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Rescue and Reconciliation

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Lindsey had slept through the rest of the afternoon and evening and then straight through the night. The exhausted young man was able to get the rest he'd needed. When he slowly woke, it didn't take long for him to realize; Angel was wrapped around him like a blanket. He smiled at the sensation of being 'wrapped up'. He gently pressed his bottom back against his Utselii, to see what kind of reaction he'd get.

 

Angel hadn't been sleeping and when Lindsey pressed his bottom back against him, he kissed his human's shoulder and then his ears, arm wrapping possessively around his waist.

 

Lindsey hummed happily at the kissing and possessive grip and wriggled against the vampire, giving Angel an impish look over his shoulder.

 

Angel nuzzled into Lindsey's neck, kissing and gently nipping at the skin there. "Mine," he whispered.

 

Lindsey whimpered. "...Yours, Utselii..." he whispered, pushing just a slight bit more, attempting to get the vampire's 'full attention'.

 

Angel inhaled his scent, kissing his earlobes and his shoulders. His hand gently stroked over Lindsey's stomach and chest.

 

Encouraged when Angel didn't pull away, Lindsey let his hand drift down to rub over Angel's arm, pushing back just that much more until he could feel his Utselii slide against him intimately, then whimpered softly as an invitation to claim him.

 

Angel let his teeth graze against Lindsey's neck, licking, kissing and gently nipping, even as he reached for the bottle of lube. It was getting low...and if they kept up with the way they had been, he was going to need to get more.

 

Lindsey shivered, feeling his master's teeth and lips on his neck. "...Yours..." he whispered happily, shifting just enough that Angel could prepare him once he'd got the lube.

 

"I love you, mo shíorghrá. My life-mate." Angel kissed, stroked and caressed, kissing the lobes of his ears.

 

Lindsey whimpered. He'd never thought his ears were one of his erogenous zones, but every time the vampire kissed him there, it felt like tiny sparks traveled from his master's lips straight to his groin.

 

Angel continued to kiss, stroke and caress, nuzzling into Lindsey's neck as he carefully, gently and slowly pushed into his human.

 

Lindsey forced himself to relax until Angel was fully inside him, unable to push any further, then he tightened his muscles to try and hold his master in place. "...Mine!" he growled possessively, before taking Angel's hand and gently kissing his palm in apology for what he thought might be too forward behavior. Angel was his master, after all. Not the other way ‘round.

 

Angel let his fingers brush over Lindsey's lips, kissing his neck as he shifted gently inside his human. "Exactly right," he whispered. "I'm yours. Your master. Your Utselii."

 

Lindsey smiled against Angel's fingers, kissing each one, nibbling and licking in between kisses. He moaned softly as he felt his master moving in him. That would never get old.

 

Angel continued to stroke over his human's lips, his other hand stroking down over Lindsey's hips as he continued to move inside him, kissing and gently nipping at his neck.

 

"I wish sometimes I wasn't a weak little human..." Lindsey whimpered softly. "I understand why, but it's hard not to want you to stop holding back...."

 

"I'm not holding back because you're weak, mo shíorghrá," Angel whispered. "Even if you weren't human, you'd still be precious to me...someone to take care of and be gentle with."

 

Lindsey stilled for a few seconds at that before letting out an entirely different sounding whimper and beginning to cover Angel's hand with kisses. His emotions spiked through the bond; warm, happy, content and, through all of them, love and adoration for his mate.

 

Angel tightened his hold on his human, kissing his neck and rubbing over his chest, stomach and hips. His own emotions flowed through the bond to Lindsey; love and contentment chief among them.

 

Lindsey squeezed around his master again, feeling the friction as his Angel continued his slow, stroking movement. He took one of vampire's hands and, threading his fingers through Angel's, held tightly but gently. Everywhere his Utselii touched with his other hand, Lindsey pushed forward to meet the touch.

 

Angel laced his fingers through Lindsey's, stroking and squeezing his hand. His other hand massaged and rubbed everywhere he could reach, caressing and stroking. He nipped and kissed Lindsey's neck repeatedly.

 

Lindsey held out as long as he could, enjoying being filled by his Utselii and not wanting it to end, but eventually, his whimpers turned to moans and then to groans, as he took everything Angel did to him- gave to him- and gave back as much as he was able. He felt himself tightening up, inside and out, and then he was releasing. He couldn't hold back any longer. As he shivered and shuddered in Angel's arms, spasming inside, around Angel, he let out a helpless moan.

 

Angel snuggled Lindsey closer to him, his human's release triggering his own. He buried his face in Lindsey's hair, inhaling his human's scent. "I love you," he whispered.

 

"...I love you..." Lindsey said breathlessly, snuggling back against his master. He was satiated for the moment. He took his Utselii's hand and rubbed it over his stomach. "...Bond is happy for now," he huffed in amusement.

 

Angel gently rubbed his stomach. "Are you?" he murmured, kissing Lindsey's neck.

 

"I am..." Lindsey smiled over his shoulder at Angel.

 

"Good." Angel leaned in to give him a chaste kiss.

 

Lindsey kissed back, keeping his kiss just as chaste. "I love you, Utselii..." he whispered, snuggling back.

 

"I love you, mo shíorghrá," Angel murmured. "You are so important and precious to me."

 

"I feel important and precious when you hold me like this..." Lindsey admitted. "I owe you so much... wanna do something special for you...."

 

"Just being here with me...in my arms where I can hold you...is more than enough," Angel whispered.

 

"Really? That's all you want from me?" Lindsey wasn't sure if that made him feel wonderful (someone always wanted something from him before. They never just wanted him), or if it disappointed him, because he truly wanted to do something special for his Utselii.

 

"I want you, mo shíorghrá," Angel said honestly. "Letting me bring you home and bonding to me? That was the best gift you ever could have given me."

 

"...That was a gift to myself..." Lindsey smiled, though, feeling more at ease knowing that he was giving Angel what the vampire wanted.

 

"You gave yourself to me," Angel said softly.

 

"Yes... that was the first good thing I've done for myself..." Lindsey was still smiling, but his eyes looked a little sad. Everything he'd thought he'd been doing right really wasn't good for him. Giving himself to Angel was the best thing he could have done. The vampire valued him. Valued him even more than he valued himself. "Giving myself to you... probably saved my life..." he admitted, his gaze falling. It was clear he felt ashamed.

 

Angel tightened his embrace around Lindsey, kissing his neck and then his lips. "It was the best thing you could have done, because I won't hurt you or make you do things that you know are wrong," he murmured.

 

Lindsey nodded, his eyes filling with tears. "You saved me from losing my soul..." he admitted. "I was too damn weak and shortsighted to walk away on my own.... You saved me, and I'll never be able to repay you...."

 

Angel stroked Lindsey's cheeks. "You accepted me as your master and your lover, mo shíorghrá. You proved that I was right to bring you home."

 

"...I need you so much..." Lindsey whimpered, sniffling to try and keep from crying, though tears were sliding down his cheeks anyway. "...Not just physically..." He shifted just enough to feel his master rub inside him again. "...In every way possible..." he whispered.

 

Angel leaned in, kissing and licking away his human's tears. "I need you just as much." He wrapped his arms tighter around Lindsey's body, lifting his human's hand to his lips and turning it over to kiss the palm.

 

Lindsey shivered and relaxed into his master's arms, closing his eyes and just focusing on the comfort Angel provided. He could feel the bond humming underneath his skin, warm and almost alive, but it wasn't urging anything more than he accept his Utselii's comfort and love.

 

Angel tightened his arms around his human. "I love you. My life-mate," he whispered, pushing his love and care for Lindsey through the link.

 

"I love you... Meae..." Lindsey whispered, his contentment, trust in Angel and happiness bleeding through the bond to his master.

 

Angel kissed his head, inhaling his scent, and nuzzled into his neck.

 

It was second nature to slant his head so that his throat was open and vulnerable to his Utselii. Lindsey purred softly.

 

The growl Angel gave was low and possessive and he licked, kissed, and nuzzled into Lindsey's neck, hands resting possessively on his human's hips.

 

"...Yours, cor meum... te amo omnino... I pertinent ad te dominum...." Lindsey mumbled softly, as he began to rock his hips gently back against Angel's hips and then forward into Angel's hands.

 

Angel let his teeth graze gently over Lindsey's neck, licking and kissing his pulse point. His feelings of love and possessiveness flowed through the bond to his human.

 

Lindsey whimpered softly, his own feelings of love, happiness and submission flowing back toward his master. "...Tuus sum ego, mi cor tuum, mea vita, anima mate...." His voice was soft and almost hoarse; he leaned back into Angel's arms, letting the vampire take his full weight.

 

Angel whispered softly in Gaelic and English, tightening his hold on Lindsey so his human wouldn't fall. He kissed softly and tenderly over his human's shoulders and down his arms, turning his hands over to kiss the palms.

 

Lindsey sunk into Angel, whispering softly, "...Yours..." and, "...Love you..." in between tiny moans.

 

"I love you, mo shíorghrá. My life-mate," Angel whispered, kissing and caressing and stroking. "I need you. So very much."

 

Lindsey pushed back just a little, as if to urge his master to take him again, then ran his fingers lightly over the arms enveloping him. "...Whatever you need, however you need it..." he promised, meaning every word.

 

"I just need you," Angel said honestly, kissing his neck. "Whether being inside you, holding you in my arms, sitting with you on my lap...no matter how we do it, touching and holding you is what I need."

 

"...Need you... every way..." Lindsey was in agreement. Still. "...Take me, master? Please?" Lindsey blinked. He hadn't meant to say that out loud, even if the bond was making him want it again. He certainly hadn't meant to beg so needily. But he'd just done it. Flushing slightly at his lack of self-control, he nuzzled and kissed the arm and hand closest to his face and waited for Angel to make a decision.

 

Angel couldn't help but frown, gently stroking the side of his human's face. "Is that the bond talking? Or my life-mate as well?" he asked gently.

 

Lindsey swallowed hard but gave the question serious thought. "...The bond," he finally had to admit, a hint of shame and worry in his tone. "...But I do want you, master! It isn't always the bond talking!" he added, afraid he may have upset Angel.

 

"I know, mo shíorghrá," Angel replied reassuringly. "But I don't want the bond to force you when you're not comfortable." Kissing Lindsey's neck, he added, "Maybe we should give the bond a bit of a chance to settle. I can go and see Wes and Cordy for a couple of hours, so they can see I'm still me."

 

A spike of fear shot through Lindsey and straight through the bond to Angel before he could control it. Biting his lip, Lindsey looked at Angel. "I'm sorry, Utselii... I know I should be able to fight it better than I am. I don't want to disappoint you..." He didn't say he didn't want to make Angel leave, though that's where the fear had come from. That Angel thought he had to leave him in order for Lindsey to regain control over himself.

 

"No, mo shíorghrá," Angel said softly. "You don't disappoint me." He let his thumb stroke over Lindsey's cheek. "I know you're not comfortable with the thought of seeing them yet." That thought made him sad; that he couldn't yet bring his life-mate to his friends. "It's not you that's at fault. Or even the bond. But I've been claiming you long enough I know that you're at least a little bit sore now. I can let Wes and Cordy see that I'm not changed...and then maybe you'll feel comfortable enough to see them," he added hopefully.

 

Lindsey thought about that, then nodded. "...Yessir. If they see you aren't changed... maybe they'll be able to trust me a little. Then I can feel comfortable seeing them..." he admitted shyly. He didn't say anything about his feeling sore. Angel was right. He was sore. Very sore, really. But Lindsey didn't need to admit it; he was fairly certain his master could pick up on the fact that he was right just by looking through the bond.

 

Angel kissed him, long and lingering and deeply, before adding, "It might also give us a chance to see how well the bond works over distance. Figure out if it's possible to talk to each other through it."

 

Lindsey returned the kiss eagerly, open and submissive and giving Angel everything he could in a kiss. He reluctantly pulled away when his master did, but his interest in Angel's words was clear. "Do you think we can?" he asked.

 

Angel stroked his human's face. "I think it's worth trying," he said. "We've already figured out how to send our emotions to each other." As proof, he sent waves of love through the bond to Lindsey.

 

Lindsey grinned and immediately sent waves of love and happiness back. He nodded slowly. "I'd like to try..." he said firmly.

 

Angel gave him another long, lingering, deep kiss, cupping the back of his head. "I love you, my life-mate," he whispered against Lindsey's lips.

 

Lindsey responded eagerly to the kiss, opening up for his master to possess his mouth like he possessed every other part of him. "...I..." His words were interrupted by the ringing of Angel's phone. He pouted.

 

Angel's thumb stroked the side of Lindsey's face and he sent waves of love and reassurance to his life-mate as he picked up his phone and answered it. "Wes?"

 

"Yes. Angel. It's been nearly two full days since I saw you. I know that the binding to keep your soul in place worked, but you can't blame us for being a bit worried that you haven't come to see us, despite numerous hints and outright suggestions that we want to see you...?" Wes scolded. "Are you staying away because you think we won't accept Lindsey? Because while we still have our reservations, I can assure you that we will treat him civilly and give him a chance...."

 

"That's not really why." Angel wasn't exactly lying; even if that was part of the reason he hadn't been to see Wes and Cordy. "We've still been working our way through the bonding. I was actually already planning to come and see you both before you rang."

 

"Oh..." Wes was caught by surprise, but he didn't let it quiet him for long. "...So are you both coming over, then?"

 

"Just me," Angel answered. "At least this time." He didn't go into details about why; that was his life-mate's and his business.

 

"Well..." Wes sounded disappointed, but he continued. "...That's alright then. It will let us talk with you like we haven't done in a few days and maybe you can give us some pointers in how to make your young man feel comfortable around us, now that he's going to be a permanent part of your life...." Wes was matter-of-fact. He'd accepted Angel's choice, even if he still felt reservations.

 

Angel glanced at his human, wondering if Lindsey's temporarily heightened senses were enabling him to hear Wesley's side of the conversation, but he didn't say anything to draw attention to it, instead saying, "I'm sure I can do that."

 

"We will see you when?" Wes asked curiously.

 

Lindsey had been trying not to listen in on Angel's conversation, even if his hearing was very sensitive and capable of picking up Wes's end of the conversation. He respected his master too much to eavesdrop. Still, he'd heard enough to get his curiosity up and he couldn't help but look at Angel with wide, curious eyes.

 

"Yes," Angel answered. "I'll be about half an hour." He didn't mention getting cleaned up. Wesley didn't need to know the details of what Angel and Lindsey had been up to, even if his friend could probably guess.

 

"I'll see you in about half an hour, then..." Wes agreed in a pleased tone. He hung up the phone.

 

Angel hung up and then turned to Lindsey, stroking the side of his face. "Wesley's accepted that we're together. I'm going to shower and dress and then go to see them," he said softly. "If you do decide you want to join me, just give me a call."

 

"Okay, Utselii..." Lindsey turned his head enough to kiss Angel's palm. He didn't ask to join his master in the shower. He knew he'd be begging to be taken again if he joined him.

 

Angel leaned forward and kissed him; long, lingering and deeply. "I love you," he whispered. "I need you. And if you can't reach me through the bond, you can call or message." He stayed a few more moments and then stood, heading through to the bathroom to shower.

 

Lindsey sighed, moving to lie down on the bed. He sent waves of love, trust and happiness to his lover. If a few waves of physical frustration leaked through, he was doing his best to control it.

 

Angel responded to the emotions with his own waves of love and contentedness. When he was finished showering, he walked back into the room to get dressed, leaning over to kiss his life-mate once more.

 

Lindsey eagerly kissed Angel back, some of the frustration easing as he showed the vampire how much he loved him through his kiss.

 

Angel lingered for a bit, stroking and caressing down the side of Lindsey's face, before he finally finished getting dressed. "Don't hesitate to call or message," he directed.

 

"Yessir..." Lindsey smiled as he watched Angel go; then, yawning, turned over and went back to sleep.

 

****

 

Wesley grinned and shook his head at all the food Cordy had got together. "Are you planning for me to eat all of this! Because you know full well, you won't eat it all, and it's unlikely Angel will eat any of it. And Lindsey's not coming this time."

 

"Yeah, but what if he does come?" Cordelia asked, before adding, "And you said that he'd be completely exhausted after everything he and Angel have been doing."

 

Wes cleared his throat and smiled uncomfortably at that. "Yes, I imagine he is... and will continue to be until the magic settles. I know Angel said he would not come this time, but if he does surprise us, preparing for it isn't a bad thing. We could always send the leftovers home with Angel later."

 

Cordelia nodded. "Exactly. See, I know what I'm doing." She turned towards the door as Angel walked into the offices. "Hi, stranger."

 

Angel paused, taking in the amount of food that had been put out. "Are you expecting more people?"

 

Wes managed to avoid laughing by clearing his throat. "No... no. Cordelia was just preparing in case Lindsey changed his mind. She thought he might be hungry...." He left unsaid why she thought that.

 

"But you can always take what's left back for him," Cordelia was quick to add.

 

"I'll keep that in mind," Angel said.

 

"So..." Wes paused, not sure how to address the elephant in the room but thinking avoiding talking about it would make things worse. Finally, he bit the bullet. "You're not Angelus. Which means one of two things; and since I doubt you'd have gone through all of this if you didn't care about Lindsey, we can assume the ritual worked. Have you experienced any negative side effects?"

 

"And how does that even work?" Cordelia asked, before Angel could say anything. "I thought you were attracted to women."

 

"It's not...." Angel's voice trailed off and he sighed, then focused on answering Wes. "The only problem is that it... the bond between us... is forcing more contact than I think Lindsey can realistically handle." No matter how much his life-mate might protest otherwise.

 

Wes glanced at Cordelia, answering her when Angel didn't. "According to all records, most vampires- while they might have a preference- don't limit themselves to just one sex and will sometimes be attracted to someone that doesn't fit their normal attraction. For example, Angelus had a preference for tiny, petite blondes, most likely due to his being sired by a tiny petite blonde, but he didn't limit himself. Angel; actually, Angel tended to be a loner with the exception of Buffy Summers, so...." He shook his head, not meaning to have got off on that tangent. He turned back toward Angel. "More than Lindsey can handle? Does he not want to be intimate with you? Or do you mean he can't handle it physically because he's mortal?"

 

"I don't think the problem is that he doesn't want it," Angel answered. "The problem is that he's still only human. And it's happening too much and too often for him to truly be comfortable."

 

"Not that I'm an expert or anything, but doesn't giving him your blood make a difference?" Cordelia asked. "You know...stronger. Better able to handle pain. That kinda thing."

