Never Truly Dead

TEASER: Lindsey receives a visit from someone who knows what he has to do.


DISCLAIMER: I don't own anyone but Grace.


Cordelia hummed as she leafed through the books Wesley had picked up on his way to work that morning. He said they were brand new. She coughed as the dust billowed out from the pages. When she'd asked about the dust, Wesley had just shrugged and said by 'brand new', he meant he himself had never read them. Cordelia wondered how many people in the world had actually bothered to read them.

They were all thick and heavy with leather covers and binding that looked grimy and disgusting. If it were up to her, all the books they bought would be cleaned and reprinted before they took them home. Dust like the stuff that was on the books made her sneeze. A lot.

"Hey." Grace said, coming into the room. "How's your reading going?"

Cordelia slammed the book shut, then sneezed into the dust. "I haven't actually read anything and I'm sneezing. What does that tell you?"

Grace smiled. "The book keeper said there should be a lot in here to help us." She picked up one of the books and flipped through the pages. "You know he went to the ends of the world to get these for us."

"Probably." Cordelia replied.

Grace met her eyes. "Seriously." She smiled. "He actually ordered a couple of them from a demon race that makes it fortune by selling all things occult. They can get stuff that no one's seen for centuries. But that's only because they can travel through dimensions. I mean, this book," she picked up a thick red one, "came from some kind of hell before it got to earth. This isn't the one he ordered, but it's just as rare."

"And he's sure these are going to help us?" Cordelia asked.

Grace shrugged. "As sure as he can be. I mean, he can't read some of the languages, but we have Wesley and Angel to do the translations, so I'm sure it won't be too hard." The demon smiled. "He sounded really confident and I hope he's right. I would love to find Angel's cure by going through one of these old books."

"Good." Cordelia handed her the book she'd been holding. "Then you can go through these dusty things and I'll go shopping."

"Did you forget?" Grace asked.

Cordelia frowned. "Forget what?"

"I can't be here today. I'm going with the book keeper to get a few more volumes. He said he has some more that might help us, but he's got to dig them out of his storage, so I offered to help."

Cordelia groaned and fell back into her chair. "So I'm stuck here again -all day I might add- looking through these dusty ol' books?"

Grace smiled and nodded. "Looks that way."

"Why do I have to look?" Cordelia whined, opening one up. "The scroll said you're going to find the cure, not me."

Grace just smiled again. "Well, maybe if you look through the books and find the ones that don't have the cure, you'll narrow it down to just a couple for me." Then she turned and walked toward the door, smiling over her shoulder.

Cordelia stuck her tongue out at the half demon, then sighed, flipped open one the books, and sneezed.

* * * *

Lindsey gently scratched his forehead as he flipped through the papers sitting on his desk. Spike and Darla were waiting for him, he knew they'd be there when he left for the evening. For the past week, they'd followed him home every night and asked him for favours. Well, Darla mostly asked for favours, Spike threatened his life over and over again until the lawyer thought he'd go crazy. For a vampire with such a reputation, Spike hadn't done much to him.

But Lindsey knew he just had to wait.

Although Holland didn't know it yet, he had betrayed the entire firm. When it came down to it, he knew he wouldn't be able to stay with Wolfram and Hart for his entire life and end up just like Holland. He knew, that as soon as Angel brought the fight to their turf, he'd surrender and let the vampire do whatever he wanted. Lindsey knew he deserved it.

Darla still haunted his nights. She came in his dreams and made him see things that he knew now, had never been real. He still saw the murder of his family, but he knew that Holland had been the one holding the gun, not Angel. He knew the law firm had killed everything and everyone he'd loved in his entire life, so that they could have a complete and total hold on him.

And it had worked.

But now he knew. Lindsey's mind was totally clear and he knew what was going to happen. When Darla came to him in his dreams, he laughed at her. He ignored her. He pretended she wasn't there. She still tried to make him believe that Grace and Angel had killed his family, but Lindsey knew it was his fault. His fault that his little sisters had died. His fault that his mother and father were murdered during their breakfast. Lindsey understood that it was his fault. And he accepted it.

