Summary: Lindsey meets someone on the road and gains a bit of perspective.

Disclaimer: All of these characters remain the property of their owners/creators. . .I'm just borrowing them for a spell. . .

Rating: PG-13, for themes.

Time Frame: Second season Angel, a few days after "Dead End." (Spoilers).

Archiving: Be my guest, but e-mail me ( to let me know. . .I like to know where stuff I write ends up and I might want to see what else you've got.

Dedication: To Skye, on the occasion of her birthday, and with apologies for the delay. : - ).


Lindsey floored the accelerator, reveling in the feel of the powerful engine of the battered pickup as it sped along Highway 5 North. That impulse had nearly landed him in hot water on the outskirts of L.A., when a cop had stopped him going eighty near the 110/5 Interchange, and Lindsey had been left to wonder for several minutes why the cop writing the ticket looked so pissed off at him until he spotted the piece of cardboard taped to the back of the truck. * That bastard got me again. . .oh well, at least he didn't break any of my body parts doing it this time * He had explained to the officer that he had been the victim of a practical joke, and the cop was actually reasonable about it; after all, who would be dumb enough to put a bullseye on their own back?

Paying off a traffic ticket was not an issue for Lindsey at this point: he had cashed out his assets as best he could before leaving L.A., then converted them to traveler's checks and other easily portable forms that would not leave him at the mercy of either a random armed robber or the rather talented computer experts of Wolfram & Hart. Money was not a problem. . .finding a direction in life aside from hitting the road and speeding toward the horizon in a random direction was another matter altogether.

Lindsey spotted a sign: "Redding: 5 miles." Lindsey knew that Redding was a relatively small town with its share of motels and bars, and decided to stop for the night. . .he needed to unwind, and this was as good a place as any, particularly since he knew the demonic activity files in the Wolfram & Hart computers like the back of his hand, and the only dangers here were of the man made variety.

Lindsey found a motel without trouble, stowed his possessions in his room, then walked out into the night, heading toward a small cluster of bars in the outskirts of town. He picked one at random and walked in.

The bar was small and dimly lit, and only a few patrons were scattered around at the small tables and at the bar itself. Lindsey walked over to the bartender, ordered a couple of beers, then took them back to a corner booth. He took a long gulp from one of the beers while he thought about whether he wanted to continue north to Oregon, or maybe start east. . .he had never seen Idaho or Montana. * Easy to get lost out there * Frowning, he turned his head slightly to work out a crick in his neck, and thus was looking at the door when someone new walked in.

She was about five and a half feet tall, and looked healthy rather than slender: the short sleeves of the T-shirt she wore suggested that she spent time working out to improve her muscle tone. She wore black jeans and white tennis shoes, both of which had the appearance of being lived in without looking worn out or tacky. Her hair was auburn and cut to medium length, and her eyes were green. Lindsey considered himself quite adept at spotting a woman's age, but he had a hard time getting a handle on this one. . .though the small wrinkles around the corners of her eyes suggested that she was probably over thirty.

The woman walked over to the bar and ordered a Kamikaze in a quiet, cultured voice. The bartender quietly filled the order, not acting as if the woman was a regular, and Lindsey watched her, wondering what she would do next. The bartender handed the woman her drink, and she paid him and thanked him, then slowly turned around until she was facing Lindsey, after which she locked eyes with him.

Lindsey felt a chill, and a small amount of fear. There were demons that would mark someone like that: find them, stare at them for a moment, then leave, intending to claim their victim in a less public time and place. Lindsey was irrationally relieved when the woman blinked, smiled slightly, then walked over to Lindsey's table. She smiled down at him and asked, "Mind if I join you?"

Lindsey felt another chill, and his eyes roamed the room for a moment until he spotted a mirror that was placed in the right position to reflect his table. Both he and the woman were clearly visible. * At least she's not a vampire * Lindsey smiled at her and gestured at the seat across from him, replying, "Of course. . .please do."

