Summary: Future-fic, post NFA, AU. Written for comment-fic at LJ. Prompt: They call us 'mortal' like it means something, when all it really means is that they keep their grudges longer.

Umm, randomness? Yes. This is random. I started writing it, and this plot thing just evolved, and I wasn't even planning this at all, really wasn't! So it's random. Yes.


Grudge

He finds him by chance one night as the human is walking out to his car from a business building.

Lindsey looks older - it has been a decade, after all - while Angel (presumably) looks the same as he always has. Immortality does have its perks.

Except...Lindsey shouldn't be alive. Lorne was supposed to kill him. But, well, slimy evil lawyers will always be slimy evil lawyers, and no doubt Lindsey had talked Lorne out of it.

Angel gets in his car and follows the lawyer's through the city traffic and then onto the freeway and off to a suburban community. Lindsey pulls up to a medium-sized house with a white picket fence - Angel is vaguely reminded of the suburban hell they had pulled Lindsey out of that one time - and parks in the driveway.

The vampire watches from across the street as Lindsey gets out of the car with his suitcase and jacket in one hand and his keys in the other. He nudges the car door shut with his arm and shoulder, then goes up the walk to the front door. Steps from the doormat, however, he stops and turns to look right at Angel.

Angel, with his super-vision and super-hearing, can see and hear the sigh that the lawyer lets out as he makes his way out back down the walk and driveway and crosses the street to the vampire's car.

Angel gets out just as Lindsey gets there. It's weird, the expression on Lindsey's face. Weariness, exasperation, amusement? It just doesn't jibe.

"Angel. Long time no see." Lindsey doesn't look or sound like he's itching for a fight, but it's Lindsey. Lindsey's always looking to squabble.

"You're supposed to be dead," Angel growls.

There's that amusement again, twinkling behind clear blue eyes. "I'm not," Lindsey says simply. "Why are you here? Did you stalk me down just to tell me that? Maybe finish the job?" He really should not be this…amused about it.

"Damn straight I'll finish the job," Angel says, grabbing the lawyer's throat with a lightning-quick hand and slamming him against the hood of the car. "Whoever said, 'If you want something done right, do it yourself' knew what they were talking about."

Lindsey struggles a bit, but his heart's not really in it, even Angel can tell. He's actually laughing. Who the hell laughs when they're being choked to death? Seriously, who the hell does that?

"What's so funny?"

"You," Lindsey croaks, pulling at Angel's hand in a gesture that says, 'loosen up, man.' Angel doesn't let him go, just opens his hand enough to let the guy talk. "Like a broken record," the lawyer says, "You're still holding a grudge? It's been almost ten years, man."

The way the guy says it, it's like ten years is a lifetime. Which…okay, for a human, maybe it is kind of a long time.

"You shouldn't be alive," Angel says anyway, just because. He chokes the human again.

Lindsey rolls his eyes – actually rolls his eyes – and opens his briefcase with one hand, letting Angel see its contents.

Papers. Lots of legal-looking papers.

The one on top: International Whaling Committee v. State of California.

"International Whaling Committee?" Angel says incredulously.

Lindsey taps the hand choking him.

"Oh," Angel says, and lets go.

After the requisite coughing and sputtering and gasping, Lindsey straightens up and closes his briefcase. "I'm still a lawyer," he says breathlessly, "but I've been working for different environmental groups, things like that. Not pro bono, but," he shrugs, "I think I'm doing some good."

Angel stares.

"What?" Lindsey says, and the amusement's back in full swing, "You don't think people can change?"

"You're an evil lawyer," Angel says. It's true. Evil lawyers will forever remain evil. "Why aren't you trying to kill me?"

"Ten years later, and you're still singing the same tune," Lindsey smirks, shaking his head, "I guess what they say about immortals is true: they keep grudges waaay longer than humans do."

Angel narrows his eyes. "You don't hate me?" He stops. "You still hate me. You hate me. That's what you do. You're annoying and you screw everything up, and you're evil and you hate me." There, confusion all gone. Evil lawyers are evil and stay evil until they die and end up in hell, and then they keep being evil.

Lindsey laughs, light and easy. "Like I said. Ten years. Kind of a long time for humans. A lot of things can happen in ten years."

Something buzzes. Lindsey fishes in his pocket and pulls out a phone. Angel wants to knock it out of his hand, but resists out of curiosity.

"Hey, babe…No, actually, I'm home. I'm right outside…You mind if I bring a friend to dinner?...Yeah, today. Tonight…Don't worry, he doesn't eat that much. He won't mind…He's an old friend. Just ran into him out of the blue. You know how these things are…Yeah, I know, I'll make it up to you later…Be in in a minute. Love you."

