Chapter 6

Lindsey tried not to speed as he drove himself and Willow to his hotel. While they didn't speak, the air crackled with the sexual tension he knew was between them. A quick look at Willow confirmed that she was feeling it too, if her slightly flushed skin and rapid breathing were anything to go by.

A part of him wished that he could read her thoughts right now. She didn't give the impression of someone who went to hotel rooms with men they'd only met the day before. Granted, looks could be deceiving, but the innocent vibe she gave off was contrary to her actions thus far.

He nearly slammed on the brakes as his thoughts stuttered at the word 'innocent'. What if she truly was an innocent? Just because she was in college didn't mean that she wasn't a virgin. What if she was? Was he reading too much into their remarkable chemistry and she really did just want to hear him sing? God, he hoped not.

Following that train of thought, Lindsey frantically tried to remember if he had any condoms buried in his duffel bag. He had a moment of panic that he didn't. After all, it wasn't like he'd planned on hooking up with anyone when he'd left LA. Maybe he should find a drug store on the way to the hotel, just in case.

"Turn right," Willow prompted.

Turning his attention back to the road, Lindsey realized that while he was lost in his thoughts, he had nearly passed their destination.

"Thanks," he mumbled. "Got a little caught up in my thoughts."

"It's okay," Willow assured him. "Me too. You're also not so familiar with the town."

"True," he agreed. Sliding into a parking spot, Lindsey put the car in park and turned off the ignition. 'Too late now,' Lindsey thought, hoping he'd be covered if things went the way he hoped they would.

He exited the truck and moved around to get Willow's door for her. She took his hand as she exited and held on to it as they entered the building.

Willow's breath was deep and even, as if she were trying to control her breathing so that she didn't hyperventilate. The entire ride over she had been asking herself what she was doing, going to a hotel with a guy she barely knew. She told herself that it was just to hear him play, but even she didn't buy that. She wanted Lindsey like she'd never wanted any man before. If he wanted her too, then she wasn't going to deny herself the pleasure she just knew he could give her.

As the elevator doors closed and it began its ascent, Willow squeezed Lindsey's hand, silently assuring him that all was good and this was what she wanted.

Lindsey led her the short distance down the corridor to his room. Luckily the keycard worked on the first try and he ushered Willow into the room. She stood in the entrance as he moved around, turning on lights.

The room itself was nondescript. There was a small bathroom to the right of the entrance, a plain desk next to the dresser/entertainment center, which were across from the king sized bed.

Willow bit back a hysterical laugh, wondering if she had made the right decision about coming up here.

Noting Willow's sudden tension, Lindsey asked her, "Would you like something to drink? I think there are some sodas in the mini-fridge in the corner. Or there's always water."

Willow shook her head. "No, thank you. Just realizing that I'm in a hotel room with a guy I barely know. You know?"

"Yeah, I know," Lindsey grinned. "If you want, I can just take you home. I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable."

Apparently he'd said the right thing, as the tension drained out of Willow and she crossed the small space to him. Lindsey eagerly took her into the circle of his arms.

"I'm not uncomfortable, not now." Willow looked up and met his eyes, the lust suddenly back full force.

Lindsey dipped his head and did what he'd wanted to do since he'd seen her gaping at Giles at the coffee bar; he kissed her. Any remaining doubts about where the evening was headed flew out the window as the fire between them was instantly stoked back to life.

When Lindsey's hands slid down her back and slid under her shirt, Willow abruptly pulled back. "Singing," she blurted out. "We came up here for you to sing."

Lindsey stared at her for a minute as her words tried to penetrate the lustful haze he'd been reveling in. "You still want me to sing?"

Taking a nervous step backwards, Willow nodded. "Uh, yep. Yes. I-I think I'd like that." The backs of her legs ran into the bed, causing her to abruptly sit. Her eyes widened as she realized where she was now sitting and she jumped up.

Lindsey laughed at her antics and relented. "Take it easy, I'll sing. Why don't you sit at the desk and I'll grab my guitar."

Willow was blushing as she crossed over to the desk and pulled out the chair. It wasn't nearly as comfortable as the bed, but she didn't want to give any more mixed signals.

Having no such qualms, Lindsey sat on the bed near Willow with his guitar in his lap. After taking a moment to tune it, he began to sing:

"I guess I oughta tell you what's been going on
Well I've been chasing dreams for everyone but me
When your heart is filled with misery
It's hard to find the energy
To remember just how much she means to me"

Lindsey kept his eyes locked with Willow's, only occasionally needing to check his fingering. This was one song he had played both for himself and in public so often that he knew it almost as well as if he'd written it himself. He felt it particularly reflected what had been going through his mind lately.

"Well I keep everything inside so long till it burns
Everybody stokes the fire and the walls get a little higher
I light the candle at both ends
And I hit the gas, the wheels start to spin
But she's always there to catch me when I fall"

Willow was mesmerized by Lindsey's voice. No wonder he wanted to check out the open mic night. He was really good. Better even than Giles. Way better than Oz; after all, Oz could only play, he admittedly wasn't much of a singer other than for backup.

"'Cause I've been hell on wheels for days now
There ain't a shade of red I can't paint
When the lights go down, she always helps me see
In the darkness a day will come
Another light for you to lean upon
But until then maybe your heart
Can rest in mine"

'Please, please, be my light in the darkness,' Lindsey thought to himself. In the short time that he'd known her, that's what Willow had become to him. A bright ray of light, of hope, in the darkness that he'd surrounded himself in.

"I just can't get the hang of hanging on
Every time I try to grab it, the will is gone
When she looks into my eyes
She sees a man she used to recognize
And not the stranger trying to go it all alone
Maybe someday I'll see exactly what she sees in me
Maybe someday I'll be exactly who she wants me to be
Maybe someday I'll have the strength to run into the man that I once was
But right now I think I'll walk into a crawl"

Willow's breath caught at the intensity in Lindsey's eyes as he sang those last two lines. He obviously identified with them, with the entire song. Willow felt as if she was learning about the true Lindsey McDonald through these lyrics; how he felt about himself and the choices he'd made.

