Now that Lindsey is back at the lair, Angel has to deal with him. And Angel has an entire clan that he can't afford to ignore while he does it.
Pairings: Angel/clan (sort of, you'll see) There's a lot of Lindsey and a lot of Wesley
Summary: Now that Angel has been given a toy of his own (Lindsey), he has to figure out how all this is going to work.
Warnings: Sexual slavery; Lindsey is not willing, but there's no non-con here; bondage; general dirty-wrong. If you're easily squicked, this isn't the series for you and hasn't been since the beginning.
Fear of Failure
Angel locked the top of the cage. "Comfortable?" he asked. It worried Angel that he felt so good enslaving Lindsey, but it did solve his problem rather neatly—perhaps too neatly to be truly moral.
"You're enjoying this." Lindsey glared up. He was dressed only in sweats and his wrists were chained to the sides of the narrow cage. Lindsey had room to lie flat, but he didn't even have much room to squirm and the bars gave Angel access that probably made his situation even more uncomfortable. Dalton had used it on Aeth, and Angel hoped that wasn't some sort of ominous sign.
"I'm enjoying the fact that I don't have to wonder what idiocy you're up to," Angel admitted.
"How is this going to work with your big quest for redemption? Are you giving up the good fight in favor of becoming a rapist?"
"I haven't raped you," Angel said patiently. It was easier to be patient with Lindsey when he was caged and unable to do any more damage with his poor choices.
"Yet," Lindsey said darkly. "You certainly enjoyed catching a feel when you changed my pants. So, when can I expect the main event?"
"Do you want the main event?" Angel asked. He studied Lindsey. The man's hands were fisted, but he wasn't fighting the restraints. He was smart enough to know he'd just wear himself out. He was also smart enough to understand the psychological reasons behind Angel taking a few liberties and examining his property. Angel supposed the rape comment was meant to put him off his game. After all, lies and manipulation had always been Lindsey's strengths. Maybe that's why he'd been drawn to Darla like a moth to a flame. Darla had been a master at manipulation. While she hadn't truly dominated Angelus, she'd manipulated him into following her every whim.
Angel reached through the bars and ran fingers down Lindsey's bare chest. "I touched you because I can... because you need to understand that things have changed and from your words, it's clear that you think you can talk your way out of this. You can't. I own you Lindsey, and as your owner, I need to make sure you know that. I'm not going to push you farther than I need in order to get that point across, so you are safe, but do not think that safe means that you are free. You are not." Angel laid the flat of his hand against Lindsey's chest and just watched at the lawyer fought his inner demons. Those were always far more terrifying than the ones that threatened you from the outside.
"And your soul... is that still attached because this is feeling a lot more like something Angelus would do."
Angel didn't answer. He just returned to running fingers over Lindsey's chest. Somewhere in the past, Lindsey had learned that to be powerless was to be in danger. Angel had to break that connection or Lindsey would never give up on his quest for power or his willingness to put himself or others at risk.
"Freak," Lindsey whispered. His muscles tensed as Lindsey expected pain, but if Angel had reacted, then he would have been giving Lindsey power—the power to manipulate him and control what happened. It was time for Lindsey to learn that he had no control and no power, not over anything. Angel reached up and cupped the side of Lindsey's face. Almost immediately, Angel could see the cunning look in his eye.
"Bite me and I'll gag you and I will still touch you however I like," Angel pointed out mildly. Immediately, the muscles along the sides of Lindsey's neck relaxed. His boy did not like the thought of losing his last weapon, that's for sure. The cage was small enough that the bars that made the top were only an inch above Lindsey's chest and his arms pressed up against the sides. Angel really did have full access and he stroked a thumb across Lindsey's throat. He had to teach him that powerless did not mean the same as hurting.
"You are safe. More importantly, the rest of LA is safe from your schemes. Did you know that Darla killed an entire bus of passengers because she was having a bad day? She and Drusilla killed a girl in a shop, a young woman who was working her way through school to become a social worker. When you were fifteen, would you have approved of helping someone kill a social worker, Lindsey?"
"I don't think you have any right to judge my morals." Lindsey gave his arm a sharp jerk. The three inch chain that connected his wrists to the side jingled.
"Considering that I own you, I can judge anything I like," Angel pointed out. "However, I'm not currently judging you; I'm asking you for an honest judgment of yourself. If you were fifteen again, and I said that I had arrested a man who turned a killer loose because he wanted power, what sentence would fifteen-year-old Lindsey McDonald have handed out?"
"What sentence are you serving for being the Scourge of Europe?" Lindsey demanded with a smug smile. Angel didn't react. If Lindsey was off balance enough to attack, that meant that Angel's barb had sunk in.
