Pairings: Angel/Wesley, Spike/Xander, Dalton(ofc)/Riley, Fred/Soshie(ofc)<
Rating: ADULT

Summary: Spike and Xander are an old married couple.  Riley has come to terms with the fact that Dalton owns and loves him.  Wesley is squirming to yield to Angel.  However, in the middle of all this happy slavery, we still have one man who struggles against any form of control.  This is the last of the three stories that focus on Lindsey.  However, Lindsey is only one of Angel's new slaves.  Angel must be careful to balance the needs of both his slaves: Lindsey and Wesley.  That's made particularly difficult because they have such different needs

 [info]swanpride, you're evil. It took me three chapters to finally get your prompt in here!  Although, I suppose it's a good sort of evil because I honestly wouldn't have gone in this direction at all without your prompt to lead me here

Warnings:  Sexual slavery; 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.



God Have Mercy

Lindsey followed Angel back into his room, not that he had a lot of choice. Wesley was even managing to look nervous now, his arms crossed over his stomach as the mage followed them.

The mage smiled happily enough. Lindsey truly hated the man; he reminded Lindsey entirely too much of Holland Manners. He even faintly sounded like him. "No need for worry," he offered cheerfully. "The spell stings some, but that's the nature of green magic. You feel the price as you go, none of that putting off until tomorrow the price you don't feel like paying now."

"Yes, well, that's rather not as comforting as one might expect," Wesley said. Lindsey actually found himself grateful that Wesley was along because he could say what Lindsey couldn't since he was still gagged. "We might wish to wait until Cordelia is conscious."

"Why?" Angel looked at Wesley, and for a second, Wesley just looked back at him. Lindsey tried to telepathically send any number of excuses: Cordelia might want a vote in this decision, Cordelia might need Angel, Cordelia might be fucking pissed that her boss had first stolen her visions and then enslaved two men.

Instead of using any of those excuses, Wesley simply sighed. "I have no idea, other than my own nervousness." Loser. "Are we sure this is the right choice for you? If you must keep control over Lindsey, that does not mean you have to commit yourself to this." Wesley looked over at Lindsey, and Lindsey felt a flash of gratitude. Yes. Exactly. Angel should not be committing himself, Lindsey couldn't have put it better himself. Appealing to a person's self-interest was always a solid strategy.

"Would you mind an old man butting in here, Master Angel?" the mage asked.

"No, of course not, Mr. McMillian," Wesley answered for him. The mage still looked to Angel who gave a small nod. Lindsey sighed through his nose. Wesley was going to suck as a slave. If the man was smart he'd invest a little more energy into getting them both out of this mess.

"I'm just Harry, now. At one point I was Mage McMillian, a man to be feared in more than one dimension, but all beings must act according to their nature. I know that more than most." He walked over and leaned against the edge of a low table where Angel had set a thick book. "As a young man, I carved out a territory. As a middle-aged one, I defended it, sometimes quite violently. Eventually I was... convinced... to take in an apprentice and that was when I realized I had to accept my own nature. I was becoming the elder lion about to be killed by his own successor. I couldn't even blame Elena, my apprentice. It was in her nature to begin to chafe under my strict rule.

"However, when Master Spike came, it was quite easy for me to see my escape from my own path. The elderly lion must be killed by the incoming ruler. If I had tried to simply retire and allow Elena to take over, I would have sat home and fretted about the mistakes she was making, even if they were no worse than the ones I made at her age. And she would have always worried about me trying to kill her to take back what had once been mine." Harry sighed. "As I said, it is in our natures, and a green mage does not live as long as I have without recognizing that he is a slave to his own nature. However, if the old lion is captured and caged and taken far from the hunting grounds, then his nature has been circumvented."

"You asked to be enslaved," Angel summarized.

"I did. It amused Master Spike no end, and Elena managed to show some last signs of affection and regret as she carved the enslavement rune." Harry unbuttoned the top of his shirt and showed a stylized bird over an egg that was carved in the center of his chest where the white wisps of chest hair were thinning. The lines were crisp like a tattoo but raised slightly, like a scar, and Lindsey was having very unpleasant thoughts about how that image had been made.

"Yes, well, this is all very enlightening," Wesley interrupted.

Harry smiled. "Not yet, it has not been. The young... so impatient." He sighed. When Wesley's expression turned into a combination of embarrassment and frustration, Lindsey felt a little sympathy for him.