He came across his file on the vampire and opened it. Surveillance photos fell out, along with candid shots of each member of Angel's family. A close up of Cordelia while she was shopping. Wesley's face, looking slightly confused as he read a magazine. Angel staring into the night as he sat on his front step and Grace smiling gently as she watched something that had been cut out of the picture.

Lindsey gently ran a finger over Grace's smiling face and sighed. He had saved her life. He knew it wasn't what he was supposed to do, but when he saw the vampire leaning over her, he couldn't stop himself. He had to save her. He didn't exactly understand why, not fully, but he had a pretty good idea of part of the reason.

Lindsey thought that maybe he wished he could have someone like her. She loved Angel so completely that she risked her life for him, time and time again. And Angel protected her all those times, risking his life to save hers. They were destined to find each other. Slayer or not, this was what Angel had waited for all those years.

And maybe he wanted something like that. When Lindsey pulled Spike off of Grace, he felt like he'd been telling her that he'd risk his life for hers. While he didn't want Grace herself, he wanted to know that when he left work at night, there would be someone waiting for him. Someone that loved him. Someone that would die for him.

Lindsey sighed. He'd never have that. Not after what he'd spent his life doing. Not after working for Wolfram and Hart. Because no matter where he ran to, they would find him. And they'd kill anyone that loved him. He sighed again. In working for the law firm, he'd given up any chance at having a life.

* * * *

Angel was looking at Cordelia with a slightly amused grin on his face. He was smiling at her this way because she was jumping up and down madly, waving around a book she held in her hand. The pages fluttered and threatened the tear out at the way she was holding it, but that didn't seem to stop her. She kept on jumping.

Grace raised an eyebrow in Wesley's direction and he shrugged. "She was like this nearly ten minutes ago when I came in." He offered as his only explanation.

"Cordy," Grace said, stepping forward and trying to put a hand on her friend, "calm down just a little bit, okay?"

Cordelia stopped jumping, but continued to wave the book and added a high pitched squeal to the moment. She waved the book again, then thrust it into Grace's hands.

"What is it?" Angel asked, as Grace read it. Her eyes widened and she nearly dropped the book to the floor, but managed to hold onto it.

"What does it say?" Wesley asked.

"Not much," Grace said, "it's pretty simple. All it says is: 'You'll find this when the time comes seer. You'll find this and you will know what it's for. Do not send the vampire. Send one of supernatural blood through the portal to the oracles. They know what to do. They're still there.'."

"The oracles are dead." Angel pointed out.

"They're still there." Grace quoted. "Angel, this-this is it. This is what we've been looking for. Don't you get it? This has been waiting for you all your life."

"Who do we send?" Cordelia finally spoke, trying to catch her breath.

"One of supernatural blood." Wesley replied. "And it can't be Angel." He glanced up. "I assume that it will have to be you Grace."

She frowned. "Why me?"

"You have demon blood in your veins." He replied. "And you're the only one."

Grace swallowed, then slowly nodded. "Yeah, I guess it'll have to be me." She sighed. "So, when do we do this?"

"Now!" Cordelia exclaimed. "Now! Now! Now!"

"Wesley and I can take you to the place." Angel said. "It's uh, under the post office."

Grace smiled. "Okay. So, what do I do? Just go there and they'll tell me."

"You have to bring a gift." Angel said. He glanced around. "Hold on, I'll be right back." He headed down the stairs to his apartment, then came up a few moments later with a bottle of wine. "I know I won't use it and it's all I could find."

Grace took the bottle, then drew in a deep breath. "Let's do it."

* * * *

Grace stood nervously in front of the rock wall and waited. Wesley was standing beside her, reciting a passage he'd obviously used many times before. Without hesitating he went through the memorized speech and the wall began to glow.

"Go." Angel said.

Grace went.

She stepped into a brightly lit room, the white marble walls nearly blinding her. She squinted, then looked around. Sighing, she waited. Finally, after a few moments, Grace walked up a pillar and tapped it lightly.

"Hello? Anyone home? "

"What did you bring us?" A female voice came suddenly, out of nowhere.