"'Cause I've been hell on wheels for days now
There ain't a shade of red I can't paint
When the lights go down, she always helps me see
In the darkness a day will come
Another light for you to lean upon
But until then maybe your heart
Can rest in mine"

As the last chord faded, Lindsey's eyes searched Willow's face and he was blown away by the look of awe and admiration he saw. He watched her as she slowly reached out and laid her hand over his heart, which was beating faster with every second that passed.

He carefully set the guitar on the floor as Willow slid out of her chair and into his lap. Her hand still resting over his heart, she whispered, "Until then, your heart can rest in mine," before she kissed him.

The kiss was their most intense one yet. The electricity that they had been feeling all along only intensified as they gave themselves up to a passion they didn't understand, nor cared to question. All they knew was that it felt impossibly right.

Willow's free hand slid up his chest to tangle in Lindsey's hair as she chased his tongue back into his mouth. Her body pressed tightly to his as Lindsey's hands roamed over her back and over her ass, squeezing and massaging, pulling her ever closer.

Lindsey moaned deep in his throat as he slowly leaned backwards until he was flat on his back, his arms securely wrapped around Willow so that they were pressed together from chest to groin. She rocked against him and he could feel himself begin to harden beneath her.

It was all moving so quickly. Reluctantly, Lindsey forced their mouths apart so that he could pant out, "We...don't...have to do this." The fact that Willow had merely moved her kisses to his neck did nothing to help Lindsey concentrate.

"Want to," Willow managed to confirm between tastes of his skin.

Lindsey grasped her shoulders and lifted her until he could meet her passion-glazed eyes. "Are you sure?" he pressed.

"I'm sure," Willow said without hesitation. "Look, I know we just met and all, but I'm a big girl, and I want this. I want you. Okay?"

The grin that spread across Lindsey's face would have been answer enough, but he felt compelled to say, "More than okay. C'mere."

This time when their lips locked and their hands began to move, they no longer simply caressed. Lindsey's hands immediately found the hem of Willow's shirt and pulled it up, breaking the kiss only long enough to pull it over her head.

Willow's fingers began working the buttons of his shirt as he moved to kiss down her neck and collarbone, kissing along the edge of her white lace bra. She had just pulled the rest of the shirt free from his pants and was trying to push it off him when he reached behind her to unclasp her bra. The fact that he was lying on his back made her task that much more difficult.

"You get your shirt, I'll get the bra," she suggested in frustration at their cross-actions, sitting back up.

"Deal," Lindsey said, quickly releasing her and struggling to get his shirt off with the cuffs still buttoned, while watching as Willow reached behind her to release her bra and shrug out of it.

"Beautiful," he muttered, finally ridding himself of his shirt to capture Willow's breasts with his hands.

She sighed at the feel of his hands on her bare flesh. The sigh quickly became a moan when his mouth replaced one of his hands. Her hands eagerly sought to return the favor, exploring the bare chest before her.

When Lindsey felt Willow's fingers brush against his stomach as she reached to open his belt, he was reminded of what they were doing and once again paused in his attentions.

His hand stilled hers as he met her eyes. The apology was clear as day as he said, "I-I don't think that I have...anything. It's not like I planned this."

Willow lowered her eyes as she blushed and released her hold on him. At first, Lindsey thought that she was going to move off of him, but to his surprise, and delight, she slipped her right hand behind her and into her back jeans pocket. Shyly, she pulled out a small square packet and held it up for him to see.

At his look of wonder, she simply said, "Let's just say that I had a feeling we'd end up here."

After giving her a quick, hard kiss, Lindsey said, "You'll hear no complaints out of me."

The next thing Willow knew, she was lying on her back and Lindsey was working on freeing her from her evening-saving jeans. She couldn't help giggling at his excited movements and helped him along once the button and zipper were opened.

She scooted up the bed to rest against the pillows as Lindsey frantically worked to shed the remainder of his own clothing. When he was finally naked, and looked up the bed to the picture Willow created lying flushed and naked on the bed, he gasped at the vision of beauty before him. When he met her eyes, he could see her hunger in them from giving him the same appreciative once-over he'd just given her. He crawled up the bed and over Willow's body, kissing and licking his way as he went.

His right hand moved along her body, over her breast, skimming her belly, over her hip bone and down between her thighs. One finger parted her lips to slide inside her. He groaned into their kiss upon finding her wet and ready for him. He was relieved that she was as ready for him as he was for her. While he wouldn't have minded a longer foreplay session, all he wanted at that moment was to be buried deep inside her.

Groping around on the bed for the packet that Willow had dropped when he'd flipped her over, Lindsey broke away from her long enough to retrieve it and sheathe himself before positioning himself between her legs.

"You sure?" he asked one last time, his eyes pleading with her to say yes, despite his words.

"Make love to me, Lindsey," Willow earnestly said, sliding one leg over his hip.

That was all the encouragement he needed. Lindsey pressed forward and slowly but steadily rocked his way inside of her.

Willow bit his bottom lip when he was fully buried deep inside her before resting her forehead in the crook of his neck.

"You okay?" he panted, worried that he was hurting her.

"I'm fine," she muttered against his flesh. She took a deep breath before adding, "It's just been a while."

"You should have said something," Lindsey said, now wishing he'd better prepared her.

"I'm fine," Willow insisted, pulling back to meet his eyes again. She grinned up at him. "Just go slowly."

"Slow I can do," he agreed, with a smile of his own. He recaptured her lips as he put words into action.

