His Place in the World, an Angel story from Lindsey's perspective by Glacis. Rated NC17, spoilers for the episode Blind Date, no copyright infringement intended.

He had them in the palm of his hand. Then that undead do-gooder pain in the ass stepped in, slung her glasses at her like a weapon, and proved to the jury beyond the shadow of a doubt that regardless of what their eyes told them about her eyes, this was not a woman to take lightly. It was a damned miracle and one hell of a tap dance on his part to wring a hung jury out of what could so easily have been another Angel-provoked fiasco.

By the time they got back to the Firm, he still hadn't stopped shaking. Only iron will and sheer terror kept it from showing. When she took his hand and caressed it, his will nearly broke. He couldn't do a thing to stop his eyes from widening. He knew for certain Holland saw the sweat on his upper lip. There wasn't any way he could completely suppress the shiver that went over his spine when she left. It took every ounce of his hard-won composure to look out the window and shake unobtrusively like a leaf.

Then Holland had to go and start talking about choices. Figuring out how the world worked, and what sort of cog he, Lindsey McDonald, was in the big machine. Like he had no idea what the world was like. Bullshit. He'd had his nose rubbed in the dirt that made up the world before he was big enough to know anything, and by the time he'd learned to kick before he was kicked, he'd learned one whole hell of a lot about just how the world worked.

'Til Holland mentioned Brewster's next job.

Everything he thought he'd known, about the world, about himself, tilted and fell over sideways.

Kids.

She was going to kill kids. He was going to make up a damned good horrible background for her to explain why she would. Then he was going to convince a jury that he was right, and she would take his hand again, and take his clothes off with her blind eyes, and make him itch right through to whatever shreds were left of his soul.

He didn't remember leaving the boardroom. Barely was conscious of the drive across town, past the high rise buildings, through to the West Side, all the way to the ocean. He stared at the water as the sun went down, until his own eyes felt seared blind. He tried very hard to think, but his brain, for the first time in his life, betrayed him. Instead of cutting to the heart of the problem and finding the best solution for his own ends, it kept circling back, over and over. Her hand, as it caught the glasses. The smile on her face as she touched him. The death that was her enlightenment.

The kids.

He didn't plan to go to his nemesis, but he had nowhere else to go. It couldn't happen. And if it didn't happen, he was dead. So he had to get out, and he had to make sure it didn't happen. The only man who could help him make sure that both those things happened was the one man on earth who had the least reason to help him.

He'd beg, if he had to. Wouldn't be the first time, although it had been a damned long time. But it would be the highest stakes he'd ever begged for. His life.

And the kids'.

The woman, Chase, and the man, Wesley, had stared at him as if he was some kind of cartoon villain, dropped in from another dimension. They weren't important, and he ignored them. The vampire, though ... Angel was a different story.

Angel closed the door behind his friends, and Lindsey stood very still, listening to the near-silent tread behind him. The vampire asked if Lindsey was afraid that Angel would kill him. He answered, quite truthfully, that he wasn't. Angel wouldn't hurt him. Not yet. Not now.

Knowing the enemy was a solid strategy. Angel's soul came in handy, instead of being the nuisance it usually was.

For such a cold body, it felt like a furnace behind him when Angel stopped and scented him. He heard the air rush in through Angel's nose, felt more than heard the soft rumble of his voice as he spoke of Lindsey's terror. God, yes, of course he was terrified. He was putting his life, his soul on the line here. He tried to tell Angel, tried to pry the words out of himself, spilled more about his wretched childhood to the uncaring vampire than he had to anyone since he'd turned his back on the squalor he'd grown up in and left it behind himself. Permanently.

Angel feigned boredom.

What had Angel ever known of true privation? A rich man's son, then a demon who could take whatever he wanted. Even after he'd been cursed with a soul, he hadn't ever known what it was like to be powerless. To be a child, watching the father he adored try to put a smile on when he was getting spat on. He'd never lost everything, had nothing, wanted anything. He'd never put out his five year old arms and wrapped them around his one year old sister, who should've been burning up with fever, and instead was cold as a stone. He'd rocked her in his arms all night long, until his mother had come in early the next morning and cried out, a soft little scream that stuck in her throat. His daddy'd had to pry his arms away from his little sister. That was the first time he'd ever seen a dead person.