 

Wes nodded. "That is how it is supposed to work...unless hundreds of years of watcher records are wrong...."

 

"It still has more of a negative effect on him than it does me," Angel said. He paused and then added, "Speaking of my sire...that ritual Lindsey was involved with? Wolfram and Hart brought Darla back. As a human. Dying."

 

Wes's eyes widened. "Do you want me to look into it? See if we can't get her away from them?"

 

Angel nodded. "They were going to try and manipulate me into turning her into a vampire."

 

Cordelia snorted softly. "Good thing Lindsey's on your side now and not working with them." She couldn't quite hide a note of suspicion in her voice. Yes, she and Wes had decided to give Lindsey a chance...but he'd still done a lot to all of them that made it hard to believe this wasn't some kind of elaborate trick.

 

"I'm assuming Lindsey confessed this to you?" Wes sounded a little suspicious himself. If the young lawyer wasn't the one to tell Angel....

 

Angel nodded. "He told me about it." He didn't think he needed to mention the guilt his human had felt...or the fact he'd turned his human over his knee.

 

"Well, there's that, then. I doubt he would have mentioned it if he wasn't one hundred percent with you now..." Wes didn't ask what Angel's reaction had been. That was between him and the younger man. He glanced toward Cordelia, hoping to head off any potential embarrassing questions; if she looked at him before asking them, anyway.

 

"So, when do you think you'll be able to bring your boyfriend here?" Cordelia asked. "Or are you two married now?"

 

Angel scratched the back of his neck. "Maybe. But I'm still trying to get Lindsey used to the idea of how I feel about him. I don't want to mention the word marriage just yet."

 

Wes smiled faintly at that. "I did a bit of research on your Mr. McDonald when you originally called me to request help with the ritual. He's not had an easy life. That he's let himself trust you this much is a good sign that you'll succeed..." He paused. "...I realize the bond pushes for physical intimacy, but there is also supposed to be a spiritual connection, for lack of a better word...."

 

****

 

Lindsey hadn't slept for long. Thirty minutes at most. He'd got up and taken another cold shower to be able to focus, then had dressed himself in some of Angel's clothes (he really needed to either go to his apartment for his things or go shopping) and then tried to figure out what he'd do with himself while Angel was gone. Walking to his computer, he turned it on and began to check out his email from various acquaintances. While doing so, he caught a whiff of his vampire's cologne in the shirt he wore and couldn't stop the grin or the warm, affectionate feeling that overwhelmed him. He thought of Angel and poured all his love into the thought, wondering if the vampire would be able to feel it all the way across town.

 

***

 

Angel paused as he felt the emotion flooding through him and he sent his own emotions of love and care flowing through towards his human. "We've had some experience with the spiritual side of the bond," he said out loud to Wes.

 

Wes had noticed the pause; and the look on Angel's face when he'd paused, even if the vampire was unaware of it. "Am I safe in guessing you're experiencing some of that part of the bond right now?" He smiled crookedly.

 

Angel nodded. "We've been experiencing each other's emotions."

 

"Can you talk to him from here?" Cordelia asked quickly.

 

Wes nodded. "What little I read on the bond, emotions were the main shared thing; but there are a few rare cases where complete telepathy occurred at least for one of the participants...."

 

"So, if you look distant, you might not be on a brooding kick?" Cordelia asked.

 

Angel nodded. "That about sums it up. I only tried talking to him telepathically once and I'm not sure it worked," he added.

 

"It's possible he didn't realize it was telepathic... if you've been with each other non-stop for the last several days." Wes nodded.

 

***

 

Lindsey grinned as he felt waves of love returned to him from his master, then settled in to read the email he'd received from one of his non-Wolfram & Hart contacts. His eyes widened as he read, and he couldn't keep himself from sending a wave of interest and excitement toward Angel.

 

***

 

Angel cocked his head to one side, a soft smile spreading across his face at the emotions he could sense coming from his human. Deciding to try out the telepathy, he sent a question towards Lindsey: What is it?

 

"You're distracted again," Cordelia said. Glancing at Wesley, she added, "I've never seen that look on your face before."

 

Wes found himself relaxing at seeing the look on Angel's face. Whatever the vampire and Lindsey McDonald had? Seemed to be good for Angel. "He's happy... and not feeling guilty about being happy..." he whispered to himself, but loudly enough both his friends could hear.

 

***

 

"What is it?"

 

Lindsey jumped out of his chair and spun around in surprise at hearing the words. Angel wasn't back yet already, was he? He felt his happiness soar at the thought his master was back home; and then a small hint of disappointment and longing as he realized Angel wasn't in the room. And then a very strong sense of confusion. "What the hell, man?" he muttered and scratched his ear. Angel? He tried to talk to the vampire through his mind, but all that was sent through was his complete bafflement.

 

***

 

Angel could feel his human's emotions through the bond. "I think he heard me," he said out loud. I love you, my life-mate, he sent through the bond.

 

Cordelia nodded to Wesley at those words. "Even more reason for us to meet him properly," she said to both of them.

 

Wes nodded at Cordelia. "Quite right..." He turned to Angel. "Tell him the next time we fully expect him to join you, so we can thank him in person!" he ordered Angel.

 

***

 

I love you, my life - mate.

 

Lindsey's smile grew as he heard the words and his whole body became warm. "I love you too!" he said out loud, thinking it as hard as he could. He had no clue if Angel could hear actual words from him, or if it was one way, but he was going to try his damnedest to answer until Angel told him one way or another. An intense wave of love gushed toward the vampire. As did another bout of excitement, because Lindsey had just noticed something he could do for the vampire. Something that didn't involve him going anywhere near Wolfram & Hart. Something that wasn't dangerous, since it only involved going to a little store on the outskirts of LA and talking to the owner. Grinning to himself, he wrote down the address, grabbed his wallet and keys to his truck and walked out the apartment door, before remembering his truck was still parked over at the warehouse where Angel had originally grabbed him several days before. He sighed to himself, double checked to make sure he had his phone and then headed for the bus stop. It was a nice day. He could walk as much as possible.

 

***

 

Angel couldn't hear any words, but he definitely felt the love that pulsed towards him...along with the wave of excitement. "I'll be sure to tell him that," he said to Wes.

 

"Maybe you could go home and retrieve him and bring him here?" Cordelia suggested. "Tell him there's a lot of food, if you think that would help."

 

"We'd really like to get to know him better... unless there was another reason you didn't bring him, other than him being wary of us?" Wes asked cautiously.

 

"He was worried about you assuming that he'd manipulated me in some way," Angel said. "And I think he's also been feeling guilty."

 

"Why? It's not like he's the first person to screw up," Cordelia said. "And you love him, so he can't be as bad as he acted."

 

"The fact he gave in to you so easily and willingly is proof to me that he was never fully Wolfram & Harts man. And if he isn't theirs fully, then there's a chance he can be good..." Wes added.

 

"He is," Angel said softly. "At least, he wants to work at it. Wolfram and Hart got him when he was much younger and didn't have anyone."

 

"And now he has you," Cordelia said.

 

"All the more reason to bring him to see us. He has you, but he could also have us in his corner. The more help he has to stand against the senior partners..." Wes said.

 

Angel nodded. "I'll let him know that he has you both wanting to be in his corner too." He reached out to Lindsey once again, sending through waves of love and reassurance, as well as the words, Wes and Cordy want to give you a chance.

 

***

 

Lindsey was sitting on the bus when those words arrived, and a feeling of relief swept over him and through the bond to Angel, then happiness and acceptance. I'll go see them next time you go... he promised himself, since he was certain Angel couldn't hear his words. He sent more love, acceptance and happiness Angel's way, along with a sense of purpose. And then he grinned as he reached the bus stop he needed. He'd only need to walk a block to the store and then he could find out what he'd come to find. If it was true, Angel would be so happy! His sense of excitement and eagerness bled through again- not that he was trying to hide it- and he got off the bus and began walking.

 

***

 

"He's happy," Angel reported to his friends, unable to keep from smiling at the emotions he sensed, before tilting his head to one side. "And excited and eager about something...." Did you leave the house, life-mate? he sent to his human. You need to call me to let me know.

 

Wes watched Angel curiously, waiting to see if he elaborated.

 

***

 

Lindsey blinked at his Utselii's directions, finding himself blushing. He'd completely forgotten to call and ask Angel's permission to leave the apartment! How could he have done that? It didn't matter that he was excited to have found a lead, or that he wasn't used to asking permission; he belonged to Angel and he knew the vampire would want him to call. Quickly stopping in front of the store, he pulled his phone out to call the vampire and let him know what he was doing, his embarrassment and repentant shame carrying easily through the bond. Angel would know he'd messed up before the call even connected and would know he was sorry. Hopefully, he wouldn't be ordered home immediately, before he had a chance to talk to the shop owner, but if he was, he'd obey.

 

***

 

Cordelia snorted softly at seeing the distant look on Angel's face. "Are we supposed to get used to this now? Angel not brooding but tuning out on us?" She wasn't too unhappy about the idea.

 

Wes chuckled. "Only when Lindsey isn't with him. Which I suspect won't be too often...." He glanced at Angel, waiting for him to tune back in to the conversation before asking, "Everything alright?"

 

Angel nodded, focusing on Wes. "Lindsey should be giving me a call in a few minutes."

 

"He's talking to you?" Cordelia asked.

 

"I'm talking to him," Angel replied. "He can hear me."

 

"But he can't talk back?" Wes asked curiously. Just then, the phone rang.

 

***

 

Lindsey was standing in front of the shop, just to the left of the door. He could be seen easily by everyone inside. That didn't worry him. Perhaps it should have, though; Holland Manners was stood back in the shadows, watching and waiting.

 

Holland had discovered the same thing Lindsey's contact had. Holland had thought perhaps Lindsey would investigate, if only to help his new master, and so he had come to investigate himself; and wait for Lindsey. As soon as he saw that his hunch had been correct- and Lindsey had come looking for Francis Doyle- he began to move to intercept his young ex-employee. He ignored the shop-keeper asking him what he was doing. The look on his face boded well for no one.

 

As soon as Angel had picked up the phone, Lindsey had blurted, "I'm sorry! I completely forgot to call and ask you if I could leave, but I found something really interesting that I wanted to look into and if it turns out right, you'll be so glad I did... and it isn't connected to Wolfram and Hart at all, so I figured it was safe because they shouldn't know about it..." Waves of apology, excitement, eagerness, love, affection were pulsing through the bond.

 

Lindsey didn't get to finish his explanation. Holland chose that moment to act, hitting Lindsey over the back of the head with a bat he'd conveniently saw on a display on his way to the door. Lindsey only had a moment of panic, fear, confusion before he went unconscious and all emotions stopped. Lindsey's phone fell to the ground and lay forgotten as Holland dragged him to his car and then drove off. Sadly, they were in a part of town where people were afraid to step up and intervene when things occurred, although one brave person did call the police. By the time the authorities arrived, Holland was long gone with his prisoner.

 

***

 

Angel reacted immediately when Lindsey's voice was cut off, replaced by fear and panic. "Something's happened." He immediately turned towards the door, intending to sprint outside.

 

Cordelia grabbed his arm, ignoring the low, warning growl coming from the vampire. "What are you going to do? Race through LA sniffing him out?"

 

Wes took his other arm, ignoring the growling. "You'll do no one any good running out into the sun..." he reminded his friend. "Put your coat on until you can get into my car. I had it fit with special windows, so the sun won't come through and burn you. Then I'll drive, and you can tell me which direction to go."

 

Angel resisted the urge to pull away from his friends and go tearing off after Lindsey, but his body was tense and his movements jerky as he pulled his coat on and quickly headed out of the office.

 

Wes didn't say anything more, just grabbing his keys- and a few weapons- and following the vampire to his car, quickly unlocking it. Luckily, he'd parked in a semi-shaded area, so even if Angel wasn't as careful as he should have been, due to worry, he wasn't hurt.

 

***

 

Lindsey came to approximately ten minutes after he'd been knocked out, immediately beginning to struggle before he'd even opened his eyes. He could feel that he was tied up and that his head was lying on someone's lap. He could also tell that it wasn't his master who had him. He knew Angel's smell. "You're going to regret doing this!" he growled out, as he blinked his eyes open. He sounded angry, but inside and hidden from view, he was very worried and scared.

 

***

 

Angel was reaching out through the bond, so he felt immediately when Lindsey woke up, the fear and worry reaching through him. He began tracking the emotions like a bloodhound, sending love and reassurance through the link to his human. I'm coming for you, life-mate.

 

***

 

Lindsey tried to calm himself so that he could focus. Angel's reassurance helped some, but it was hard for him to focus. He was pretty sure he had a concussion. When his eyes finally were able to adjust and focus on who had him, another spike of fear shot through him and a queasy feeling of unease. He tried not to let it show on his face, but he could tell he'd failed because of the nasty grin his captor gave him. "Let me go. You don't want to do this..." He was proud that his voice didn't shake. Much.

 

***

 

I'm coming for you, life-mate. Angel sent the words and love and reassurance to Lindsey, unable to help his own worry and fear bleeding through. Already, he was feeling anxious. His life-mate was in danger. Angel couldn't put his hands on Lindsey. I love you. He sent the love through the bond.

 

***

 

Angel's message was helping Lindsey remain calm and in control, even if he was worried and afraid. He tried to sit up, then glared when Holland held him down with one hand while holding up a needle with the other. "Uh uh uh... You need to stay still, son. You might aggravate your injuries. I won't hesitate to sedate you if necessary..." the older man said, sounding entirely too pleased at that thought.

 

Lindsey didn't want to be at his ex-boss' mercy, so he held still. "What are you doing? Where are you taking me?"

 

"Someplace I can break that infernal vampire's spell over you, so you can return back to me where you belong!" Holland growled.

 

***

 

Angel's growl was low and possessive, and those feelings kept coming through the bond, along with a reiteration that Lindsey was his and he was going to come for his human. He was going to find him. No matter what it took.

 

***

 

Lindsey tried to move again, the creepy smile on Holland's face more than he could take. Except he couldn't move.

 

Holland chuckled meanly. "I guess now that the drugs have kicked in, I won't need to threaten you with this." He smirked and capped the needle he held, placing it in a bag near him.

 

Lindsey's fear began to escalate as he realized he couldn't move at all and he was starting to feel tingly in places he shouldn't. "What did you do?! What did you give me?!" His voice caught in his throat as he thought of all the various possibilities.

 

"I told you. I plan to break whatever hold that vampire has over you. But to answer your question, it's a cocktail of my own design. An agent that weakens your muscles, so they won't move... And a liquid form of that little blue pill...."

 

Lindey's eyes widened and his fear spiked up another notch, along with a feeling that he was going to throw up. "...Noooo..." His whisper was pleading.

 

***

 

Angel might not know exactly what was happening to his life-mate, but he definitely felt Lindsey's fear. He continued to send love and reassurance through the link. Continued to direct Wes on where to go.

 

***

 

Holland called up to the front of the vehicle, "We have to drive for another hour at least, the portal won't open until the sun starts setting or it is night. Don't stay on one road too long, move onto different roads to confuse anyone looking for us. As soon as you see the sun setting, head to the coordinates I gave you."

 

Lindsey could feel the car each time it turned, sped up, or slowed down, so he knew the driver was obeying the orders. And then his attention was caught by something else and he tried so hard to squirm away... to move... but he couldn't. "...No... Please... Why...?" He closed his eyes at the whimpering, scared tone in his voice, knowing it would only encourage the man. And then a sense of shame enveloped him as his body responded to Holland's actions, the drugs he'd been given over-riding his own brain, or else it would have never occurred.

 

Holland chuckled. "I know I'm not giving you any choice in this, son... But that seems to be what you respond best to... A lack of choice..." He sighed in a very pleased way when Lindsey whimpered, shifting his grip on the younger man, reaching down and undoing Lindsey's slacks before sliding them and the underwear down enough he could continue pulling, tugging, stroking without any barriers. He licked his lips as he watched his hand manipulate the sensitive flesh and heard Lindsey's scared whimpers.

 

***

 

Angel could sense it and he growled low and deep in his throat. His human was hurting and scared and he was too far away to do anything. Only the knowledge he wouldn't find Lindsey any faster if he jumped out of the car kept him in place, but he vamped out.

 

Cordelia shot Wes a look of alarm. Angel's reactions made it clear something was happening to Lindsey...and their friend was going to lose control soon.

 

"As much as they are moving, I think they are heading to a specific spot. I'll try and head them off," Wes promised his friend. "Just hold on, Angel. He needs you to stay calm...."

 

***

 

Holland took Lindsey to the brink before squeezing tightly enough to cause pain.

 

Lindsey choked out a startled cry, then whimpered, erection completely gone. By this time, he was terrified. Holland was crazy. There was no other word for it. The only thing helping Lindsey not to lose complete control was the waves of love his master was sending. He choked back a sob as Holland began rubbing and stroking again.

 

***

 

I'm coming for you, mo shíorghrá. My life-mate. I'm coming. Just hold on. I love you. Angel sent consistent waves of love and reassurance, trying hard not to let any of his anger come through...but he didn't hold back his possessiveness. Mine. He repeated it over and over.

 

***

 

Lindsey could feel his master through the bond. It helped him not lose complete control, but he was still panicked. "Please stop... You never wanted me... not like this... please don't..." He couldn't help but beg.

 

Holland leered. "Son. This isn't about want. It's about control. You caused me to lose mine when you decided to give this..." he stroked firmly, grinning when Lindsey's member stiffened, "...and this..." he squeezed Lindsey's bottom hard enough to elicit a yelp and to bruise, "to that vampire. You had no right. You were mine! You don't just leave me. Trick me into giving you up!" He growled and twisted his hand, causing Lindsey to howl in pain before passing out.

 

Five minutes later, the car was parked, and Holland and Lindsey were gone, disappeared through a rapidly closing portal. The demon chauffer began to walk back to the offices of Wolfram and Hart.

 

***

 

Angel could sense the moment his human lost consciousness and he growled, grabbing for the door, preparing to hurl himself out of the car. He couldn't sense Lindsey any longer and while he didn't make any sounds out loud, he called out repeatedly to his human through the bond...begging Lindsey to hear him.

 

Wesley cursed under his breath, peeling into the last place Angel had sensed the ex-lawyer. There was a car, but nothing else. Wesley quickly got out and began to search the vehicle for any clues as to where Lindsey had disappeared to.