"Angel has his own nature. I imagine it has been hard for you to pretend you do not, but as I said, a green mage is adept at seeing the true path of all creatures." Harry looked at Angel.

Wesley frowned as he looked over as well. "Angel?"

"Perhaps you have hidden your nature from yourself, but a vampire owns things. He is a magpie, collecting all that he can into his nest or trying to join the largest nest he can so that he can enjoy the things of others. I was willing to enslave myself to Master Spike because he accepts his nature. He is a collector of people the way other vampires become collectors of money or kills or power or even jewelry. Each magpie lines his nest with trinkets of his own preference."

"You're saying I want to own people." Angel's back was stiff and his expression totally shut down, but Lindsey could keep himself from snorting in disgust. Of course Angel wanted to own people, and as the man trussed up, gagged and about to be enslaved with a rune, Lindsey knew that as well as anyone. Angel was a self-deceiving fool if he had any other impression of himself.

"I'm saying you are ripping yourself apart by denying your nature. You try to not own them, but you pull on them because it is your nature to do so and then push them away because it is your foolish choice to deny your nature. If you don't want to enslave these two, I would suggest you take up stamp collecting." Harry's expression was not entirely nice, but Lindsey could at least appreciate the vote for stamp collecting. Fuck, he'd buy Angel the most expensive stamp he could find if the stupid vampire would just call off this slavery spell. If Lindsey hadn't been gagged, he would have said exactly that.

"Good lord," Wesley breathed the words. "When you kicked us all out, I thought we had done something wrong."

Angel sighed and rubbed a hand over his face, Lindsey's leash links clicking against each other as the leash dangled from his wrist. "I wanted to put you all somewhere safe." Angel sounded like he hated himself for admitting that. "Safe meant away from me." If Lindsey could only escape or maybe even postpone the enslavement until they returned to LA, he had enough ammunition to take Angel and his entire crew down.

"You wanted to push us away because you felt the need to pull us close. Of all the bloody stupid...." Wesley just stopped midsentence, but if Lindsey was getting that particular glare from Angel, he would have stopped too. "And then you called us all back and bribed Cordelia into forgiving you by purchasing her obscene amounts of clothing," Wesley said. He was still frowning.

Harry chuckled. "Nature is not easily put aside, not even for our strongest desires. I would rather have found a way other than slavery in a vampire court, but I knew I could not divert nature, only give her a new outlet. The old lion is definitely defeated, and nature is satisfied." Harry fingered the rune on his chest. "You asked if this was the right choice for Angel. He must find a way to embrace his nature or it will destroy him."

"I am not ruled by my vampire," Angel said, his words clipped.

Wesley and Lindsey both rolled their eyes at that proclamation. "We do the spell now," Wesley said firmly. "What do we need to do?"

"Wesley, you shouldn't do this just for—" Angel was cut off when Wesley put a hand in his face.

"I am doing this because I am committing myself to a cause that I believe in. That is my nature, and I am quite done coddling your squeamishness." For a second, Wesley looked shocked at the words that had come from his own mouth. But then he squared his shoulders and kept right on going. "You need to own people in order to feel secure, and you will."

Lindsey wasn't entirely sure that a slave was supposed to be quite so firm about demanding slavery—that seemed contradictory somehow, but Harry appeared amused. Lindsey... not so much. Fuck it. Angel had given Wesley the perfect opportunity to escape, and Wesley had slammed the fucking door shut on both himself and Lindsey.

"So, I shall ask again. What do we need to do in order to ensure the spell is most effective?" Wesley turned to Harry.

Harry stood up straight, and Lindsey did not like the gleam in the mage's eye. "The slave should be bound in some way. The tighter the restrictions, the more effective the spell. Master Spike had me hanging from his dungeon wall for two days before Elena did her work, but it does seem like Master Angel has already exerted his ownership, so we should not need the additional time."

Wesley nodded and went over to the trunk Dalton had delivered to Angel's room that morning. Reaching in, he came out with a number of leather straps and metal cuffs and locks. "We certainly do have the equipment for binding. I think it best that I go first, Angel. Perhaps it will calm Lindsey if he sees that we don't plan to make him the sacrificial lamb."

"Wesley..." Angel cut himself off, stopping as he watched Wesley untangle straps and leads.

