pt. 5

~ooAIoo~

"So...Darla?"

Angel nodded. "Yeah. Darla. She freed us from the cell; brought us here."

Lindsey seemed to take the information in. Looking back up at Angel, he asked, "How and more importantly, why?" He took inventory of their room as he spoke. Standing up, a wave of dizziness threatened so he placed a shaky hand against the wall to steady himself.

Angel ignored the action, certain Lindsey would want it that way. "Well, the how is easy enough to explain but the why?" Angel shrugged.

"You don't trust her." It was a statement, not a question.

"No, I don't." Angel observed Lindsey for a moment. "Do you?"

Lindsey laughed. "Right...I don't trust anyone."

Angel knew it was the truth. Life had burned away any trust Lindsey had placed in others. Angel figured the last person he had trusted was Lorne, although maybe that hadn't been trust. Maybe it had been more of a belief that the green demon didn't have it in himself to be deceitful. It had cost Lindsey his life. Angel watched as Lindsey sat back on the bed and rubbed at his temples. "You alright?"

"Are you stupid?" Lindsey snapped back. "I just had my brain scrambled by two demon bitches. What do you think?"

Angel smirked. "I think you're grumpy when you're not feeling well."

Lindsey glared at Angel then released a sigh, still rubbing at the pain in his head. "Where are we?"

"No idea."

Lindsey looked up. "You haven't checked things out?"

Angel walked to the door and started twisting the knob, demonstrating its locked status. "We may not be in a cell anymore, Lindsey, but we're still prisoners."

"Great."

~ooAIoo~

After exploring the room thoroughly, Lindsey had settled back against the bed's headboard, closing his eyes. Angel could detect the rhythm of sleep a few moments later. He couldn't blame Lindsey. He, himself, was just starting to nod off when he heard the lock turning. Angel tensed, never sure who or what might be coming thru the door. As the figure entered, Angel's eyes widened. This he hadn't expected.

"Hello, Angel." Marcus Hamilton smiled. "You're looking well. Must be that human blood you've been sipping."

Lindsey's eyes darted open. He looked at Angel then down at his sore arm - the needle mark obvious now.

Angel kept his gaze on Hamilton. "I didn't ask to be fed blood."

"Human blood," interjected the bigger man. "Let's not forget that part...human. Guess it's a good thing you have a source nearby. Keeps you all strong and sharp."

"What do you want?" growled Angel, firmly aware of Lindsey's gaze on his back.

"Me? Oh, nothing." Marcus sauntered further into the room. "Nice place, don't you think? Of course, the view is less than you were used to at Wolfram&Hart...what with no windows, and all." He continued around the room finally stopping at the foot of Lindsey's bed. "You're looking a little pale, McDonald."

"I said, what do you want?" Angel's hackles rose. The man was baiting them.

"Hear that, Angel? Thump-thump. Thump-thump. Thump-thump. Blood coursing thru his veins. Sounds all yummy, doesn't it?"

Angel tried to tune it out but he heard it. Lindsey's hearbeat. The blood traveling...a slight smell of fear. Angel shook those thoughts away.

"Yeah, I'd be careful, McDonald. You just might end up being lunch." Hamilton smirked as he walked away. "Thump-thump. Thump-thump."

Angel squeezed his eyes shut and grit his teeth, fighting to keep the animal inside. He'd give Lindsey credit. The man never made a move or sound. Finally, once more in control, Angel turned to face Lindsey. The men stared at each other, neither saying a word. Breaking the trance, Angel moved to the door to test that it was once again locked. It was.

~ooAIoo~

"Was that really necessary?" scolded Darla. "The last thing we want is for Angel to kill our golden goose."

Hamilton shrugged. "Just having a little fun with him. I owe him worse."

"We already agreed. You are not killing my Angelus. It was part of the deal."

Hamilton nodded. "Only problem is, he isn't your Angelus, is he? He's still a do-gooder."

Darla walked up to the man, her face transforming. "Maybe he is at the moment but this place has a tendency to bring out the animal in all of us. Give it time."

"Well, if that's the case," came another voice, "shouldn't we separate them? Angel kills Lindsey and we lose our leverage with the blood-suckers."

Darla flew into the man, still in game face. "I'm one of the blood-suckers, you insignificant ant."

Lee Mercer pulled at the fingers tightening around his throat. "I didn't mean you," he gasped, feeling Darla's nails biting into his neck. "The others...stop."

Darla's lip curled, disgusted at the human before her. Turning to Hamilton, she glared. "Tell me again, why we're keeping this one around?"

"He knows things that might prove useful."

Darla flung her captive several feet away before stalking from the room. Mercer slowly gathered himself to his knees. He didn't need to breath, he was dead afterall, but he could still be sent down to the next level of hell. He had heard rumors...whispers of what happened the lower you fell and it sent shivers thru him. He could function at this level but the lower levels... As punishment, Holland had given him a brief glimpse before he had managed to jump ship and join Hamilton and the vampire, Darla. He knew if they didn't succeed, Holland Manners would have no qualms with sending him, and the others, to the very lowest level - the literal fires of hell...the point of no return. Rubbing at his neck, he got his feet under him and stumbled to a standing position. "Thanks for all the help."

Hamilton smiled. "Never get between a woman and her man...or vampire, in this case. Don't worry, Mercer, my plan is fluid. It's possible in some version Angel dies."

Lee glared at Hamilton's back as the larger man walked away. "How about the version where Lindsey dies?" he grumbled, still rubbing at his throat. "That's what I want."

~ooAIoo~