 

Angel tore out of the car, frantically sniffing out and searching for any sign of his human. He was worried, vamped out and seeking any sign of his life-mate.

 

Cordelia started to follow Angel out of the car, but winced and fell back into her seat, hands clasped to her forehead as a vision hit.

 

Wes immediately noticed Cordelia holding her head. "What do you see?" he asked, quickly going to her side.

 

Cordelia gasped with pain as the vision faded, looking up at Wes and at Angel, who had quickly walked over, still with his face vamped out. "I saw someone who looks like Lorne."

 

A confused look came over Angel's face, but he was reacting immediately, taking out his phone to dial the Host.

 

***

 

Lorne had been confused but intrigued when Angel called. He'd agreed to come to their location and try to figure out what was going on. By the time he'd reached them, Lindsey had been missing nearly an hour.

 

Angel was pacing up and down, constantly trying to talk to or reach his human through the link, close to losing control and taking Wolfram and Hart apart with his bare hands if it would help him find his life-mate.

 

"He's never been like this before," Cordelia said quietly, sitting in the car, rubbing her forehead as the pain lingered.

 

Lorne glanced at Angel before turning to Cordelia. "You said you saw someone who looked like me. Was the area around them like a desert?"

 

Cordelia nodded quickly. "Yeah, now that you mention it. You recognise the place?" she asked hopefully.

 

"My home dimension..." Lorne sighed. "I can open a portal to get you there, but it's gonna drain me. It may be a few days to a week before I can open another one to get you back. So, you may want to be certain you have supplies...." He glanced around, not sure who would be going.

 

"Here." Cordelia handed over a pack to Angel. "I managed to grab some of the food. You only need to worry about catching up to him this way."

 

Lorne didn't even wait to see what Angel wanted to do. He began chanting. Five minutes later, a shimmering, slightly shaky portal opened. "Remember where you exited. When I'm able to open a portal again, I'll do it in this door, so stay close so you don't miss it."

 

Angel simply nodded and, without even a moment's hesitation, ducked through the portal after his human.

 

Wes was just about to duck through and follow his friend to help when Lorne let out a yell and then they were both knocked off their feet by a mild earthquake. The portal snapped shut. "Damn it!" Wesley looked at where Angel had stepped through- without any back up- and slumped.

 

***

 

Holland had used the opportunity of Lindsey passing out to administer another dose of the drug. He didn't want the younger man to regain his ability to move; he wanted to punish him and show him how helpless he truly was. Wanted to watch as the fight bled out of him when he realized Holland was in complete control. The little bastard had tricked him! And the senior partners had made sure he had paid with a century of torment in one of the other hell dimensions. But they had finally forgiven him and reinstated him. He would do the same for Lindsey. But first the punishment.

 

He smiled when he entered the tiny hut and began undressing the boy. Lindsey's eyes were wide and terrified because he couldn't move at all. "You'll be able to move again once the drug wears off. I gave you a higher dose, though, so it won't wear off for at least three hours. Sadly, the higher dose means you won't be able to talk, so I won't be able to hear any pretty words of apology or begging, but I'll still hear the whimpers and moans and I'll see the tears...." He grinned as Lindsey's eyes looked even more frightened.

 

Removing the last of Lindsey's clothing, Holland moved him to a narrow table, laying him down on it and arranging him like a buffet. And began tormenting him as he had in the car, grinning nastily as Lindsey's body did what he wanted it to do... Watching Lindsey's eyes as shame and fear battled for prominent position. Listened as the tiny whimpers and moans became more hopeless and broken when the young human finally began to accept he couldn't fight; no matter how much he wanted to, he couldn't fight.

 

***

 

Angel was relieved when the bond snapped back into place as soon as he stepped through the portal...but fear and worry stabbed through him as he felt Lindsey's emotions swamping him. I'm coming for you, life-mate. He sent the words again as he began to use both the bond and his human's scent to track Lindsey.

 

***

 

Holland continued 'playing' with his prisoner, bringing him to the edge then leaving him there while he moved to other body parts, caressing, pinching, licking and biting. "You were mine before you were ever his and if marking you is what you need to remember that, I'll mark you, son..." For as soft as Holland's voice was, it was sinister.

 

Lindsey shuddered, feeling more helpless and more shamed and unclean the more Holland did. He hated being called son by the man; it was a mockery of what that truly should mean. He hated that his body responded to the touching. He knew it was the drug, but he couldn't help thinking he should be able to resist. He was just too weak. Angel deserved so much better than him. The only thing holding him together now was Angel's talking to him through the bond.

 

***

 

Angel was running at vampire speed, racing towards his life-mate, sending words of love and reassurance through the bond...sending waves of love to him, unable to know exactly what he was going through, but knowing it was enough to hurt his human. Knowing that Lindsey was ashamed. He kept voicing the reassurance...kept telling his life-mate he was coming and that Lindsey had nothing to be ashamed of.

 

***

 

Holland had touched every part of the front of Lindsey's body with his unwanted kisses, licks, and bites that were hard enough to bruise. Finally, with a leer, he asked, "Has the vampire tasted this?" He squeezed Lindsey's swollen member hard enough to cause the ex-lawyer to make a sobbing noise, but not enough to pass out, and then he was leaning over and doing exactly that, roughly, until Lindsey released with a choked cry. "He's missing out if he hasn't..." He chuckled meanly, licking his lips and enjoying the look of deep guilt, remorse and shame in the younger man's eyes. "You think he'll still want you when he realizes I've reclaimed every part of you and you did nothing to stop it?" he whispered, grinning when his words caused Lindsey to look more defeated.

 

"Time for the other side!" Holland made it sound like they were at a party playing party games. He quickly and efficiently turned Lindsey over and began marking his back. Biting, licking, sucking skin into his mouth to bruise. Slapping and pinching to stimulate blood flow so bruising would be easier, he tormented his prisoner from the neck down to his feet. Squeezing the cheeks of Lindsey's bottom, then rubbing, he pushed a finger into the younger man, enjoying the muffled, choked sob. "Do you think your vampire would still want you if I took you and put my seed into you?" He twisted his finger, then yanked it out roughly and wiped it on Lindsey's flank. "I'll do that next, though. After I've made you so sore, having me on top of you and thrusting in you will be an exquisite pain...." He turned and walked away.

 

Lindsey felt so ashamed and guilty. So dirty. Every part of him belonged to his Master, but Holland had touched and tasted what wasn't his and Lindsey hadn't been able to stop him. He'd wanted to but couldn't. He was a failure. The only consolation was that Holland had stopped short of filling him. That was still only Angel's. For the moment, anyway. If the powers that be had any mercy, they would enable him to move before Holland finished his reclaiming. He'd be able to fight at least enough to give Angel time to reach him. Even if his master wouldn't want such a dirty human, at least Holland wouldn't have taken him completely. He felt something running gently over his back.

 

"Do you know what this is?" Holland asked rhetorically. "It's a cane. When I'm done, your entire back from neck to ankle will be red, bloody welts. There will be scars. You will never be able to look in the mirror again without seeing that I own you. And once I've finished caning you? I'll complete my claim." Holland let out a growl, raised the cane and let it fall with a hard crack on the small of Lindsey's back.

 

A high- pitched wail was all Lindsey could expel before he passed out again.

 

***

 

Even moving at vampire speed, it had taken too long for Angel to reach his human. Too long of feeling what Lindsey felt and knowing that his life-mate was suffering, and he couldn't do anything about it. But as soon as he reached the hut where he knew his human was inside, Angel was kicking down the door.

 

The smells from the hut triggered a need to protect that was so strong, it unleashed the beast inside of him completely. Fully vamped out, Angel leaped at Holland, who still had the cane in his hand. He tore off the human's hand and he tore his throat out, snarling and growling like a wild animal. And then he turned to Lindsey.

 

That primal, bestial part of him couldn't stand that his human had been touched by this filthy animal. He was still in pure vampiric state, but he wasted no time in lifting Lindsey off the table, cradling him close and protectively as he raced out of the hut...towards where he knew was safety, even if he was still in an animal state.

 

Lindsey didn't wake until Angel slowed. When he came to, he could feel his master's arms around him, smell him, and when he opened his eyes, he could see the vampire's visage. The drugs hadn't worn off yet, so all he could do was whimper softly in apology for his failure to stop Holland. He was positive Angel wouldn't want to touch him ever again.

 

Angel was furious; not with Lindsey, but with Holland. And himself, for not protecting his life-mate better. The run had given enough time for the beast to recede, but it left him shaken that he'd gone down so far. By this point, he'd reached a cave close to where the portal had been opened and found a small pool of water. Sitting down next to the water, Lindsey on his lap, he filled his hands and raised them to his human's lips, encouraging his life-mate to drink.

 

Lindsey whimpered again, ashamed. He couldn't even move enough to lean forward to sip the water. Angel had to bring his hand to his lips and let the water dribble in. He was grateful he could at least swallow.

 

Angel held his hands to his human's lips, dribbling the water in, leaning over and kissing his human's forehead. "My life-mate. Mine." He said the words out loud and through the bond, gently resting Lindsey's head in his lap, lifting his knee enough that his life-mate's neck wouldn't ache.

 

Lindsey couldn't speak. All he could do was lie with his head on Angel's lap, looking up at the vampire with guilt filled, shamed, but grateful eyes. His remorse, shame and guilt vied for prominent positions in his emotions, although his gratitude and love for Angel were fighting those feelings. Finally, hours later, the drug cocktail wore off and Lindsey began to stir slightly, whimpering.

 

Angel held his life-mate, leaning in to kiss his face and neck every so often; gentle, loving kisses. As Lindsey began to stir and whimper, Angel tightened his hold, flooding the bond with his love and care. "When you can move fully, I'm going to clean you up. Treat your injuries," he whispered. "You're safe, mo shíorghrá. Mo chroí. I love you. I've got you."

 

Lindsey was starting to shift, though he still couldn't say anything, but his immense relief that his Utselii had him back carried clearly through the bond. As did his love for Angel and his guilt, shame, sorrow and feelings of failure.

 

"You didn't do anything wrong, life-mate," Angel whispered, giving him a gentle, chaste kiss. "Holland is the only one to blame for what happened. Not you. You haven't let me down."

 

Lindsey began to quiver, shaking as he finally felt safe enough to express the fear and pain he'd experienced while being held captive. "Utselii..." He choked on a sob and then he was crying hard, clinging to the vampire desperately.

 

Angel quickly and carefully gathered his human into his arms, hugging him tightly to himself... as tightly as he could without hurting him. "I'm here," he whispered, stroking Lindsey's hair and kissing his head. "I've got you. I'm not letting you go." He kept sending waves of love and reassurance through the bond, kissing Lindsey's head repeatedly, stroking over his back... being as careful as possible not to harm him.

 

"He... He was trying to erase you..." Lindsey finally cried, his voice broken. "...I'm dirty..." He hesitantly hid his face against Angel's chest, feeling like he didn't deserve to be kept after letting himself be captured like he had.

 

"No, mo chroí," Angel whispered, nuzzling him. "And he could never have erased me. I would never have let you go. I'm sorry I couldn't get to you in time to stop him hurting you." His arms tightened around his human. "I'm sorry you had to go through that pain. But it's not changed anything. You're mine."

 

Lindsey hadn't realized how afraid he was that Angel wouldn't want him until the vampire reassured him he did. He pressed tightly to his master, whimpering softly, the injuries done to his body making themselves known in various ways. "I was so afraid. Utselii. Afraid you wouldn't be able to find me...."

 

Angel cuddled him tightly. "I felt it the moment you were knocked out," he whispered. "I would have gone tearing out into the sunlight directly after you if Wes hadn't made me put on a coat long enough to get to the car. But not finding you wasn't an option. Not coming after you wasn't an option. Even if I would have had to burn Wolfram and Hart to the ground to get you back."

 

"I'm glad Wes stopped you... " Lindsey sniffled. "I'd rather never be found than you die...."

 

"I couldn't lose you, mo chroí," Angel whispered. "I needed to get you. Bring you home safe to me." He kissed Lindsey's shoulders and down his arms.

 

Lindsey quivered, keeping his eyes wide open so he could be reminded that it was Angel kissing him, not Holland. Angel was much gentler, but just feeling lips on his skin was difficult if he couldn't see who it was.

 

Angel let his thumb gently stroke over Lindsey's face and his lips. "I'm going to wash him off you, mo shíorghrá," he murmured. "And then I'm going to treat the injuries he gave you. You're not his. You're mine." He placed his hand over his life-mate's heart, where he'd tattooed the claddagh that matched the ring he'd placed on Lindsey's finger.

 

Lindsey's breath stuttered, and he gave Angel an imploring look. "I'm yours forever.... Wash him off me... help me forget...."

 

Angel kissed Lindsey, gently and chastely; not demanding, just to touch and be affectionate. He then removed his own shirt and soaked it in the water, beginning to clean Lindsey off as carefully as possible. While he did, he kept repeating, "Mine," and, "I love you," pressing soft, gentle kisses to his human's skin.

 

Lindsey started crying again at how gentle Angel was being. "Love you so much..." he whispered. "I'm sorry I couldn't stop him...."

 

Angel shook his head, stroking his human's face; turning Lindsey's hands over so he could kiss the palms. "None of this was your fault, mo shíorghrá. He took you and he hurt you. Physically and emotionally. But he couldn't stop me coming for you. He couldn't break us apart." He moved Lindsey carefully and gently, washing him clean, kissing every spot where it wouldn't hurt. "And he couldn't stop me loving you."

 

Lindsey started crying again. He couldn't seem to regain control of his emotions. "He wanted me to hurt..." He shuddered. "H... he kept asking if you'd done what he was doing... saying he was going to make me forget you. I'd never forget you... But I can't forget him either..." He suddenly spun away from Angel to throw up.

 

Angel leaned over, his hand gently resting on Lindsey's back, fingers lightly stroking down the Celtic knot he'd tattooed on his life-mate's neck. He kissed it. Wrapped his arms around Lindsey from behind and kissed his neck. "I can make it feel a little bit better, life-mate. Just by biting you. Giving you some of my blood. I know it will only help with the physical wounds, but he had no right to you."

 

"I wasn't his. I'm not his! I'm yours, Utselii..." Lindsey wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. "I'm yours...." He shivered slightly. "It hurts...." He started to say master, but the word caught in his throat. Maybe one day, he'd be able to call the vampire that again, but Holland had soured the word for him currently.

 

"Mine," Angel whispered, the words a low, possessive growl. He kissed Lindsey's neck again and then gently bit, drinking some of his human's blood, his arms wrapped around Lindsey's waist. He opened himself up fully to the bond, love flowing through it.

 

Lindsey was expecting to be overwhelmed by euphoria and the need to be claimed. That's how he usually felt when bit. This time, though... It was more soothing than euphoric... It eased the remainder of his fear and anxiety that Holland would be a specter hanging over them... and quite directly eased some of the more manageable pains while making the more unmanageable pains manageable. It also strengthened his bond to Angel, allowing him to feel more of what his Utselii felt and allowed Angel to feel what he felt. "D... do I need to tell you what he did?" Lindsey asked uncertainly. He'd rather not even think of it, but if Angel needed to know so that he could make sure he was treated correctly....

 

Only what you need to tell me, mo shíorghrá. My eternal love, Angel sent through the bond, so he didn't need to pull away from the bite. I'm going to take care of you. Look after you. Love you. Make sure you know who truly owns you.

 

"Thank you..." Lindsey whispered, relaxing in Angel's arms. He trusted that his Utselii would search thoroughly and find his wounds and treat them. And if he needed information, Angel would ask.

 

Angel carefully pulled away, licking the wound closed and then biting into his own wrist, carefully holding it up to his human's mouth. "I love you," he whispered. "No one is ever going to hurt you again."

 

Lindsey obediently leaned forward enough to latch onto Angel's wrist, drinking slowly and carefully. Some of the more superficial wounds began to heal right away. The more dangerous of his wounds were slower to heal, although they did make themselves known as the healing process started. Lindsey whined deep in his throat as those wounds began to throb in the healing process, the damage done to those areas having made him numb originally. Tears leaked from his eyes, but he continued to drink, waiting for Angel's order to stop.

 

Angel let his human drink more than he had the previous times, so desperate to see wounds gone from Lindsey's body that he didn't care if he lost more of his own blood. So long as he still had enough strength to keep his life-mate safe, he'd give Lindsey everything. Eventually, he gently touched Lindsey's neck, stroking the tattoo there. "Enough, mo shíorghrá," he whispered.

 

Lindsey immediately stopped drinking, licking the wound almost in apology before pulling back. "Hurts worse..." he huffed in morbid amusement. "Think parts of me might have been... Dying..." He shivered. That's normally what numbness meant if drugs weren't involved, wasn't it?

 

Angel wrapped his arms tightly around Lindsey's body, kissing his neck and then his lips; gentle and soft. "I'll keep feeding you some of my blood, mo shíorghrá. It'll help the wounds heal faster." Remembering the pack Cordelia had handed him, he set it down and reached inside, feeling around a bit before he brought out ointment and bandages. Had she seen more of what Lindsey had gone through than he'd realised? Angel pushed down the questions and began to carefully treat the wounds on his life-mate's body. "I love you," he whispered repeatedly.

 

Lindsey lay as still as he was able. Angel's blood had helped the more superficial wounds enough that the vampire treating them didn't sting. When his Utselii began treating the more dangerous wounds, though, the ones Holland had meant to scar, he couldn't help but wriggle a little and cry softly. "I'm sorry, Utselii..." he whimpered, feeling like a failure again because he was pulling away from his master's touch even if he didn't want to.

 

"Don't apologise, mo chroí. My heart," Angel whispered. He leaned up to kiss and lick the tears from Lindsey's cheeks. "You were hurt badly. But I'm not letting you go. I've claimed you in every way possible. Marked you so that it's obvious you belong to me." He drew Lindsey's hand up to his lips, kissing along the finger that held the ring. "I don't care who knows how important you are to me."

 

"I belong to you..." Lindsey relaxed as he was reminded of that fact. The tattoos Holland had tried to cut up and erase were still there. Angel was here and was holding him so carefully. He was in a lot of pain, but he was safe. And loved. And Angel didn't blame him, even if he blamed himself for getting caught. "I'm yours...master..." He was finally able to say the word without shuddering. Holland might have tried to claim himself master... But he wasn't. He never was. That word didn't belong to him.

 

"Mine," Angel whispered, kissing him once more before turning his attention back to treating the wounds. "You belong to me...but I'm yours just as much as you're mine. Your Utselii. Your Master. Your lover."