All this was so terrifying. Angel remembered every moment of his life at Darla's side, and he remembered using his understanding of people, honed at her side, to torture them. When he would have killed Holtz, Darla coached him in the finer points of psychological torture, and what he was doing now... he had a different goal, but the methods were so similar that he was petrified. He had planned this out with Spike, talked through every permutation: anger, denial, attack, fear. However, actually taking Lindsey in hand did feel like something Angelus would have enjoyed, and that terrified Angel.
Actually, all of this terrified Angel: Wesley and his adoration, Cordelia's fealty that had eventually led to her magically-induced coma as the Pockla attempted to protect the last of her brain, Fred and her powers and her unfailing faith in his goodness. It all terrified him—terrorized him. Their emotions were so strong, and they centered their lives around him and his quest. No wonder he had tried so hard to be blind to the storm brewing around him—he didn't feel worthy of being the eye of this storm. In Sunnydale, he'd been a minor player off to the side, at least until he lost his soul. But now, a clan was forming around him despite his every effort. It all terrified him so much that part of him wanted to run. He wanted to drive all his humans away before he made some unforgivable mistake.
Angel shifted and now he stroked Lindsey's leg. Lindsey was so surprised that he tried to pull his knee up and cursed as he hit the bars of his cage almost immediately. There was no escape for Lindsey, and Angel was starting to realize there was no escape for him. He could lead this clan or he could watch them all fail, but he couldn't choose to not be a leader. And if he tried, Angel suspected that Spike's patience was about out. Angel had to admit to some respect for the vampire Spike had become, but he was not about to become a pet on a leash for anyone. He had been willing to choose death over kneeling for old bat-faced Master Heinrich, and he would be dust before he'd live on Spike's leash.
Angel sighed. If he had the choice. Spike might not give him a choice if he screwed up again.
"Having fun?" Lindsey asked bitterly.
"Yes," Angel answered. He was enjoying the feel of human heat under his hand, the ripple of muscle and the play of fear and anger drifting through the air. Lindsey clenched his teeth.
"I see you're busy."
For a second, Angel's hand paused, but then he continued his stroking. "Wesley," Angel greeted him. Wesley stood at the door, and Angel simply waited. Wesley had already voiced his opinions about the plan and Angel had stood and listened to every objection. He'd withheld his final decision as Xander and Riley had joined Fred and Wesley to talk about Lindsey's past and what mistakes he'd made. Soshie, Fred's young Odel Tal lover, had watched silently but with wide eyes as they had discussed whether Lindsey's choice to ask for help justified this action. Considering she had fled from slavery, Angel wasn't sure what she thought about Lindsey's enslavement. However, with the exception of Wesley, everyone else had concluded that it was the best choice.
It took Wesley several minutes to step into the room.
"We have word that Groosalugg is in Vegas. Two Oden Tal told him that Cordelia is dying, and he's on a flight coming back here. Actually, it's rather ironic. He was coming here to find Cordelia anyway. It turns out that after he was deposed by his subjects, he had wanted to come to our dimension, but the mage who had been controlling the cross dimensional traffic recently vanished. I rather suspect from the description that the mage who has recently given up free-lance work might be Master Spike's newest court member." Wesley's eyes travelled everywhere as he gave his report—the ceiling, the wall with the movie posters, the bookshelf, Angel's bed. They went everywhere but to the cage pressed up against the side of Angel's bed.
"I bet you're enjoying this. Does this make you feel more powerful?" Lindsey demanded. Immediately, Wesley turned red.
"I assure you that I—"
"Wesley," Angel warned. The last thing he needed was for Lindsey to start seeing internal politics. Lindsey needed one master and a united court around that master. Wesley might not like this course of action, but he would respect it.
Wesley's mouth snapped shut, but his body went stiff.
"Not man enough to answer for yourself?" Lindsey taunted.
Angel reached in and covered Lindsey's mouth. "It's time for us to discuss rules and consequences," Angel said firmly. "You will ask permission before talking to anyone other than me, and you will speak to them respectfully if I grant that permission. And I am going to warn you right now, I will not be in the mood to grant you permission very often. If you break this rule, I will gag you and you will take one hit with my hand on your butt for every word that comes out of your mouth. Understand?" From the way Lindsey narrowed his eyes hatefully, he understood. Angel pulled his hand back slowly, waiting to see what happened. Sooner or later, Lindsey would challenge the rule and see how far Angel took the punishment. If Angel chose, he could easily break bones with a single hit, so Lindsey would need to learn that he could trust Angel's fairness.