Grace glanced around, trying to find the source and finding nothing. She held out the bottle of wine and it flashed, then was gone.

"Wine." The female oracle had a smile in her voice. "No one brings us wine anymore. Very nice touch."

"Angel told me you were dead." Grace said.

"What dies is never truly dead." The female oracle replied.

"What do you want?" The male oracle asked, his voice angry and tired sounding. "I hate this. The Powers That Be think they can just yank us back into this world whenever they feel like?" He griped. "I've earned my eternal slumber."

Grace listened and could hear a smile in the voice of his sister.

"Hush. Don't you know who this is?"

"She looks like a little girl. Who is she?"

The female oracle sighed. "She's the one that was sent to help the vampire come back to us."

There was a long pause before Grace heard the male voice again. "Oh. I didn't know."

She stared around the room she was in, her eyes wide, trying to listen to the oracles at the same time. Their voices seemed to be coming from everywhere, but she felt like they were in her head, all at the same time.

"She is to help the vampire." The female oracle said. "And we are to help her."

Grace took in a deep breath. "I'm not exactly sure why I had to come. What can I do that Wesley or Cordelia can't? And why couldn't Angel come?"

"He is the one the we need to talk about." The male oracle said. "We can't very well tell him what to do."

Grace frowned. "Why not?"

The male oracle sighed, but said nothing more.

"Since you've found the way to earn him redemption, we will tell you everything there is to know." The female oracle continued. "All he has to do, to really earn his freedom, is finish the job with Wolfram and Hart."

"What do you mean by finish?" Grace asked.

"He needs to end Darla's life, as well as Holland Manners and Lindsey McDonald." The male oracle told her. "He needs to kill them all."

Grace stared at the point she'd finally decided the voices were coming from. "Kill them? But . . . Lindsey saved my life. He doesn't deserve to die."

A sigh echoed around her. "We understand that he saved you." The female oracle said. "We even understand that he too is on a road to redemption. But unless something happens in the next few days, Angel will have to kill him."

"What has to happen?" She asked. "I'll make sure it does."

"He has to apologize." The male oracle said.

"To who?" Grace asked. "To Angel? To everyone?"

"Just to you." He replied. "Only you Grace."

"B-but I don't understand. Apologize for what?"

The female oracle took over again. "He sees you as his younger sister. He views you as Isabelle. And she was killed. If he apologizes to you, he apologizes to her. And in doing that, he sets himself free."

Grace nodded. "So Lindsey has to apologize. That's all?"

The male oracle laughed. "It will be quite the feat to get him to say that to you. He's not one to admit his mistakes."

"He saved my life." Grace said. "I think that's a step toward admitting he was wrong about me. About Angel even. He knows it." She sighed. "Now I just have to get him to say it."

"We trust you'll take this news to the vampire?" The female oracle asked.

Grace was about to reply when a whisper came to her, inside her head and all around her at the same time. "You can get him to apologize Gracie. Fight the good fight." She stood for a moment, completely startled as the whispering voice of her dead brother filled her mind. She stumbled slightly, leaned against a pillar, then drew in a deep breath.

She nodded. "Yeah, I'll tell Angel." She paused. "Listen, thanks for your help. But I just have one more question."

"Go ahead." She replied.

"What happens after Angel kills them?"

There was a pleased laugh. "You'll find out. We'll know when it's done and we'll send someone. Go back to him now."

* * * *

Wesley caught Grace as she stumbled out of the wall and into the tunnels below the city. She stood still for a moment, completely silent, then shook her head.

"They weren't there were they?" Angel asked. "I told you they were dead, but-"

"They were there." Grace said, cutting him off. "They're dead, you're right about that. But they were there. And they told me the last thing you need to do."

Angel glanced at her. "What? The last thing I have to do for my redemption?"

She nodded. "You have to kill Darla and Holland."

"What about Lindsey?" Wesley asked.

Grace smiled slightly. "He has to apologize to me."

Angel's eyes narrowed. "Why does he have to apologize to you?"

"He sees me as his sister." She explained. "If he apologizes to me, he apologizes to her and sets himself free."