 

Lindsey smiled at the last word. "I am my lover's...and he is mine..." he whispered, in English this time. He was already feeling much better due to Angel's care. Only a few of the areas that would take longer to heal with the help of Angel's blood still pained him. He bit his lip. "I don't think I could be... be intimate without it hurting, Utselii..." he said, in an apologetic and disappointed voice. "I want to be claimed by you... But I'm afraid...." He looked ashamed at the last bit.

 

"No, my heart. My love. My life-mate." Angel finished treating the last of the wounds on his front and carefully turned him over so that he could carefully treat the wounds on Lindsey's back. "I'm not expecting us to be intimate, my love," he whispered. "All I want is to take care of you. When all of your wounds are treated, I'm going to feed you and then I'm just going to cuddle you."

 

"You won't claim me?" Lindsey was surprised his voice stayed steady. The spike of fear that Angel didn't want him like that anymore fighting with his own disappointment made it hard to breathe, let alone talk.

 

At those words, and the emotions he could sense, Angel kissed his neck and down his back. "I want you," he whispered. "More than anything. But you're hurting. And I have to be sure this is my life-mate who wants it. Not the bond forcing him before he's ready."

 

Lindsey relaxed at that, the fear and disappointment easing with the words. "Yes, Utselii...." He gave Angel a tiny smile. "I love you...."

 

"I love you," Angel whispered, kissing his ears gently, where he'd pierced his human. "I love you so much. You're safe now. I've got you. I won't ever let you go," he whispered.

 

"I trust you..." Lindsey whispered. And he did trust his vampire. Trusted him so much, he fell into a peaceful, healing sleep while Angel finished cleaning him.

 

Angel finished treating the last of his human's wounds and then, as promised, he wrapped his arms around Lindsey and just cuddled his life-mate, leaving himself open to the bond so that Lindsey would feel his love even in sleep. He hoped.

 

***

 

Lindsey slept for several hours, Angel's efforts to make sure he felt loved apparently working. Lindsey didn't have any nightmares and the sleep enabled the blood he'd drunk to completely heal the more superficial wounds. It also healed the more serious wounds, so they weren't at dangerous levels. He woke up, stretching into the vampire and snuggling.

 

Angel had only moved so they could shelter in the cave. He wrapped his arms tighter around Lindsey and kissed his head. "How are you feeling, life-mate?" he whispered, inhaling Lindsey's scent.

 

"My body doesn't hurt as much...some parts still hurt, though..." Lindsey admitted, proceeding to tell Angel honestly which parts those were.

 

Angel gently pulled Lindsey in closer to himself, even as he began to check his life-mate's wounds that were still causing him pain. "I'll feed you first and then give you some more of my blood," he said softly. "That should help." He nuzzled his human's neck.

 

Lindsey smiled crookedly. "What are you eating? Can you afford to give me more blood?" He worried about his vampire... No. Angel was right. His life-mate.

 

"Right before I came through the portal, Cordy gave me a pack. She'd packed in food that she'd prepared in case you decided to come with me." Stroking the side of Lindsey's face, Angel added, "When I checked, I realised she'd put in some bottles of blood too. And I would give everything to keep you safe."

 

"I'll have to thank her for thinking ahead..." Lindsey snuggled close to Angel. "I was so worried about you coming after me with the suns... But the suns here don't hurt you?"

 

Angel shook his head, kissing Lindsey's cheek. "It seems to make me even more primal when I vamp out, though," he admitted quietly.

 

Lindsey hadn't seen what Angel had done to Holland and his master had removed him from the situation as quickly as possible, so he swallowed. "Holland won't be coming after us, will he?" It was voiced less like a question, but Lindsey still waited tensely for Angel to confirm his suspicions.

 

Angel tightened his embrace around his life-mate. "When I saw what he'd done to you, I lost control. I killed him," he said quietly.

 

Lindsey relaxed at learning they weren't in danger from his ex-boss. He wrapped his arms around Angel in a tight hug, snuggling closer. "Is it horrible of me that I'm relieved at that?" he whispered.

 

Angel shook his head, stroking his life-mate's hair and kissing his head. "Not at all," he whispered back. "He's never going to be able to hurt you again. Never going to be able to try to take you from me again."

 

Lindsey relaxed the rest of the way. "No one will take me from you. I belong to you completely..."

 

"Exactly, mo chroí. My heart." Angel stroked Lindsey's head, nuzzling into his neck before he reached out to retrieve the pack, drawing out some food for his life-mate. "I love you. My life-mate."

 

"As I love you, Utselii..." Lindsey responded, shifting so his back was against his vampire's chest, his head laying on Angel's shoulder.

 

Angel began to feed Lindsey, his other arm wrapping securely and possessively around his life-mate's waist, stealing kisses every so often.

 

Lindsey obediently ate every bite he was fed, attempting to sneak in his own kisses when able. After eating, he snuggled back against Angel. "What do you want me to do now, master... My heart?" He added the last hesitantly, uncertain of Angel's reaction to the term.

 

Angel smiled at the term, kissing his life-mate's neck as a wave of happiness flooded through the bond. "I'm going to give you some of my blood, mo chroí."

 

"If you think it best, my love..." Lindsey whispered, emboldened by Angel's obvious happiness to continue with the names describing his feelings.

 

Angel's happiness at the words grew and he gently kissed Lindsey, thumb stroking his cheek. "I love you, mo shíorghrá. So very much so." He pulled away enough to bite into his wrist, gently guiding his life-mate's mouth to the blood.

 

Lindsey latched onto his lover's wrist, gently drinking, slow and steady so Angel could be certain he received enough but didn't take too much. He was leaning against his master as much as possible.

 

Angel kissed his life-mate's neck, letting Lindsey drink, murmuring soft, loving words in Gaelic and English. Finally, he gently kissed his human's shoulder. "Okay, mo shíorghrá," he whispered.

 

Lindsey immediately stopped. Kissing Angel's wrist chastely, he snuggled close, already feeling the healing taking place. He sent waves of love, contentment and trust toward his Utselii... as well as faint hints of longing. He wanted Angel to claim him again and erase Holland from his memory. Remind his body that what had been done wasn't a scary or bad thing if you agreed to it and were with someone you wanted to be with. His mind knew. Every time he thought about it, though....

 

Angel gently stroked Lindsey's chin, turning his life-mate's face towards him and kissing him softly and gently. "We have time, life-mate," he whispered.

 

"Yes, sir... We have time..." Lindsey agreed, with a tiny sigh. "I know you are right... About waiting... I just. I don't want to think of him or what... What he did." Lindsey shivered and burrowed closer to Angel.

 

"You don't have to, my heart." Angel wrapped his arms tighter around Lindsey, kissing his shoulders. "I'm here. And even if I'm not going to take you yet...I can claim you in other ways." To prove his point, he kissed his life-mate's ear and then brought the lobe into his mouth, sucking gently.

 

Lindsey let out a tiny, whimpering sigh and sunk into Angel, letting the vampire take his full weight. He closed his eyes and focused on how safe he felt; how cherished; how gentle his Utselii was with him.

 

Tightening his hold on Lindsey, fully supporting his life-mate, Angel did the same to his human's other ear, before beginning to kiss his shoulders and down his arms.

 

Lindsey knew he had a lot more healing to do before he'd be physically able to give his master what he wanted to give him. The fact he wasn't becoming aroused when he normally would have, was proof of that. It didn't bother him like it could have, though. Angel had told him it was okay. That he didn't want him to push. That he wanted to make sure he was ready. Angel's care and concern helped alleviate his own worry. "Feels good...nice..." he murmured.

 

Angel smiled at that, kissing over his human's pulse point. "Good." He whispered the word against Lindsey's skin. "I want you to feel good." He knew that Holland's actions could have resulted in his life-mate pulling away from him...hurting every time Angel tried to touch and comfort him. He breathed in Lindsey's scent. "I love you," he whispered. The thought came through the bond before he could stop it, he'd left himself so open to his life-mate. You calmed the savage beast I became.

 

Lindsey blinked at that. "Savage beast?" he asked softly, in curiosity. "You have more control than anyone I've ever known...." He nuzzled against Angel.

 

"I vamped out." Angel didn't specify when, even though it was probably obvious. "The suns don't hurt me here, but when I changed, I turned completely wild. Only my life-mate kept me calm and brought me back."

 

"So... the suns don't hurt you here... But they let the demon have more control over you?" Lindsey kissed Angel's chest gently.

 

Angel nodded, stroking his fingers through his life-mate's hair. "At least when I'm not drinking from you," he said softly. "But that's part of you affecting me and bringing me back. Like how your scent calms and settles me."

 

"I really help you?" Lindsey asked hopefully.

 

"Yes," Angel said, softly but sincerely. "And I'm glad. I think you would have been scared of me if you'd seen what I became."

 

Lindsey bit his lip, unhappy at the thought Angel felt he'd be afraid... But he couldn't say his master wasn't right. "I'm not sure I wouldn't have been afraid of anyone at that time. Except you when you're calm and in control." He sighed. "And I mean in control of me... Not just you."

 

Angel kissed him, gently and chastely. "Even then, my only thought...my only instinct...was to take you and bring you back home. I need you so much. I love you so much. M’fhíorghrá."

 

Lindsey swallowed hard, tears coming to his eyes. "I'm sorry I left home... Shoulda stayed there. Shoulda known I'd never be safe outside if you weren't there...."

 

Angel stroked his cheek. "I didn't realise you wouldn't be safe leaving, mo shíorghrá. We were experimenting with the bond. I felt that you'd left home and I didn't know where you were going."

 

"I shoulda called you before I left. Didn't think of it till you reminded me... I'm sorry, Utselii..." Lindsey's guilt was heavy. Everything that happened was his fault. He knew it, even if Angel didn't blame him.

 

"You were excited about something," Angel said, gently and calmly. "I know it wasn't deliberate. You don't need to feel guilty, mo shíorghrá. This wasn't your fault. There's only one person to blame for what happened to you."

 

"Okay, master..." Lindsey agreed verbally. He wasn't able to hide the fact he still felt guilty, though. "I was excited..." he admitted. "I'd found information that indicated Francis Doyle might be alive...." His whisper was hesitant.

 

Angel went still...at least most of his body. He was still stroking his fingers through his life-mate's hair. "What kind of information?" Losing Doyle had been a very hard blow. For him and Cordelia. His feelings of hope came through the bond...as well as a spurt of happiness and pride that his life-mate had been the one to find the information.

 

"One of my non-Wolfram and Hart contacts thought they recognized a shop owner... The shop I went to..." Lindsey responded quickly, sensing the hope in Angel. "...They sent me a picture and the name the man was known by... And I did a little research. It seemed highly possible it was Doyle and that he either didn't remember, or he had a reason for changing his identity."

 

Angel wrapped his arms tighter around Lindsey, kissing his head. "Thank you," he whispered. "Even if it's not him...that you were trying means a lot. I'm only sorry you had to suffer trying to do something for me."

 

"It wouldn't a happened if Id've 'membered to ask you first..." Lindsey mumbled. As unlikely as it was, he truly believed it. He certainly couldn't blame anyone else for him being there.

 

"Holland got you there, didn't he?" Angel asked. "At the shop? So maybe he was there waiting in case you found something and went there. This wasn't your fault, life-mate."

 

"I... I know in my head. Jus' feels like I should've been able to know... To stop him somehow. I just wasn't strong 'nuff or smart 'nuff...." Lindsey's voice caught, and to his shame he began crying again. "... Sorry..." He sniffled.

 

Angel gently pulled Lindsey in closer, kissing and licking away his tears. "You couldn't have known, life-mate," he whispered. "And if he hadn't got you then, he might have kept trying... and next time, maybe I wouldn't have felt as soon as it happened. I felt it because we were already tangling up so much together."

 

A spike of fear went through Lindsey at those words and he pressed closer to Angel. "I'm glad you could feel me... Even if it upset you...."

 

"I'm glad I could too," Angel whispered. "I tried to keep telling you I was coming for you. All I could feel was you being hurt. I just wanted to bring you home and stop him from hurting you."

 

"You could feel what he was doing?" Lindsey was horrified at that thought.

 

"I could feel that you were hurting, and you were scared, and he was tormenting you." Angel tightened his embrace. "Even if I couldn't feel exactly, I knew you were suffering."

 

"I'm sorry... I wish you hadn't had to feel that..." Lindsey snuggled close. He didn't want his master to suffer with him.

 

Angel leaned in closer, kissing and nuzzling his neck. "It helped me to find you...to track you down," he whispered.

 

"...I... I guess I wish you could do that and feel when I'm happy and stuff, but not have to feel when I'm scared or being hurt..." Lindsey whispered.

 

"I felt that too," Angel whispered. "Before you left and as you were leaving. I felt you get excited about Doyle. I felt your happiness...when you called me. That you were excited and hopeful."

 

Lindsey snuggled against his master, relaxing. "It was my pain and fear that led you to me..." he said softly. As much as he hated Angel experiencing that, he was a bit grateful that it had helped the vampire find him. He had no doubt his life wouldn't have been worth living if Angel couldn't have found him. Holland would have made his life hell; and then likely sent him to a hell dimension on top of it all.

 

"Your scent, too," Angel said softly. "That also led me to you. I memorised your smell. I used everything I could to get to you. Because I love you. Because you're my life-mate." He took Lindsey's hand and gently placed it over his own chest. "I told you before. If it could beat, it would beat for you."

 

"You've called me that so many times... life-mate... I didn't know how to respond. You are my master... but... you're so much more than that. I can see that. You wouldn't have come after me if you weren't...." Lindsey put his head on Angel's chest, his ear over where his heart would be beating if it beat.

 

Angel held Lindsey tightly to himself, stroking his fingers through his life-mate's hair. "I never just wanted to be your master...just your Utselii...mo shíorghrá. I want everything with you."

 

Lindsey snuggled close. "...I want everything too..." he whispered. He wrinkled his nose as he tried to gather his thoughts. He was really confused. He wanted everything, but if Angel was his master, how would that work?

 

Angel caught the sense of confusion and he kissed the top of Lindsey's head. "I want to take you out. I want you to spend time with my friends. I want to sit on the couch with you and watch really trashy television together."

 

Lindsey chuckled at that and relaxed as some of the confusion eased. "Can we sit on the couch and watch Masterpiece Theatre?" he teased, in a mock snobby voice.

 

Angel laughed softly at that, kissing his human's head. "I want a life with you, mo shíorghrá," he said, slightly more seriously. "To me, when I claimed you that first time, it was as if we married. There can't be anyone else for me. Anyone else who I can love and take care of apart from you."

 

Lindsey swallowed hard at that, wrapping his arms around the vampire and holding tight. "I want that too, Utselii... I just..." He wrinkled his nose thoughtfully. "... Does this mean you're only my master when you need to be? To protect me or help me grow or stuff... the rest of the time, you're my best friend?" Lindsey thought maybe he was overthinking things or trying to apply labels when they didn't need to be applied. Maybe that was just his inexperience and lack of age. "...Guess it doesn't much matter. Fact is, I trust you with everything I am and don't ever wanna be with anyone else..." he finally whispered.

 

"The rest of the time, we're still in a relationship," Angel said, tightening his own arms around Lindsey. "You don't need me to be in full control all the time, mo shíorghrá. But I'll still always love you. Always want and need you. And you'll still be my life-mate."

 

Lindsey nodded again before looking up at Angel with a smile. "I like that... Always yours... always will need you... no matter what...."

 

Angel kissed him, gently and chastely. "I love you. I need you."

 

"I love you and need you too... cor meum." Lindsey kissed his vampire back just as gently, if a bit less chastely. "How long do you think we'll be here?" He glanced around the area. It seemed they were in the middle of nowhere, no settlements nearby. There was a small pond for water. Angel had a pack of food for Lindsey. "What will you eat?" he asked, with some worry.

 

Angel kissed his neck and stroked through his hair. "There's enough blood that should last me. Lorne will open the portal here again as soon as he has the strength to open a second one. In the meantime, I'll be taking care of you. Feeding you my blood to help you heal even faster."

 

"Cordy put blood in the pack for you?" Lindsey blinked. Maybe Angel had told him that already. He didn't remember. "She had a vision, didn't she? D... do you think she saw what happened to me?" Lindsey asked, trying to keep his tone calm, but inside, he was completely distressed. It was hard enough Angel knowing about it. He trusted Angel with everything he was. He didn't even have a friendship with Cordy yet.

 

Angel shook his head. "We tend to notice when she has her visions. They've been leaving her in worse and worse pain. The only thing she saw was him bringing you here and someone who looked like Lorne here. She may have got a sense that we'd need food and medical supplies, but she would have said if she saw anything else."

 

Lindsey sighed softly. "Okay..." he whispered. He'd believe Angel. There wasn't anything else he could do, really, even if the vampire ended up being wrong about it and Cordy had seen what Holland was doing to him. "So... you don't need to hunt, then. What will we do with our time until Lorne can open a portal?"

 

"Concentrate on you healing," Angel answered. "And just being together. It's been a long time since I was able to watch a sunrise. It's one of those couple things I'd like to do with you."

 

Lindsey's smile grew at that. "I would love to watch a sunrise with you, cor meum...." He stretched up enough to kiss Angel again, this time as chastely as the vampire had kissed him earlier.

 

Angel kissed him, his hand stroking the back of his life-mate's head; cupping it gently and protectively.

 

Lindsey snuggled close and closed his eyes, resting and allowing Angel's blood to heal him further.

 

Angel let his lips rest against Lindsey's head, inhaling his human's scent, letting love for his life-mate flow through the bond.

 

***

 

Lindsey slept for several hours before walking with a growling stomach. Angel's blood and the bond were healing him, but healing took a lot of energy. He gave the vampire a sheepish look as he noticed the moons in the sky and his stomach growled again. "Sorry I'm not good company..." He blushed.

 

"Just being with you...knowing that you're safe and I have you...is good enough for me, life-mate," Angel said honestly, taking some food out of the pack so he could begin feeding his human.

 

Lindsey smiled at that. He was feeling hints of guilt; he assumed at how he almost got taken from Angel... Even though he recognized what Holland did wasn't his fault. Maybe the guilt came from something else. He pushed it down and waited for Angel to feed him.

 

As he had earlier, Angel began to feed Lindsey, stealing kisses in between and often stroking his face, neck or hair.

 

Lindsey ate all that he was given, then settled into Angel's arms. "How will you know when I'm fully healed?" he asked curiously.