"The slave should be naked. A slave brings nothing to his master but himself because he owns nothing," Harry said. Lindsey could see Angel blush, but Wesley's hands simply paused for a moment before he nodded and continued sorting. "Master Angel," Harry turned to look at them, and Lindsey could feel panic rise as his time for schemes started running out, "you should secure your second slave. You need to focus on Wesley for now."

"Oh, of course."

Lindsey grunted, which was the best he could do to express his unhappiness with this whole situation, but Angel simply walked to the headboard and tied Lindsey's leash to the edge. Great. Now he got a front row seat for more naked Wesley. Lindsey wasn't quite sure why the idiot thought that would be reassuring. Maybe he'd be lucky and the mage would fuck something up. Lindsey leaned his shoulder against the wall and watched as Wesley dropped the last of his clothing to the floor. Now the man was blushing like a virginal bride. That was funny considering how he'd moaned in Angel's bed last night.

"I can do that." Angel took the straps from Wesley's hands, which was good because they were getting hopelessly tangled. After a few twists, Angel had turned the mess back into an arm binder and he carefully pulled it up over Wesley's arms, fastening the straps and buckles before pulling the chest strap across the front.

"I'm not that fragile," Wesley said peevishly. Angel sighed so loud that Harry had to turn toward Lindsey to hide a smile, but Angel did go back and tighten everything. Perhaps Wesley would learn to keep his mouth shut because from the looks of it, Angel had him trussed up so tightly that he couldn't move his upper body at all. Angel added a second strap across Wesley's belly, and now he was truly helpless.

"You'll need to keep him still for some time as I work. I would suggest that you get comfortable." Harry gestured toward the bed.

"How long will this take?" Wesley managed to sound almost bored with the spell, but his hard cock pointed the way to the bed. Lindsey would have found all this amusing as hell if he wasn't act two in this little drama.

"Magic always takes its own time. I'm here to help deliver the baby, not rip it out of its mother's womb," Harry said with a shrug and another of those disturbing smiles.

"That is an image I could have lived without," Wesley complained quietly, but he moved where Angel pulled him, and Angel was pulling him onto the bed. Spreading his own legs, he arranged Wesley so the man was laying back onto him and shifted until he could wrap his legs around Wesley's legs. Lindsey suspected that Wesley was more tightly bound than he was right now.

"Is this acceptable?" Wesley asked.

"If Master Angel would like some control over your words, now would be the time for a gag," Henry offered mildly. Surprisingly, Angel managed to speak up before Wesley could. Sometimes Lindsey suspected that Angel really was not the brightest or quickest vamp in the nest.

"No, his mouth is one thing I need to not control," Angel said firmly. "Start the spell."

"Yes, Master," Harry agreed. He brought out a knife, and Wesley couldn't quite hide the hiss of breath. That was a damn big knife.

"Wesley, if he hurts you, I will pull out all his entrails and apologize to Spike later for killing his mage. You're safe," Angel ran his hands over Wesley's bare arms, and Wesley only nodded. Given the threat, Lindsey expected Harry to run for the hills, or at least to show a little concern about his own skin, but the mage just smiled as he sat on the edge of the bed and started chanting. The air felt heavy, like a huge rain was about to come crashing down on them, and Lindsey shifted nervously from one foot to the other.

The chanting continued, and Lindsey picked up a few odd words of demonic Latin—none of which he liked. This was definitely a slavery spell. Finally, Harry put the knife point to Lindsey's chest, right over the heart. The smell of rain and salt and ocean air seemed to sweep through the air as Harry chanted and flicked the knife point. Drops of blood traveled in short arcs before smearing across Wesley's chest and Angel's arm and the white sheets. A few warm drops even landed on Lindsey's stomach, just above the sweats he was wearing. Lindsey pulled back as far as he could with his leash tied so tightly; however, the other three just ignored him.

Wesley was starting to squirm now, his breath coming in little gasps that come in time with each flick of the mage's wrist. He was chanting louder, and Angel's eyes were a deep yellow.

"Oh lord," Wesley breathed. He tried to buck up, and Harry pulled the knife back without pausing the chant which had become something alive and crawling through the room. Lindsey could feel it slide over his skin and Angel's vampire face appeared as he tightened his hold on Wesley until the man was again squirming helplessly.

Harry leaned close and drew a long line along Wesley's chest, and the cry that came out of Wesley did not sound pained. The little freak was enjoying this. Lindsey rolled his eyes and focused on the far wall as Harry continued his chant, and Wesley's cries started sounding more and more like the one's he'd made last night. While this was certainly providing him with a whole lot of ammunition for any future interactions with Wesley, it wasn't something he really needed to watch. Voyeurism was more Lilah's thing.