"Why do we want to give him that chance?" Angel asked, backing up slightly. "Why does he deserve forgiveness?"

"Forgiveness isn't given because someone deserves it Angel. It's given because they're truly sorry for what they've done." Grace replied softly. "And I believe Lindsey is sorry for the past months." "But if he apologizes to me, he will get it." Grace said.

"Would you forgive Doyle's killers if they just arrived at the door one day and said they were sorry?" Angel growled. "Could you do that? Because I don't think I could Grace. They took away my best friend."

"They took away my best friend and my big brother." She replied. "And I don't know."

"It's the same thing with Lindsey. He's taken from me and he's taken from me and he's taken from me. That's all he's done and it's all he'll ever do. Now he's even taking you from me."

"He's not taking me from anyone." Grace said firmly. "I just think we should give him a chance. And to give him this chance will earn you humanity Angel." She grabbed his arm, her eyes pleading. "That's all I want right now, is to have you human. And if we give him this chance . . ."

Angel sighed. "We gave him a chance before Grace and he sold out. What happens if he does it again? What if he doesn't apologize?"

She glanced down. "Then you have to kill him."

Angel was silent for a long moment as he looked at her, then he finally nodded. "We'll give him the chance to apologize Grace, but it he doesn't . . ." he chose not to finish the sentence and she nodded.

"I get it Angel. I know what you have to do." She said.

Wesley cleared his throat. "We should get back and tell Cordelia what's happened."

* * * *

Lindsey woke up, his heart racing against his rib cage, then angrily slammed his good hand against the couch. He was lying in his living room, a blue comforter pulled up to his neck and a fallen book lying on the floor. He was having the nightmares again. The violent and bloody murders of his family members, each executed perfectly by Angel and Grace. Again and again they cut the bodies to shred, sticking knifes and scissors and anything else they could find, into the stomach and chests of his sisters.

"Darla." He growled slightly, sitting up and perching on the edge of the couch. "Listen bitch," he hissed through his clenched teeth, knowing somehow she could hear him, "I am so sick of your mind games and I want you out of my head." Lindsey paused for a long moment. "Did you hear me? Get the hell out of here!"

He gazed at the book lying on his apartment floor and picked it up, placing it gently on the coffee table. He retreated to the safety of the kitchen after a few moments of staring around the dark living room and perched on a stool.

"How do I do it?" Lindsey murmured, resting his forehead against the cool counter top. "How can I leave Wolfram and Hart without losing my life?" He sighed. "Angel could protect me from them but . . . he never would. He'd rather kill me himself than protect me. I just have to get away, I can't do this anymore."

*Don't wanna do that now honey.* A voice inside his head whispered.

"Shut up Darla." Lindsey replied. He sometimes wondered if he was going insane or if the vampire really was inside his head. Had she left something behind when she was playing with his dreams that was now causing him to hear her all the time?

*I'm afraid you're crazy. And that's all there is to it.*

"Didn't I tell you to shut up?" He asked, then promised himself he'd ignore any further statements from the voice.

*You can't ignore me Lindsey. I'm part of you now, I know everything about you.*

He sighed. "I used to hate sleeping because of the dreams, but I'm beginning to think sleep is better than sitting here and listening to you. You're really annoying."

There was a soft giggle from behind him and he whirled around to see Darla standing there beside Spike.

"Talking to yourself baby?" She asked, sauntering over to him and he cringed as the voice inside his head giggled in the same way.

"Just talking to you Darla." Lindsey replied. "Only you."

She smiled slightly. "Thanks baby. I didn't know if you thought about me anymore." She tapped gently on the side of his head. "But it looks like I'm stuck in there, doesn't it?"

Lindsey sighed. "What are you doing here? Both of you promised you'd never come up here."

"Vampire's promise doesn't mean much these days mate." Spike answered. "Why would you ever believe otherwise?"

"Just do whatever you want and then leave, okay?" Lindsey asked. "I'm going to bed."

Darla frowned. "You don't care that we're here? We wanted you to jump up and scream like a little girl."