 

"I'm keeping the bond open between us, so I can feel what you feel," Angel answered, stroking Lindsey's hair. "And while you were asleep, I checked the wounds. Treated them again."

 

Lindsey blushed. "All of them?" he asked hesitantly. Some were less visible than others. How had his Utselii checked them without him waking up? The fact he hadn't woken up was embarrassing.

 

"Your body knows me, mo shíorghrá," Angel said gently. "You trust me. You've said that yourself. You know I would never hurt you...."

 

"I do trust you.... I guess not waking up makes sense, even if it's unusual...." Lindsey smiled crookedly. "I know I don't hurt as bad...."

 

"Good." Angel nuzzled into his neck. "I'm glad you're healing. I'm going to give you some more of my blood, mo shíorghrá."

 

Lindsey nuzzled against Angel. The vampire had already allayed his fears that he wouldn't have food, so he wouldn't disrespect the older man's intelligence by questioning his decision to feed him. "Yes, sir, cor meum..." he whispered, kissing Angel's neck and waiting patiently.

 

Angel bit his own wrist and then guided Lindsey's mouth to the wound, his hand resting on the back of his life-mate's head.

 

Lindsey closed his eyes and latched onto Angel's wrist, drinking steadily but slowly enough he could be stopped at the right time. As always, his mate's blood immediately made any injuries and wounds feel better. It drew him closer to his Utselii. The bond strengthened.

 

Angel kept the bond open between them, stroking and massaging the back of his life-mate's head and neck. He let Lindsey drink for a while before he kissed his head. "Okay, mo shíorghrá."

 

Lindsey immediately stopped and let his head rest on Angel's shoulder. "...I love you..." he whispered, snuggling close. "...You take such good care of me, even when I don't make it easy..." Twinges of guilt went through him again.

 

"It's not your fault," Angel whispered, kissing his life-mate's head. "I just want you. No matter what. I love you so much. I need you so much. Even before the bond and before I bit you for the first time. Right when I carried you home and put you over my knee the first time. I knew it then."

 

"...I... I know Holland wasn't my fault. I believe you when you say he could have struck at any time, even if I had done everything right..." Lindsey swallowed. "...I know that. I just... I promised to never leave without calling you first and letting you know and I forgot again. If the bond hadn't been there and you weren't able to feel what was happening... if you hadn't reminded me so that I called you and you h... heard what was happening. You could have come home, and I'd be gone and... and... " He reached up and rubbed his eyes. "I'm sorry. I know I'm not to blame for what happened to me, but I still feel guilty... can't seem to stop... cuz even if it might have happened anyway, it could have been even worse, because I keep forgetting to let you know when I'm leaving to do things... or ask permission when that's something I'm supposed to do..." he whispered. And pulled away for a tiny bit, trying to think.

 

Angel wanted to reach out and bring Lindsey back into his arms. His whole body vibrated with that need to keep his life-mate close and sheltered against his body. "I told you before," he said quietly. "I would have come after you. I wouldn't have stopped until I found you and brought you back home. No matter what it took."

 

"I know... I just make it more difficult than it should be..." Lindsey wiped at his eyes. He didn't know why the guilt wouldn't leave him alone. He didn't blame himself for what Holland did... At the same time, he felt like he'd done something wrong. He didn't know how to explain it to his mate, though.

 

"It isn't your doing," Angel said softly. "You don't make things difficult. Forgetting to call me wasn't the end of the world. Yes, we'd agreed you wouldn't leave without checking in with me first, but it wasn't a bad thing that you did. You're not used to having someone who loves you like that. Who wants to know where you are, because it's hard to be apart from you."

 

Lindsey shook his head and wiped at his eyes again. He didn't understand why he felt so guilty. He knew everything Angel said was true, but it didn't make him feel any better. "What if I never learn? I don't want to break agreements I make with you just cuz I forget... just cuz I'm not used ta havin' someone care 'bout me. Wanna 'member and keep my word to ya..." he drawled out unhappily. He darted a quick glance toward Angel, taking in the way he was sitting; if he was sitting against something; if he seemed upset or angry at Lindsey's inability to let go of his guilty feelings.

 

Angel sat up a tiny bit, bracing his back against one of the larger rocks, and reached out to stroke his life-mate's cheek. "I know how long we've known each other for, mo shíorghrá, but I only acted very recently. I only brought you home very recently. It takes time to get used to having that love when I know you haven't had it for a long time."

 

Lindsey slanted his head toward Angel's hand before swallowing. "Maybe... maybe I just need help rememberin'... like remindin'..." he whispered softly, glancing up into Angel's face before making his decision and scooting closer again, placing himself over the vampire's lap. "...Help me remember, Utselii? Cor meum? I don't wanna keep forgettin... not my promises and agreements with you. Don't wanna forget those, even if I'm not used ta being cared 'bout...."

 

Angel paused, his hand resting gently on Lindsey's lower back, carefully rubbing around the still-red mark that had come from where Holland had hit his life-mate. "I love you." He said the words sincerely and filled with emotion. He let his hand rest lightly on Lindsey's bottom, beginning to stroke and rub...and finally starting to lightly pat.

 

"I love you too, Meae..." Lindsey whispered, wrapping his arms under his head; both to keep from reaching back when he shouldn't and to keep his face off the dirt, since they were outside on the ground. The pat wasn't painful in the least, but he knew this wasn't about pain. This was about reminding him of his position in Angel's life and Angel in his. It was about remembering he wasn't alone anymore and he couldn't continue to act as if he was. And Angel was in complete control of him. The vampire would decide how hard and how long, even if Lindsey had asked for the reminder.

 

Angel let his other hand rub gently over his life-mate's back and neck, while he continued to pat, not increasing the force any, but covering Lindsey's entire backside, down to his thighs. Then he paused to rub and stroke, caressing his life-mate.

 

Lindsey relaxed under the gentle caressing, the pats allowing him to relax as well. They might not be painful, but they were a show that Angel was in control- was willing to take control- and that was a relief. "Thank you, Meae..." he whispered.

 

"I've got you," Angel whispered, beginning to pat again for another circuit before he rubbed, stroked and caressed once more. "I love you. You're mine."

 

"I'm yours forever..." Lindsey agreed quickly and easily, a feeling of relief seeped through the bond. Angel was taking care of him and even if he wasn't being punished per say, he was being reminded of what he needed to do in the future. Reminded that he needed to include his life-mate in all his decisions, even if Angel wasn't giving him orders and allowing him to choose for himself.

 

Angel leaned over, his hands continuing to stroke, caress, rub and pat...and he bit his life-mate. To mark his claim. To make it clear that Lindsey was his.

 

Lindsey's quick intake of breath sounded as relieved as he felt. "Yours, Utselii, Master, Meae... yours..." He whimpered, letting himself relax completely and just accept whatever Angel chose to do. He still felt guilty, but that guilt was being eased a little by the knowledge that he still belonged to Angel and the vampire would hold him accountable if he truly needed to be.

 

Mine. Angel sent the word through the bond, along with love and reassurance. He began to pat just a little bit firmer, still biting his life-mate...not drinking, but opening himself up entirely to Lindsey through the bond.

 

Lindsey let himself lay limply over his Utselii's knee, relaxed enough that he could feel every pat, arched enough that Angel could easily bite. Angel's possessiveness helped him feel safe and secure and able to put voice to what he was thinking and feeling. "...Feel so guilty, Meae... feel... feel like I deserve at least a sore backside, if not a painful one...." he whispered; not trying to tell the vampire what to do, but to let him know what he was thinking. Wanting to give Angel an opportunity to change his mind on the matter and, if he couldn't, give him enough info that he could figure out what to do.

 

Angel closed his eyes, nuzzling in closer to Lindsey, kissing his neck. What happened wasn't your fault, life-mate. He let his hand possessively cup his human's backside. You weren't responsible. I just needed to bring you home, my heart.

 

"I... I know in my head... my feelings just won't catch up and agree with my head..." Lindsey sniffled. "...Feel guilty I didn't call you. Feel guilty you had to come find me and bring me home. I shoulda already been there..." He swallowed hard, finding it difficult not to start crying again.

 

Angel moved his hand a bit lower down, to Lindsey's thighs. You didn't leave because you wanted to do the wrong thing, mo shíorghrá. And, yes, I came to find you...just like I promised I always would, no matter what.

 

"I didn't want to do the wrong thing! I didn't! I just..." Lindsey closed his eyes as he began to cry. Why couldn't he let go of this unnecessary guilt? Angel understood why he'd done what he did. He'd forgiven him forgetting to call; it was an honest mistake. Why couldn't he forgive himself and let it go? He was going to upset Angel if he didn't stop....

 

Angel gently pulled his teeth free of Lindsey's neck, licking the wound closed and leaning down to wrap his arms tightly around his life-mate. "Holland was evil, my heart. He would have tried to take you from me a different way, if Doyle hadn't worked. He saw you as property." He began to kiss down his human's back, hands stroking possessively over Lindsey's hips. "You aren't unclean. You aren't bad because you couldn't fight him off," he whispered. "He took any semblance of choice from you, while I gave you the choice."

 

Lindsey shivered at Angel's touch, tears streaming from his face. "I feel dirty... I just want to forget he touched me and only remember I'm yours..." he said, in a tiny voice, relaxing in spite of himself because he trusted Angel not to hurt him and what the vampire was doing felt good.

 

"You aren't dirty," Angel whispered. "You chose to give yourself to me. You chose to give me more than you've ever given another person. He took you from me, but he couldn't keep you. And he couldn't erase me. He couldn't take from you what you've already given so freely to me."

 

"I'm yours, Meae... only yours... he tried to take me from you and erase you and he can't. You're too deep in me... in my heart and soul...." Lindsey quivered.

 

"Just like you're in mine." Angel repeated the kissing down his back, the action gentle and soft. "You're mine. And I'm yours. Since I brought you home to me, that's been true. Even before that, when we were fighting each other and ourselves. You were already mine."

 

Lindsey sniffled. "...You still want me?" he asked, knowing but needing to hear it said again.

 

"Always," Angel promised. "I want you. I need you. I love you."

 

Lindsey stayed where he was over Angel's knee, in case his master wanted to pat a little more. He still felt vaguely guilty, but he'd been distracted enough that it wasn't wearing him down. Plus, it felt good lying over the vampire's lap. Angel could touch him easily this way. Feeling the gentleness after Holland had been so cruel was helping to settle his fears.

 

Angel didn't move or shift Lindsey, instead kissing his life-mate's shoulders and stroking over his hips, hand rubbing his human's backside carefully and gently. "I will always want you," he reaffirmed.

 

"I love you, Utselii..." Lindsey whispered, allowing his feelings of contentment at Angel rubbing him leak through the bond. If there were a few feelings of unease that slipped through, he tried not to focus on those feelings, so they were very faint.

 

"You don't need to hide from me, life-mate," Angel whispered. "Open yourself up fully to me. The same way I've done to you."

 

"Okay, Meae..." Lindsey whispered and opened himself up to the bond, letting everything he felt rush out of him like a tidal wave over his master. All the nervousness he still felt about being touched intimately; the fear he felt that he'd never stop being nervous; the desire he still felt for his mate; the worry that even if his mate wanted him, he didn't and wouldn't want him intimately any longer; the disgust and queasiness he felt whenever he remembered Holland's actions and words.... Of course, he wasn't able to talk to Angel in his head, like the vampire did him, so some of the feelings might have been confusing. But Angel would ask if he needed clarification.

 

And not all the feelings were negative or filled with worry. There was contentment at being over his master's knee, Angel giving him gentle attention. There was relief that his Utselii was holding him. There were underpinnings of desire and need and a want for the vampire to reclaim, remark and own every part of him that Holland had abused. There was a peace that wasn't normally there, even when they were at home, in the apartment; being secluded and cut off from everything but each other was turning out to be a good thing for the younger man.

 

Angel kept his hands on Lindsey's body, lips resting against his life-mate's back. He kissed and stroked as his human's feelings swept over him and he opened himself up fully...letting Lindsey feel how devastated and worried he'd been when his life-mate had been taken; how relieved he was to have Lindsey back...and how much he regretted not getting there sooner. On top of all of those other emotions was the intense love and longing...not just to claim his life-mate, but merely to be with Lindsey.

 

Lindsey smiled crookedly as the feelings washed over him, tears sliding down his face. "I love you, cor meum..." he whispered. He let himself go completely limp, to allow the vampire to shift or move him however he felt necessary. Letting himself be vulnerable to however Angel wanted to touch or claim him. He needed to do this, no matter how nervous it made him. He needed to let himself be vulnerable, to prove to himself he was able to not let his fear rule him. To prove to himself that, even if it made him nervous, he'd be able to be touched and loved and taken care of without fear getting in the way.

 

"I love you, mo chroí. My heart. My life-mate." Angel nuzzled and kissed his neck; stroked his hands over Lindsey's hips and down his thighs. He gently parted his human's legs, his hand resting on the tattooed ash tree on Lindsey's inner thigh.

 

Lindsey whimpered softly, but only tensed up a few seconds before he was relaxing again and sighing softly at Angel's gentle but possessive touch on his thigh. "Cor Meum, Meae... I need you so much... I'd die without you..." Lindsey whispered fervently, believing every word deeply.

 

"I'm not going to leave you, my life-mate," Angel said, softly and sincerely, his fingers gently stroking the tattoo on Lindsey's leg. "I'm not going to be upset or disappointed. I only want you."

 

Lindsey sighed softly again, letting his tears fall unhindered, his contentment and growing need carrying through the bond. He didn't shift or move, though; perfectly happy to let Angel call the shots. As long as the vampire held him and didn't let go, he'd accept what he was given.

 

Angel nuzzled against the tattoo and then kissed it, before repeating the contact with the tattoo on the back of Lindsey's neck; stroking, nuzzling, kissing.

 

Lindsey shuddered as Angel nuzzled and kissed the tattoo on his thigh, a spike of nervous need making him squirm slightly before he calmed. Angel paying attention to his neck didn't really calm the need down, either. He took several deep breaths to calm himself. The whole time, he was leaving the bond open; the vampire could feel exactly what he was doing to his human's nerves.

 

"I've got you," Angel whispered, his lips against the tattoo on his life-mate's neck. "Only me. Your master, Utselii...lover...life-mate."

 

"...Only yours..." Lindsey whimpered, feeling himself relax again, Angel's handling easing the nerves and putting him into a pliant, accepting mood.

 

"Mine." Angel's whisper was low and possessive. He gently scraped his teeth over Lindsey's neck and then he carefully turned his life-mate over, so they could look into each other's eyes.

 

"..Only yours.." Lindsey repeated fervently, his eyes pleading with Angel to believe him, the sense of guilt he felt at what Holland had taken spiking again.

 

Angel kissed him, softly and gently. "He didn't take me from you," he whispered, his fingers gently stroking over the tattoo on his life-mate's chest.

 

"He wanted to take me from you..." Lindsey choked out, blinking tears out of his eyes, a shamed look on his face. "...He made me give him something I shouldn't have..." He whimpered softly, not sure how to explain to Angel without going into detail, but he felt so guilty about it, he needed to tell the vampire.

 

"Mo chroí." Angel gently cupped the side of Lindsey's face, thumb gently stroking over his lips. "You didn't give him anything. He took it from you."

 

"...He... my body gave it to him, even if I didn't want to..." Lindsey shivered, remembering his lack of control over his responses. Even if it wasn't willingly given, it'd still been given. Holland hadn't had to work to get what he wanted.

 

Angel's thumb continued to gently stroke over his life-mate's lips. "He wouldn't have got anything freely from you, mo chroí. He forced you." He leaned in to kiss Lindsey; deeply and more passionately than he had done since rescuing his human.

 

Lindsey opened his mouth to Angel immediately, offering himself in the kiss even as he wrapped his arms around the vampire. He didn't argue what Angel said. He knew it was the truth. It didn't help with the guilt, knowing that, but he understood it. He loved Angel, only wanted to be his, wanted to forget Holland had ever touched him.

 

Angel kissed deeply, cradling his human for a few moments and then gently stroking down Lindsey's chest and stomach. Caressing his hips and thighs. Love came clearly through the bond, along with a sense of possessiveness. Mine, echoed down to his life-mate.

 

Lindsey shivered, feeling the love and possessiveness. He continued to kiss back, allowing Angel complete access to his mouth and his feelings through the bond. He let his legs fall open a little more so the vampire could claim wherever and however he wanted, though he was obviously a little more nervous when Angel's hand strayed too near his groin.

 

Even though he didn't actually touch Lindsey's groin, Angel caressed and explored, stroking down between his life-mate's thighs. His other hand cradled the back of Lindsey's head, so it wouldn't fall back.

 

Lindsey slowly relaxed as Angel carefully explored, eventually relaxing enough that he didn't tense up, even when Angel's hand got closer to his more private areas. He continued to kiss, putting all his love and need for the vampire into the action.

 

Angel was very soft and very gentle as he touched, stroked and caressed. He kept his lips on Lindsey's, giving a gentle nip every so often, his hand rubbing and stroking down and up his life-mate's inner thighs.

 

Lindsey sighed into the vampire's mouth, hesitantly slipping his tongue against Angel's almost playfully. He'd relaxed enough by this point that his body was completely open to whatever Angel wanted to do and he started letting out tiny whimpers because he felt good.

 

Angel's fingers slipped through Lindsey's hair as he sent a wave of approval and happiness through the bond...encouragement to his life-mate to continue. His other hand continued to give his thighs attention, then slid up to clasp and stroke each of his hips.

 

Lindsey, emboldened by Angel's approval and happiness, began to explore the vampire's mouth with his tongue, letting his own grip around Angel tighten fractionally. His own feelings of feeling safe, content, happy... rushed through the bond, as did the hesitant longing and need he was feeling.

 

Good, life-mate. Angel whispered the words through the bond. His fingers brushed fractionally against his human's groin before returning to his thighs...the touch having been light. Almost asking a question.

 

Lindsey quivered at the touch, tensing slightly. As soon as Angel's fingers moved back to his thighs, he relaxed and a wave of apologetic longing rushed the bond. As nervous as it made him to be touched there, the thought that Angel wouldn't touch there was even more distressing.

 

We have time, life-mate, Angel whispered through the bond, intensifying the kiss. Take my hand. Move it where you would like me to touch you. Be in control. He kept his hand resting lightly on Lindsey's thigh.

 

Lindsey blinked at that, carefully pulling away from the kiss long enough to give Angel a searching look, wanting to be certain he'd understood his Utselii's command.