"Clearly, I'm not the one whose lack of manliness puts my ability to answer into question," Wesley said with undisguised glee, choosing exactly the wrong moment to channel Xander Harris levels of inappropriate snark.
"Wesley!" Angel snapped.
Wesley blushed, but he also kept talking. "For a man in a cage, he has a lot of opinions about people who have managed to not get put in cages."
Angel was up and had crossed the room before Wesley finished. Putting his hand over Wesley's mouth, he pushed him back into the wall and held him there. Wesley's eyes were wide, and panic was just now starting to set in as his brain finally caught up to his mouth. Angel groaned. If he didn't do something, Lindsey would never trust Angel to protect him, but he didn't want to take Wesley to task. Spike was right about one thing—Wesley's confidence was far more shaken than Angel had ever noticed.
Clearly he had to do something, and clearly he had no idea what he should do. However, hell would freeze over before he would run to Spike for every problem. Angel took his hand away from Wesley's mouth and caught the man by the back of the neck.
"Oh god, Angel, I am sorry," Wesley blurted.
"Lindsey, we will be back. Be good," Angel said before he pushed Wesley out the door and closed it behind them.
"Angel, I don't know what came over me. That was clearly unforgivable," Wesley said. Angel didn't answer. He simply took Wesley by the arm and walked down the short hall to Wesley's room and pushed him inside before pulling the door closed again. Wesley would stay put. Fred's room was between them, and Angel went to it and gave a sharp knock and waited a second before pushing the door open.
Soshie was kneeling between Fred's open legs, her hands spread out on Fred's hips, and neither woman had done anything to try and hide anything for modesty's sake. Angel was caught temporarily speechless.
"You need something?" Fred asked in the same guileless voice she always used. Angel's hardening cock not only knew that it needed something, but he had the uncomfortable feeling that one word and the two women would make room for him in the bed. He had business to attend to. And why had he never noticed how firm and strong Fred was? "Angel?" Fred asked again. Angel cleared his throat and struggled to get his attention focused back on the business at hand.
"Could you ask Dalton to come to Wesley's room?"
"Sure thing," Fred agreed while Soshie moved to the side, her long, black hair hanging like a waterfall over her shoulders. Angel was either going to have to find someone willing to take a bedpartner tonight or he would be asking permission to use the stable, and Angel did not want to explain to Spike why he had avoided Fred's bed. Fred was too much like a sister for Angel to be having these thoughts. It was wrong. And his vampire nature was actually fairly willing to indulge in some wrongness.
"Soshie," Angel said with a nod for the Oden Tal woman before he turned his back and headed to Wesley's room.
Angel opened Wesley's door, stepped inside, and then turned his back to Wesley in order to rest his head against the wood.
"Angel? Are you alright?" Wesley was clearly concerned, and Angel didn't want to worry the man, but Wesley was about to get thrown on the bed and ravaged if Angel couldn't get his lust under control. While the man had never complained about being ravaged, this was not the time. "Angel?" Wesley asked again. A warm hand rested against Angel's shoulder, and Angel held a hand up to warn Wesley off. Wesley backed up, the smell in the room slowly turning bitter as he worried.
"Fred and Soshie have no modesty. Were that Dru and Darla in the next room, I'd accuse them of using their bodies as distractions," Angel finally admitted. He could feel his fangs slowly withdraw as the demon realized he was not going to be released.
Angel rolled his head to the side and looked at Wesley out of one eye. "I'm trying to focus on business."
"Yes, I can quite see where I put you in a difficult situation."
"Can you?" Angel turned around and really studied Wesley. He certainly looked guilty enough. He was staring at the carpeting, and he'd turned an unhealthy shade of gray. "I need to teach Lindsey that he is safe giving up power, and you attack him so that he feels vulnerable."
Wesley looked up, his gaze temporarily defiant—angry even—and then he looked away again. Angel took a step closer and turned all his attention to Wesley. "I need to show Lindsey that he can trust me to protect him, that he does not need to gather all this power around him. That is the only way that this slavery can be anything other than torture. Xander trusts Spike with his life, and after Dalton choose to protect Riley even at the cost of upsetting Spike or keeping her mage, he started to truly find some peace with his slavery."
"I was at the meeting. I heard the same stories you did," Wesley snapped.
"Then why, Wesley?" Angel didn't expect a straight answer, but he did hope for some clue if he could only keep Wesley talking.
"I was out of line. I simply reacted out of frustration."
"With me?" Angel followed as Wesley retreated to the bed.
"No!" Wesley looked at Angel with confusion, so clearly that was a wrong path. "I never supported the idea of bringing Lindsey here. Wolfram and Hart will try to reclaim him. We're borrowing trouble."
