Lindsey stared at her friends and his sister, wanting to find a hole and fall into it, preferably before Buffy's friends murdered him.
"I can't believe you, Lindsey. That is the scummiest thing I've ever heard of," Ainsley said. He had never seen such a look in his kid's sister's eyes. She was the scariest thing in the room.
"You'd better get out of here," Willow said, her body trembling with rage. "Come on, Oz. We need to keep up with Buffy, make sure nothing happens to her."
"Need help getting your shit together?" Ainsley asked as Oz and Willow disappeared. The heat of her gaze nearly ignited his clothing.
"No," Lindsey growled, not looking at his sister. He couldn't bear her fury.
"Good." Ainsley kicked him square in the groin with her pointy cowboy booted foot. "That's for Buffy."
Lindsey lay on the floor gasping as his sister stalked out. He heard her call out, "Willow, Oz, wait, I'll go with you." Maybe he could just die now.
It was dark when Buffy got back to her dorm. She wasn't expecting Lindsey to still be sitting at her desk. He had one of her towels wadded up in his lap as he sat there sprawl-legged. "I thought I told you to be gone."
His blue eyes remained furtive as he said, "I wanted a chance to explain while we were alone."
"You actually have an explanation for why you work for an evil law firm that helps demons and hurts good people and why you thought it would be a lark to seduce me into helping you take down Angel?" Buffy leaned on the doorjamb, waiting to hear this. She had heard a lot of rationalizations in her short life and she was expecting this one to top them all.
Lindsey put the towel on the desk. Buffy saw it had an ice bag in it.
"Which one kicked you in the nuts?" She knew she shouldn't enjoy that fact so much.
He grimaced. "My sister."
"Good for her. Now, get out if you can walk." She stabbed a finger out the door.
"I didn't mean to hurt you, Buffy. But you're right, I knew what I was doing was wrong and there was nothing I could do about it once I started caring about you. I should have taken those feelings, kept them to myself, and just broken it off with you before it went too far. That would have been the right thing to do but it's been a very long time since I've done that, that I've forgotten how," Lindsey said, struggling to his feet.
She believed him and hated him for it. "That's probably the first true thing you've ever told me."
"No, the first true things were that you're beautiful, that I care about you and that I loved the time we spent together," he shot back.
Why was he making this so hard? She just wanted him gone before her heart bled more. "Wonderful. Fine. That's the first true thing. Now, what are you waiting for? Get out now and maybe I won't tell Angel how you played us both. It'll hurt him hearing about it but I know he still cares enough to come tear you apart." Buffy gave him her best grim look, having no real idea what Angel would do.
Lindsey's eyes widened, his breathing quickened. She saw the worry he felt at that idea. "I'm going."
Before Lindsey could go Oz stumbled in. A cut gushed blood down his face as his body trembled. "She's got them."
"Who has who?" Buffy asked, going for a towel to clean his wound.
Oz collapsed on Willow's bed. "She had a taser. Hurts. The pagan killer has Willow and Ainsley."
Buffy dropped the towel. "What?"
"She has my sister?" Lindsey roared.
Oz nodded. "She was muttering biblical passages. She put them both in a van."
"Where?" Buffy checked Oz's cut scalp.
He pushed her hand away. "I'll show you."
"If they're in a van, we'll never be able to find them," Lindsey said, his face dead white. "God…Ainsley. My sister can't die like that."
"We'll track them," Oz said, staggering back up to his feet.
"How?" Lindsey asked, desperation in his voice.
"Oz is a werewolf." Buffy opened her footlocker. "Pick your weapons."
"Are you sure they're here?" Lindsey's fingers clenched around his crossbow. He could barely think. If they were too late, if his sister died because she had been out trying to find Buffy after the wreckage he had wrought, he'd never forgive himself.
"They're here," Buffy said. "I can hear the woman."
Lindsey looked to her to take the lead. He knew what a Slayer was capable of doing. She was born for this sort of battle and he had no qualms about giving up control to her. Buffy crept forward on the loamy ground. Oz had tracked the van into the woods. The police had never found the killing grounds for the other victims, their bodies having been dumped elsewhere.
Oz cocked his head. "What is she singing?"