 

Angel's other hand remained on the back of Lindsey's head as he said softly, "You're not helpless, mo chroí. Not drugged or tied up. Show me what you would like me to do, life-mate."

 

Shivering again, Lindsey shifted both of his hands to Angel's head, tangling his fingers up in his hair as he pulled the vampire down for another deep kiss, this one needier and hungrier than the last. Finally slowing enough that he could breathe, letting all his love and gratitude and trust in Angel to flow through the bond, Lindsey carefully slid one hand out of Angel's hair and down over the vampire's chest until he could take hold of Angel's hand. He began in an easy spot, the spot where the bond always seemed to make itself felt, and moved Angel's hand to his stomach, gently rubbing the vampire's hand over his belly a few inches above his groin. He kept his own hand on top of Angel's, the action helping to remind him that he was in control of this and he could stop it at any time if he needed.

 

Angel didn't move his hand from where Lindsey had placed it, gently rubbing as he was encouraged to do, using his life-mate's hand as a guide for what Lindsey wanted and needed. His other hand stroked through Lindsey's hair, his love flowing to his life-mate.

 

Lindsey continued to kiss Angel, the movements becoming less desperate and more slow and languid as he relaxed, realizing Angel truly was letting him take charge at this moment. Carefully, a hint of nervousness bleeding through that was interwoven with resolve, Lindsey carefully moved Angel's hand until the vampire could rub and squeeze his most private areas; he still kept his hand on top of the vampire's, but he didn't direct nearly as much; uncertain what to ask for, nervousness from remembered pain making it hard for him to request what he wanted to request.

 

Angel's touch was gentle; stroking, caressing, questioning. Love and reassurance kept leaking towards his life-mate. I'm yours, he whispered inside Lindsey's head. You're mine and I'm yours. His other hand cupped his human's cheek.

 

Lindsey's nervousness slowly disappeared with Angel's gentle reassurance. He was still uncertain what to request from the vampire, though. His mind went to what Holland did and he couldn't help but tense up, nervousness and unease shooting through the bond for a short second before Angel's caressing calmed him again. He gently squeezed Angel's hand, causing the vampire to gently squeeze him as well, and let out a tiny gasp into Angel's mouth as his body began to respond. It felt good, not painful, and he relaxed even further.

 

Angel took the sound his human made, letting Lindsey call the shots...dictate how and where he was touched, even if it was through touch rather than words. He let his tongue slip inside his life-mate's mouth, deepening the kiss.

 

Lindsey was content to just continue kissing, gently rubbing Angel's hand when he needed the vampire to rub or caress and gently squeezing when he needed something a bit more firm. The tiny whimpers and moans he gave to the vampire were accompanied by feelings of contentment and love and an impression of safe, protected, 'master has me', that didn't come through the bond in words, but more like visual feelings.

 

Angel leaned his head further down, almost bending double to press that bit closer to his life-mate. So they could be skin-to-skin. I have you, he whispered inside Lindsey's mind. Your master...Utselii...life-mate...lover has you.... He continued to touch, stroke, rub and squeeze as Lindsey directed.

 

Lindsey pulled back, gasping slightly to catch his breath. "...Lie beside me?" he asked, in a whisper, his eyes wide and mouth swollen from the kisses. "...Wanna feel you touching me everywhere..." he admitted, almost shyly, thinking of Angel spooning behind him, kissing his ear and neck while his hand continued to 'own' him.

 

Angel's thumb stroked over Lindsey's swollen lips as he carefully moved both of them, curling behind Lindsey, pressed against his life-mate's back, lips on his neck and his hand stroking his human's chest and stomach.

 

"...I love you, Utselii..." Lindsey whispered. "...I want you to own all of me again...I really do..." His voice was apologetic and he let himself sink back into Angel. "...Need you to claim me in every way possible. I just... some of what he did hurt, so..." He winced, thinking again about what Holland had done, unable to stop himself from going over it in his head.

 

Angel winced as he glimpsed those images inside his head. He kissed Lindsey's shoulder, glad that Holland was dead; wishing he'd made the man suffer. "I won't hurt you, my heart," he whispered. "My life-mate. My everything."

 

Lindsey sent a wave of trust and love to the vampire. "I know, Meae. You protect me and love me and care for me... I trust you. I just have to get him out of my head so I don't keep freezing up in fear.... I hate that he took what wasn't his to take..." he whispered. "...Only your hands and mouth should have ever..." He swallowed and sighed, leaning back into Angel.

 

"I'm here now, mo chroí," Angel whispered, kissing his neck and then his ears. Stroking down his chest to his stomach. "I love you so much."

 

"I love you..." Lindsey responded, snuggling back into Angel. "M...maybe if we just talked a little... while you touch me... My body will stop tensing up and will relearn who it belongs to?" His voice was hesitant. He had no idea if that would work.

 

"Whatever you want to do...whatever you want to try," Angel murmured, kissing the back of Lindsey's head. Inhaling his scent.

 

Lindsey smiled at that, trying to think of a topic to talk about. "What would be the absolute perfect day?" he finally settled on, leaning back into his lover.

 

Angel let his fingers idly stroke over his life-mate's stomach as he thought and then finally answered. "Taking you out. Having you meet my friends properly, but then taking you out on a date. Just being a couple," he said honestly.

 

Lindsey grinned at that. "Where would you take me?" he asked curiously, his hand covering Angel's hand gently; so that he wouldn't hinder what the vampire was doing, but because he wanted to touch as much as he was being touched.

 

Angel nuzzled into the back of his neck. "To the beach. At midnight," he replied. "We could sit and watch the waves. The moonlight on the water. You could put your head on my shoulder...or stretch out and put your head in my lap."

 

Lindsey sighed softly. "That'd be perfect. I always had ta pretend to like all the fancy trappings and stuff when I was workin'... everyone 'xpected it. But all I really wanted was just something low-key and relaxin that would let me get to know someone better without having to pretend...."

 

"Like here," Angel said softly. "It's just us. Away from anyone else." He kissed his life-mate's ear. "What about your perfect day, mo chroí?"

 

"Exactly like here..." Lindsey sighed happily, squeezing Angel's hand as his ear was kissed. "...Maybe we can come back here again sometime, Angel? Actually plan so we have a bed and everything, but come here and spend the days walking and doing stuff together and the nights, cuddling and doing other stuff together..." His tone was impish, but serious. He wanted normal with his mate. He left Angel to mull on his suggestion, answering the question. "My perfect day has changed drastically since you got hold of me. My perfect day before I decided to become a lawyer so I could make lots of money and never struggle again was to be with friends and family. Didn't much care what I did, s'long as I was with who I loved." He shifted slightly so he could nuzzle against Angel's arm. "When I became a lawyer for W&H, my perfect day was any day I didn't die or have to watch someone I knew die for failing to meet expectations. Now... I think the perfect day is being with you...."

 

A shot of pure happiness came through the bond...both at Lindsey's response and at the use of his name. It was the first time his life-mate had called him Angel since being brought home and Angel kissed his shoulder, neck and ear. "I would be happy with you wherever we were, Lindsey," he whispered.

 

Lindsey grinned at feeling the happiness and at hearing his own name. Somehow, it made it all more real, his mate calling him by name instead of endearments. "I love you, Meae..." he whispered, shivering as his ear was kissed again, a hint of arousal leaking through the bond.

 

"I love you." Angel kissed his shoulder again; reached out to tangle his fingers through Lindsey's, where his life-mate wore the ring. Kissed the lobes he'd pierced. "I want you. But not just to claim. Like I said before...I want it all with you."

 

Lindsey squeezed Angel's hand gently. "I want it all too, Cor Meum... kids, pets... house with white picket fence..." he teased gently.

 

"Sitting curled up on the couch together, watching trashy movies," Angel whispered in his ear. "Cooking...at least cooking for you. Evenings out together...."

 

Lindsey lifted Angel's hand up to his lips, kissing the palm gently, then kissing the pad of his thumb. "...I still say we need to watch Masterpiece Theatre and National Geographic..." he whispered, in a very serious voice. His amusement could be felt through the bond as he so very obviously teased his mate.

 

Angel gently nibbled on the lobe of his ear, letting his thumb ghost over Lindsey's lips. "So you've said," he replied, his own amusement leaking through.

 

Lindsey moaned softly, opening his mouth and impulsively licking Angel's thumb. "...I guess we could watch fishin' shows..." he teased a little more, although his arousal was vying for control over his need to tease.

 

Angel snorted softly. "It might make a nice break in tension," he commented, his thumb sliding into his life-mate's mouth as he kissed the back of Lindsey's neck.

 

Lindsey closed his mouth around the vampire's thumb and began to gently suck and lick, effectively shutting himself up. Except for the tiny moans and whimpers of pleasure he couldn't keep in when Angel kissed him. The bond was thrumming with his contented happiness and the quickly rising need from arousal.

 

Angel pressed himself against Lindsey, nuzzling into his neck, gently scraping his teeth across the skin...lightly over the tattoo that marked his life-mate.

 

Lindsey's moan was louder as he felt teeth. Part of him wanted to roll over and stick his bottom up in the air, his need for his mate almost overwhelming him. The other part needed to pull back, because he was afraid if he went too fast, he'd get scared again and freeze up at the wrong time, possibly hurting his mate.

 

"We'll go slow, life-mate...Lindsey," Angel whispered against his skin. "No rushing. If you get scared, we'll stop."

 

Lindsey shivered again, then sent a wave of trust through the bond so that Angel knew he'd been heard, continuing to lick and suck gently on the vampire's thumb, interspersing the attention with tiny kisses to his mate's hand.

 

Angel kissed down Lindsey's back, allowing his other hand to stroke and rub over his life-mate's stomach, going a bit lower...still careful to go slow and gentle.

 

Lindsey didn't tense up as Angel kissed or rubbed down his body. In fact, he seemed to relax even more, tiny, needy little whimpers escaping... at least until Angel got to his more sensitive and private areas. Holland hadn't been gentle when he'd been trying to 'erase' Angel and even though the vampire was being extremely gentle and careful, it was hard for Lindsey not to think about what Holland had done and become afraid. He took a slow, deep breath and tried to force the thoughts of what had happened to him out of his mind, not wanting to think of Holland savagely going down on him or thrusting a finger into him without any preparation. He trembled slightly. Of course, the worst of it wasn't what Holland had done, but that he'd managed to get Lindsey's body to respond the way he wanted it to. It had felt like the ultimate betrayal of Angel to Lindsey and he couldn't stop the feeling of unworthiness, the feeling that he didn't deserve Angel to be so gentle and loving with him when he'd given Holland what the man demanded, even if it had been unwillingly.

 

Angel couldn't help it. He growled, low and possessively, deep in his throat...the sense of possessiveness carrying through the bond. His hand rested low on Lindsey's stomach; not going down any further, but keeping it slow. He scraped his teeth over his life-mate's neck...and then he bit.

 

Lindsey wasn't scared of Angel, even with the growl, and the sense of possessiveness actually eased some of his feeling of worthlessness; he had to be worth something if the vampire wanted him so badly. The bite caught him by surprise, though maybe it shouldn't have. He groaned softly, almost immediately pushing his bottom back against Angel, instinct urging him to let the vampire possess him even more. "...Please...please...please..." He whimpered softly, nudging Angel's hand lower, his need to submit and belong fully to his mate overcoming the nervousness he'd been feeling.

 

Angel began to drink; not taking too much, but enough to settle his own need to thoroughly possess his life-mate. He did let his hand drift lower, but slowly and carefully...ready to stop if his life-mate panicked. His fingers gently touched Lindsey's member; again, almost as if asking a question...seeking permission.

 

Lindsey gave another soft whimper as his mate drank from him, responding positively when Angel began to touch him intimately. He wasn't afraid to be touched; he was afraid he didn't deserve his mate. But Angel wanted him; it was obvious not only through the bond, but by what he was doing- and it was impossible not to respond with a needy plea. "...Please, Meae... please, Cor Meum... please, Angel...." His thighs opened slightly to give him a little more balance as he began to push his hips toward the vampire's hand, inviting Angel to claim him more thoroughly. He didn't want any part to remain untouched or unclaimed; he wanted it clear who he belonged to, not only to his mate, but in his own head.

 

Angel's touch was still gentle. Still tender. His other hand ghosted over Lindsey's hips and thighs as his lips kissed and caressed the skin of his life-mate's neck. He didn't pull out of the bite as he reached for the pack of supplies...for the lube he'd bought before he saw Cordy and Wes; that had still been in his possession as he chased frantically after his life-mate.

 

Lindsey was loose and pliant in Angel's arms, even if he was still pushing his hips toward the vampire's hand with needy little whines. It felt so good, his master's touch. It felt so good and right and his body was responding naturally without being drugged. He wanted to respond and Angel was allowing it. It was going a long way to helping ease his fear that he wasn't worthy of his mate.

 

Angel continued to bite, kiss, caress and stroke, as he used the lube, his hand roaming over every part of Lindsey's body he could reach. Being able to touch...hold...stroke his life-mate made him happy and he allowed that feeling to come through strongly in the bond.

 

Feeling how much Angel wanted him eased what little worry Lindsey had at not deserving his mate. Angel was the one who decided and if Angel felt he deserved him, then that was that. He let himself go, allowing all his need, want, desire and love flow through the bond to his life-mate.

 

Angel gently grasped Lindsey's hips, stroking and squeezing and caressing, before he very carefully...very slowly...pushed inside his life-mate, carefully watching and feeling through the bond. Sending out waves of love and want and need.

 

Lindsey let out his breath in a slow whimper as he felt his mate take him, stretch him so slowly it didn't hurt in the least and just left him happy, satisfied, with a sense of belonging. "...Feels so good..." He moaned softly. "...Feel so full of you..." He let out a happy sigh as Angel finally settled all the way inside of him. He could feel the vampire's hips pressed tight against his bottom.

 

You feel so good wrapped around me, Angel sent through the bond, inhaling Lindsey's scent. And you still smell so good. He shifted, carefully, sliding his hands round Lindsey's front to rest on his stomach.

 

Lindsey smiled at that, letting himself lean back against his vampire; not urging Angel to move or do anything, happy to just stay in place with his mate buried deep in him, connecting them in the most physical way possible. "...Do I smell like I belong to you?" Lindsey found himself asking hopefully.

 

Yes, Angel whispered to him. And you do belong to me, my life-mate. My heart. Nothing could change that. I promise. He nuzzled his human.

 

"...Good..." Lindsey said forcefully, if quietly. "...I only want to smell like I'm yours. No one else can have me!" He sighed happily as Angel nuzzled him.

 

You're mine, Angel sent. No one else's. Just mine. Waves of possessive love came through the bond, flowing over his life-mate.

 

Lindsey relaxed the rest of the way, just enjoying the feel of his mate wrapped around him and deep inside him. "...What do you most look forward to about having me? Being with me?" Lindsey asked quietly. "....I plan to be with you the rest of my life...however long that is..." he added on softly.

 

Angel gently pulled his teeth free of Lindsey's neck, licking the wound closed while staying buried inside his life-mate. "There isn't just one thing," he said, with open, honest frankness. "Claiming you is important...but then, so is just cuddling. Looking after you." He smiled as he continued, "Making you happy. Like when I was talking to you through the bond and could feel what you felt when I was with Wes and Cordy."

 

Lindsey grinned at that. "That was awesome; being able to feel you in my head, as if you were there in person. It's the only thing that helped when Holland grabbed me..." he admitted hesitantly, reluctant to mention his ex-boss.

 

"I wanted to make sure you knew I was coming for you," Angel whispered. "That I was going to get you back, no matter what it took."

 

"That was the only thing that kept me from shutting down completely..." Lindsey admitted. "...When I realized he'd drugged me and that I couldn't move, no matter what he did... and that my body would react no matter what I wanted... I wanted to give up. Especially after he brought me through the portal and I wasn't sure you'd be able to find me. I couldn't imagine living under his control the rest of my life...." He bit his lip, letting his hand run down Angel's arm and onto the vampire's hand, gently squeezing it, then nudging it lower so that Angel would 'hold onto' him again. "When I felt you come through the portal, I was so relieved. I knew I had to not give up, because you'd rescue me somehow. You'd get me back. And I knew I wanted you to reclaim every part of me that he tried to take from you before I died.... If you still wanted me."

 

Angel gently ran his fingers over Lindsey's member, kissing his life-mate's shoulder and neck. "Of course I still wanted you...then and now," he whispered. "I couldn't think straight when he took you. Wes and Cordy kept me from running straight out after you without any idea of where I was going. But I couldn't lose you. And I was so terrified when I knew you were hurting and I was powerless to stop it...unable even to shelter you and protect you with my own body."

 

"You're sheltering and protecting me now... from my own self..." Lindsey admitted, in a whisper. "I didn't think I'd be able to handle...being touched in any way, but I trust you not to hurt me and now you're touching me and in me and I want more. I feel safe and like... like I didn't ruin everything by my weakness...."

 

"You didn't ruin anything," Angel promised. "And neither were you weak, my life-mate. You were taken and you were forced. But you held on. You knew I'd come for you. And you know that I won't ever hurt you."

 

"I never wanted to do drugs in my life, but after being drugged and losing all control... I don't think I'll ever be tempted..." Lindsey snorted faintly, wondering what Angel would say about that.

 

"Good," Angel replied. "They don't help with what you want them for, anyway." There was a slight hint of guilt that indicated he might be speaking from personal experience.

 

Lindsey reacted to the guilt, letting his hand run gently up and down his mate's arm. "...You okay?" he asked hesitantly, not wanting to pry into something painful, but wanting to help as much as possible if he was able.

 

Angel laced his fingers through his life-mate's, raising Lindsey's hand to his lips and turning it over to kiss his palm. "I did a lot of questionable things after I got my soul back," he said softly.

 

Lindsey swallowed. "...I read a lot of them..." he admitted hesitantly. At the time, he hadn't seen it as an invasion of the vampire's privacy. Now he did, but he couldn't unlearn what he'd learned. "...It was understandable. You were dealing with a lot of guilt for what Angelus did. And had no one to help you..." He drew his hand back- Angel's with it- and kissed his mate's palm before nipping at it gently, then licking where he'd nipped.

 

"I wasn't a good human before I was turned. That's probably in the records too," Angel admitted quietly. "As bad as the others were, Angelus was the worst of them." And he often wondered if he was to blame; if Angelus wouldn't have hurt so many people if Liam had been a better man. He stroked Lindsey's cheek as his life-mate nipped and licked.