"Angel, I need... oh good lord." Wesley gasped the words out, his voice rough with lust.

"Should I..." As usual, Angel was sounding ineffectual and worthless. Lindsey kept focused on the far wall.

"Green magic is a river. It carves a new path with every spell. You should follow your instincts." Harry stepped into Lindsey's view, so he had clearly left the bed. The knife in his hand gleamed dully with the fresh blood, and that feeling of power was still sliding through the room like a giant snake. The bed springs started creaking with a rather unmistakable power. Lindsey rolled his eyes at that. Any slavery spell that used blood and sex was going to create a bond that wouldn't be broken easily, not without someone being dead. And Lindsey suspected that Angel's death would only kill Wesley now that the idiot had gone and bound himself so tightly.

Knowing this was his last chance, Lindsey stared at the mage. No, he didn't expect sympathy from someone as coldly self-interested as Harry, but maybe the mage would see that Lindsey was a good ally. Yes, he was in a bad spot now, but he wasn't one to give up. Leashed to a vampire's bed, he was still searching for ways to fight back, and that sort of inner strength counted for a lot in this world—a whole lot. If Lindsey wasn't so strong, he would have ended up living and dying in some damn backwater town where his only power was hitting on whatever woman was stupid enough to marry him. That had been his father's world. But Lindsey was stronger than that. Better. If Harry could just see that, maybe he would leave an escape clause in the spell he was about to do. Lindsey could be a good friend.

Eventually, Harry's gaze did fall on him, and Lindsey met it evenly, praying to whatever twisted gods would listen that the man would understand what Lindsey couldn't say. Harry's eyebrows went up, like he was surprised, and Lindsey straightened up a little more. Slowly, Harry smiled. Shaking his head like he'd just seen a child do something particularly amusing, he turned his back and studied the poster Lindsey had been looking at.

Lindsey's hopes crashed. Fuck. Angel had the cards now, but Lindsey would find an escape. He would. Wesley's cry marked his orgasm, and Harry turned to face the bed with a smile.

"Such power in this room. Master Angel, I can promise you that your slavery spell will never break, not without Wesley dying."

"Is Wesley safe?"

Harry chuckled. "Far safer and healthier than he was an hour ago, I assure you. Do you wish to finish the second spell or wait until you've had time to... recover." Harry made it sound so damn innocent, but Lindsey stiffened at the implication that Angel needed time so he would be able to rape Lindsey.

The bed creaked, but Lindsey refused to look at it. "Does the spell always create such..." Angel stopped.

"Overwhelming sexual desires," Wesley filled in for him. He sounded exhausted.

Harry smiled. "Certainly not, Master Angel. Yes, the anglerfish spell is based on male and female; however, fish reproduction bears little resemblance to human sexuality, so the sort of mutual need you experienced is part of the energy you yourselves brought to the spell. The spell only makes the seed and success of the slave dependent upon the master." Harry made it all sound so perfectly logical, but from where Lindsey was standing, he was dangerously out of control when it came to his own magic. Performing magic without knowing every potential side effect and cost was a fool's bargain. It was like signing a contract without reading the fine print, and Lindsey was well aware of just how much could be hidden in a contract. A few well chosen words in 8 point font and a charming smile to distract the signer, and you could rob a man blind.

"Then I doubt I need recovery time, not unless Lindsey plans to bring sexual attraction to the spell." Angel's words made Lindsey turn and glare. Angel returned his look evenly, and Lindsey hated that the gag prevented him from making anatomically impossible suggestions.

"Very good. We can finish now." Harry pulled a cloth out of his pocket and wiped the blood from the edge of the knife before stepping forward. "Master Angel," Harry said suddenly, "the spell is still settling. I would recommend that you give it time to rest."

Lindsey looked over and Angel had his hands on the buckles on Wesley's restraints. He paused.

"I assure you, I am quite comfortable. Lethargic, even," Wesley offered. Lindsey cringed at the sight of white flecks around the man's asshole, but before he could notice anything more, Angel had pulled a sheet up over his ass.

"This won't take long," Angel promised, petting teacher's pet Pryce on the shoulder before he got out of bed and reached for Lindsey's leash.

Lindsey sighed. Well, this was it. This spell was about to complicate a whole lot of his plans, and Lindsey didn't have the time or resources to distract Angel.