He'd seen a lot of them since. None of them children. If there was any justice in the world ... no, there wasn't, and he knew that. But there was Angel.

By the time he finished talking, he knew that Angel would help him. Angel didn't want her to kill any kids, either.

They made plans, ignoring Chase, roping in Wesley. His heart was in his throat, and something Angel'd said to him about panic teased at the edge of his mind. Did he really want to walk away?

Well, no.

But he couldn't stay, either.

So he'd stick with betrayal, and hope like hell Angel was good enough to get them both out in one piece.

He was preternaturally aware driving away from the run-down building where the vigilante lived. He watched each shadow like a hawk, took a circuitous way home, triple checked security when he did lock himself in. He didn't sleep much. Every time he closed his eyes, he saw his sister's body, only in the pictures painted behind his eyelids, her eyes were white, and she was smiling. There was blood on her lips, and her face was faintly blue. The images of the past combined with the fear of the future kept him awake all night.

The next day at work, he did his damnedest to look his normal laid-back self. He smiled at the guards, tossing them a careless salute. He tried not to jump out of his skin when Lilah startled him in the records basement, even managing to make a joke about not letting the amoebas know the brass could read, or they'd never get anyone to do their research for them. The echo of her footsteps had barely died away before he was moving again.

His fingers were slick with sweat when he hid his identity card for Angel to use. The noise it made as it slapped against the metal sounded like a cannon shot. When he went in to distract the guard watching the security cameras, he was acting the role of his life.

The shaman started to wail about the presence of the vampire and he nearly yelped himself, but he held it in. Flicked the camera off. Covered Angel's trail. Slipped out, easy as could be, almost ready to draw a clear breath when he got the all-clear over his cell phone. Then hell yawned open before his feet.

Mind readers.

He hadn't been exaggerating when he'd told Angel that while other firms had random drug sweeps, Wolfram and Hart had random mind reading sweeps. And his luck was complete shit that one should come down when he had betrayal on his mind and the only thing he could think about was escape. The next several moments were the longest in his life up to that point.

When Holland stalked up to him, and the guard moved behind him, Lindsey swallowed and tried very hard not to think at all. He was dead, and he knew it. Then the unthinkable happened, and Lee started babbling with an inane sense of pride about being head-hunted, and the next thing he knew, there was an explosion next to his left ear and he flinched away instinctively. Not fast enough. A splash of hot blood painted his cheek and jaw, soaking into his collar. For an instant, he thought it was his, thought for certain it had been a diversion and he was the one being targeted, knew without a doubt that the bullet had taken off the back of his head and he was dead.

Except he wasn't.

His knees were shaking, but he was still upright, staring down in numb shock as guards dragged Lee's body out the door. He turned to leave, almost missing the soft-voiced, "Lindsey. Stay a minute," from behind him.

Then he knew it had been a diversion.

The next few minutes were even slower than the eons he'd spent in the line-up. Lilah patted him gently on the shoulder as she left, support or goodbye, he didn't know, and figured she didn't either.

He'd been certain sure Holland was going to kill him. He almost dredged up a smile, almost managed banter, forced his exhausted, confused, and fucking terrified mind around the concept that Holland wasn't going to kill him. Holland was giving him time to think. Holland was going to let him walk out the door.

It took a bit to solidify his muscles, but he managed it. He walked out that door, alright, expecting every second, every footstep, to hear another explosion, this one ending it all.

The door closed behind him with a sound like a sigh.

This time, he drove directly to Angel's offices after a short stop in the men's room to clean the blood off his face. The vampire's eyes went right through him, burning into him, and he managed to take a light tone, although he had no idea where it came from. "Sorry I'm late. I hope I didn't worry you."

"We just thought you were dead," Chase answered him perkily, which seemed perfectly suitable, in a bizarre sort of way.

Not yet, but soon, he thought but didn't say. Then one of them, maybe himself, he was so catawampus by that point he didn't know, pointed out an address. They had no time. Angel headed off to fight Brewer for the children, and he found himself doing the driving, as Wesley and Chase went off in Angel's car to find the children's caretaker. It was a fast, furious, tense drive. The car was nearly silent, and Lindsey concentrated wholly on not crashing into anyone or anything on the way. They were almost there when Angel finally said something. It wasn't what he expected to hear.

"I smell fresh blood." Lindsey jumped, but didn't look away from his intense focus on the street in front of them. "And brains. Not yours, you're still walking."

