A New Beginning to the Same Old Story

TEASER: Holland's death threats are not to be taken lightly.



Lindsey was sitting alone in the room Angel had supplied him with. It was night and the entire place was silent except for the whispered conversation between Grace and Angel. Wesley, Cordelia and Gunn had gone home to sleep and Grace had shown Lindsey his room, instructing him to get some sleep.

Instead he listened to them talk. He wasn't intending to eavesdrop at all, it had just been so long since Lindsey had seen two people actually talk to each other and really mean what they were saying. The only conversations he ever had were with other lawyers and they all worked for Holland Manners. No one in the building ever meant what they said.

Lindsey got up slowly and walked to the door, opening it slightly and looking out at them. They were sitting together on the couch in Angel's living room. Grace was leaning against the vampire's chest and he had his arm around her, gently brushing her hair behind her ear on occasion.

"He really did it." She murmured.

Angel nodded and smiled, his eyes closed. "He apologized. I'm really impressed."

"Doesn't it feel good?" Grace asked.

His eyes opened and he looked down at her. "What?"

"Doesn't it feel good to know you've helped him?"

Angel smiled slightly. "Yeah, I guess it does."

"You don't have to pretend." Grace said. "Everyone knows how you've felt about this. Saving Lindsey was more important than anything else. He was the one you had to help."

Angel was silent for a long moment. "I think you're right. I never really thought about it, I just knew I didn't want to kill him."

"Maybe you saw what he used to be and what he can be again." She suggested.

Angel smiled. "I don't think I'm the only one. You were the only person who really believed he was strong enough to come to us."

"And he was." Grace sighed happily. "Things seem like they're finally going our way, don't they?"

Angel nodded. "They do. I just have to end this with Holland and Darla and then . . ." he trailed off, smiling at the thought.

"You get to be human." Grace finished.

"Yeah, I get to be human."

Lindsey smiled as he listened to what they were saying, then went back to the bed in his room and lay down. Staring at the ceiling, the lawyer realized he felt better than he had in a very long time. He finally felt like he belonged and like he didn't need to hide anymore. He finally felt like he had a home.

* * * *

Darla filed her nails as Spike paced the length of the office they were in. Since Lindsey hadn't come into work that morning, Holland had closed the drapes on the windows and allowed them to use it. After all, he had said, someone who betrayed the firm wouldn't be needing an office anymore.

"Would you stop your pacing?" She asked finally. "You're driving me crazy."

Spike turned to look at her. "Funny. I was under the impression you were already crazy." He sighed and stopped in front of her. "We need to figure out a plan. Lindsey is going to die tonight, how are we going to do it?"

"How can you be so sure he's going to die tonight?" Darla asked. "You can see the future? I thought only your little girlfriend could do that."

"Shut up Darla." Spike hissed, glaring at her. "We have to work together now. I'm not in the mood for one of your little fights. Just listen to what I bloody well have to say and tell me if it'll work."

She raised an eyebrow in his direction. "Well, someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, didn't they?" She sighed as he continued to glare at her. "Fine, what's your genius plan?"

"We have to get Lindsey alone, don't we?" Spike asked. "So all we have to do is get the others out of there and have them leave him behind. They're not gonna take him on a case if they get one. He'll be alone and we'll have the perfect opportunity."

"And how can we be so sure they'll get a case?" Darla asked.

Spike grinned at her. "We'll give them one."

* * * *

A sharp knock on the front door was cut short when a man stumbled into the office and nearly collapsed on the couch in front of Angel and Wesley. They watched as he panted, trying to catch his breath and they waited for him to say something. The sun had begun to set, casting a pink glow into the office.

"I need help." He finally wheezed out, his hand flying to his chest in pain.

"If you're having a heart attack," Gunn began, coming into the room, "I suggest you find a hospital, not an investigation agency."

Angel shot Gunn an annoyed look before he went to the couch and knelt by the man. "What happened?" He asked.

The man finally sat up. "My name's Dave. I walked into my apartment after coming home from work and it was just . . . destroyed."