The woman nodded at him, then slid into the seat. Lindsey took another sip from his beer, then frowned and commented, "Your accent is unusual. . .may I ask where it comes from?"

She shrugged, then replied, "I lived in Greece a while back. . .accents tend to stay with you, no matter how much time has passed." She smiled at him again and extended her hand, adding, "I'm Dora Kolkotrones. . .nice to meet you."

Lindsey looked at the dignified woman sitting across from him, reflexively considering lying about his identity, then shrugged inwardly and reached out to shake Dora's hand firmly as he replied, "Lindsey McDonald. . .nice to meet you, Dora." He glanced around their surroundings, then commented, "Nice little place."

Dora looked around, shrugged, then replied, "Yes, I suppose so. . .I've never been here before."

Lindsey smiled involuntarily at his perception in spotting her as an outsider, then commented, "So, what brought you here tonight? Taking a rest from a long, boring drive up I-5, or are you a local trying out a new hangout?"

Dora smiled back at him and leaned over the table to whisper in his ear, "Looking for you."

Lindsey leaned back and laughed out loud involuntarily. A few of the locals turned to look over at the table, then shrugged and turned away. Dora watched him in amusement as Lindsey recovered, then commented, "It wasn't that funny, Lindsey."

Lindsey smiled at Dora again, then replied, "You don't know what I know. . .it's very funny." He paused, then concluded, "Believe me, the only people that might be looking for me right now are about as far from being you as this town is from Nepal."

Dora studied Lindsey quietly for a moment, then responded, "It sounds like there might be a story there. . .will you tell me about it?"

Multiple warning sirens went off in Lindsey's head: why was Dora being so inquisitive? Maybe the firm had decided to take an old-fashioned approach to problem solving, and Dora would sucker punch him in an unguarded moment, causing him to wake up in an interrogation room at Wolfram & Hart, where he would suffer pain of the deeply unpleasant variety until they were convinced he had revealed all of the hiding places of the dirt he had on the firm. . .after which he would wind up at that dog food factory in San Pedro that had so unnerved Lilah. He looked at Dora, seeking out the signs of deception that he was so familiar with in and out of court. He saw nothing but a compassionate expression, and a touch of sadness in the green eyes. He blinked, then gave Dora a hard look and commented bluntly, "It isn't a pretty story, Dora."

Dora shrugged, then responded, "Few stories are. Let me hear about it."

* * * * *

His strange urge to be rather more candid than usual aside, Lindsey was not about to give away the whole game to someone who could possibly be an agent of Wolfram and Hart (or, on a more mundane level, an investigator of the California State Bar). Without providing easily checked details, he told Dora that he had been a lawyer in a large Los Angeles firm that operated in a rather unethical manner. He spoke for ten minutes, then summed it up neatly: "I participated in actions that destroyed careers, ruined reputations, caused deaths, and threatened the lives of countless others. . .then one day I saw things taken one step too far, and I couldn't participate in it any more. So I prepared to leave. . .then my mentor made me an offer that caused me to waver, then stay. It would be another year before I once again decided I couldn't deal with it any more, and I left the next night. . .and ran until I arrived here." He looked up and locked eyes with Dora before concluding, "So there it is. Feel like drinking with me now?"

Dora looked at him unblinkingly for a moment, then replied sardonically, "Certainly. . .but the least you can do is buy the next round." She signaled to the bartender, and fresh drinks arrived at the table a moment later.

Lindsey blinked, surprised at her reaction, and wondered if she simply disbelieved him. He began to speak, only to have Dora cut him off: "Oh, I believe every word you said. . .though you were obviously leaving details out." Lindsey squirmed under her gaze as Dora continued, "Lindsey. . .do you think you're the only one in the world with a dark past? You're a criminal defense attorney: you should know better than anyone the hidden things that live in men's souls. You have an edge over most, though: you've admitted that darkness exists within you, and stepped back from the abyss. The question is, what are you willing to do about it?"