It didn't take long for Willow to catch his rhythm and begin to move with Lindsey. Once she had fully adjusted to having him inside her, Willow encouraged him to pick up the pace.

Lindsey's lips once again moved back down to taste Willow's chest and breasts.

With her mouth now free, she began to babble in between panting breaths. "Need this... Need you... Need more... Need... Lindsey!"

Lindsey's hand that had been on Willow's hip had slid down so that his thumb could rub her clit while she was talking. He'd known that he was close, her words only driving him closer to the edge. He may have been a bit hasty getting inside her, but there was no way that he was going to leave her unsatisfied.

His thrusts became more forceful and erratic as his thumb slid around her clit. Sweat beaded on his forehead as he felt his balls tighten. "Can't...hold back...much longer," he muttered.

"Don't," Willow insisted. "I'm...I'm..." Whatever else she was going to say was lost as she keened loudly, her fingernails digging into Lindsey's back as she fell over the edge.

Lindsey's body stilled over hers as he thrust hard into her one last time, finding release seconds after Willow, before collapsing on top of her.

They lay together, their harsh, panting breaths the only sounds between them. As soon as he had the energy to move, Lindsey carefully moved off of Willow to remove the condom and lie beside her. She gave a satisfied groan as she rolled onto her side to curl into him.

"Mmm, that was fantastic," Willow purred, running her fingers over his chest. She stretched up to kiss him.

"You're wrong," he said when they parted. Before the frown could fully form on her face, he said, "That was better than fantastic."

Willow lazily grinned at him before yawning and snuggling into him again.

"Do you want me to take you home?" he reluctantly asked, making no move to get up.

"Do you want me to go?" she countered.

"No," he said, pulling her closer to him. "I just didn't know if you needed to be back before Buffy got home."

"I don't answer to Buffy," Willow stated. "And I don't want to go home. I want to stay right here, in your arms, all night."

"Good, because that's what I want too," Lindsey said, kissing the top of Willow's head. He sat up enough to maneuver them under the covers.

"Too bad we can't do that again until I have a chance to run to the store tomorrow," Lindsey quietly lamented to himself when he thought Willow had dozed off.

"Check other pocket," she mumbled, nearly asleep.

Lindsey fell asleep with a big grin on his face.


Chapter 7

Lindsey slowly drifted from sleep to awake. He had a smile on his face and his body was spooned tightly behind a warm female body. He opened his eyes and confirmed what his heart already knew…Willow.

The arm he had wrapped around her waist tightened as he rubbed his cheek against her shoulder, like a cat making itself comfortable.

"Tickles," Willow mumbled, swatting at her shoulder; her still-asleep mind allowing her to comment on his morning stubble.

Instead of answering verbally, Lindsey peppered the razed area with soft kisses.

"Mmm," Willow moaned in appreciation as she rolled over to face Lindsey. "Mornin'," she said as she raised a hand to his face.

Lindsey kissed her palm. "Good morning, beautiful. How'd you sleep?"

"You mean once we finally passed out?" she asked with a grin. "Wonderfully. You?"

"I can honestly say that that was the best night's sleep I've had in a long time." Lindsey's hand ran over Willow's back and buttocks, simply enjoying her sleep-warmed flesh. "Last night was…"

"Incredible," Willow purred, pressing her body into his.

"I'd have to agree with you on that one," Lindsey said.

Closing the short distance between them, Lindsey gave Willow a brief 'good morning' kiss. Before he could fully retreat, Willow pulled his face back to hers and gave him a very thorough, very passionate kiss.

"Now that's the way to start the day," Lindsey commented when they finally parted for air.

Willow giggled, a little surprised by her actions so far this morning. This just wasn't like her to be so forward in bed, especially with a man she barely knew. Deciding to continue with this theme of doing what felt right, Willow reached between their bodies and lightly took Lindsey's erection in hand.

Lindsey gasped at the feeling of Willow's fingers surrounding his cock. "Christ, Willow," he exclaimed, rolling onto his back.

"Too bad we didn't save one of the condoms for this morning," Willow pouted, lightly stroking him.

"Yeah, too bad," he readily agreed. The first thing he was going to do when they left this hotel room was find a place to buy a pack of condoms, maybe more than one, just to be safe.

"You don't…you probably shouldn't…you don't have to do this," he eventually managed to say. He was finding speaking difficult with all the blood in his body rushing to meet wherever Willow was touching him.

"Do what?" Willow innocently asked. "This?" She scooted down the bed and licked his cock from base to tip before taking it into her mouth.

Lindsey's hips bucked at the sensation of suddenly being surrounded by Willow's mouth. His fingers weaved their way into her hair and he held on for dear life as Willow proceeded to give him an exquisite blow job.

When he felt himself nearing completion, he managed to find his voice long enough to warn her. Willow pulled back, which earned her a groan from Lindsey, as she resumed rapidly pumping his cock with her hands. It didn't take long for him to come, his release landing on his stomach.

After quickly kissing him, Willow rolled out of bed and retrieved a washcloth from the bathroom, which she ran under the hot water tap. She carefully wiped his torso clean while he recovered.

"Come here," Lindsey demanded when Willow was preparing to return the washcloth to the bathroom.

Instead, she tossed it through the open door and crawled back into bed and pressed herself against Lindsey's side. "Here. I. Am."

Lindsey slid his hand into her hair and pulled her to him, taking her mouth in a fiery kiss. His tongue immediately slipped past her lips to tangle with hers, his hunger for her never waning.

Slowly, he rolled them so that Willow was now on her back and he was partially lying on top of her. She never seemed to notice as he moved his kisses away from her mouth and down to her chest, paying homage to her breasts, as he continued to taste his way down her body. She shivered in delight when she felt his moist breath against her pussy.

Repeating what he'd so recently said to her, Willow whispered, "You don't have to."