"Robbery?" Wesley asked.

Dave shook his head. "No. Nothing was missing." He laughed bitterly. "Except for my wife and daughter. Something took them and it wasn't human."

Angel frowned. "How do you know?"

Dave sat up straighter and reached into his pocket. He produced a small vial filled with a blue substance. "I've never seen that before. I don't know where it comes from, but it smells horrible and no human produces anything like that." His eyes were wide. "I need your help to bring them home. Please."

Angel nodded. "We'll help you. Do you have a picture of them?"

"Uh yes, my wallet." He murmured, then reached into another pocket and produced a picture of his family.

Grace and Cordelia chose that moment to enter the office from their day time shopping trip. They glanced at the others for a moment before Cordelia dropped to the ground unexpectedly, causing Dave to stare at her in amazement.

"What's wrong with her?" He asked.

"She's a seer." Grace explained, kneeling by Cordelia and gently trying to keep her from hitting her head on anything. "She had visions and we stop the bad stuff she sees."

Dave nodded. "Oh." He turned back to Angel. "Even if she has a vision, you'll help me first right? All of you will do your best to find my family?"

"Of course," Wesley assured him, "we have five people here, we can easily work on both cases. We'll find your family, we promise you."

"We just need a little bit more information." Angel said, after making sure that Cordelia was okay. "Do you have any enemies that you know of, possibly a law firm?"

Dave shook his head. "No, I tried, but I can't think of anyone that would have this done." After a moment, he frowned. "What do you mean by law firm?"

Grace smiled tightly. "He doesn't mean anything." Gently, she helped Cordelia off the floor.

"What was it?" Gunn asked.

"The Host." She said breathlessly. "You know, the green karoke demon? He's in trouble. Someone needs to watch over him."

Angel nodded, then turned back to Dave. "Listen, we'll take care of this right away. I promise you, you'll have them back in no time. For now, it would be better if you just went home and waited for us to call you."

"Okay," Dave walked to the door, "but you swear you'll call as soon as you find out anything?"

Angel nodded. "The instant we get any leads, we'll call."

Dave smiled, then stepped into the street and closed the door behind him.

Angel looked over the other people in the office. "Wesley, you come with me, we'll go after whatever took his family. Cordelia and Gunn you go look after the Host. Grace, you stay here to watch Lindsey and find out what makes this stuff." He tossed her the vial of blue liquid. "Let's go."

Grace watched as the other four filed out of the office, then went to the computer and began to trace a demon that created a blue substance. Curiously she opened the vial gently and leaned over. Her face contorted into a grimace and she breathed out heavily, slamming the lid back down.

Leaning toward the computer, she murmured, "smells really bad" as she typed the words into a descriptive search box.

"Can't be as bad as a gorlak demon." Lindsey said, coming into the room.

Grace glanced up and smiled at him. "No, it's pretty bad." She paused and frowned. "Does this smell like a gorlak demon to you?" She asked, thrusting the vial into his face.

Lindsey removed the lid and gently took a sniff, before making a face and handing it back to her. "That's a gorlak all right. I'll never forget a smell like that."

Grace tapped around on the computer for a moment longer before smiling. "Gorlak demon," she recited, "large demons that secrete a foul smelling blue substance from their pores as a protective coating. Known for their break and enter skills, along with their kidnapping abilities. Nothing brings a gorlak more joy than stealing someone's first born." She sighed, then glanced up at Lindsey. "Looks like we found our boy."

Grabbing the phone, she dialed Angel's cell phone number and waited for him to answer. "Hey." She said when he did. "We have our demon." There was a long pause. "Yeah, it's a gorlak demon." She looked back at the computer. "They like to dwell in dark, wide open spaces. Usually they'll stay away from cramped rooms. A little claustrophobic I suppose." Another pause. "The blue stuff is a protective coating. It makes their skin harder to penetrate, but it says here they're fairly easy to kill. Decapitation, the usual stabbing weapons. Hey, this is new. If you cut off an arm or leg, they'll not only grow a new arm or leg, but the limb will grow a new body." She grinned. "Word of advice, just stick with decapitation." There was another pause and Grace smiled again, glancing shyly at Lindsey. "Yeah, you too. Bye."

The lawyer raised his eyebrows. "And what was that?"

Grace shrugged. "Nothing."

"You could tell him you love him in front of me, you know that? It really wouldn't bother me that much."

She shrugged. "Yeah, but . . . well, I can't even bring myself to say it in front of Wes or Cordelia. It's just weird."

"Being in love?"

"Being in love with a vampire."

Lindsey smiled at here. "There are worse things than being in love with a vampire." He told her. "Trust me, I know."

Grace bit her lip. "It bothers me that it takes someone like you to remind someone like me of what I have."

He sat down across from her. "What do you mean?"

"Well, I have it pretty good." Grace began. "Someone who loves me. Friends who care about me so much I'm more family to them than a friend. I'm healthy, I'm happy. So, I'm half demon. And yeah, we have our crime fighting gig going on. But it feels really good to help people. And sometimes, I still get down about my life. Like, 'why couldn't I have fallen in love with someone normal?' or 'why did I have to be half demon?' It's always like that. But why can't I just focus on what I do have? Which happens to be a pretty great life."

Lindsey smiled, watching her. "And it takes someone like me, who doesn't have any of these things, to make you realize how happy you are?"

Grace looked flustered for a moment. "I'm not saying that you're not happy, but-"

"I'm not happy." He cut her off. "I haven't been happy since I was eighteen years old. That was more ten years ago. I've lived a horrible and depressing life for twelve years now. It's not fun." He sighed. "And it takes someone like you, who has it all, to make me realize how much I've missed out on."

They were both silent for a long time, watching each other.

Grace smiled gently. "So, in a way, we both bring out a realization in the other. Maybe it's a good thing."

Lindsey nodded slowly. "I think it is. Having this realization is what made me want to get out of Wolfram and Hart." He sighed. "I mean, look at Angel. He's a guy that terrorized the world for a hundred years. He has a lot to atone for. But he's doing it and they're forgiving him. Even after all that, he still gets a beautiful, understanding, caring, funny, smart woman. Okay, half demon, whatever."

Grace smiled.

"But if Angel can have all that, I know I can to. He might be immortal and he might have a lot more time to use while making up for what he's done, but I don't have nearly a hundred years. I only have twelve. I think I can do that, can't I?"

Grace nodded. "I believe you can. You took the first step. You're here, aren't you?"

Lindsey watched her for a moment, then nodded. "You're right. I took the first step and now I can take the second. And then the third and so on. I can do this. I have a chance." He paused, then frowned. "Unless of course, Holland has me killed before I can do that."

"Don't talk that way." Grace warned him. "We can protect you. Trust us, we can help you."

Lindsey smiled gently. "I trust you."

* * * *

Angel frowned, staring at the large, empty barn. It was silent and dark, an enormous empty space and the only one they could find in Los Angeles.

"Are you sure this is the only place?" He whispered to Wesley.

"I'm sure. This has to be. Grace said dark, empty, big spaces, didn't she?" Wesley asked.

Angel nodded. "She did."

"This is the only place." Wesley said. "I searched it and when I called Grace back she said this was the only big empty place in the vicinity. The demon has to be here. There isn't anywhere else he could be."

"He's not here Wesley." Angel said, then sighed. "Should we head back?"

"And tell Dave what? Sorry, we couldn't find your family, better luck next time?" Wesley raised an eyebrow at the vampire. "We have to keep trying. You promised him that we'd find his wife and daughter."

Angel sighed again and leaned back against the wall. "I did promise him, didn't I?"

The former watcher nodded.

"And I guess we haven't tried very hard, have we?"

Wesley shook his head in response.

"I'm just a little . . . worried." Angel said.

"Worried about what?"

The vampire shrugged. "I don't know really. Just a gut feeling. Maybe it was Cordy's vision, I don't know. Just a feeling. Something's gonna happen." Angel sighed. "Maybe." He murmured, then stood up and followed him.

* * * *

Grace was sitting on the couch in the main room of the office reading a magazine as Lindsey played solitaire on the computer. She was surprised at the comfortable silence they were sitting in and occasionally snuck a glance at the lawyer. It was the first time she'd ever seen him out of his work clothes and it was also the first time he'd ever looked content. All the times she'd seen him before he had looked edgy and tense, but now . . . he had finally relaxed.

The phone shrilled on the desk and Grace jumped up and grabbed the receiver. "Angel Investigations. We help the hopeless." She paused and frowned. "Hello?" After listening for a moment longer Grace shook her head and put the receiver back.

"Prank call?" Lindsey asked.

She didn't answer him immediately. Instead she went to the window and pulled up the shade that covered it. The street outside was dark and empty but she stared out into the shadows for a long moment anyway.

Lindsey stepped up behind her. "It was just a prank call Grace, it's okay."

She frowned and sighed. "We can never be too careful. Especially now." She glanced around for a moment longer before returning to the couch.

Lindsey stayed where he was, but followed her with his eyes. "Why would you say that?"

Grace looked at him. "You're in danger. We need to protect you and sometimes those calls seem a little strange." She shook her head. "It's probably nothing, I'm sure. But just to be on the safe side we have to-"

Her sentence was cut off by a loud bang and the shattering of the window Lindsey stood in front of. She heard his pained cry as he crumpled to the floor and glanced up to see another bullet slam into the wall above their desk.

"Lindsey!" She yelled, getting off the couch and crawling toward him. Trying to pick her way through the shards of glass she reached him and turned him over. The bullet had struck him in the chest, ripping into him and coming out the other side.

"Oh God." Grace murmured, gently feeling for a pulse. What she found was weak and irregular. "Lindsey?" She whispered, leaning down to his ear. "Lindsey you have to hear me and wake up. We need to get out of here. If we can get to Angel's apartment downstairs we'll be safe for a little while. At least until they can get back to help us."

The lawyer's eyelids fluttered but he had no other response.

"Dammit." She growled under her breath. Sighing Grace lifted Lindsey slightly, keeping their bodies bent over to prevent giving the gunman another target. She dragged him to the elevator that went down to Angel's place and shoved him inside, closing the door and pressing the button almost immediately. They went down slowly and when they got to the bottom, she stood up and lifted Lindsey over to Angel's couch. Then she went to the phone.

"Angel." She hissed when he answered his cell phone. "Someone shot Lindsey through the window. He's alive, but just barely. And I have a feeling they're not done. Get here now."

Dropping the phone to the floor, Grace went over to where Lindsey lay and began to apply pressure to the wound. She bit her lip nervously and willed Angel to get there as fast as he could.

* * * *

Cordelia's cell phone rang and she glanced at is casually before returning her gaze to the green demon sitting in front of her.

"So, you were saying?"

He grinned slightly. "You're gonna make it big my girl. You've got the look, the talent and the voice to go places. If we could just get you up there singing a little Madonna or maybe some Cher, we'd know for sure where you'll go."

She practically beamed as his announcement. "Well, which song do you think?"

Gunn, looking irritated, reached over and snapped the phone open. "Yeah?" There was a pause and the annoyed look on his face disappeared. "Yeah, we'll be there." He closed the phone. "Cordy, we gotta go."

"But I'm going to sing Cher." She protested.

"Not tonight." Gunn said. "Lindsey got shot at. He and Grace are stuck in Angel's apartment and they don't know how many they're up against. Let's go."

"What about him?" She asked. "He's in danger."

The Host smiled. "Don't worry about me darling. But we will get you singing that Cher one day, won't we?"

Cordelia nodded. "Definitely. I'll be back tomorrow."

As they left the bar he called out after them, "Have a nice night kids."

Gunn rolled his eyes.

* * * *

Onto Part 2