"Sounds like I Let the Bible be my Roadmap," Lindsey said and they looked at him. "My father was big into taking us to church on Sundays, had us in the choir. Probably why I'm a demon lawyer and my sister's a witch, too much damn church."
Oz's nostril's flared. "I don't smell any blood."
"Good." Buffy took the direct approach and stepped into the clearing. Willow and Ainsley were bound hand and foot with duct tape, propped up against the tree. A Coleman lantern tossed a yellow-white cast over the trees and underbrush, giving everything an eerie feel.
Lindsey saw the woman, holding a Bowie knife to his sister's throat. She was so unassuming, thirty-something, mousy brown hair, roundish build. No wonder the cops hadn't found her, or Buffy either. Everyone expected serial killers to be male, not to look like a Girl Scout leader.
"Time to let them go," Buffy said, a knife of her own in hand.
The woman looked up, startled, the edge of her blade biting into Ainsley's throat.
Lindsey nearly shot the knife-wielding woman in panic but he saw the cut was shallow. He knew the kick a crossbow had. It could go through the woman and into his sister at this angle. "You aren't going to get away with this." At least his voice didn't betray his emotions.
She made a sound that could have been a laugh or a water pipe gurgling. "You can't stop me. The sorceresses have to be punished. Too many people forgetting God's word. It can't go on."
"We're not letting you hurt anyone," Buffy said, inching forward. She stopped as the woman pressed the blade harder against Ainsley's throat. The girl wept and cried behind the silvery strip of duct tape over her mouth.
"Think you can get to me before I kill her?" The lady smiled. "Why would you want to stop me? God wants witches to die."
"My sister isn't a witch," Lindsey said.
"And Willow's Jewish," Buffy added.
The woman's face twisted in hate. "Lies. I know where their hearts are and they'll pay for their deviltry."
"Not this time," Lindsey said and leaned closer to Buffy as he leveled his crossbow. "Be ready," he whispered.
"You won't shoot me." The woman tilted her chin up. "You know I'm right. I always do what the Bible tells me."
"Even the stuff that contradicts the other stuff?" Lindsey asked, keeping her focused on the cross bow he held in his left hand. "Or how about the part in Deuteronomy, where it says to kill rape victims because they didn't cry out for help? Should we do that? Or the part about selling our daughters in slavery. Don't you find most of Leviticus cruel?"
"You shut up!" The woman took the knife away from Ainsley's throat and pointed it at him.
Buffy was moving even as Lindsey thrust out his right hand and shouted, "Alzata!"
A pale blue wave of force rippled between him and the insane woman, knocking her down. Ainsley was buffeted by it but given the alternatives, he'd settle for having a bruised sister any day. Buffy was on the woman, knocking her out with one blow. Oz raced to Willow's side as Lindsey dropped his crossbow and tore his shirt off over his head. He pressed it to his sister's bleeding neck. The wound was bloody but shallow and for the first time in a very long time he was thanking God for something.
Buffy dialed 911, reported the incident then put a hand on his shoulder as he peeled away the duct tape over Ainsley's mouth. "Is she all right?"
Lindsey nodded as Buffy stooped down and cut the duct tape binding Ainsley's arms and legs. Oz was already through Willow's bonds. "She'll be okay. Shhh, Ainsley, it's over," he said, rocking his weeping sister.
"No wonder you didn't even blink when I told you about being a Slayer." Buffy nodded at the fallen woman.
"You know magic," Ainsley whispered, her voice filled with surprise.
"Some. A few incantations, mostly protective and something for knocking my clients down if need be," Lindsey said, wryly. "Don't talk, Ainsley, just let your throat rest. It's not deep but you need to just lie still for me." He looked up at Buffy. "Thank you for stopping her."
"I was about to say the same thing," Buffy said and went to Willow's side.
Lindsey turned his attention back to his sister, shaking now with the realization of how close he came to losing her.
Buffy watched Willow and Oz wolfing down a tube of raw cookie dough. Willow had gotten over her fear of nearly dying at the hands of Ms. Armstrong, and was well into being furious. Xander and Giles had been called and apprised of what had happened and the roommates were expecting visits from at least one of the men if not both.