Lindsey looked up her body to meet her eyes. The lust she saw in them, for her, caused Willow to whimper as she unconsciously lifted her hips in invitation.

Lindsey gave her a wicked grin before diving in to taste her. His tongue darted between her lips, taking a slow pass along the length of her slit. He moved back down and pressed his tongue inside her. He groaned in delight at the wetness that welcomed him. Before long, he turned his attention to her clit, replacing his tongue with two fingers inside her.

Playing Willow's body like his favorite guitar, Lindsey soon had Willow panting and begging him for more. When her climax struck, Lindsey had to move his free hand to hold one of her thighs as they tried to squeeze his head off – or at least keep it locked in place. He didn't let that stop him from drawing her orgasm out as long as possible though, only easing back when she weakly pulled him away by his hair.

He discreetly wiped his mouth on the sheet as he crawled back up the bed to kiss a blissed-out Willow.

"Now that…was amazing," Willow panted. She turned her head to look into Lindsey's eyes. "I'm so glad that I met you."

"I'll take that orgasm as a compliment," Lindsey said.

Willow blushed. "That's not why. At least, that's not the only reason why," she amended. "I just mean that I haven't felt this…comfortable with myself, or anyone else, in a long time, and I owe that to you."

"Isn't it a bit soon for declarations like that?" Lindsey asked, secretly echoing her statement.

Willow looked thoughtful for a moment, as if taking stock of her mind and body. Finally, she grinned up at him. "Nope, I think it's the perfect amount of time."

Catching a glance at the clock, Lindsey regretfully said, "Speaking of time; we should probably get up. Mr. Giles wanted me to come by around 10 to help out."

"Aw, do we have to?" Willow asked, wrapping her body around Lindsey's to try to keep him in place.

"You're welcome to stay naked in my bed all day," Lindsey said, running a hand down her side. "But I'd like to stay on Mr. Giles' good side and prove that I can be of use to him; and I can't do that if I stay in bed with you, as much as I'd like to."

Pouting slightly, Willow sat up, releasing Lindsey, who slipped out of bed. "Sure, be all logical." Then she giggled. "And it's just Giles. Nobody calls him Mister," she said as she rolled out of bed and followed Lindsey into the bathroom.

Lindsey spit out his mouthful of toothpaste before saying, "I was raised to be polite and address my elders formally. Maybe once I know him better I'll drop the Mister. Okay?" Lindsey asked, turning on the shower and adjusting the temperature.

"Fine by me. Just don't be surprised if everyone giggles when you call him Mr. Giles," Willow said, laughter still in her voice.

"If you keep that up I'm not going to save any hot water for you," Lindsey threatened as he closed the shower curtain behind him.

"Who said I was gonna wait?" Willow asked, pulling the curtain back and climbing into the shower with him.

Lindsey jumped as the cool air from outside the shower hit him. "Geez, Willow, give a guy some warning."

Trying not to laugh, Willow said, "Hey, at least I didn't flush the toilet first."

"Now that would have just been mean," Lindsey said, pulling her under the spray of water.

"Which is why I didn't do it," she agreed, leaning into him.

Turning them around, Lindsey tipped Willow's head back to get her hair wet, then leaned down to kiss her neck. "Let me wash your hair?" he whispered in her ear.

A contented "Mmm" was his answer.

Grinning, Lindsey picked up the little bottle of hotel shampoo and poured some into the palm of his hand. He rubbed his palms together to get them both soapy, then ran them through Willow's hair.

Willow took a step forward and rested her forehead on his chest for balance. "That feels soooo good," she mumbled against his skin as Lindsey worked up a good lather, massaging her scalp at the same time.

"Tilt your head back," he requested, then rinsed the shampoo from her sudsy hair when she did, being careful to keep it out of her eyes.

Once Willow was shampoo-free, Lindsey made quick work out of washing the rest of her body. If his hands spend a little extra time on her breasts or between her thighs, Willow didn't complain.

Turning them around, Willow gave Lindsey the same careful washing she'd just received, teasing and cleaning at the same time.

Lindsey felt his cock stir as Willow pressed her body against his back as her hands alternately slid over his rousing flesh. "You're killing me here," he groaned, his head falling back.

Willow giggled. "Sorry, I couldn't help myself." She slid her hands back over his hips and finally pulled away from his body, allowing him to rinse off.

He turned off the cooling water and they stepped out of the shower. Willow grabbed two towels, handing one to Lindsey. The dried themselves and each other off before returning to the bedroom and dressing; Lindsey in jeans and a t-shirt, Willow in the clothes she'd worn the day before.

Looking down at herself she said, "I think we should stop by my dorm before going to meet Giles. After all, he saw what I was wearing last night."

"You don't want him knowing you spent the night with me?" Lindsey pouted, the gleam in his eyes showing he was teasing her.

Willow blushed as she said, "It's really not any of his business. But Giles doesn't really like when we talk about our love lives too much. He gets all British and nervous and starts cleaning his glasses and stuttering."

"We wouldn't want that." Making sure they had everything, Lindsey escorted Willow out the door. 

Once they were in Lindsey's truck, he asked, "Do you want to grab some breakfast before we head over?"

"Let's stop by the dorm first and see if we have time. I, um, don't know if Buffy's gonna be there, and if she is, she's probably going to want to yell at me for staying out all night."

"Do you want me to come up with you? Or will that make it worse?" Lindsey asked.

Willow reached over to squeeze his hand. "No, come up. If Buffy's going to get on my case, I want her to see that you're going to be a part of my life. Besides, if you don't come up, she might use that as a way to show that you're using me, or something."

Willow breathed a sigh of relief when she slowly opened the door to her room and found it to be empty. In fact, it looked like Buffy hadn't slept in her bed either.

"She's not here," Willow said, just to affirm that it was true.