He grunted, a noncommittal sound, and hoped Angel would let it drop. Then a cold touch against the side of his jaw made him jump. "Jesus! What the hell're you doin'?" As always when he was afraid, his accent thickened, and equally the norm, he hated it. He glanced over and saw Angel delicately licking at a dark smear on the tip of his finger.

"Missed a spot when you were washing up."

Lindsey's stomach nearly revolted. Not from the pensive look as Angel was sucking Lee's blood off his finger, but because of the sharp flash of remembrance of how very near his own death had been. "Yeah. Well. One of the guys got fired today. Literally. I just got too close."

He didn't hear Angel move, but suddenly that not-heat not-cold too-close presence crowded him again, and Angel's breath was soft in his ear. "How close, Lindsey?"

He shuddered. He wanted to turn his head, wanted to look at Angel's face, wanted to spit in it. Wanted to crawl across the seat and disappear into him, wanted to feel safe again as he hadn't felt since he was little. A tiny voice was laughing hysterically someplace deep inside his brain, but he didn't listen. He didn't look.

"We're here." He jerked the car to a stop and nearly fell bolting out of the car, getting away from that closeness. Denying that safety that was just an illusion. Went forward to do the only thing he knew for damned sure had to be done, save the kids from Brewer. The rest could wait until he could think again. Until he could hear something besides his own blood rushing in his ears.

Angel went first, and Lindsey let him, not as if he could stop him. He had no scruples about letting the vampire lead the attack, just as he had no scruples about hitting a woman, especially a woman who was a homicidal freak, and most especially when that woman hit him first. Until the previous day he'd've been pretty certain he had no scruples about anything, but something about murdering children had caught on the one moral he hadn't purged. Once the woman in question started beating the holy crap out of him, he really had no scruples about doing his best to kill her.

Thankfully, Angel was much better at it than he was, since Lindsey found himself tossed around like Raggedy Andy, and about as much help in the fight. At one point he realized he was flying through the air upside down, and he crashed into the wall only to have a couple hundred pounds of randomly flailing vampire tossed down on top of him. He took a huge gulp of air, trying to drag breath into badly bruised lungs, and realized several things at once.

His face was buried under Angel's chin. Angel smelled good.

Angel's arms were holding him against the wall, strictly by accident, and in a futile attempt to keep his weight off Lindsey. Those arms were rock solid. He didn't particularly mind the weight.

He had the gut-deep feeling he had thrown everything away for nothing. She was going to win. They were going to die. The kids were going to die. He was harder than he'd ever been. He wanted her to be dead. He wanted Angel to go on holding him.

Happily for what little was left of his sanity, Angel rebounded back into the attack and took his body away from Lindsey's before they both discovered things about him he'd just as soon neither knew. Then the vampire found a way to kill Brewer with her own sharpened white cane. Lindsey pulled himself over to the children and did something he hadn't done since he was ten.

He reached out and gathered them up in an embrace. He put his body between theirs and the threat before them. They held onto him and he held back. He was muttering something, "It's alright, you're alright," his tongue slick with his own blood, his head ringing, his arms quivering.

Then Angel gathered them all up and shooed them out to the car. When the children were safely in the back seat, he headed shakily for the driver's seat. A strong hand wrapped around his biceps and brought him to a halt, nearly pulling him off his feet at the same time. He looked up, blearily.

"What?" he tried to ask. The word didn't make it out of his throat. A shadow blocked out the moon, a big body moved faster than anything that large had a right to, and he was held again, up against the car. He closed his eyes as Angel kissed him, tongue flicking out to lick the blood from his lips. He started to shake even harder. Guessed he hadn't been quite fast enough to hide it. Didn't know whether to laugh, cry or throw up. Didn't have the chance to do anything but breathe through his nose and stare, wide-eyed, as Angel backed away and stared down at him.

"I'll drive," was all the vampire said. Then he opened the back door, shoved Lindsey in with the kids, and they took off. The children moved closer to him, moths to the flame, and held onto him tightly all the way to their mentor's safe house.

They didn't let go of him until their mentor called out, then they flew away like startled birds. He watched them go, then slipped away himself. As he slid into his car he looked back.

Angel was watching him.