"Are they likely to invest more resources to come after us now? Will they take on Spike's court as well as ours?"
Wesley opened his mouth, and then closed it again as a knock came at the door. Angel took a step backwards and opened it.
Dalton stepped in, her gaze scanning the room curiously. When Angel had first seen her as a starving minion in his LA hotel, she hadn't seemed like much. She had more control that most minions, certainly. However, she hadn't seemed Master Vampire quality. Now she did. She carried herself with a confidence that sent minions and lieutenants running. Angel still remembered Spike's threat to not let Angel leave with his court until he fought his way past her, and the more Angel watched her, the more he had started to see that she would be a challenge.
She was predictable in a fight, choosing her strategy out of training instead of instinct, but she had power and precision that one didn't normally find in a vampire so young. Angel wondered if Spike still fed her sire's blood or if she was simply one of those vampires who could claim power early. Spike had actually been like that. By twenty-five, he had broken away from Darla and taken Dru away. Angelus certainly hadn't managed to assert himself by that age, not that he planned on ever admitting it publicly.
"Master Angel," she offered, tilting her head in respect without actually signally any submissiveness.
"You came faster than I expected," Angel admitted, wondering if Fred had gotten dressed or if she'd simply trotted down the hallways in search of Dalton while naked. "Wesley, we need to show Lindsey that there are consequences, so I'm going to ask that you help me decide how to best teach that lesson."
"Me?" Wesley's voice broke. He cleared his throat. "So, you are doing the metaphorical equivalent of asking me to cut my own switch?" he asked, this time his voice a little lower, but still not sounding normal.
"I don't want to do something that hurts you, Wes," Angel said. Ignoring Dalton, Angel moved forward. Wesley tried to retreat, but he was in the corner formed by the wall and his bed, and Angel moved too fast for him to get free of it. Reaching out, Angel caught Wesley by the back of the neck and pulled him close. It was a gesture he often used before biting, and he could smell Wesley's lust. "Would you rather have it over fast, something like a spanking or a tawse to your back?"
"What? No. I mean, I am rather not interested in pain."
Angel nodded. Wesley didn't want pain, and he didn't want it over fast. "It was your inability to control your mouth that caused the trouble. I imagine Dalton could find a gag that would not be painful, simply annoying." Wesley didn't answer. "Of course, if you're gagged, I would want you in my bed to make sure you do not have breathing troubles." The lust smell increased. Angel pulled Wesley closer so the man would not see the look of weariness on Angel's face. This was going to be a problem; Wesley was jealous of the attention he was paying to Lindsey. If Wesley were angry, this problem would be far easier to solve, but now that Angel had identified the issue, he couldn't ignore it.
Wesley cleared his throat, his fingers tentatively finding Angel's waist. "If you think that's best," he almost whispered.
"What I think is that you are too good of a man to attack a slave when he feels vulnerable and lost," Angel said harshly. After all, Wesley did need to be punished for doing that, and the gag and spending the night in Angel's bed were not exactly going to be punishment. Wesley cringed, so Angel thought he had made his point. Angel gently pushed Wesley away and turned around. "Dalton, I need a gag that is not going to cause jaw cramping or block his breathing. Actually, bring two. I don't trust Lindsey to control his mouth, so I'll need the second one soon enough."
Dalton was watching them, a frown on her face as she obviously tried to work something out in her head. "Quickly," Angel added. She could ask Riley to explain later—between his psychology degree and his experiences, he had a lot of insights, but Angel did not want to leave Lindsey alone for long.
"Of course, Master Angel," Dalton agreed with a smile before turning and leaving. She closed the door behind her, and Angel stood in the room, smelling Wesley's uncertainty and lust and wondering just how to handle this particular permutation. If Wesley were a vampire, Angel would throw him down and fuck him until he understood he was valued, but he didn't think that would go over well.
"Lindsey is under my protection, and that means he will stay at my side until I can trust him anywhere else," Angel said firmly. That could not change no matter how jealous Wesley got.
"I fully understand. I am truly sorry that I have made his life more difficult because I did argue that we had no right to put him in such a difficult situation," Wesley nodded, a stoic look on his face. Angel frowned, trying to decide if Wesley was putting on a front for Angel or if he simply hadn't admitted his jealousies to himself.
"It's just that keeping him there does tend to stir my darker needs."
"Your demon? Do you have control?" Wesley looked at Angel, not with concern for himself but with concern for Angel. If he'd said the same thing to Cordelia, she would have cheerfully offered to stake him. He didn't even want to consider what she was going to say to him when she woke up and found out he'd taken a slave. Angel looked at Wesley. Or two.