"Thank goodness for small favors," Lindsey said.

"You can say that again," Willow said, heading for her closet.

Lindsey barely refrained from saying it again. Instead, he crossed to Willow's bed and sat leaning against the headboard, his legs stretched out in front of him.

Willow emerged from her closet with a long skirt and t-shirt. She set them on the foot of the bed and moved to the dresser to find clean undergarments. When she had everything she needed she stared at Lindsey, who had been watching her.

"What?" he asked when she continued to stare at him.

"Are you going to just sit there and watch me change?" she asked.

"That was the plan, yes," Lindsey smirked. "It's not like I haven't already seen you naked."

"I know, but that was different," Willow said, blushing faintly.

"How was it different?"

The blush deepened. "Because at first it was because we were, you know, and then today we were showering, and stuff."

Lindsey couldn't help laughing at how bashful Willow was all of the sudden. "All right. Fine. Maybe I haven't earned casual clothing change viewing privileges yet." He closed his eyes. "Is this better?"

"Thank you," Willow said, a smile in her voice.

Figuring that Willow would have turned her back to him, even with his eyes closed, Lindsey allowed himself to peek, a small smile curving his lips. When he saw Willow start to turn back around he quickly closed them again.

He heard some more rustling and soon Willow announced, "Okay, you can open your eyes."

Lindsey's eyes immediately popped open and he grinned at the fully dressed Willow standing next to him.

"You look beautiful," he said.

"You don't have to say that," Willow protested. "This is nothing special."

"Maybe the clothes aren't, but you are," Lindsey said.

"Please." Willow brushed the compliment off. "So, you ready to go?"

"Not quite yet," Lindsey said, standing up. He wrapped his arms around Willow and captured her lips in a soft kiss. Willow moaned quietly at how wonderful it felt to be kissed by Lindsey and wrapped her arms around him.

She wasn't sure how long they stood there kissing, but when she glanced at the clock she saw that it was 9:50.

"Damn, we're going to be late," she exclaimed, pulling out of Lindsey's arms. She hurried to the wooden chest at the foot of her bed and began pulling out various herbs and powders and books. She dumped out the contents of her bag and then refilled it with the items on the floor.

"Okay, I'm ready," she announced.

"What is all of that?" Lindsey asked as they got back in his truck.

"Giles asked me to do a protection spell, remember?"

"You really know how to do that?"

"Of course. I'm a kick-ass Wicca," Willow proudly stated. "Or at least I will be with some more practice. But Giles has been helping me a lot since he got fired. It's like he's my Watcher too."

"Which would explain his interest in opening a magic shop," Lindsey concluded.

"Yeah. He was the librarian at our high school as a cover for being Buffy's Watcher, but then he was fired and we blew up the school. This seemed like a good career move for him. And it'll give us a place to hang out and do research that's not his apartment. I think he was getting tired of a bunch of teenagers invading his personal space."

"Isn't there already a magic shop in Sunnydale?" Lindsey asked. "I'd think that with all of the supernatural activity that they would be a dime a dozen."

"Strangely, there's just the one. It just changes owners on a regular basis," Willow told him.

"Changes owners?" Lindsey skeptically repeated. "As in they keep dying?"

"Um, yes. I don't think many of them knew what really went on in this town. They were just glad that people bought what they were selling. I really liked the last two owners, but they both got attacked by vamps. That's the down side to having a business that's open at night."

"Isn't Mr. Giles worried about meeting the same fate?"

Willow shrugged. "Not more than any other day. We've been fighting evil for a long time now. We all know the risks. What makes him owning the shop different is that it's also going to be the new training space for the Slayer. We're hoping that will keep some of the baddies away."

Lindsey parked near the shop and he and Willow grabbed coffees and muffins at the Espresso Pump before heading in. They were still talking as they entered, not noticing who else was present.

Lindsey stood stock still as he was greeted by a voice he hoped never to hear again.

"How's the hand?"


Chapter 8

"How's the hand?"

Willow felt, rather than saw, the tension that filled Lindsey. She looked at him, then to the person who had spoken.

Taking a tentative step forward she asked, "Angel, what are you doing here?"

"Willow, get away from him," Angel harshly told her, his eyes never leaving Lindsey.

Willow stepped back, taking Lindsey's hand in hers. "No. What are you doing here?"

Willow caught movement and saw Buffy step forward next to Angel, a look of ... not regret, but a silent apology nonetheless.

"Oh, Buffy, what have you done?" Willow asked quietly.

"I'm sorry, Will, but I did what I had to do," Buffy said, taking a step towards her best friend.

"What you had to do?" Willow slowly repeated. "What exactly is it that you thought that you had to do?"

Ignoring the stare-off between the two men, Buffy entreated to Willow's good sense. "I did what I thought was best for you. What you'd do for me. I had to prove to you that Lindsey is evil. I could see that you weren't going to take my word for it, but I thought you might listen to Angel, seeing as how they're enemies and all."

Willow was dumbfounded. She could hardly believe what she was hearing, let alone seeing. Her eyes roamed around the shop. For the first time she noticed that Giles and Xander were milling around the back, pretending to work, but obviously trying to stay out of the way.

Catching Xander's eye, she asked, "Did you know about this?"

Xander shuffled nervously to the front of the shop. "Yes and no. I didn't want any part of this. You have to believe me, Will. I liked Lindsey when we met," Xander said.

"You would," Angel dryly commented.

"A little warning might have been nice," Willow said.

Xander came closer and quietly said, "I tried calling you last night but you weren't home. Haven't you checked your messages?" He glanced quickly at Lindsey, then asked even quieter, "Have you been home since last night?"

Blushing to the roots of her hair, Willow answered, "I have been home, but I didn't have time to check the machine."

Realization dawned and Willow returned her attention to Buffy. "Is that why your bed wasn't slept in? You went to LA to get Angel?"