 

"At the end of the day, Angelus was still the demon... and you've spent years trying to make up for things he did...." Lindsey said assuredly. "...I was human when I did all my bad things. You've forgiven me and are helping me do the right thing now... but if you hadn't got me. If I'd stayed with W&H, who knows what I'd have turned into....?" He sighed softly, nuzzling into Angel's hand. "I won't hold your past against you. Especially not when mine is just as bad, if not worse...." He kissed Angel's palm again.

 

Angel tightened his hold on his human and kissed the back of Lindsey's neck, nuzzling in close. "I love you so much," he whispered.

 

"I love you, Meae... My life... Cor Meum... My Heart..." Lindsey sighed happily, before carefully pushing his bottom back into the vampire, causing Angel to slide in a little more, then let out a happy moan. "...Take me, master? Please? Take me and make me yours. I want to belong to you... to be marked 'Angel's' forever...."

 

Angel kissed Lindsey's neck and began to move inside his life-mate. He held his human's hips possessively, drawing him closer and gently nipping at his neck. "You are everything to me," he whispered.

 

Lindsey let out happy little whimpers and moans as his mate moved in him. "...Feels good..." he whispered, his voice catching as he tried to angle himself so that the vampire could go as deep as possible. "...Yours...completely..." He whimpered, slanting his head to the side so Angel could reach his neck easier, nudging one of Angel's hands toward his private area, needing some attention there as well.

 

Angel nuzzled, kissed and licked his life-mate's neck, beginning to thrust gently as his fingers ghosted over Lindsey's member, lightly stroking...careful not to be too rough; going as gently as possible and watching his life-mate's reactions along with paying attention to the emotions through the bond.

 

Lindsey groaned, beginning to push back onto Angel as the vampire thrust forward, then thrust forward and into the vampire's hand as Angel withdrew. He was completely aroused and needy. Waves of desire, need and love went through the bond into his mate.

 

Angel bit, finally, thrusting into his life-mate with a little bit more force, gently teasing and stroking Lindsey's member in front.

 

Lindsey let out a strangled moan as Angel bit, unable to keep himself from clenching around the vampire tightly, almost like a vice as he lost control and released into his mate's hand.

 

Angel followed his life-mate's release, his hand tightening slightly on Lindsey's hip; not enough to hurt, but holding his human steadily. He stayed inside Lindsey, but withdrew his teeth, licking the wound closed and then kissing the healed patch of skin.

 

Lindsey sighed happily as he felt Angel releasing into him, feeling as his middle was filled up. Once he was certain that Angel was through his own release, he gently moved the vampire's hand to his swollen middle and hummed happily. "Is it odd to wish I could stay like this forever?" he whispered. "To have part of you in me all the time, even when you aren't yourself?"

 

"No, mo chroí," Angel murmured, kissing the back of his human's neck and stroking his stomach. "But even if I'm not inside you, I won't leave you," he promised.

 

"I love you, Angel..." Lindsey whispered. "I want a life with you. Forever..." he added hesitantly, turning enough in the vampire's arms that he could nuzzle against his chest. "I could never belong anywhere else...."

 

"It's exactly the same for me, Lindsey," Angel whispered, stroking his fingers through his life-mate's hair. "I belong to you just as much as you belong to me. And as much as I do want to claim you...I also just want to be with you. To have a life together."

 

Lindsey smiled happily. "So... how do you feel about getting a puppy?" He grinned impishly up at his mate, before leaning up to kiss Angel on the corner of his mouth.

 

Angel kissed him, angling his head so it was a full, deep kiss. "Would you like that?" he asked.

 

Lindsey blushed. "Yessir... I always wanted one when I was a kid... We couldnt afford to have a pet. When I finally made enough money, I wasn't home enough and it wouldn't a been fair to any animal for me to have one...."

 

Angel cupped Lindsey's face in his hand, thumb stroking gently over his cheek. "Then we'll get one," he said simply. I want to make you happy, echoed through the bond.

 

Lindsey smiled brightly. "Thank you..." He turned his head to kiss Angel's hand.

 

Angel's other hand gently stroked his hair. "When we get back home, we can look into the sort of breed that you'd like."

 

"Don't need a breed..." Lindsey gave Angel a sheepish look. "Figured if it was okay, we could go to the Humane Society. Adopt one of the ones that needs a home there...."

 

Angel smiled. "That sounds perfect," he commented.

 

"Figure if you can take in a scrappy stray from the Midwest, taking in another scrappy stray would be appropriate..." Lindsey grinned impishly.

 

Angel gently touched his cheek, turning his face towards him so he could kiss him gently. "You're not a stray anymore, my heart," he murmured.

 

"No...I've found a home..." Lindsey agreed, before deepening the kiss.

 

With me, Angel whispered through the bond, kissing him. I'm your home. He cradled the back of Lindsey's head; stroked his hair and down his back.

 

"Forever..." Lindsey whispered, as he sent a wave of love and affection to his mate.

 

Angel kissed him more deeply, hands stroking down his back, then rolled them over so that Lindsey was on top of him and not lying in the dirt. "So when did you find the time to read up on me, mo chroí?" While he was ashamed of a lot that had been recorded, he was genuinely interested...and allowed a teasing note to slip into his voice. After all, this seemed like further proof that they'd been drawing together.

 

Lindsey blushed. "When we first met and you turned down the chance to work for W&H and threw my client out the window.... I got curious. Told myself it was because I needed to know 'the enemy', but most the stuff I memorized wasn't really stuff that would help take you down." Lindsey lay down on Angel, nuzzling his neck, under his chin. "I think part of me knew, even then, who I belonged to...."

 

Angel wrapped his arms around his life-mate, holding Lindsey close and tight against his chest. "There wasn't a lot of information I could find about you." He let it slip that he'd been just as curious about Lindsey as the human had been about him.

 

"I'm glad..." Lindsey admitted. "I'll tell you anything you ask, no matter how embarrassed or shamed it makes me...but I went to a lot of effort to bury my past so W&H couldn't find out anything to use against me. It wasn't easy...."

 

Angel nodded in understanding, nuzzling his head. "How did you first show up on their radar?" he asked.

 

"Recruitment fair at my college. I wasn't able to afford a big fancy name law school, so when this big firm cane by 'slumming' looking for 'talent'... I thought I'd hit the jackpot. Made sure I introduced myself. That they got access to my grades and invited them to watch me debate later that night. They liked what they saw and offered to pay all my school loans and the remaining years of my tuition if I signed a contract to come work for them after graduating." Lindsey huffed sadly. "Shoulda known it was too good ta be true, but by the time I figured it out, I was upside down and ankle deep in the muck."

 

Angel let his fingers stroke through his life-mate's hair. "They didn't show you their true nature because you would have run from them as soon as you knew what they stood for and they knew it."

 

"Shoulda run anyway, when I found out the truth. Stead I was a coward and stayed and they slowly changed me ta someone I din even recognize..." Lindsey whispered, pressing light kisses against Angel's chest as he snuggled.

 

"And then we met," Angel commented. "And I didn't even know why I was so fascinated by one of their lawyers." He stroked down Lindsey's back as he continued, "I thought you were just like them and couldn't understand why I felt pulled to you...at least until you helped us save those children."

 

"You brought me back to myself... Saved me from becoming a monster... " Lindsey whispered.

 

Angel kissed his neck. "I couldn't have done that if you weren't willing to turn back, m’fhíorghrá," he said softly. "Even though it was buried deep."

 

"You got through to me... Once I knew you cared... would help me... turning back was easy," Lindsey nuzzled and kissed Angel's neck, reaching down between their bodies and stroking and squeezing his mate intimately.

 

Angel tightened his hold on Lindsey, his body reacting to his life-mate's touch. He kissed him, long and deep. "It's more than just caring, m’fhíorghrá."

 

"I know..." Lindsey whispered gently, leaning up and kissing under Angel's chin. "...But at the time, I didn't have a clue beyond the fact you cared enough to pull me to you and stop me.... Even after you spanked me so hard I couldn't sit, I didn't really understand. I can be a bit slow when it comes to realizing someone loves me..." He grinned sheepishly, nipping at Angel's neck playfully, even as he continued to stroke and squeeze.

 

Angel felt his body react even more to his life-mate, growing and thickening in Lindsey's hands. He nuzzled and kissed his life-mate's head. "I couldn't let you go then," he whispered. "Spanking you...it was about just punishment, but only at first. About the time you started swearing at me and I told you I was going to wash your mouth out with soap? That's when it occurred to me I was in it for the long haul."

 

Lindsey chuckled, giving Angel a sheepish look. "Do you know you are the first and only person to ever wash my mouth out for bad language? I think that shocked me almost as much as gettin' a spankin' did...." He maneuvered himself so he was poised above Angel's member, then slowly, very slowly, slid down onto Angel, moaning softly. There was just enough 'preparation' left from when Angel took him earlier to keep it from being painful for either of them, but the friction was stronger. He didn't stop until Angel was completely buried in him, his bottom tight against the vampire's hips, and then he began to rock gently back and forth, keeping his eyes on Angel's face the entire time.

 

Angel moved his hands to Lindsey's hips, gently grasping them to hold his human steady. He kissed his life-mate. "I think that was the first time I ever heard you use that kind of language," he commented. "And it's not as if you weren't pushed far beyond what you could ever have thought would happen." He kept his eyes on Lindsey's face, reaching up to stroke his cheek, thumb ghosting over his life-mate's lips.

 

Lindsey let out a tiny whimper and nipped gently at Angel's thumb, before taking it into his mouth and licking and sucking at it, keeping his slow, steady rocking motion going. He felt so good, not just physically but emotionally. He let those emotions bleed through the bond to Angel, letting the vampire feel how loved, safe, content, emboldened he was feeling. Letting Angel's thumb go with a tiny kiss, he smiled impishly at the vampire. "I didn't tend ta use it when I was working. Needed to give off that 'high class' appearance and all. Would ya do it now? If I was a naughty boy and cussed a blue streak?" His grin was still impish, even if the question was serious. They'd started out their relationship with Angel being his master and him obeying in everything. They'd since moved to being life-mates in every sense of the word. Did that mean Angel didn't plan to take charge? He needed to know how things would be....

 

Angel let his other hand slide down Lindsey's back, stroking down his spine while the fingers of his other hand caressed his face. He let his own emotions flow through the bond...love, contentedness, a fierce need to protect and claim his life-mate. "That depends on why, my heart. If it's me you're cursing at, then yes...if it's a bad situation and you're reacting, then it's likely I'll just tell you to watch your language."

 

Lindsey relaxed at the words, surprised at how relieved he was that Angel was still going to 'be in charge'. "If I cursed at you, I'd deserve it. Just like I'd deserve a spankin' if I did something I know I shouldn't and it put me or someone else in danger...." he said calmly, his acceptance of his position in his Utselii's life clear. "I belong to you, my owner, my master, my friend, lover... life-mate..." He shifted to lay flat on his vampire, chest to chest, and nuzzled against Angel's neck. He was still rocking gently and slow, but the new angle caused his channel to narrow and tighten around the vampire. "...Feels so good..." he murmured, nipping gently at the vampire's shoulder.

 

Angel kissed his head, inhaling Lindsey's scent and tightening his arms around his life-mate, stroking down Lindsey's back, over his bottom and thighs. "You belong completely to me," he whispered. "You don't feel good just when I'm inside you...but also when I'm just holding you in my arms. Or sitting with you on my lap. Or even just with you putting your head on my shoulder."

 

Lindsey kissed Angel's shoulder and snuggled at those words. "...You have to know I feel the same... I can't imagine every thing I feel isn't broadcast to you through our bond..." he said gently, letting his hands carefully roam over the vampire, exploring his lover and memorizing every plane and angle of the older man's body.

 

Angel continued to stroke and caress down Lindsey's back, cupping his bottom possessively. "I love you. My life-mate." He kissed and nuzzled into his human's neck. "My lover. My heart." He gently squeezed Lindsey's backside.

 

Lindsey moaned and began to rock a bit faster as Angel squeezed his bottom. "...Love you so much..." He kissed everywhere he could reach. "...Just wanna show you in every way possible..." He whimpered, tightening around Angel as his own arousal began to grow.

 

"You are, life-mate," Angel promised. He gave his human's backside a gentle smack; more of a firm pat, really. "I love you." He rubbed where he'd just smacked.

 

Lindsey turned startled eyes toward Angel at the smack, muscles clenching tightly around the vampire immediately in response. A strong wave of arousal sped through the bond, giving away that he liked being spanked... at least he did when he wasn't being punished. He blushed faintly and gave Angel a tiny grin. "...Do that again!" He rolled his hips slightly so Angel would slide in deeper still.

 

Angel smiled at that, kissing his human deeply and passionately as he delivered another gentle smack and then squeezed.

 

Lindsey groaned low in his throat, returning Angel's kiss fervently, opening his mouth so the vampire could claim it, just as he'd claimed every other part of him. He moved slower on his Utselii, allowing Angel to smack and rub easier, but also to enjoy feeling his master and mate inside of him more completely.

 

Letting his tongue slip into Lindsey mouth, Angel continued the light, gentle smacks, rubbing and squeezing in between.

 

Lindsey was surprised at how quickly he lost control over the situation. One minute, he was directing the pace and what was occurring and the next, he was along for the ride as the combination of Angel's kiss, the gentle spanking and the friction inside his body where the vampire claimed him overwhelmed him. His arousal grew and then suddenly, he was releasing, his body quivering and spasming, clenching tightly around Angel. He moaned low and deep as wave after wave of pleasure coursed through his body and carried through the bond to the vampire.

 

Angel held Lindsey clasped tightly to himself, kissing him gently and lovingly, as his own release came over him. The pleasure that spiked through the bond was intermingled with intense love.

 

Lindsey finally reached the end and collapsed on top of Angel weakly, squeezing his muscles to see if his lover was still situated in him, but otherwise not doing too much other than cuddling close, nuzzling into Angel's chest. "...You undo me every time..." he said, in a breathless voice, letting his arms move to wrap around his mate. "Undo me and then remake me again..."

 

Angel kissed and nuzzled into his neck, hand still resting on his backside. "I love you," he whispered in response. "I like undoing you and putting you back together. Making you mine..."

 

Lindsey smiled against Angel's chest. "I like it when you take me apart and put me back together too... and you always put me back together better... stronger... than I was. Not sure how that works, but... I feel stronger. Inside..." He kissed Angel's chest. "...Bond's still working..." he added in an aside, trying to imagine what it was that he felt at his core when the bond used Angel's release to tie him more strongly to the vampire. Hoping that Angel would somehow be able to sense what he couldn't say through the bond.

 

"We're binding closer and tighter together." Angel pressed kisses all over Lindsey's head and as far down his back as he could reach, his hands stroking and caressing down further.

 

"We are..." Lindsey agreed, nuzzling close, his happiness thrumming through the bond. "Feels warm inside...where you filled me..." he said, with a hint of wonder. "...How's the bond even know?"

 

Angel let his fingers ghost over Lindsey's skin, rubbing and stroking and caressing. "I think there's a lot about the bond we don't necessarily understand," he murmured.

 

Lindsey nodded. "Yeah... but... I kinda wanna learn about it. Understand it better. Don't you?" he asked quietly.

 

Angel nodded. "I think I can safely say that I've never done this with anyone else," he said. "You're the first person I ever chose to bind myself to."

 

"You're the first person I've ever willingly chosen to bind myself to. I'm so grateful you were willing to take over control of that contract from W&H....." Lindsey shivered. If the law firm still had control of the contract, he would have been bound to them. That could have caused all kinds of problems.

 

"I would never have let them keep you," Angel whispered. "Even if your letter of resignation hadn't worked...I would have found a way. Somehow."

 

"I know. I belong to you. I don't belong anywhere but by your side or in your arms..." Lindsey snuggled, his sense of gratitude and happiness wafting gently to Angel.

 

Angel kissed his life-mate's head, tightening his hold on Lindsey. "I don't belong anywhere but with you," he whispered in return.

 

"Will... I know the bond will prolong my life; I could live for up to a century beyond what I normally would. But eventually...." Lindsey bit his lip. "...When I get to that point, I won't want you giving up..." he whispered hesitantly. It was never easy to talk about one's own mortality, but it was harder to do when you were speaking of it with the person who would be most hurt by it.

 

Angel couldn't help but tighten his hold on Lindsey. "I never really got close to anyone until I moved to Sunnydale," he said quietly. "I know you wouldn't want me to give up...It's hard to think about the fact I might eventually lose you," he said honestly.

 

"I know... but I'm still mortal. It's gonna happen sooner or later and I just... I don't want you to pretend it ain't ever gonna happen and then be lost when it does. I love you so much and I just wanna know that you'll be able to live beyond when I ain't anymore..." Lindsey admitted, kissing Angel's chest.

 

Angel nuzzled into his neck. "I've lost a lot," he whispered. "Been through a lot. I can't promise how I'd react to losing you. I can promise that I'll keep this conversation in my mind, so I can remember what you've said."

 

Lindsey sighed softly. "That's all I can ask, really... " He knew there was another way Angel could keep him with him forever, but neither of them wanted that. Not unless there was a way to bind Lindsey's soul to his body before undertaking it. Which Lindsey didn't know of any way that was possible. He slanted his head in silent offering to his Utselii, letting his love and trust in the vampire wrap around Angel.

 

Angel kissed and nuzzled his human's neck, pressing as close to Lindsey as was possible, love reaching through the bond to sink into his life-mate's heart.

 

Lindsey relaxed even further as the bond thrummed with Angel's love and sent his own love back to the vampire in a warm circle. The bond was working overtime in him; he could feel it, his middle warm- almost hot- to touch and the tattoos marking him as belonging to Angel heating up as well. He couldn't help but wonder if the vampire felt the heat from the three tattoos or from his belly, but he didn't ask. It didn't seem that important to know at the moment. Snuggling close and giving his love to the vampire was important. He blinked his eyes, trying to stay awake.

 

"Sleep, my heart, my love, my life-mate," Angel whispered, tightening his hold on his human. "I've got you. I'm here." He continued to send waves of love and reassurance through the bond. "I love you."

 

"I love you too, Meae..." Lindsey whispered, sending back his own wave of love and gently squeezing Angel inside before tightening his arms in a gentle hug. He blinked once and then was asleep.

 

Angel just held onto his life-mate, tight and protectively, surrounding him emotionally with love that he hoped Lindsey would feel even in sleep.