In the little bit of light casting shadows across the vampire's face, Lindsey saw the tip of his tongue come out and lick at the full bottom lip. He didn't know how he knew, but he knew that Angel was tasting him. His blood. His mouth.

He was hard all during the short, fast drive back to Angel Investigations. He downloaded a few select files with machine-like efficiency onto a zip disk then stashed it in a stamped padded envelope and addressed it to the post office box he rented under an assumed name in Calabasas and shuffled it in with the out-going mail. Then he gathered the original disks up and, mind racing with possibilities, headed back to the Firm.

Thoughts were chasing themselves in his head. If he'd had the brain God gave a goat he'd get the hell out of town and mail the disks back instead of heading bare-naked back into the lion's den. But he couldn't leave. He'd known Holland for fourteen years. He really hadn't wanted to betray him, had hated lying to him.

Hadn't had a choice.

He had to talk to Holland. He didn't have the faintest idea what the hell he was going to say. Had even less idea what he was going to hear. There were other things to consider, now. The fallout from his actions in helping save the kids, in going over to the enemy for the rescue operation. Whether there ever was any such thing as 'getting out' from an organization like Wolfram and Hart. Whether he'd ever actually be safe if he did.

Just what Angel had meant when he'd kissed him.

Shaking the last thought off, Lindsey sat in the car and called on every lesson he'd ever learned in a lifetime of putting up a good front. By the time he stood in the doorway of Holland's office, it was as solid as he could make it.

The boxes took him aback.

Holland shifted, his head going up much as if he scented Lindsey on the air before anything was said. Lindsey swallowed, moistened his throat, and spoke his mentor's name.

The following conversation was yet another surreal note in an utterly unreal week. He wasn't killed on the spot. He wasn't threatened, or rounded up and given to the demons as a snack, fresh people-kibble. He wasn't even tossed out on his ass.

He was offered a promotion.

Was that what bucking the trend got a guy? It didn't make any sense.

Holland told him again to think about his place in the world, to look deep into himself and make a decision about where he belonged. Then Holland walked out the door and left it open behind him. If Lindsey stayed it would be his choice, his acknowledgement that his place was with Wolfram and Hart. Where the power was.

Lindsey leaned against the desk, staring at the lighted hallway behind it. Part of him was sure there was a guard waiting to blow the top of his skull off if he actually did try to leave. Much more of him knew there wasn't. Holland meant it. One way or another, it was up to him. Mind chasing itself again, he walked slowly to the double doors. He gently closed the right door, then just as gently closed the left one.

He remained inside the office.

He'd had too many places taken away from him. Been vulnerable and helpless and shat on too many times. He didn't know where he was going from there, but it wasn't back out in the cold.

Not that it wasn't cold enough inside. He walked back over to the desk and ran his hands along the rounded edge. The black marble was cold, as cold as he was feeling in the pit of his stomach. Moving slowly to sit behind the desk, he removed the receiver from the 'phone and put it silently down on the desktop. Then he swiveled in the comfortable black leather chair and looked out over the nightscape of LA.

His town. If he had the balls to take it. He had a place in it, he knew. He wasn't a hundred percent sure what that place was. There were some question marks.

Just before dawn one of those question marks, more urgent than most, urged him back across town. He parked in the alley behind the building and came in the back way, ducking down the stairway before Chase could look up from the computer and spot him.

"You came back." Angel's voice came to him out of the semi-darkness of the inner room, and he paused at the base of the stairs.

"Yeah." He wanted to say something, but he didn't know what. As he always did when he was unsure of himself, he kept his mouth shut and watched. Even with his eyes wide open and glued on the vampire, he missed the move. Next thing he knew, Angel had him pinned against the wall. The position made him think of a bug stuck on a board, and didn't do much for the aches and bruises he'd picked up fighting Brewer. "Ow," he tried experimentally.

Angel kissed him again. Black dots were swimming in front of his eyes when he was finally allowed to drag in a breath. Dimly he heard a question, it sounded like 'why?' but he couldn't tell. Didn't care. The erection he'd been fighting through near death and battle and confrontation all fucking night had caught up with him, and he wasn't hearing anything at all but the demand to do something about it.

So he did.

Wriggling around until he got a hand free, he grabbed Angel by the back of the head and pulled him close. This time it was Lindsey doing the kissing. The pressure of their mouths grinding together reopened the cut on his lip, and the rasp of Angel's tongue licking at the seeping blood made him moan. Angel caught the sound and swallowed it, too.