"I didn't think he'd come if I just called him," Buffy admitted.

"You drove to LA?" Willow asked, her disbelief evident in her voice.

"I tried to get Xander to drive me, but he refused," Buffy sulked.

"I told you I wasn't getting in the middle of this," he reminded Buffy. Thinking of Anya, he added, "Who Willow dates is none of our business. You've dated the evil undead before, I don't see why Willow can't date the not-so-evil not-undead."

"Because I have a soul," Angel ground out. "Why do I have to keep reminding you of that important detail? I didn't have a soul when I killed people. He did."

"I never killed anybody," Lindsey said, speaking for the first time.

"No, you just gave the orders. Worse yet, you did everything in your power to make sure that the monsters who did kill for fun got away with it."

"I was just doing my job," Lindsey snapped.

Turning to Xander, Angel said, "Did he tell you how we met? He was representing a powerful vampire who lured single girls with dreams of being famous to his home where he could kill them. He killed the girl I was trying to protect. When I went after him, he was about to kill Cordelia."

That bombshell had the desired effect. Xander looked back and forth between Lindsey and Angel. Lindsey looked slightly sick, whereas Angel looked smug. Then he looked at Buffy, who just looked uncomfortable. Finally, he turned his attention to Willow, who looked about how he felt. Granted, Cordelia had meant a lot more to him than she ever would to Willow.

Lindsey leaned down to whisper in Willow's ear. "Why did he bring up that detail about Cordelia?"

"She's Xander's ex," Willow whispered back.

Xander's face was blank as he stepped before Lindsey. "Is that true?" he asked.

"It's true," Lindsey admitted. "I even helped him track Ms. Chase down from a video tape of a party. I was very good at serving my clients."

Without warning, Xander swung back and punched Lindsey squarely in the jaw, causing him to fall backwards.

"Xander," Willow cried, kneeling down to cradle Lindsey's face to check the damage.

"Do you swear that you're done with it?" Xander demanded.

"I swear," Lindsey ground out. "I know that I can never make up for the things that I did at that place, but I had to walk away before I truly did lose my soul."

"If you so much as look at a baddie with understanding I'll stake you myself," Xander said.

"Um, Xan, he's human," Willow reminded him.

"I know," Xander said, coldly. Then he extended his hand to the man on the floor and helped him to stand.

"Excuse me," Buffy said, storming up to the others. "What just happened here? Xander, you were supposed to be on my side. You've never forgiven Angel for the bad things he's done."

"As Willow said, Lindsey's human. Humans make mistakes and can try to make their lives better when they see the errors of their ways. Deadboy is, and will always be, a vampire. There's no forgiveness or understanding."

"That doesn't even make sense!" Buffy protested. Spinning around she pleaded, "Angel, do something."

"What is it that you expect me to do?" he asked. "Do you want me to lay out every little detail that I know about what he did at Wolfram and Hart? Does it look to you like anything that I say will make a difference about how Willow feels about him? I told you that this wouldn't work."

"He's right, Buffy. I'm sure that I'll learn terrible things about Lindsey's past, over time, but that doesn't matter to me. What matters is who he is now, and who he wants to be in the future," Willow told her friend.

"Besides, I think we're too late," Angel said, glaring at Lindsey.

"What are you talking about?" Buffy asked.

She looked back to Willow and Lindsey, noticing how close they stood together, how Willow hadn't stopped touching him. Her eyes widened as she realized what Angel was implying.

"You slept with him?" Buffy screeched. "On the first date?"

Willow winced at the volume Buffy used, and at the accusatory tone. "That's none of your business," she bristled.

"Oh, God," Buffy groaned. "Don't you see, he's already corrupting you!"

"He didn't force me to do anything that I didn't want to do," Willow said, more confidently, memories of that morning making her smile.

"Willow, you'd never have sex on the first date," Buffy said, doubt creeping into her voice.

Smirking, Willow said, "I brought the condoms."

The sound of a hammer dropping and a muffled, "Good Lord," from the back of the shop caused Willow to blush. A glance at Xander's dazed, slack-jawed expression also reminded her that this wasn't the best place to have this conversation.

Lindsey released Willow's hand and slipped his arm around her waist, pulling her closer. He knew that that wasn't something she had planned on sharing with everyone, especially not all at once.

"I-I think that's enough of this for today," Giles said, intervening. "As it appears that I will be stuck with Angel for the day, I'll understand if you would like to wait until tomorrow to begin work."

"Thank you, Mr. Giles," Lindsey said. "I'm sorry to have put you in this position."

"It's just Giles. I know that it's not your fault. Buffy can be a bit stubborn at times," he said, apologetically.

"Hey!" Buffy said. "I can hear you, you know."

"Ah, yes, now you can hear me. Why is it that your ears were not working properly when we all tried to tell you to leave bloody well enough alone? If being with Lindsey is a mistake, Willow will discover that on her own. It serves no one's best interest for you to try to drive them apart," Giles told her, his frustration with her actions evident in his voice. Turning back to Willow and Lindsey he added, "Not that I believe that this is a mistake."

"I knew what you meant, Giles," Willow assured him. "Do you mind if I do the spell tomorrow too? I think I'd like to show Lindsey around some more today, since you're giving him the day off."

"Of course," Giles said. "Enjoy yourselves."

"Not too much," Angel added.

As Willow and Lindsey turned to leave, Buffy approached them. "Willow..."

"Not now, Buffy," Willow said, not turning around. "We'll deal with us later. I can't be around you right now."

"I was only trying to help," Buffy said.

"I know," Willow sadly acknowledged, pulling Lindsey out the door.


Chapter 9

Willow and Lindsey silently walked through the streets of Sunnydale, neither ready to discuss what had just happened at the Magic Box, yet. Unconsciously, Willow directed them towards the cemetery that Lindsey had found her running from just a few short days ago.