"Sorry to disappoint you." The lawyer replied, then began to walk toward his bedroom. He heard the front door open and close after a moment and breathed a sigh of relief. He was standing in front of his bathroom mirror a moment later, combing his hair when he felt the breath on the back of his neck.

He whirled around and found Spike standing there, grinning at him viciously. "Darla might leave when you ask her to, but you couldn't possibly think I would be that willing to go."

"Must have been a dream." Lindsey murmured. "What do you want Spike?"

"Your still beating heart laying in a pool of blood on the floor." The vampire shot him another grin. "But Wolfram and Hart loves you too much for me to do that to ya. So I might just have to settle for kicking the crap out of you."

Lindsey rolled his eyes, then turned back toward the mirror to finish combing his hair. Since Spike had no reflection, he didn't expect it when the vampire slammed his fists down on his back. Lindsey cried out slightly and slumped against the mirror, his head slamming into the glass hard enough to crack it.

Spike pulled him back and turned him around, his fist connecting hard with the lawyer's jaw. The vampire held him up by the collar, then punched him again and again until Lindsey could feel the blood spilling down his chin and onto the floor. Spike brought his knee up to meet Lindsey's groin, then dropped him onto the floor. Lindsey's hand slapped wetly against the pool of blood and then slid out from under him, his chin slamming against the floor.

The vampire pulled back his foot and kicked Lindsey in the ribs, causing him to make a slight whooshing sound as the air rushed from his lungs. As he struggled for breath on the floor, Spike went to the medicine cabinet and pulled out one of the lawyer's razors. He pulled Lindsey's head up by his hair and held the razor tightly against his throat.

"I could kill you right now." Spike hissed. "I could slit your throat and you'd never be missed. But I'm not going to. Because I want to see you get tracked down and pulled under by Wolfram and Hart. That will be the most satisfying thing I'll ever witness. And make no mistake mate, I will be there." Then he dropped the razor, stepped over the lawyer and left the apartment.

Lindsey lay on the bathroom floor, his eyes staring blankly at the ceiling, struggling to breathe. It took him a few moments to get any air into his lungs and when he finally did, he drew in a deep breath.

Lindsey drew in a deep breath and began to laugh.

* * * *

"He has to what?" Cordelia asked, staring at Grace in disbelief.

"He has to apologize to me." She repeated.

Cordelia stared at her for a moment longer before bursting into laughter. "That is so priceless!" She exclaimed. "Lindsey McDonald has to apologize to you." "But . . . oh my God, that's simply unbelievable." Cordelia said. "Angel might as well just kill him now rather than you having to bother with this apology thing."

Wesley sighed. "I hate to say it, but I have to side with Cordelia. This will not be an easy task."

Grace frowned. "And you think the past ten months have been easy on me? You think that everything that's come our way is just another day in my ordinary life? I had no idea what went on in this world until the three of you opened my eyes." She glared angrily at them. "And didn't it ever occur to you that every once in a while, I might resent that? That I might not want to know about all the things that go bump in the night. I was happy being ignorant."

Grace turned away from them for a moment. "I mean, I found out, less than a year ago that I'm half demon." She turned back, her face blue, her eyes orange and spikes poking out all over her.

Angel's eyes widened. Grace hadn't let herself become the demon for almost seven straight months. He never thought she'd willingly bring it out again.

"You think I wanted this? I never wanted to be what Doyle was. I was scared of him for so long. But he taught me how to accept things - and people - for who they are." She left her demon visage leave her. "And that's another thing. Doyle." She bit her lip. "My brother died to protect the people - demons, whatever - from suffering some horrible death, just because someone else didn't think they belonged. Don't you see anything? Didn't you learn anything from his death? We can't just sit by and write Lindsey off because he's done things that are wrong. We don't think he's the 'right type' of person, so we're given the right to kill him? Doyle gave those people a chance. Why can't we do the same thing for Lindsey?"

They were all silent for a long while before Wesley spoke up. "Why can't we do to the same for Holland Manners?"

Grace shrugged. "Ask the oracles." Then she turned and left the room.

* * * *

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