It was quiet in the room. Quiet and dark. He'd not have known it was daylight, in the little nest the vampire had made for himself. There was an intimacy in the dark, in the quiet, the only sounds his own gasping breath, the rustle of cloth as Angel stripped him, as he stripped Angel in turn.

The last person he'd fucked had been an actress, a nobody, no threat and no risk. Angel was both, the enemy and the embodiment of betrayal. Lindsey touched him, knowing nothing but that he had to, his hands tracing cold skin like satin over marble, outlining tensed muscles, the sweep of Angel's back, the curve of his ass, the length of his throat. Angel did the same, hands hard but not hurting, urging Lindsey's legs apart, winding around Lindsey's waist, one hand up into his hair, one hand working at his groin.

Angel's hands didn't shake.

Lindsey's did.

The first time Angel made him come right there, shoved up against the wall, shuddering and convulsing in arms that held him solidly as stone. He buried his face in Angel's neck and screamed silently, or as silently as he could, biting at the soft skin, tonguing it and wondering at the lack of sweat. His world had narrowed to the hand holding his hip and the hand between his shoulder blades and the neck under his mouth and the chest that didn't move against his. By the time he got his breath back, they were in Angel's bed and Angel was in him.

He was on his belly, Angel curled around behind him, those strong arms banded around his chest now, his face buried in the bedspread. His entire body was on fire except for his ass, and Angel felt like a different kind of fire there, a cold fire, incredible cold opening him up. Owning him.

Ephemeral.

No one owned him.

Lindsey bucked back against Angel, and the vampire growled, a warning or a sign of pleasure, he couldn't tell. Then he was on his knees, slamming back almost as hard as Angel was slamming forward, and the ownership went both ways. He was taking as much as taken, growling as fiercely as Angel did, grunting and shaking, all his weight thrown forward onto his straightened arms with their locked elbows, his head hanging down, hair in his eyes and blood dripping off his chin. His second orgasm hit him unexpectedly, and he howled, the sound stifled by Angel's fingers suddenly in his mouth.

Angel stiffened and whipped hard against him, and Lindsey bit down on Angel's hand. He was licking it and sucking at the fingers unconsciously, and Angel moved them in and out of his mouth, picking up a shadow of the rhythm their bodies had made. Then Angel was slipping out of him, twisting him around on the bed with one abrupt, inhumanly strong movement. Lindsey found himself cradled underneath the vampire, staring up into yellow eyes, a ridged forehead, and a snarling smile showing sharpened fangs.

He lay completely still, barely breathing. Oddly enough, he wasn't afraid. Angel, or Angelus, or whoever the hell it was holding him, laughed softly.

"It ain't perfect bliss, but I'll take what I can get." The unholy face dove at him, and a single fang raked across his lower lip, widening the cut, then sucking the wounded flesh between sharp teeth, tongue probing and washing it.

Lindsey bucked again, startled by how erotic the pain was. Then the strong sucking eased into a deep kiss, and he opened his mouth to give Angel full access. By the time the kiss ended, Angel was back in human face.

He didn't know whether to be relieved or disappointed.

Angel stared down at him. Through him. It was as bad as the mind readers. "Why?" he asked again.

"I had to know," Lindsey answered honestly, although he couldn't tell Angel just what it was he had to know. He wasn't quite sure himself. The vampire stared at him awhile longer, then nodded, probably seeing more than Lindsey wanted him to see. Angel usually did. Damn him.

"Did you make a choice?" The arms around him tightened fractionally.

"Yes." He had. Before Angel could take it any further, Lindsey hooked an arm around Angel's neck and drew himself up to kiss him again. Angel allowed himself to be distracted.

Perhaps he didn't want to know what that choice had been, either.

Five hours later, Lindsey let himself into his new office and walked slowly over to the executive washroom at the side. He looked around as he walked, noting that nothing had been disturbed from that morning. It was waiting for him, if he was going to take it. Turning on the cold water, cupping some to splash on his face, he looked up to meet his own eyes in the mirror.

On the surface, as usual, they showed nothing. In the depths, where the shadows had always been, he saw his place in the world. Not on the right side, or the wrong side. On the winning side. Patting his skin dry, he straightened his tie, walked over to his desk, and put the telephone back on the hook.

FIN