Lindsey frowned, then looked back at Dora with a humorous expression on his face as he replied, "I don't suppose 'Go forth and sin no more' will cut it?"

Dora shook her head sadly, then replied, "It's a start, but it won't be enough. You mentioned your adversary, the one who you went to for help in trying to break away, then betrayed. . .I gather that he too has issues of this sort. Once you have done evil to a great degree, a man with any conscience will not be able to settle for simply doing no harm. . .his actions will eat away at his soul, until he seeks to make amends, or is once more lost to darkness. I have known you for only a short time, but I believe that neither of those options would be attractive to you.."

Lindsey closed his eyes and bowed his head, then opened them again and looked back at Dora, and he saw his own acceptance of her words mirrored in her eyes. He blinked, then whispered, "So what do I do, then?"

Dora smiled softly at him, then responded, "Review your life. Evaluate your gifts. Use your knowledge. If you are determined and patient, the answer will come to you in due time." She stood up, then stepped over next to Lindsey's side of the table before extending a pale hand and whispering, "But for right now, dance with me."

Lindsey blinked again in surprise, then realized a slow song had begun to play on the jukebox. He allowed Dora to lead him to the dance floor. They danced quietly for awhile, with Dora resting her head on Lindsey's shoulder as they did so. Eventually, the music died out, and Dora leaned over to Lindsey's ear and whispered, "Let's get out of here."

Lindsey paid the tab, and they walked out into the night, silently taking in the darkness and ignoring the occasional passerby. After about an hour, Lindsey found that they were walking by his motel. He stopped, then commented, "This is where I'm staying. . .why don't you let me drive you back to your motel?"

Dora looked at him, and Lindsey could feel the intensity of her gaze even through the darkness. Her voice drifted over to him, and Lindsey felt a chill go down his spine at the words: "I'd appreciate that. . .in the morning." She walked next to him, then reached out and pulled him down into a forceful kiss that neither broke until Lindsey carried her into the room and kicked the door shut behind him.

* * * * *

Lindsey blinked as the sunbeams darting through the window fell across his face. He sat up in bed, then turned to his left. She was gone, with only the faintest trace of her scent showing that she had ever been there. He sighed, and closed his eyes for a moment, remembering the long moments of passion between them. He got out of bed and walked into the bathroom, planning to take a shower and see if he could track her down before he left town.

A plain manila envelope rested on the bathroom sink: it was labeled simply, "Lindsey." Lindsey picked it up and tore it open, finding a single sheet of notepaper covered in elegant script. Lindsey frowned and began to read:

Dear Lindsey,

I knew more of what happened with you than I let on. As long as I've been around, you learn to spot some of the signs. Still, compared to some of the things I have seen over the years, your experiences aren't that horrifying to me. . .hope that doesn't offend you.

Human beings harm each other in countless ways, Lindsey, and it isn't always so that deeds done in malice are more harmful than those that spring from simple carelessness, or curiosity. . .I know that better than anyone, I believe. As long as life continues, there is a chance to undo some of what we have done, or at least to do good to counteract the harm. . .it simply requires the will to do what must be done.

The choice is yours. I pray that it may be the right one.

With hope,


Lindsey stared at the letter, then turned to look at the door that the woman he had met last night had slipped out through while he slumbered. He shook his head, and his thoughts screamed denial: * It couldn't be. . .it's a myth. She's just an insightful crazy person. . .God knows there are enough of those out there * He closed his eyes and pictured Dora again, then sighed as the intensity of his doubts diminished, though they did not vanish altogether. He looked back at the letter, then placed it back into the envelope carefully and shook his head ruefully before placing it on the sink and stepping into the shower with a thoughtful expression on his face. There was a long stretch of road to cover today, and introspection wasn't going to suffice to get him through it, though it might well help.

As always, comments are welcomed and desired