"Could you bring me that black strap?" Angel asked, pointing at the table as he untied Lindsey's leash. He pulled Lindsey over to the bed and down into Angel's lap with Lindsey's back to Angel's chest. Lindsey had never realized just how strong Angel was, but the hands that held his arms had absolutely no give in them. When Lindsey had worked for Russell Winters, the vamp had gone out of his way to impress the staff with his inhuman strength, but Lindsey had gotten used to thinking of Angel as ineffectual. The hands that held him tight against Angel's bare chest were anything but. They both had on pants, but Lindsey was suddenly uncomfortable with how much skin was touching skin.

"Calm down, Lindsey. I'm not going to rape you." Angel sounded cranky now.

"Is this the strap you wanted?" Harry held up a very short belt-like strap.

"Fasten his legs, please. Just below the knees."

Lindsey had one moment of rebellion where he considered kicking, but Angel's fingers dug into his arms, and he lay quietly while Henry wrapped the belt around Lindsey's legs and pulled it a good deal tighter than it needed to be.

"Shall I start?" Harry sat on the edge of the bed and held up the knife. Lindsey could feel a movement behind him, and then the mage started to chant. Before the sense of magic had slid around Lindsey, but now the coils of it settled on him, sinking into his skin. He tried to squirm, but Angel held his upper body firmly, and Harry was leaning into his legs. The knife made its first cut—a small flick that created something that looked like a tiny c. The next flick created a tiny straight line like a papercut and then he added another.

Lindsey's body was starting to get hot, and he jerked in Angel's arms. He just couldn't accept this without a fight. However, Angel easily held him and Harry continued his work. The knife darted in over and over until a mass of small lines had gathered over Lindsey's heart. A wide arch cut just over his nipple made Lindsey scream behind his gag. The heat seemed to sink through him and settle in his heart. The chanting grew louder, and Lindsey arched his back as his heart seemed to start pumping the warmth to the rest of his body.

He was fever-hot now, squirming helplessly as Angel tightened his hold. Even though no one was on top, Lindsey felt like the air was being pressed from his body, and his ribs ached dangerously. Gasping through his nose, Lindsey tried to ignore the way the heat and the lack of air mimicked other feelings... more pleasant feelings. Unfortunately, the sweats Angel had dressed him in did nothing to hide the erection he could feel starting to grow.

Straining at the leg bindings, Lindsey panted and groaned.

"Angel," Wesley said softly.

"I know. Hush," Angel said softly. Lindsey felt some satisfaction that pet Pryce had been told to back off. The mage cut a long line, and now Lindsey could see the bottom edge of the stylized fish the man was carving into Lindsey's unwilling flesh. The line that carved the top line made Lindsey scream again. Oh god. His cock hurt. He felt as though Harry was carving his cock, and only coming could heal it. No. This wasn't fair. If Wesley wanted to spread his legs for some man, that was fine, but Lindsey was stronger than that. He was. He was strong and powerful. He didn't have to find some man's shadow to live in. He wasn't his mother... all tears and soft words and placating hands. That wasn't him.

"Lindsey, he's almost done," Angel stroked a hand across Lindsey's forehead, and Lindsey jerked away from the tender touch. Instead of allowing him even that small show of power, Angel grabbed his chin and held him firmly, pulling Lindsey's head back until it rested on Angel's shoulder. The chanting continued, and every syllable was a caress against his already painfully engorged cock. Lindsey hated himself when a tear slipped free, but he couldn't help it. The weight of the spell, the need to come, the heat... they were all gathering in his belly until thought wasn't even possible.

The chanting fell silent, and for a millisecond, Lindsey felt relief that the words would no long stroke down his hot body, but then the emptiness rose up. Arching his back, Lindsey struggled. He needed. Fuck, he knew what he needed, but he wouldn't ask for that. Lindsey McDonald wasn't anyone's bottom boy.

"Is the spell over?" Angel sounded worried. Stupid fucker. He had no business owning a slave when he didn't know how to use people. Lindsey would have known how to take control without sounding like some sort of pushover.

"My part is, Master Angel. I fear the spell is trying to break through some pretty rocky ground." The bed tilted as the mage stood up.

"Something isn't right." Angel's hands worked at the buckle to the gag, and the moment the plastic was out of his mouth, Lindsey gasped for needed air. The oxygen drove back the light-headed feeling, but that just seemed to give the fire in his body more fuel. Lindsey screamed as the need to come overrode every thought in his body.