"Hey, this looks vaguely familiar," Lindsey remarked as they neared the entrance.

"What?" Willow took a moment to get her bearings and then grinned. "Picture yourself sitting in your truck and me running like a crazy woman through those gates."

Lindsey grinned too. "Well then, this spot should have a plaque that reads, 'This is where Lindsey McDonald's life changed for the better.'"

Willow blushed at the compliment, slipping her hand into his. "Do you really mean that? Even after what just happened?"

Lindsey stopped walking and moved in front of Willow, lifting her chin with his free hand to meet his eyes. "That was something that was bound to happen sooner or later. Personally, I'd been hoping for later, but seeing as how you're here with me, and not back at the shop with Buffy and Angel, I can't complain about it."

"I still can't believe that Buffy dragged Angel into this. It's none of her business, or his, if we're together," Willow fumed.

"Angel's never been able to pass up an opportunity to be a thorn in my side. Then again, I haven't exactly been able to resist that particular temptation either. In all honesty, he and I are never going to get along, I hope you know that," Lindsey said.

"We hardly ever see Angel anymore, so I don't think it's going to be much of an issue. Buffy's still loyal to him though, so it might take a while to win her over. I can only hope that she'll want to see me happy more than she'll want to hold a grudge for Angel's sake."

"She's your best friend, I'm sure she'd rather see you happy," Lindsey assured her. "We can only hope that by keeping my nose clean I will earn her respect."

Willow resumed walking and brought Lindsey to a favorite bench beneath a tree inside the cemetery.

"Dirty noses do tend to get frowned upon," Willow agreed.

Lindsey looked around, surprised by how pretty this spot was. "It's beautiful here," he quietly commented.

"Yeah, I found this spot not long after I met Buffy. We spend so much time fighting in cemeteries at night that we tend to forget how serene they can be. Since people die here so often, a lot of the town's money has been put into maintaining the cemeteries so that family members can visit their loved ones."

"Is there someone here that you visit? Is that how you found it?" Lindsey asked, hoping he wasn't being too intrusive.

"Not here, no," Willow said, leaning into Lindsey's side. "I don't even remember why I was here that day. Maybe I was trying to remind myself that cemeteries didn't have to be places of evil. Who knows? When things get too crazy as a Slayerette I come here to sort through my thoughts, during the day, of course."

"Of course," Lindsey said, a grin in his voice. "Slayerette?"

Willow giggled. "It's what Xander and I call ourselves since we help the Slayer. We're like junior slayers, only without superpowers."

"Xander calls himself a Slayerette?"

"Actually, Xander calls us Scoobies 'cause we help solve supernatural mysteries," Willow said.

"Cute," Lindsey commented.

"I know you are but what am I?" Willow teased.

"Gorgeous," Lindsey said, meeting her eyes.

Just like that the mood shifted and Willow gasped at the intensity that was now in Lindsey's eyes. She whimpered when Lindsey leaned in to kiss her, meeting him half way.

This feeling still shocked Lindsey – the overwhelming rightness of kissing Willow. How could he feel so content just from being in the arms of this girl?

They kissed hungrily, as if starved for affection, uncaring of where they were or if anyone would see them.

When Lindsey's hand began to work its way under Willow's shirt, she pulled back, gasping for breath.

"What do you say we take this somewhere a little more private?" she panted out.

"Yeah, good idea," Lindsey agreed, trying to catch his breath. He slid his arm around her waist as they quickly walked towards the exit and back towards his truck. "We just need to make one quick stop on the way back."

"What for?" Willow asked in dismay, wanting to get Lindsey naked again as quickly as possible. Lindsey gave her a pointed look and she remembered. "Oh, right. Yeah, we can make that one stop."

There was a convenience store about a block before where they had parked, so they were able to take care of business without going out of their way. Lindsey drove as quickly as possible back to his hotel. He couldn't resist pulling Willow into his arms as soon as the elevator door closed, needing to feel her again.

They laughed as they stumbled towards Lindsey's room, willing the keycard to work on the first try.

As soon as the door was closed, Lindsey attacked Willow's mouth, his hands pulling at her clothes, as she worked just as frantically to rid him of his. Realizing they'd have to stop kissing in order to get undressed, they pulled apart and removed the remainder of their own clothing before meeting again and tumbling onto the bed.

Lindsey extracted the box of condoms from under Willow and quickly opened one and sheathed himself before sliding inside her eager body.

Their frantic movements stilled as they savored the feeling of being so intimately joined again. Lindsey began to move with languid strokes, simply enjoying the feeling of being surrounded by Willow.

"This," he said, punctuating his words with deep thrusts, "is what... makes... it all worthwhile." He dipped his head to taste that sensitive spot on her neck. "This is... perfection. Nobody's gonna... get me... to think... this... isn't... exactly... where... I'm supposed to be." She caught his moving lips with hers, kissing him hungrily.

"Ungh, same here," she agreed when they paused for breath. Sensation was overpowering her ability to form a coherent thought. Sex had never been so good as it was with Lindsey.

It wasn't long before they were crying out in pleasure, finding release within moments of each other.

Lindsey collapsed next to Willow and she curled into his body. They lay together, content to simply be in the other's arms.

After some time had passed, Willow said, "I think that I need to go talk to her."

"She'll probably be waiting when we get to the Magic Box tomorrow," Lindsey said.

"No, I mean tonight." Willow leaned up to meet Lindsey's eyes. "I don't want to drag this out. I need to make her see that what she did was wrong."

"Do you really think that she's going to listen to you?" Lindsey asked.

Willow shrugged. "I don't know. I hope so, but I have to at least try."

Lindsey kissed her bare shoulder. "Do you want me to come with you?"

Willow kissed him before saying, "Thanks, but no, I should probably see her alone."