Angel stares.

Lindsey chuckles at his expression. "Like I said. A lot of things can happen in ten years. You coming?"

He starts to walk off before Angel unfreezes his brain enough to catch up with him. "What- You- What the hell is going on? Who are you and what have you done with Lindsey?"

Lindsey stops and turns to him, a big grin on his face. "You still don't get it, do you? I've changed. I have a good job – it doesn't pay as much as my old one, but it sure as hell doesn't leave me with a bad taste in my mouth – and a nice house," he gestures at the picket-fenced building, "and best of all, I have a family. I've changed. And this time around, I'm proud of who I am and what I have, and I'm going to make the best of the one life I have. Ten years," he says, "What have you done? You're immortal. Ten years is a heartbeat – if you had one, anyway. Ten years for a mortal? It's enough to let me turn my life around. So forget the grudge already. I have."

"I don't believe you," Angel says, but it lacks conviction.

Lindsey snorts and continues walking. "I never noticed how often you repeat yourself. Do you even realize you're doing it?"

"That's because people don't change," Angel insists, as they go up the drive, "They just don't."

Lindsey simply shakes his head in amusement.

Just then, the front door opens and two little girls run out, screaming, "Daddy!"

Lindsey sets his things down just in time to catch both of them in his arms. "Hey girls."

"Mommy's mad cuz you brought comp'ny home on leftovers night!" one of the girls says, and the other one adds gleefully, "She says you're sleeping on the couch for a whole week!"

"An' fixin' up the door in the bathroom cuz it squeaks bad!"

"An' she says we have to go to Disneyland!"

"Yeah, Disneyland!"

Lindsey's kneeling down so that he's on the same level as the girls – twins, Angel sees now – and the look on his face is one Angel has never seen him wear before. Ten years. Maybe it is long enough for someone to change, even Lindsey.

"Disneyland?" the lawyer asks his daughters, eyes dancing, "Are you sure she said that? You think, you think maybe you heard wrong?"

Identical heads shake solemnly. "No, Daddy." "Daddy, she def'nitely said Disneyland."

"Oh, well then, okay," Lindsey says, playing along, "if Mommy said we have to go to Disneyland, then I guess we're going to Disneyland because she's the boss."

"Yay!"

"I want you to meet my friend, Angel," Lindsey says after the girls are done peppering his face with kisses and choking his neck with hugs, "Angel, these are my girls, Jenny and Tina."

Big blue eyes just like Lindsey's look up at the vampire.

"Hey, mister. Why's your name Angel?" one says – Angel can't tell which, Jenny or Tina.

"Are you a real live angel?" the other one asks.

"Real angels don't look like that, stupid." ("Hey!" interjects Lindsey with a parental frown.) "But Daddy, angels have wings."

"Maybe Mr. Angel has wings. Mr. Angel, do you have wings? Can we see them?"

"Yeah, can we see them?"

Two sets of big blue eyes bat at him while their father's silently laugh at him.

"Uh…I'm not an angel," Angel says, because what else can he say? "My name is Angel, but I'm not an angel."

"Oh," and both little girls look so crestfallen that he actually feels bad.

Twin One brightens up. "Or maybe you are an angel but you're not s'posed to show us your wings."

"Yeah, that's prob'ly it," Twin Two agrees. "Cuz it's a secret."

"Mr. Angel, we promise we won't tell anyone if you show us."

"Pinky swear."

"I don't have wings." He doesn't. But now he wishes he does so he could show them because the pouts. The pouts are…like…killing kittens and puppies…and trampling fields of rare wildflowers…

"Oh," the girls sigh in sync, appearing resigned.

Then as soon as Angel thinks he's in the clear, one of the girls (Twin One or Twin Two) asks, "Can we see your halo?"

"Yeah, can we see your halo? Bet it's real shiny."

"Okay, girls," Lindsey says, standing up and herding his daughters up to the front door, "let's go inside before Daddy gets in even more trouble. Come on in, Angel."

Twin One grabs Angel's hand. "Mr. Angel, we wanna see your halo."

"Yeah, an' your golden harp," Twin Two says, capturing his other hand and tugging. "If we ring a bunch of bells," she asks earnestly, "will you get your wings? I bet we can help you get your wings."

Lindsey's laughing at him. Angel hates him, he really does. Evil.


AN: Angel does choke Lindsey a lot. Heck, Lindsey just gets slammed into things and choked and everything so darn much! So I decided to make fun of it.

Reference: It's a Wonderful Life - Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.