"Lindsey might be as big a poop-head as Parker but I'm kinda glad he was there," Willow said. "Not that you couldn't have saved us without him."
"Doubtless," Oz said then popped a wad of chocolate chip dough into his mouth.
Buffy lay back on her bed, staring at the ceiling trying not to think about it. It had been all in all a horrible day, close up there with some of her other memorable horrible days. She was still angry with herself for letting Lindsey trick her, for liking him way too much, for getting hurt again. What was wrong with her? Someone knocked on the door and Buffy rolled to her feet to answer it. "Probably Xander."
Instead, Lindsey stood there.
"What do you want?" Buffy barred the door with her body.
He pointed inside. "My guitar then I'll be gone, just like you wanted."
"How's your sister?" Willow asked in spite of herself.
"The plastic surgeon put in a few stitches and she's spending the night in the hospital but she'll be fine. I'm going back there now," Lindsey said with relief. "Thanks for asking."
Buffy shoved his guitar case at him. "Good, go."
Lindsey gnawed his lower lip. "I know you don't believe me, Buffy, but I am sorry for how this all turned out."
"Don't care how you feel right now." She pushed him back into the hallway. "You lied to me. You only wanted me for information on Angel. That's the only reason you're here."
"No, the reason I'm here was to get my sister to move off the Hellmouth. She's ready to do that now. I'll be paying for her to start school at a different college next semester. You were an after- thought my bosses had. And I'm not making excuses for doing my job or for what I did to you. There is no excuse." He dropped his gaze. "But I can apologize. I know you won't accept it but I am sorry. I did care about you, more than I should have, more than I wanted to. You got to me. You are not the only wreckage I'm leaving behind."
"So long as you're leaving." Buffy pointed down the hall, trying not to cry. She didn't want to give him that satisfaction. "You can't take back what you did, Lindsey. I can't forgive it. You used me and would have kept on using me for whatever evil purpose your law firm has. I was starting to really love you. I can't believe I could love someone so evil," she said, lying to anyone in earshot. She had loved Angel even as Angelus. Lindsey couldn't come close to that evil.
He shook his head. "I'm not an evil man, Buffy, just a trapped one. I had no idea what I was signing up for when I signed my contract with Wolfram and Hart. By the time the blinders came off it was way too late."
"So walk away."
"You sound like my sister," Lindsey said. "There is no walking away from them. Even if I were to leave today, all they'd need to do is kill me."
"You'd be free," Buffy said as the phone started ringing. She heard Oz pick it up.
Lindsey smiled sadly. "No, actually I wouldn't. My contract goes beyond death."
Buffy shuddered at that. How could he have taken such a deal? Was he that greedy? That damaged?
"It's a little too late for me, Buffy, and I knew that going into this relationship. I should never have even tried to get involved with you." The sorrow in his eyes told her a story she didn't want to hear.
Oz poked his head out the door. "That was Giles. Ms Armstrong was just killed in the jail by persons unknown."
Buffy looked at the little werewolf then back at Lindsey, her mouth open. Armstrong probably deserved to die for all the lives she had taken but Buffy wasn't expecting this. "You had something to do with it, didn't you, Lindsey." Her voice shook. Had he ordered a murder? Was he as evil as Angelus? Could she have been any more blind?
"Prove it." His eyes flashed blue fire. "Wolfram and Hart has a very long reach, Buffy. Armstrong nearly killed my sister but I didn't order this. I don't think I'll be doing much mourning for a serial killer. Goodbye, Buffy. Wish things could have been different."
Not believing he was entirely innocent, Buffy watched him walk away, a few tears running along the curve of her nose. She wiped them away as she went back into her room and flopped down on her bed. Willow got up and sat with her, putting her arms around her.
"I'm so sorry, Buffy."
"I just have the worst taste in men," Buffy moaned.
"Dough?" Oz wiggled the half empty tube.
Buffy made a brittle laugh. "Yeah."
Oz winged her the chocolate chip tube and Buffy broke off a hunk. It would take more than cookie dough to ease Lindsey's betrayal but at least it would keep her from running after him to give him another chance to prove he wasn't as bad as she thought he was. For now, that would have to do.
Requests: Willow and Oz, violence
Restrictions: Angel cannot be a villain, not too much smut.