Willow cautiously entered the Magic Box. She sighed with relief when she only saw Giles in the room, off to the side unpacking a box of books.

"Hey, Giles. Um, is she here?" Willow asked, knowing she didn't need to say who she was.

With a jerk of the head, he motioned towards the back of the store. "She's back there." It was then that Willow picked up on the faint sounds of a fist repeatedly hitting a punching bag.

Willow started towards the training room when Giles' voice stopped her. "Willow, I know that it's not my place to say, but do try to go easy on her. Her methods may have been foolish, but she only had your best interests at heart."

"I know that, Giles," Willow said with a sad smile. "But she needs to learn that what she did isn't okay. She can't just tell me that the man that I want to be with is wrong for me, going so far as to bringing his nemesis here, and expect everything to be okay."

Buffy didn't notice when Willow entered the room, so intent was she on her workout.

"I'd hate to be on the receiving end of that concentration," Willow said, breaking Buffy's concentration.

"Will," she said, nearly tripping when the punching bag swung into her side.

"Hey, Buff," Willow greeted her friend, stepping farther into the room.

"I didn't expect to see you here so soon," Buffy admitted, grabbing a bottle of water and taking a long drink. "Kinda figured I was up for some major groveling."

"Oh, you are," Willow agreed. Buffy's look of relief quickly faded. "You understand why I'm so upset, right?"

Buffy shifted her weight nervously from foot to foot. "As long as you understand why I did what I did," she replied.

"That's just it, Buffy. I don't," Willow said, hopping up on the pommel horse. "Why did you go and drag Angel into this? It's none of his business."

"Willow, Lindsey has been antagonizing Angel for the past year," Buffy said.

"Angel cut off Lindsey's hand," Willow retorted.

"Only because he wouldn't give Angel the scroll that would save Cordelia's sanity," Buffy argued.

Willow shook her head, sliding off the horse. "This isn't helping. I shouldn't have come here. It was too soon."

Willow started to leave; a distraught Buffy was left wondering what had just happened.

"Willow, wait," Buffy called.

"What is it, Buffy?" Willow asked, turning back to her friend. "It's obvious that we're not going to agree about the whole Lindsey/Angel situation. I think we just need some time to cool down and see reason."

"And by see reason, you mean me, right? What if I think you're the one who needs to see reason? Which I do. Lindsey's evil and I don't want to see you get hurt," Buffy pleaded.

"I believe that," Willow said. "I believe that you don't want me to get hurt. But, Buffy, I don't think that he will. Not intentionally. Not the way that you have by not trusting my judgment."

Buffy looked like she'd been hit by a troll hammer. She staggered back under the force of Willow's words.

"I do trust you, Willow. It's him that I don't trust," Buffy insisted.

"Then trust that I know what I'm doing." Willow turned back around and left Buffy alone with her thoughts.

"How did it go?" Giles quietly asked as Willow neared him.

"Not so good," Willow admitted. "Things are gonna be weird between us for a while, I think."

"I'm sorry to hear that," Giles told her, sincerely.

"Me too." Willow smiled at him. "Lindsey's waiting for me at the Pump. We'll be in tomorrow to do that work for you, okay?"

"That's fine. Have a good night, Willow."

"Thanks, Giles. You too."


Lindsey was sitting in one of the armchairs reading the newspaper when Willow entered the Espresso Pump. She ran her hand through his hair by way of greeting. He looked up, smiled, and pulled her into his lap.

After a not-so-quick kiss, he asked, "How was it?"

Willow sighed, leaning into him. "It was too soon. She's still so in love with Angel that she's not able to give you a chance. All she can see is you through his eyes."

Lindsey grunted with acknowledgment. "And those eyes see me with nothing but contempt."

"She's going to blame you for the problems with our friendship," Willow said. "Regardless of the fact that she caused this rift, she'll blame you for having come into my life and making her act the way that she did."

"I know that she's your best friend, but I don't need her acceptance. So long as you want me in your life, I'm in it. You're the only one in this town who I care about," Lindsey told her. "I won't go out of my way to try to impress her, but I can hope that she'll realize that I'm trying to be a different man than the one that Angel knew."

"And it's not like she isn't going to have plenty of chances to see how you're trying to change. After all, you're gonna be working at the Magic Box and that's kinda gonna be slayer central. You'll be in each other's way a lot."

"Lucky us," Lindsey said, sarcasm dripping from his voice.

"Well, with Giles and Xander on our side, hopefully it won't take her too long to come around," Willow said, optimistically.

"Always looking for the silver lining, aren't you?" Lindsey teased, kissing her on the nose.

"It's my sunny disposition," Willow agreed. "It's just that you're gonna be an important part of my life, I can feel it, and I don't want you and Buffy to not get along."

"Like I said, it's up to her. I'll try not to hold her bringing Angel here against her, but she's gonna have to give me the benefit of the doubt."

"I know, I know."

Willow played with the top button of Lindsey's shirt, idly unbuttoning and re-buttoning it. Lindsey's hand covered hers, stilling her nervous movements.

"Hey, it'll sort itself out, just you wait and see," he tried to reassure her.

"It's the waiting part that's gonna be hard," Willow said.

"Anything that I can do to distract you in the meantime?" Lindsey asked.

"I'm sure you can think of something," Willow answered.

Lindsey closed the gap between them, kissing her thoroughly, before remembering they were in a public place.

"What do you say we take this back to my room? Then maybe tomorrow you can help me find an apartment."

Standing, Willow said, "Tomorrow you're starting work at the Magic Box."

"Then after that," Lindsey said. "If I'm going to be sticking around, we may as well have a real place of our own."

"I like the sound of that," Willow said.

"Me too," Lindsey agreed as they left, his arm around her shoulders and hers around his waist, like any other couple.

The End

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