"Lindsey, how can I help you?" Angel asked. Lindsey could only manage a weak laugh. A master asking for a slave's opinion. Stupid fucking fuck. He didn't know what he was doing.

"Maybe you should..." Wesley's voice trailed off, but Lindsey was hurting too much to make fun of the man, even if he now had his voice back.

"Lindsey!" Angel pulled Lindsey's head around so that Lindsey was forced to look into his yellow eyes. "Do you want me to take ye? The sex may ease this."

"I’m not some weakling who spreads his legs for the offer of protection," Lindsey snarled even though his cock twitched at the thought of sex, of completion, of relief.

"You were never weak, Lindsey. You are immoral and annoying, but never weak," Angel said firmly. "If you were weak, I would never allow you in my clan. We have enough problems without bringing someone weak into the middle. If you were weak, Spike would have broken your neck the first time he saw you. Lindsey."

Lindsey's face was cool and wet, and part of him wanted to agree. The pain was making his legs go numb.

"Untie his legs," Angel told Harry. The hands against his flesh brought new fire and Lindsey screamed. "That's enough. Lindsey, I need you strong."

Lindsey felt himself flipped onto his stomach, and he screamed as his cock touched the sheets. One of his arms was pressed up against something warm, and he squirmed toward that contact, but someone strong pulled him away. Cool air brushed over his ass, and Lindsey spread his legs, undulating his body to press his cock into the mattress. The first intrusion into his body made him tense for a half second, but the emptiness faded and Lindsey just pressed his forehead to the sheets as Angel quickly pressed into him with fingers and oil.

Fingers caught his hips, pulling him off the bed, and Lindsey got his knees under him, well aware of how submissive he must look with his ass in the air, but he couldn't bring himself to care. He needed this. Angel pressed in, and the heat that had been burning his cock shifted. Muscles stretched and warmed and yielded as Angel slowly pressed inside.

The pain was growing, but so was the pleasure as Angel started rocking in and out. Arching his back, Lindsey pressed his ass farther into the air and then hissed as the pleasure grew. Sinking into his body's feelings, Lindsey tried to forget what exactly was making him feel so damn good. Hands ran over his back and now Angel was moving faster, their bodies slapping together.

Angel yanked him up by his arms, and Lindsey dropped his head to one side. Fangs sank into him, and Lindsey shouted, his orgasm exploding. For a second, the world was white—reality erased by a pleasure so great he could only lay limply in the arms that held him. A familiar sense of calm settled into his skin as he was gently lowered back down to the bed. His stomach was cool and clammy, pressed against the wet spot, but Lindsey was too boneless to care.

A sheet drifted over his body, and the bed shifted. Lindsey floated on a contentment that he couldn't quite identify. For long minutes or perhaps even hours, the only thing he felt was soft fingers over his shoulder and the weight of the spell. Eventually, reality started gathering at the edges of his vision like a distant field appearing through the mist.

"That was quite intense." Wesley whispered the words, like speaking too loud might break the fragile reality around them.

"Are you okay?"

"I'm feeling quite well. Rather more than well, actually."

"Lindsey?" Angel asked.

Lindsey grunted, and that's when he realized that he was laying with one cheek on Angel's naked thigh.

"Is he alright?" Wesley's words were a soft gust of warm air across Lindsey's skin. Opening his eyes a crack, he realized that Wesley was laying with his cheek on Angel's other thigh. Between them, Angel's cock lay nestled in curled hair. Lindsey had never been this close to another naked man, and he'd never had this particular view of a cock.

"I don't know. Physically he's fine, but if you two keep laying on those bound shoulders, you're going to feel it tomorrow. Are you ready to be untied?"

"Soon," Wesley said. "Good morning, Lindsey," he said politely. Lindsey wasn't quite sure what the etiquette was, but he certainly had a few things he wanted to say. He opened his mouth, and found that he couldn't find the right words.

"Lindsey?" Angel asked, fingers stroking through Lindsey's hair. "Are you okay?"

"I..." Again, Lindsey had a moment where language slipped away from him.

"Tell me what you're thinking," Angel said, his voice and fingers were still soft, but Lindsey didn't doubt that it was an order. "I planned to make fun of Wesley for being so comfortable with your cock, but I can't seem to find the right words," Lindsey said. If he couldn't make fun of them, he could at least point out that he still wanted to make fun of them. "And I don't like that this spell is editing me."