"I am about as far as I can get from losing my soul," Angel admitted. "However, between my demon stirring and the show Soshie and Fred just put on, I really planned to invite you to share my bed. However, I don't want to make you uncomfortable by putting you in that position when Lindsey is in the room. You do know that he will, sooner or later, question your manhood because you choose to submit."
"My manhood is not in question," Wesley said firmly. "And I trust you to make that clear to him because my judgment seems a little skewed when it comes to Lindsey McDonald. If you need me..." Wesley took a step closer.
"I always need you. You and Cordelia both have a talent for telling the truth, but the way Cordelia says it..." Angel made a face.
"She is rather confrontational," Wesley said. Angel felt a flash of guilt at even thinking that. She suffered for him, and sometimes he felt pulled toward her like none of the other members of his team. But other times, she was entirely too confrontational and he felt uncomfortably like the fledge trying to gain the approval of older clan member, which made no sense because Cordelia wasn't even half his age.
"Rather," Angel agreed. "So, Groosalugg is coming? How long will it take for him to get here?"
"His flight should land in a little over two hours. Given traffic around the airport and the distance up here, Master Spike estimates that he will be at the court in six or seven hours."
Angel nodded. Spike could use his new mage's portal spell to bring him here a lot faster, but he suspected Spike was giving him time to prepare. The fight with the Groosalugg had not gone well last time; Angel had to use his pure demon's form in order to win, and Angel didn't have the ability to do that in this dimension. And Spike had been more than crystal clear that he would not allow the visions to be transferred to Groosalugg until the man was safely in Angel's clan, and for Spike, that meant through combat. In some ways, Spike was so very different from any vampire Angel had ever known, but in others, he was very much a traditionalist, even more than Darla. Sometimes he suspected that Spike and old Heinrich would have gotten along well. At least until the old master figured out that Spike not only retained his ability to love but was absolutely enthralled to a human slave. Angel would never have that relationship with Lindsey. Wesley took another tentative step closer, and Angel reached out and pulled him close.
"Do you know what I would really like?" Angel whispered in his ear. Wesley titled his head to look up at Angel. "You spend so much time in bed worrying about my needs. What I would really like is to tie your hands so that I could explore and taste you and know that you had nothing to do other than feel what I was doing to you." Angel ran a finger over Wesley's neck, and the smell of lust burst into the air.
"I... um... if that's what you would like," Wesley finally stuttered out.
"It is," Angel said. A knock came at the door. "To have you gagged and helpless as I make you come would make me very happy," Angel confessed.
"As long as it doesn't make you too happy," Wesley said in a cautious voice while Angel answered the door. Riley stood there with two gags in his hand. With a soft "Master Angel" and a lowered head, he handed them over and then turned to leave, his back a railroad crossing of old scars.
"Wes," Angel stopped not sure how to explain this to Wes without him taking it wrong. To dominate Wesley or Lindsey was terrifying, and it always would be. He could feel the weight of failure breathing down his neck. He knew that with one wrong move he could do more damage than he could repair, and he knew that by doing nothing and withdrawing, he would do nearly as much damage. Angelus had only ever dominated one person who wasn't dead hours or even minutes later because domination was a game that demanded far too much attention. It was a game that was entirely too easy to lose. Pure happiness was not a danger here.
"I am in the middle of Spike's court with Spike threatening to put me in chains if I can't live up to his expectations. I have a man in a cage in my bedroom, and I have to somehow take him from spitting with fury to the sort of acceptance Riley has," Angel gestured to where Riley had just left. "And I have a new warrior coming in who I am supposed to make part of the clan so that Spike will allow a magical transfer of Cordelia's powers before they kill her. And then, if we're all very lucky, Cordelia will wake up and I will have to face her and all her opinions about what has happened since the Pockla put her in that coma."
Wesley grimaced. "Put like that, I can see where perfect happiness is not truly a danger."
"Truly, it is not," Angel confessed. "And we need to get back to Lindsey who has to feel very alone and very afraid with no access to any of that power he has counted on to protect him." Angel held up one of the gags. It had a flat mouthpiece and smooth, curved plastic sides that attached to a leather headpiece with a lock. A small key stuck out from the side.
"Yes, of course," Wesley said, his voice all business, but as Angel reached up to gag Wesley, the man's lust nearly overwhelmed Angel's sense of smell. At least this was one small piece Angel had managed to get right, he thought as he locked the restraint in place. With a pat on Wesley's arm, Angel went over and grabbed the man's robe off his bed.
"For the morning," Angel explained. Wesley nodded and then, when Angel put out an arm for him, stepped close to Angel's side as they headed back out of the small room Wesley had been given and toward Angel's.
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