 

***

 

Lindsey slept through the night peacefully, Angel's love surrounding and washing through him with the bond. When he woke, he felt like he had before he'd been taken by Holland; all his wounds healed completely. The only remnants of what had occurred were his memories. As soon as he thought about what Holland had done, he snuggled into Angel and took a deep breath. "You have me. I'm safe and I'll always be safe with you. You'll never let me go..." he whispered, calming himself down with the mantra.

 

"I have you," Angel whispered. "I love you. I'm not ever going to let you go. You're safe in my arms." He stroked Lindsey's face, tilting his life-mate's face up so he could kiss him, gently and chastely.

 

Lindsey kissed Angel back just as chastely, before reluctantly shifting so that his master slid out of him and carefully stood up. "Where's the safest spot for me to... take care of myself?" he asked, with a tiny blush, and shifted from foot to foot. It was obvious what the problem was.

 

Angel sat up carefully. "This whole area is safe, life-mate. Just don't stray too far." He stroked Lindsey's cheek.

 

Lindsey smiled. "How far is too far, Utselii?" he asked, just to be certain, not sure if Angel wanted him to stay within sight or not. If he was honest with himself, he was reluctant to leave Angel's sight, but he did need to move away from where they were camped, if only for hygiene and health reasons.

 

"You can't move out of my sight," Angel replied. "And when you've taken care of business, I want to work with you a bit on self-defence and other ways to take care of yourself."

 

"Yessir..." Lindsey quickly agreed, then walked away from their camp- and away from the tiny pond of water- stopping when he was far enough away that there wouldn't be any issues, but still able to clearly see Angel... which meant that Angel would be able to see him more than clearly. He quickly took care of matters, then walked back to Angel. "D'ya think the pond is safe to drink from?" he asked hesitantly, realizing how thirsty he was. He knew Angel had given him water to drink before, but he wasn't certain if the water was from a bottle he'd brought over from their own dimension or if it was from the pond.

 

Angel nodded. "I gave you water from it when I first brought you here." He bent and scooped some water into his hands, stepping closer to Lindsey so he could give his life-mate the water in a far more personal manner.

 

Lindsey kept his eyes on Angel's face as he drank from his master's hands. While drinking, he sent all his feelings of love, happiness, trust... and submission... to the vampire. Angel was about to teach him. That meant he needed to listen and obey.

 

Angel let his own feelings of love and happiness reach out and wrap around his life-mate. When Lindsey had drunk his fill, he stepped forward, kissing him deeply, and then began the teaching.

 

Lindsey sighed happily into the kiss, but didn't argue when Angel pulled away and began to teach him. He'd thought he knew a lot about martial arts, but the vampire made him look like a beginning child. "So... I move this way?" He asked for confirmation on a move a couple of hours later, confusion in his voice. He did it completely wrong.

 

"No, life-mate." Angel reached out to adjust Lindsey's position, hands ghosting over his human's skin as he moved him. "Like this."

 

Lindsey paid close attention to where he was moved and how he was positioned, so that he could get it right the next time. "And this will keep a larger, stronger enemy from knocking me off my feet?" he asked for clarification.

 

Angel nodded. "Exactly, m’fhíorghrá," he confirmed. He slid a hand down Lindsey's leg, gently stroking the skin. "It's the way you keep your body weight distributed. Balancing."

 

Lindsey swallowed hard as Angel stroked his leg, but managed not to move his position. Angel hadn't said he could move, after all.

 

"Good," Angel breathed. "I don't want you to move, life-mate. No matter what I do to you." He gently kissed Lindsey's leg.

 

Lindsey shivered slightly, but held still as ordered. He couldn't help but let out a tiny whine, though.

 

Angel gently touched, kissed, teased his life-mate's body. Discipline was an important part of what he was teaching Lindsey and he figured this way was more pleasant than the ways he himself had been taught.

 

Lindsey's stomach did a flip and he quivered in place, but he didn't move. Well, most of him didn't move. To his embarrassment, one part of him did move and he couldn't seem to get it to stop. He turned bright red, hoping that Angel would understand.

 

Angel responded by squeezing Lindsey's thigh, sending a wave of love and reassurance through the bond before he stood. "Good, my heart," he praised softly.

 

Lindsey let out a tiny breath of relief that his body paying attention in other ways hadn't upset his master. He sent his own wave of love back and began to relax a little, even as he held still, waiting for further orders.

 

"You can't always control how your body reacts, life-mate," Angel whispered reassuringly, before he resumed showing Lindsey different moves.

 

"But I can choose not to give in to it?" Lindsey asked hesitantly, even as he copied Angel's forms.

 

Angel nodded. "Just because your body reacts a certain way, it doesn't mean you want it." He wasn't directly referencing Holland's actions, but he thought it was important to make that distinction. Looking seriously at his life-mate, he continued, "And I would never force unwanted conact on you, no matter what."

 

"I know you wouldn't, Utselii... you'd always make sure I wanted it..." Lindsey grinned impishly. "...The fact that I always want it is beside the question...."

 

Angel couldn't help but laugh at that. "But if there was ever a time...." He stepped forward to adjust Lindsey's position slightly.

 

Lindsey moved into position easily, since he was keeping his stance loose so Angel could maneuver him. "I know. You would stop immediately if I asked you to..." Lindsey said softly. "...Am I standing right now?" he asked, not certain he was doing the move correctly.

 

Angel nodded. "Keep the position, life-mate," he directed; before, once again, beginning to rub, caress and kiss Lindsey's body, down to his legs.

 

Lindsey shivered as Angel began his ministrations again. And once again, he was paying attention with more than his eyes and ears. He turned pink, watching Angel move down his body as much as he was able to do without moving from the ordered position.

 

Angel kissed Lindsey's thighs, sending waves of reassurance and love through the bond, fingers idly trailing over the tattoo on his life-mate's inner thigh.

 

Lindsey managed to hold still as Angel stroked over the tattoo and kissed his thighs, but he wasn't able to control the sudden thought he had of Angel shifting around to his front, kneeling in front of him and taking his member into his mouth. He whimpered at the idea of his life-mate owning him in that way, but then quickly forced himself to think of something else- anything else- because his arousal spiked to the point of being painful and he didn't want to have to explain to Angel what he'd just imagined.

 

Angel caught the image before it shifted and he gently grasped Lindsey's hip, stroking possessively. "Would you like that, life-mate?" he whispered. "I can show you it doesn't have to hurt or be scary when it's done by someone who loves you and who you love in return."

 

Lindsey's face was scarlet at the knowledge that Angel had seen what he'd imagined, but he wouldn't lie to his mate. "...Yessir..." he said hesitantly. "...I... I'd like you to... to show me... teach me what it should be like..." he said hesitantly.

 

Angel kissed his hip and then, just as it had happened in the image, he moved round in front of his life-mate and knelt. Gently grasping Lindsey's hips, he took his human's member very gently, very carefully, into his mouth.

 

Lindsey stood as still as he was able, a low whine in the back of his throat. He had to trust and depend on Angel to hold him still and in place. He was already so aroused, his body's first instinct was to begin thrusting. His legs shook from his efforts to not move. Angel had told him to hold still and now that was more imperative than ever. He wanted to obey, but... "...Feels so good..." He whimpered softly.

 

I know, life-mate, whispered through the bond. And you can move. You don't need to force yourself to hold still. Angel kept a firm, possessive hold of Lindsey's hips as he moved his mouth and lips over his life-mate's member.

 

Lindsey shivered at hearing Angel's voice in his head while his mouth was making him feel so good and he couldn't help but respond, widening his stance so Angel could get to him easier with mouth and hands, beginning to thrust shallowly toward his master.

 

Angel shifted one hand behind his life-mate, cupping his backside possessively, while his other hand still clasped one of Lindsey's lips. He was very careful, going slow and gentle...completely the opposite to the mental image he'd glimpsed of Holland.

 

Lindsey shivered in place, but managed to calm slightly at Angel's possessive touch. The gentleness was enabling him to enjoy what was being done and it was calming any lingering nervousness he might have had due to the experience he'd had with Holland. He let his eyes open and looked down at Angel's head, carefully and slowly giving him pleasure, and felt a sense of belonging that he hadn't expected to get from receiving this gift. Some might say that what Angel was doing was a very submissive action, but it felt anything but submissive to Lindsey. Angel was taking whatever he wanted and Lindsey was willingly opening himself up to give it to the vampire. He was giving it to Angel; and that's what made it completely different to what Holland had done. "...Yours, master..." he whispered, in a tiny whine. "...All of me belongs to you...."

 

Mine, Angel agreed, a sense of possessiveness...love...longing...desire mixing together through the bond. He squeezed Lindsey's hip and backside, stroking, rubbing and caressing the skin.

 

"Y...yours..." Lindsey repeated, in a long drawn out whine, as Angel's hands and mouth worked him up to a point where he couldn't stop himself even if he'd tried. His shallow thrusts became more frantic as he began to release, deep, shuddering spasms overcoming him and leading to long drawn out pulses as he gave his vampire everything he had in him. His love and gratitude pulsed through the bond along with his body pulsing.

 

Angel didn't pull away as Lindsey released. His life-mate was giving him everything and Angel wouldn't reject that or pull away. He understood that what he had was precious...that he needed to not only take Lindsey, but take care of him. Look after him. Take what his life-mate gave freely.

 

Lindsey blinked as his body continued to spasm and release into his life-mate's mouth, the length of his orgasm catching him by surprise. He knew part of it was the bond, but part of it was Angel himself. His life-mate had known exactly what to do and how to do it and now... his whimpers became breathless as he continued to thrust forward, starting to get weak in the legs and light-headed, but trusting Angel to hold him up if necessary.

 

Angel transferred his other hand to Lindsey's other hip, holding his mate steadily and possessively, sending waves of love and reassurance echoing through the link, making sure Lindsey wouldn't fall.

 

"...Angel..." Lindsey whimpered out his mate's name as the last long, drawn out spasm tore through his body, emptying the last of his offering into the vampire's waiting mouth. His legs shook, only Angel's firm grip on his hips allowing him to remain upright. If Angel let go of him, he'd be on the ground in a heap. His member lay in Angel's mouth, limp and very sensitive. It still felt wonderful and Lindsey couldn't help but send waves of satisfied pleasure through the bond to his life-mate. Lindsey swallowed hard, his voice tiny. "...Thank you, Utselii... thank you so much for a memory that... I'll never...." To Lindsey's horrified embarrassment, he began to cry softly.

 

Angel gently, finally, released his life-mate's member, so he could stand and pull Lindsey into a tight embrace, kissing his neck and then his lips before he began to kiss and lick away his human's tears. "I love you," he whispered.

 

Lindsey could taste himself faintly on Angel's lips and it caused a swell of affection to burst out and through the bond to the vampire. "I love you, Meae... I love you so much... and you helped me so much... if I have a bad dream now? About Holland? All I need to is think of what you've done for me and focus on that..." He smiled, then blushed. "Course that'll prolly have me climbin' on you and beggin' ya to claim me again, but... s'better 'n nightmares...." He snuggled close.

 

"That wouldn't be a problem for me, my heart. My life-mate," Angel whispered. "You know I don't need to sleep. So long as it won't affect you negatively, I'll claim you at any time you need or want." His love seeped through the bond, wrapping around his life-mate as if it was a blanket.

 

Lindsey slumped against the vampire, letting Angel take his full weight. His legs still felt like jelly. "Thank you... for that..." he said softly, letting his own love and happiness surround the vampire. "...For doing that for me..." he added, in case it wasn't clear what he was thanking Angel for. "...Found another thing you do with your mouth that makes me weak..." he teased gently.

 

Angel smiled and kissed his head, inhaling his scent. "I'd do anything for you, my heart," he whispered. "I love you more than I could ever put into words."

 

"...I can feel that... feel your love..." Lindsey smiled, nuzzling against Angel's chest again. "...I hope you can feel that it's both ways...."

 

Angel nodded, letting his lips rest against Lindsey's hair. "The bond makes it impossible for either of us to hide," he murmured.

 

"The bond makes a lot of things happen..." Lindsey continued to snuggle. "...You send messages to me, but... how did you know I wanted...?" He glanced up at Angel curiously. "I can't send messages...."

 

"You can't send words, but I've been getting images from you," Angel said, before kissing his life-mate, unable to resist Lindsey looking up at him.

 

Lindsey kissed Angel back deeply, before a naughty look crossed his face. "So... you can see...?" He imagined something incredibly acrobatic and semi-filthy.

 

Angel kissed his throat, tightening his hold on his human. "I think that might require twisting at least one of our bodies into an unnatural shape."

 

"Yeah...." Lindsey's breathing quickened and he slanted his head so his throat was more exposed. "...I thought that when I originally studied that painting in my art critique class...."

 

Angel kissed over his pulse point; slid his hand around behind Lindsey's back to gently squeeze his bottom. "Of course, we could still try it," he whispered, before scraping his teeth gently over Lindsey's throat.

 

Lindsey gasped at the squeeze and the feel of Angel's teeth and then the vampire's words penetrated his happy fog and his heart rate spiked, a sense of excited arousal shooting through the bond. "...Yes please?" he asked eagerly, nuzzling against Angel's ear.

 

Angel licked his neck gently, squeezing and then giving a firm pat to his life-mate's bottom. "Anything for you," he whispered, love and sincerity coming clear through the bond.

 

"...And I'd give and do anything for you..." Lindsey all but promised, wiggling his bottom to invite more attention to it.

 

Angel gently squeezed and rubbed, then gave another firm pat, nuzzling into his life-mate's neck, kissing his skin.

 

Lindsey sighed, whimpering softly and slanting his head so Angel could reach his neck, kissing the vampire's shoulder.

 

Angel held his life-mate close, kissing his neck, gently nipping there, and then he sat down, carefully shifting Lindsey over his lap, adjusting his life-mate enough to make sure he was comfortable.

 

Lindsey whined softly, pushing his bottom up a bit in invitation while sending a wave of love, want, need, submission to the vampire.

 

Angel leaned over, kissing the back of Lindsey's neck, letting his hand land in a smack that, though not particularly hard, was firmer than the pats.

 

Lindsey moaned low in his throat and wriggled slightly as the sting settled, his body becoming interested in the proceedings immediately.

 

Angel landed the light smacks for a full circuit, down to his life-mate's thighs, before he paused to start rubbing, letting his teeth graze Lindsey's neck.

 

Lindsey moaned softly again, enjoying the feel of his mate 'controlling' him and making it clear through the bond that he was enjoying it.

 

Allowing feelings of love and possessiveness to come through the bond, Angel continued to kiss and nip at his life-mate's skin, his hand alternating between gently smacking Lindsey's bottom and rubbing it.

 

Lindsey shivered and whined, letting his feelings broaden so that Angel not only could feel that he liked what was being done, but he'd like it if Angel was even more possessive and domineering. "Wanna feel you all night..." He whimpered softly.

 

Angel pressed himself closer to his life-mate, his teeth grazing Lindsey's skin, his hand rubbing and squeezing his human's bottom...then lifting and coming down in smacks that were slightly harder.

 

Lindsey groaned, arching his back so that his neck was closer to Angel's mouth and his bottom was in better position for harder smacks. "...Please, Utselii... make it feel when you're done claiming me... please?"

 

Angel sent waves of love and possessiveness through the bond as he gently bit, continuing to swat his life-mate's bottom...a bit harder now and a fraction faster, pausing every so often to rub and stroke and squeeze.

 

Lindsey shivered and groaned again, both at the bite that immediately sent him into want...need...now... mode and at the smacks which were slowly reaching the level of sting he needed. "Please..." He moaned softly, sending every emotion he could through the bond to let Angel know he wanted it harder, needed it harder and that he trusted the vampire to give him what he needed without harming him.

 

Angel responded, swatting enough now that his life-mate's bottom was gradually turning pink in colour. His other hand stroked and rubbed over Lindsey's hips, while he kissed and stroked his human's neck with his lips.

 

Lindsey let out a happy, relieved, contented sigh as his master worked on his neck at the same time he warmed his bottom. "...Yes...please...harder... need to feel it...." He whimpered, shifting his head to bare his neck that much more.

 

Angel's growl was low and possessive as he nuzzled in closer to Lindsey's neck, tightening his hold on his life-mate, smacking and rubbing every inch of Lindsey's bottom, down to his thighs.

 

"...Yours, master... all yours..." Lindsey responded to the growl, feeling his stomach flip with desire and a need to submit in every way possible to the vampire. "... Yours, Angel. No one else's...."

 

Only mine, came through the bond, accompanied by a primal sense of possession and another low growl. Angel inhaled his life-mate's scent; swatted a bit harder and faster in between rubbing and stroking.

 

Lindsey let out a low pitched, needy squeal at the words and as the sense of being owned overwhelmed him. His entire being became focused on his mate's teeth claiming him and his mate's hand heating his bottom to a hot sting. All he could do was whimper and gasp with need, repeating, "...Please, master, please..." over and over, while sending waves of love, trust and submission through the bond to his mate. He wasn't surprised when he released, just from the bite and spanking alone. He was surprised when he immediately began to get aroused again and still wanted and needed Angel to spank him hard.

 

Angel began to drink his life-mate's blood; not a lot, even though he was making primal, possessive growls and his grip on Lindsey was firm. The smacks were firm, too, and he could feel the heat left behind by his hand.

 

The sting had built up enough by this point that tears formed in Lindsey's eyes, but he wasn't distressed at all. His gratitude and need pulsed through the bond, along with his love and affection for the vampire. "...Yes... please, Master..." he whispered, his voice begging despite the fact his bottom was hot to touch and stinging without end.

 

Angel pulled out of the bite...but not to stop the attention. Instead, he bit into his own wrist, drawing blood, and held it to his life-mate's mouth, his fingers stroking along Lindsey's cheek while his other hand still swatted, rubbed, squeezed and caressed.

 

Lindsey immediately latched on, drinking slow and steadily. He didn't know how it was possible, but drinking from his mate intensified everything and he was soon releasing again, only to begin arousing immediately after. While drinking, pulses of yours, yours, yours... were sent to Angel through the bond.

 

Angel responded, repeating, Mine, mine, mine, over and over again in his life-mate's head. After a few moments, he gently pulled his wrist free and kissed and then nuzzled Lindsey's neck, growling possessively.

 

Lindsey let go, but continued to whimper and moan, begging for attention from his mate.

 

Angel turned Lindsey's face towards him, kissing him long and deeply, and then began to move both himself and his life-mate...the way Lindsey had shown him in the image.