Wesley smiled. Prick. "It does seem that the gag made a difference, although you do still seem perfectly capable of sharing your contempt, even if it is in a rather less offensive form," Wesley said.

"I never wanted you two helpless," Angel said, his fingers still stroking Lindsey's hair. Blinking his eyes open, Lindsey could see that he was stroking Wesley's shoulder as well. "Lindsey, once you've settled in, I think we have a legal problem. Can I trust you to act in the clan's best interest?"

Lindsey tried to raise his head, but Angel's palm stroked over his cheek, holding him down. "I guess the clan's best interest is my best interest," Lindsey said wearily, but that odd sense of contentment returned, wrapping around him like a cat that insisted on curling in his lap whenever he wasn't shooing the beast away. "I've always been remarkably good at taking care of my own interests."

"Yes, you have. You would have died a long time ago, otherwise. I made a mistake by not purchasing the hotel, and now Wolfram and Hart is looking to purchase the company that holds the lease. I am loath to lose my lair, so I need you to legally outmaneuver them."

"Legal means only? How much creativity am I allowed?" Lindsey didn't want to, but he couldn't help focusing on the legal puzzle. If Wolfram and Hart had shown their hand, that meant the purchase of the holding company was done, and Lindsey would have to find a creative exit. Taxes maybe. Wolfram and Hart would have been careful to pay any tax liens, but Lindsey might be able to find some paperwork that hadn't been properly applied to the hotel. The historical society might even take the hotel as a landmark, although that would pose other problems.

"Try to not get people killed." Angel patted his shoulder. "Actually, consider this an order. You do not take actions that could result in the loss of lives. If that has to happen, I'll decide what we do." Angel reached over and unbuckled the back of Wesley's arm binder. "Go stretch out in a hot shower. I don't want those muscles disabled tomorrow," he told Wesley. As soon as he had the back buckles loose, Wesley sat up so that Angel could reach the chest and stomach straps. Lindsey sighed. He'd been tied for three days now, and his arms had passed the point of numbness, but Angel had shown very little interest in that.

"Wesley." Angel stopped, one hand resting on Wesley's naked hip.

Wesley smiled. "I believe we shall need a larger bedroom and a much larger bathroom if we are to share on a regular basis. Right now, I think I will go use my bathroom." Wesley ran a hand over Angel's arm, and then he turned to leave.

He was almost to the door before Angel started working the buckles on Lindsey's arm binder. Lindsey lay still. "Sit up," Angel said. Squirming around, Lindsey sat up, surprised that Angel would take the leather restraints off before putting on the metal shackles he used to bathe Lindsey.

Angel undid the stomach and chest straps, and for the first time in days, Lindsey had the use of all of his limbs. Of course, the spell was still there, but that invisible leash didn't chafe as much as leather bands around his sweating skin. Lindsey was decorated in red. The carving over his heart was smeared with blood and the leather straps had left vivid red marks where they had chafed him.

"Do you want to bathe yourself or do you want me to come wash you?" Angel reached up and stroked Lindsey's hair, but it sounded like he was giving Lindsey an actual choice.

"Without restraints?" Lindsey cursed himself for saying something that might make Angel change his mind, but surprise had forced the words out of him.

"Do you want restraints? You're in the middle of Master Spike's lair with dozens of demons and the demon who owns you between you and the exit, but if you need more restraints, I certainly have them." Angel looked over toward the table.

"No. No, I do not need to be chained like a dog," Lindsey said, scrambling to get off the bed as fast as he could, and hopefully that would be faster than Angel could change his mind. Unfortunately, it wasn't. Angel's hand darted out and caught Lindsey by the wrist. Lindsey hissed as the irritated skin stung.

"I asked if you were going to wash yourself or if you wanted me to wash you. Lindsey, when I asked if you wanted sex, you didn't answer. If you don't answer this question, I will choose an answer for you, again."

Lindsey stared into Angel's brown eyes, and he could feel something dark rise up in his chest. "I'll wash myself," he said as respectfully as he could.

Angel nodded, but he didn't release Lindsey's wrist. "Some days I will want to wash you just because I will want to run my hands over you and enjoy the fact that you are so strong that Wolfram and Hart couldn't hold you, but I can. But today, you can wash yourself." Angel let go, and Lindsey stumbled off the bed as he was released. Angel continued to sit in the middle of the bed, naked and watching Lindsey. Slowly, