Title: Already Come True (1/1)
Author: Dea Brynhild Ensomhet Spikess
Fandoms: Supernatural, Angel
Timeline: SPN s1, spoilers for "Faith". All Ats spoilers, especially "The Trial" and "Not Fade Away".
Warnings: none that I can think of. And yes, that means no slash.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the Supernatural or Angel cast/crew/characters/plotlines/etc. All hail Kripke and Joss. Please don't sue. Song lyrics are italicized, song belongs to whoever owns the rights to the movie "Keep Your Distance".
Summary: She's dying and he's supposed to be dead. That doesn't mean they can't start a life together.
Huge thanks: to Crazygirl47 and Candygramme, who betaed this for me. Any mistakes that are still in here are all mine. Thank you so much!
I understand that you want a man
who won't stir up memories of your past.
He knows the solution long before the problem is ever posed.
When Darla had been delirious with the pain of third-degree burns, she'd rambled on about how Angel had survived three trials for her. For weeks Lindsey had tended her wounds, provided for her every desire, and still all she could talk about were the things Angel had done. As he'd warmed blood and helped her drink, she would rasp in a smoke-shredded voice about how Angel had crawled down a hallway lined with crosses and plunged his hands into a bowl of holy water just for her, for some shred of hope that he'd be able to make her whole and healthy again. Hope that had been in vain, of course, due to some clause about Darla already having had a second chance at life. Lindsey had laughed at the punchline - trust Angel to agree to a contract without making sure that the other party could fulfill their side of the bargain. Demons had enough ways of bending the rules and slipping through loopholes without giving them more on a silver platter.
It isn't until years later that Lindsey remembers that deal, his arms wrapped around the only person he needs in his life, and starts wondering again about the exact details of Angel's arrangement.
Somebody new, somebody who
you can build something with that will last.
Layla's driving through Texas, trying to see as much of the world as she can before her time runs out. She never had much chance to travel before, but she's making up for that now, driving wherever the road takes her. Each town she passes through is another new experience under her belt, and she often buys silly little trinkets from gas station souvenir racks to send back home. On the backs of themed postcards she scrawls moments of her day, impressions of places she sees, random thoughts she has. She likes to think of her mother sitting down with a new stack of postcards to read each day, giving her mother some assurance, at least, that when the mail stops coming...
As waves of heat beat down from the clearest blue sky she's ever seen, Layla decides there are definitely worse ways to spend her final days. The certainty of her fate, and the freedom of wandering without destination mixes to give her a thrill of truly living that has been missing ever since the day she was diagnosed. There isn't anything left on her life's 'To Do' list other than simply living, and now that every treatment option has been crossed off she is free to simply be, wherever she is, whatever she's doing. She's browsing a table of silver and turquoise jewelry set out to catch the gaze of passing tourists when the sound of the last syllable of her name makes her turn.
"-la?" the man had whispered, not even trying to hide his stare. She raises a hand to shield her eyes from the sunlight and studies him for a moment, taking in his dusty cowboy hat, hard body, tight blue jeans, and dark tan. His face calls forth no immediate recognition, though she can't remember everyone she's seen during the last two months. She's covered a lot of ground since she gave up on being healed by faith, and it's possible they met at some other tourist trap or midnight diner, but he doesn't look like the kind of man anyone could easily forget.
He stares at her like she's a mirage, a cold glass of water in the desert or a ghost from his past. If she was healthier she might've been wary of the look in his eyes, but the world gets a whole lot less scary when your own body is betraying you. She smiles at him, not worried, just curious what acquaintance of his she resembles so much to make him react with such shock. He's attractive, and, despite the weird vibes, or maybe because of them, she's interested. Perhaps a fling with a random stranger would be just the thing to pass the time, and it isn't like she has anywhere else to be.
And if I quit that easy, and if I just walked away
how would you really feel inside?
Would you really be that happy?
It's been a month since they'd met and five days since she'd whispered the truth, that destiny had once again decided to step in and take away the only thing Lindsey loved. A brain tumor, she'd explained. Inoperable.
"Second opinion?" was out of his mouth, before he could stop it.
The look she'd shot him was scathing. "Five," she'd retorted under her breath. "The best money could buy, all experts in their field. There's no way."
There's always a way, he'd wanted to tell her, despite the hours he'd spent watching Darla glide around his office in silence as he vainly searched for something - anything - to counter the syphilis eating her alive. Hopelessness had started to well in his chest again, rage and despair flooding through as he'd remembered how there was nothing he could have done for Darla, just as there's nothing he could now do for Layla.
Well, fuck that. There's always a way, and he'll be damned if he won't figure it out this time.
There's always a way.
It might not be a great motto, but it's short and easy to chant under his breath as he ignores the ominous creaking and climbs up the flimsy metal ladder to the top of the high dive, and it takes every last shred of determination he possesses to walk to the end of the springboard. Suddenly, it's summer camp after seventh grade all over again, except the details are different; Layla's freaking out and yelling at him to come down, and she starts screaming his name as he bounces once and then pulls off an unpracticed forward pike into a pool that is distinctly lacking in any water.
As his body sails towards the floor of the empty concrete pool, Lindsey can admit that this probably wasn't his smartest idea ever. He grimaces in expectation of the pain fast approaching, imagination supplying him with phantom sensations of the impending impact. The faded, teal-painted concrete races up to meet him, and his eyes squeeze shut.
Lindsey's body hits hard, but not nearly as hard as heíd been expecting, and he rolls with the momentum, slowing to a stop as he catches his breath and opens his eyes. Dimensional portal springs to mind - wherever he is, it's not the pool anymore. There are columns and huge vases, and the walls are made of large blocks of stone. Layla is standing there too, but before either of them can comment on the fact that he's not smeared across concrete, the air nearby shimmers like a heatwave to form a butleresque man.
He steps towards them, regarding Lindsey with an appraising look, "Well, you certainly have faith. Now we'll test your valor."
I'll be your best friend,
I'll be with you til the end,
Baby, I'm already there
"NO!" Layla screams, her eyes squeezing shut involuntarily. She can't watch, she has to watch but her eyes won't open, oh god, please, no, this can't be happening!
God, she's not worth it. She's not worth Lindsey's life, doesn't want to keep on living if this is the price she has to pay. Please, bring him back, I'll do anything, let him go, I don't want-
A gasp breaks her silent pleading, a familiar-sounding gasp that makes her eyes snap open as if they hadn't been refusing the same command moments ago. Lindsey is hunched over a few feet away, gasping for air, and she's rushing to him before the sight has even processed. Thank God. Lindsey's arms wrap around her, and they cling to each other, Layla's face against his shoulder and sobbing tears into his shirt.
"Congratulations," the butler guy says, standing somewhere to their right, but neither turn to look. "You've passed the third test - by accepting death. You should feel very proud of yourself. I'm told you're only the second one in millennia who's ever gotten that far before. In terms of sacrifice, of course. Kudos to you."
"Fantastic," Lindsey bites back the retort, knowing full well who claimed first place. Not anymore. "Heal her."
The butler nods, "Of course." Lindsey reluctantly lets go of Layla, and she pulls away, wiping her face with her sleeve. "You're a lucky woman, and soon-"
Lindsey cuts him off, "Shut up and heal her." They're so close now, and the instincts that kept him alive at Wolfram & Hart are screaming in his head. Anything the guy says, any slight delay could produce a loophole and Lindsey's not about to make the same mistakes Angel made.
"As you wish." He puts his hands on the sides of her head, and they both close their eyes. Time stills, and Lindsey can't breathe, his chest tight, his body bleeding and aching from wounds inflicted during the trials. Seconds tick by as he watches them. So close...
The butler opens his eyes and lets his hands drop.
Well, man, I have my own dreams
and I stand by you and it seems
that no one even cares.
There are moments sometimes when Lindsey thinks about tracking Angel down and shoving this into his face, proving once and for all that you can't fucking send a minion to kill Lindsey McDonald and walk away, that little Lindsey can and has found someone to love whom Angel's never touched.
And yeah, he knows about Eve. Spike pulled him aside right before the final battle and told him about the night of the office party.
"A man's got the right to know if someone else has been with his woman," Spike had said, but Lindsey thought it was more about giving him one more reason to hate Angel, one more reason to survive this apocalypse, so that he could once again be the main annoyance in Angel's life. Spike had winked then and casually mentioned that it might be a wise idea to wear a good, solid bulletproof vest that evening.
"I'll be fighting with a sword, Spike. The Sahvrin demon clan is invulnerable to guns."
"I know, mate," Spike had said, puffing on a cigarette and smiling one of those annoying know-it-all looks that seem to come as naturally to vampires as their fangs. "That doesn't mean someone else won't bring one to the party."
And the fact that it was Lorne who pulled the trigger made the betrayal that much worse. Lorne, whom Lindsey had considered a friend long before Angel had ever entered the picture. Lorne, who had first welcomed him into Caritas and supplied him with free drinks every time Lindsey left the stage with his guitar in one hand and his soul bared. Lorne, the only one of them who'd run away and tried to stay away from the warrior lifestyle, who'd tried never to get his hands dirty, who'd seen the shades of gray between good and evil and had welcomed anyone and anything into his club as long as they followed the rules.
There are moments sometimes when Lindsey thinks about tracking Lorne down and screaming lyrics into his face, to prove once and for all that Lindsey McDonald is a fucking survivor, a damned cockroach when he wants to be, and he will not be taken out that easily. And if surviving means turning good, means keeping Layla and flying under the radar, then he'll do it. Because little Lindsey can and has changed, and as much as he'd love to gather strength and power and rain hell upon Angel's head again, he's finally found someone more important to him than old grudges and bitter rivals.
Would you wonder if the man
that you've been wishing for
had already come true and
been standing right in front of you?
Sometimes it scares her how well they work as a couple, all things considered. They occasionally fight, both having quirks, things from their past that they want to keep private, but overall their tastes mesh, and every fight ends in hot make-up sex, and Layla can't imagine not spending the rest of her life with him. The irony that he is the one who made this possible, who gave her the rest of her life back, feels almost too consequential.
She still sends mail to her mother every day. The tumor is gone without a trace, but she doesn't bother to break the habit, though she has cut down to only one letter or postcard a day. He doesn't ask about her hoard of postage stamps, or about the letters she doesn't mail and keeps in a shoebox in the closet. She doesn't ask about the herbs in the kitchen that are not used for cooking, or the sigils drawn over the doors and under the welcome mat. He trusts her enough to tell her about evil that hides behind human masks, warns her to never invite anyone in, and she trusts him to tell her what she needs to know to protect herself. He has enemies, she knows, powerful enemies that might still come after them, but she feels safe enough in his arms with protection symbols painted on their house and tattooed on his chest. She knows he hasn't told her everything about his past, but that's okay, because she hasn't told him everything either.
She knows about Darla. Not much, because she doesn't like to pry, but she catches on fast. She knows that Lindsey loved her, and that Darla was dangerous at worst and indifferent at best. She knows she bears more than a passing resemblance to the woman, and she forgives the rare times he slips and calls her by the wrong name.
He, in turn, forgives her those few times that her own tongue betrays her. The first time the wrong name left her lips, she explained that Dean was a drifter she could have loved, a man who passed in and out of her life quickly but left a lasting impression. She doesn't have any pictures of Dean and wouldn't be able to explain exactly why Lindsey reminds her of him so much when they look nothing alike. It could be the scars that she has traced on Lindsey's skin, evidence of fights and pain that she suspects is under Dean's clothes as well. It might be the scruffy yet charming exterior she's seen them both wear as comfortably as their leather coats, their smooth words and smirking mouths that her mother always warned against. It's probably the look that was in Dean's eyes when he tried to stop her from being touched by Roy, the helplessness that had also been in Lindsey's eyes when she told him about the tumor.
Sometimes she wonders how much Dean had known. He'd looked so shaken, "Layla, listen to me, you canít go up there. If you do, something bad is gonna happen. I canít explain, I just need you to believe me." At the time she'd been confused at his worry, everything in her tired and wanting to be healed. Now she has answers that don't comfort her. Lindsey didn't question when she asked him to look into Roy's healings, and he didn't press her for explanations when he handed over a manila folder full of medical records and death certificates with corresponding symptoms and dates.
She's written as much and more to Dean, letters full of her suspicions and postcards with simple lines of gratitude. She doesn't mail them, never even got his last name much less an address, although Lindsey probably knows a guy who could track him down if she wanted. She doesn't ask though, isn't sure that she wants to confront Dean and find out for certain whether he knew before or after he was healed that Marshall Hall would die in exchange. She isn't sure she wants to know why the medical record checking the healthy heart of a patient named "Eric Clapton" is dated for the same day Dean was healed and Marshall died. She shivers, remembering the way her heart had seized-up when she'd thought Lindsey was dead, and she honestly doesn't know where she would be right now if the trial's last test hadn't been a bluff.
Sometimes she wonders if she'll ever see Dean again, whether she'll screw up the courage to find him herself or if fate will intersect their paths without warning. Until then she writes to Dean (or Eric or whatever) and keeps the letters and postcards in the shoebox and wonders if she'll ever feel strong enough for the whole truth.
I understand that you have a plan,
someday soon you wanna start a family.
Well, that task is done
so look all you want,
but you won't find a better father than me.
The air outside is sharp with the threat of snow, but the fireplace is warm, and Lindsey hasn't looked forward to a Christmas this much since before he was hired by Wolfram and Hart. The living room has been decorated accordingly with streamers of popcorn, paper chains, and decorations weighing down the branches of their Christmas tree. No presents sit under the tree yet, but there's still a couple weeks left before Santa is due to arrive. The oven light burned out during the second batch of snowman-shaped cookies, but the little bulbs are never kept in the basement, so he doesn't worry too much about it.
Lindsey is helping affix stamps to their Christmas cards, and for a moment he thinks about sending one to Angel. The bastard managed to survive the Senior Partnerís attack, and has been going back to his private detective help-the-helpless roots, or so Lindsey's informants have said. What Lindsey wouldn't give to see Angel's face when he opened up the card to see a picture of Lindsey, Layla, and their five-month-old son on the front, and the inner embossed message, Have a blessed holiday season! Signed, The McDonalds. But things are going so well right now that he doesn't want to jinx them, doesn't want to literally send an engraved invitation for a visit to the creature who's been his arch nemesis more often than his ally. Doesn't want to risk his family, not now, itís not worth it.
It's a little weird, saying that and really meaning it. Family. He kind of likes the feeling.