late for everyone.
PREVIOUSLY ON BUFFY: Wes and Faith agreed to go to Wolfram & Hart to try and determine the extent of the memory wipe, while Buffy got a call from Gemma detailing what had happened with Dana, resulting in Buffy and Spike going to the hotel to confront Angel only to find a beaten and unconscious Lindsey…
The story begins here.
He should have been suspicious when he realized the old man’s scent was all over the bleedin’ hotel. But Buffy had been so sure, and her claims about what was going on with this Lindsey fellow so genuine…Spike wanted to believe in the best, for her sake if not any other reason.
But seeing Doyle lying there in a puddle of his own blood, his face nearly unrecognizable, his hands wrecked from trying to fight back, was too much. Angel had gone too far this time. And all Spike wanted was to find the wanker and show him that their fight over the Mountain Dew was nothing compared to what he was going to do this time.
He pulled at the bars, trying to rip the door from the hinges in order to get in and get to Doyle. They were strong, barely yielding within his grip, and within a minute, he snarled in frustration.
“Help me with this,” he shot back to Buffy.
She didn’t move. “What are you doing?”
It seemed like one of the dumber questions to come out of her mouth recently. “I’m gettin' Doyle outta here before Angel comes back to finish what he started.”
“That’s not who you think it is.” She took a deep breath. “Look, Spike, whoever you know that guy as, he’s been lying to you. His name is Lindsey McDonald. He used to be a lawyer at Wolfram & Hart. According to Wes and Faith, he’s had a beef with Angel for years.”
She launched into some story about how she’d encountered him at Watts, how he’d batted Faith away like a fly, and how it had taken Wes shooting him in order to take him down and bring him in so that they could find out what it was he might be doing. The more Buffy spoke, the deeper Spike’s frown became, but when she finished, he still shook his head in disagreement.
“I don’t care what he calls himself,” he said. “And I don’t care that he’s got a history with Angel. Hell, considering how many people Angel’s brassed off over the years, I’m surprised there aren’t more crawling out of the woodwork wanting to Bronson his ass. But that doesn’t change the fact that Doyle—” He stopped, grimacing before correcting himself. The nancyboy name didn’t suit the man who’d wormed his way into Spike’s life. “—Lindsey is the reason I’ve got all my bits back. Whatever his beef, it was still his doin’ that changed me from a ghost back to myself again. That deserves something.”
“He’s dangerous,” she protested. “And unpredictable.”
“In case you haven’t noticed, pet, so’s Angel.”
Stepping forward, Buffy laid a hand over his on the bar. “Look,” she said, and he knew in that instant she wasn’t going to budge. “I get you feel you owe him, but until we know what he’s planning with all this – you, Dana – I’m not comfortable having him anywhere I can’t ensure he’s not going to escape until we talk to him. Can you think of someplace other than here that’ll work?”
Spike pressed his lips together. Buffy had a point, albeit a small one. Before the events with Dana, he would’ve suggested tapping into Angel’s resources at Wolfram & Hart. He didn’t trust the company, but that didn’t mean he wouldn’t use them any way he could. They could always take him back to his place and tie him to a chair, taking turns guarding him, but that was less humane than Spike wanted. In Lindsey’s condition, he needed medical attention and time to recover. And the only other place with the manpower, or girlpower in this case, to ensure him not escaping was Watts. Spike knew that idea was even less favorable than the evil law firm.
“I’m not just leaving him like this,” he argued. “He needs a doc.”
Buffy nodded and stepped back. “I’ll see what I can do.”
Spike watched as she retreated to the top of the stairs with her cell phone, but as soon as she began talking, he looked back to the man in the cage. Buffy’s logic about not letting him out of their sight was good, but it didn’t stop the twinge of guilt at treating Lindsey without a little more respect. Sure, he got on Spike’s nerves often enough, and the way he kept popping in and out was annoying. But he’d given Spike something nobody else had in a very long time.
A chance for a life of his own.
That counted. More than Buffy would ever understand. And if he was the one who had to sit guard so that Angel didn’t lay another hand on the bloke, so be it.
Lindsey still hadn’t moved when Buffy returned. “I called Dr. Guerrero over at Watts,” she said. “That’s Dana’s doctor. She’s going to come over and take a look at our lawyer here.”
Spike frowned. “That’s a shrink,” he said slowly.
“She’s still an MD. I was only going to ask her for a recommendation on somebody we could trust, but then she said Dana was still out cold so she could help us if we wanted. I know it’s not ideal, Spike, but the only other doctors I know are the ones at Wolfram & Hart, and I don’t think any of us want them around here.”
He had to begrudgingly concede on that. The way Buffy had been talking about the doctor, too, showed more than a little trust for the other woman. It would have to do.
“I called Wes, too,” she went on. “To tell him what’s going on. They’ve still got some checking in at the office to do, but they’re going to meet us here this afternoon to talk about everything. I figured we could use the time until Dr. Guerrero gets here to look for a spare key. I’d really rather not break the bars if we don’t have to.”
As usual, Buffy had everything under control. Spike made noises of consent to the plans, but as he turned back to the cage, a small voice in the back of his head demanded for equal say. He resisted the temptation to give it its lead, though. There would be time enough later, when the dust had settled a little, for them to have a heart-to-heart. Even if Buffy might want him back in her life in some small way, Spike wasn’t sure he could go back to the way things used to be.
The other thing Lindsey had given him these past few weeks was a bit of self-respect. After everything he had done – for Buffy, for himself – Spike thought it just might be time to start demanding some of that respect from others.
Starting with the Slayer.
It was weird being back at Wolfram & Hart. Going with Buffy to see Spike hadn’t really counted, since they’d bypassed the offices and headed straight for the infirmary. But today, Wes had led Faith through corridors that brought back vivid memories of her first meetings here, and she had to shove her hands into her pockets and bite the inside of her cheek to keep from turning on her heel and running out.
Gunn, at least, didn’t give off the same vibe as the others she passed, even if she thought he looked hotter in his jeans and tees than the suit he was trying to pose in these days. He’d been appropriately flirtatious and friendly, making the right noises about what had been going on with Spike and Angel, but when it came time to start taking trips down memory lane, he went right around the corner from Connor, making it clear he had no idea who the kid was no matter what angle she tried.
Faith had little doubt Wes was going to get the same response from Fred.
She found Wes waiting for her outside Gunn’s office. The trip from Spike’s had left him disheveled when they’d arrived, but it looked like he’d cleaned up even more than he had before leaving. His hair was freshly combed, and the dark turtleneck he wore sharp and dry. A brief stab went through her at the realization that he’d done this for Fred’s benefit. She shouldn’t have been surprised. Fantastic kiss or not, Faith knew that Wes probably thought of it as a huge mistake. She wasn’t anything to him, not really. Except a reminder of his failures.
“What happened to meeting up at the lab?” she asked, keeping her tone casual.
“Fred’s not in. I thought we’d go down to the Records Department and look at Angel’s original employment contract. I’d like to see if there’s anything untoward that we should be aware of.”
She fell into step with him, doing her best to match his long strides. “You think we’re going to have time to find me a place to crash after we’re done here? The way I figure it, now that Spike’s got his memory back, B will probably hook up with him. And the third wheel gig’s not really my style.”
They came to a stop at the elevator, but when she looked up to meet Wesley’s gaze, he was frowning. “I thought you’d be staying with me,” he said.
Faith shrugged. “You don’t want me gettin' in your way.”
“Did I say that?”
The doors slid open, and Faith used it as an excuse to break away from his intense gaze and step inside. She stood in the farthest corner, leaning against the mirrored wall, as Wes followed her in and pressed the button for one of the sub-basements. As soon as the elevator started moving, he turned to face her.
“I still have to treat that bite of yours,” he said.
“You don’t need my ass around to look at a few books.”
“Is this…” He stopped, his mouth pressing into a thin line as he contemplated his words. “If this is about what happened in front of Spike’s,” he tried instead, “we should talk about it, Faith.”
She grimaced. Talking about it was code for huge mistake. It shouldn’t have surprised her. She’d seen how nutso he was for Fred the previous spring.
“Look, you wanna forget about it, I’m cool with that. These things happen.”
“That’s not what I said. Why are you insisting on putting words in my mouth?”
“Because you sure as hell aren’t doing it. ‘What happened.’” She snorted and shook her head. “We got a little hot under the collar, we kissed, end of story. Been around the block a few times, remember. I’m not some prom queen who thinks locking lips once actually means something.”
The elevator came to a stop, the doors opening into a dark, deserted corridor. Faith sauntered past, scanning the walls for some indication about which direction to head in, but before she moved another step, Wesley’s hands came down on her shoulders. They forced her to turn around, and Wes pushed her into the opposite wall, the heat of his lean body seeping into hers.
“And if it happens twice?”
Her eyes widened the fraction of a second before his mouth descended to hers. Where their kiss in the rain had been hard and hungry, this was deliberate, a slower search as he pressed past her parted lips to coax her tongue to join in. Faith had every intention of pushing him away, to show him she didn’t need a little bit of attention to fall into line, but the warmth of his mouth and the certainty of his growing desire drew a moan from the back of her throat. She tilted her head back, fisting the front of his shirt to pull him even closer, and lost herself in the kiss.
When they parted, they were both panting. Wes gazed down at her with eyes gone dark, and he smoothed his hands down her arms before finally stepping back. “I’d like for you to stay with me,” he said. “The choice is yours, of course, but I’m unsure how to make it clearer to you that your company is more than welcome.”
Faith could think of a few ways, but she resisted the urge to glance down to see if his erection was as visible as it was tangible. “I guess someone’s gotta keep you from going off half-cocked,” she commented. Her mouth twisted into a grin; this time she couldn’t resist. “Though getting the full-cocked version would probably be worth it.”
It took a moment, but Wes returned her smile with a small chuckle accompanying it. “We’ll know better after we meet with Buffy and Spike,” he said. He began walking down the hall, keeping his strides short until Faith fell into step at his side. “She called while I was waiting for you to get done with Gunn. Apparently, Spike has issues with Angel’s interrogation techniques.”
“Did she say whether Spike’s head is clear again?”
Sobering, Wes nodded. “And once we’ve taken a look at Angel’s contract, we’ll have a better idea at how extensive the memory alterations were to the rest of us regarding Connor.” They reached a closed door designated as the entrance to the Records Department, and he hesitated with his hand on the knob. “You’ve been a tremendous help to me, Faith. Thank you.”
Gratitude made her itchy, especially coming from Wes. “Just don’t want to see Angel get a bum rap if he doesn’t deserve it,” she said. She grinned. “Make it up to me by letting me have another ride on your wheels. As soon as the rain clears, maybe we can take her out and really open her up.”
His smile slowly returned. “I think I’d like that.”
He held the door open for her to enter first. When she walked past and his hand settled at the small of her back, Faith almost hesitated. It didn’t move from its new position as he guided her to the desk and the woman sitting there, either.
By the time they reached it, Faith decided she kind of liked it.
From the end of the dark corridor, Lilah watched Wes and Faith disappear into the records department. On the one hand, this was a good development. Wesley knew of the mind wipe and was investigating further. It was only a matter of time before he found the small print on the contract that detailed that particular requirement in taking the job at Wolfram & Hart.
On the other hand, Faith Lehane was mitigating all of Lilah’s hard work. For some inexplicable reason, Wes was trusting the little tramp, enlisting her aid and…other amenities. She had the power of persuasion on her side, and it was obvious – to Lilah, at least – that she was doing everything she could to keep Wes from turning against Angel.
That wouldn’t work. The Senior Partners needed Angel alone and desperate, with no choice but to take their offer. It was Lilah’s job to ensure that happened. Well, technically it was hers and Eve’s, but so far, all Eve had managed to do was keep Lindsey pointed in the general direction of mayhem, though even that seemed to be failing at the moment.
Lilah didn’t dare leave the Faith problem in her hands. Faith would be running for fucking president by the time Eve got done with it.
As she turned on her new Manolo heel, she pulled out her phone and punched in one of the old tried and true’s. “I want everything we have on Faith Lehane,” she said before the other end even offered a greeting. “In my private office in one hour, or you’ll be eating your own entrails for lunch.” She had almost disconnected before she added, “And don’t tell Eve. Let her figure it out on her own.”
She snapped the phone shut and slipped it into her blazer pocket. Now if she could only scrub her brain clean of the image of Wes kissing the Slayer, everything would be perfect.
Gemma double-checked the address she had scribbled down. If Buffy hadn’t told her the name of the hotel, she would’ve thought she’d screwed up somehow, but everything seemed to match up. The Hyperion. And there was the car Buffy had said would be parked out front. With a sigh, Gemma killed the engine of her tiny Honda and grabbed the med kit from the passenger seat.
Before she reached the front door, it opened to show Buffy on the other side. “That was quick,” Buffy said, holding it wider for her to enter.
“Dana hasn’t budged since we sedated her,” Gemma explained. “And this sounded pretty important.”
She tried not to stare at the dusty lobby as Buffy led her through it. There were about a million questions she wanted to ask, but until she knew more about what was going on, she was holding her tongue. She liked Buffy, and by all indication, it looked like she might be a valuable ally, but until Gemma knew for sure, she had to play her cards close to the vest.
When Buffy opened a door to reveal stairs descending to a lower level, she finally broke. “I thought you said somebody was hurt,” Gemma said.
Buffy stopped on the topmost stair. “He’s in the basement. In a cage.”
Gemma blinked. “A cage?”
“He got put there so that he could get interrogated. He wasn’t exactly a…willing participant.”
Following Buffy down, the first thing Gemma saw was an angular man slouched in a chair at the door of a barred cell. His hair was a shocking white, and though the blue eyes that regarded her were shrewd, a flicker of compassion softened the sternness of his gaze. She was almost ready to greet him first when the hair on the back of her neck stood up.
Gemma had to fight not to flinch.
“This is Spike,” Buffy said, unaware of Gemma’s discomfort. “He’s…a friend. Spike, this is Dr. Guerrero.”
His head dipped, though he didn’t rise from the chair. “Heard you’re doin’ something for Dana. Good on you.”
There wasn’t time to do anything more than nod before Buffy was stepping forward to unlock the cage door. “It looks like Lindsey’s been beat pretty badly,” she said, stepping out of Gemma’s way so that she could enter. The first thing Gemma saw was the bullet wound in the man’s leg, and her sharp intake of breath prompted Buffy to add, “Oh, and he got shot.”
Gemma dropped to the man’s side, easing him onto his back. Her eyes widened when she recognized her intruder from the previous night, though he was definitely a little worse for her. Pressing her fingers to his wrist, she was relieved to feel his steady pulse, but the rest of it made her see red.
“If this is how you work,” she snapped, “maybe we need to re-evaluate your sessions with Dana.”
“This wasn’t me,” Buffy argued. “And for your information, I caught this guy trying to get information on Dana yesterday. Whatever he wants, it’s not good.”
“If you didn’t do it, then who did?”
She caught the glance exchanged between Buffy and Spike before the Slayer answered. “It was kind of a group effort,” Buffy said carefully. “But I think Angel—”
“Angel?” Gemma didn’t need to hear any more. Turning back to the man, she pushed up her sleeves in order to get to work. “Get me clean rags and boiled water. Now.” When neither blond moved, she glanced back, her eyes flashing. “Is now that difficult a concept? You’re the one who wanted the help, if I remember correctly.”
That did the trick. Spike rose from his chair and followed Buffy up the stairs, leaving Gemma alone with her patient. Lindsey, Buffy had called him. Someone Angel saw as an enemy.
“The enemy of my enemy…” she muttered as she ripped open his shirt in order to look for more injuries.
Maybe she didn’t know what his agenda had been, but coming to the Hyperion had definitely served its purpose. She’d learned that Buffy Summers was obviously partial to Angel, and this Lindsey wasn’t.
When it came to finding allies, Gemma knew exactly where she could go now.
She felt his muscles tense the second before he groaned. She turned her head in time to meet his bloodshot gaze. When Lindsey frowned, grimacing in pain at the same time, she smiled.
“Looks like you need a friend,” Gemma said. “Guess what? You just might have one.”
To be continued in Chapter 15: There Are No Saints in This Land…