**Just a little Christmas surprise. Hope to have more by New Years. Again, thanks for all reveiws and comments. All are appreciated. Hope everyone is having a very Merry Christmas and the New Year brings you joy. Now, on with the story.

pt. 4


He was running down an endless corridor bathed in darkness, his chest heaving and legs aching as if he was nearing the end of a marathon. He couldn't remember how long he'd been there or who was chasing him but he was certain someone was. He had to stop. Stooping over with hands on his legs, he gulped in much needed oxygen. He just wanted to rest. Hands came out of the walls and grabbed at him, trying to pull him in. He fought his way free and began to run once again.

A laugh sounded in the darkness behind him. "You can't escape, son. This is where you belong. Accept it."

"Leave me alone," he yelled back into the darkness as he continued to race down the corridor. He could hear the whispers in the walls becoming louder and cries in the distance begging for mercy. "Shut up."

Holland's voice again sounded behind him - but closer this time. "There's no escape, Lindsey. We own you. You are ours...for eternity."

Lindsey stopped in his tracks and turned around slowly, coming face-to-face with Holland Manners. "No."

Holland laughed at the strangled whisper. Mockingly he replied, "Yes." He grasped Lindsey's arm but couldn't keep the grip as Lindsey tore his arm away and started running again.

"It's no use, Lindsey," laughed Holland. "Your fate is set."

Lindsey's eyes flew open and he pulled frantically against the arms that held his. He knew it had only been a nightmare but his conscious and sub-conscious minds hadn't caught up with each other.

"Easy. It's me, Lindsey. It's Angel."

Lindsey froze. Wide eyes turned to face the vampire. His rapid breathing was slowing even as his eyes danced around the room. With a quick tug, he pulled free of Angel's grip and scrambled a few inches away.

Angel held his hands up and stepped back, giving Lindsey more personal space. He waited silently as Lindsey continued to survey the room.


Angel winced at the gravel-voiced question. He was used to Lindsey's normal hoarseness but this sounded painful. He was about to reply when he heard the lock turning. Lindsey must have heard it too, or perhaps was just sensing his reaction. Angel could smell fear coming off of Lindsey. Usually the man was much better at hiding it. Whatever his dream...no, nightmare... had been, it still affected him now.

Darla entered the room, smiling at her boys. "You're both awake. How delightful. You had us very worried, Lindsey," she scolded, making her way closer. Angel met her halfway, preventing her from coming any closer. She raised an eyebrow as she looked up at her former lover - or, recent lover, actually - and frowned. "What are you doing, Angel?"

"You stay the hell away from him," growled Angel, the threat quite clear.

Darla, keeping her voice low, taunted, "I didn't realize you had changed teams or I wouldn't have seduced you. I didn't cause a lovers' spat, did I?"

Angel was used to Darla's games and didn't take the bait. "You heard me."

Darla glared at him. "Fine." Without further comment, she stalked from the room. The rattling of the walls as she slammed the door didn't surprise Angel. He actually smiled, satisfied he had won this round but had no delusions it would be the final round. Darla didn't give up easily.

A throat cleared behind him. Angel schooled his features before turning to face Lindsey. Making his way over, he sat in the bed opposite to Lindsey, waiting for the questions to begin. He knew Lindsey would have a lot of them and intended to answer them as best he could.


Darla fumed as she paced the floor. "The audacity to order me...to treat me as some common...ohhhh, he makes me so mad sometimes."

"Easy, dear. We mustn't show our hand too soon. I fear Angel won't be easily duped. He's a suspicious one."

"There was a time I could get him to do anything." Darla's thoughts traveled back - after she had turned him but before his...soul. The best years.

"Yes, well, it appears that time has passed."

Darla glared at her companion.

"Just saying-"

"Don't," she snapped.

"Alright, calm down." He moved behind her and started rubbing her shoulders. Initially she stiffened at his touch but soon the knots started to unwind and her demeanor calmed. Keeping up the massage, he asked, "So McDonald's awake?"

"So it seems."

"Good. Good."

"You know, they might willingly help us. Holland Manners wasn't exactly a friend of theirs when he was alive and now with what's happened down here..."

"Oh, I've no doubt they'd be all for Holland Manners' downfall but I don't think they'd go along with our plan."

"Lindsey definitely wouldn't," agreed Darla. "Angel might come around."

"I don't think we can take that chance. There isn't time for you to bring out his inner beast."

"Angelus would've loved this place," Darla wistfully stated.

"I can imagine."

Darla turned on her companion, "No, darling, you can't begin to imagine what my Angelus would do in a place like this."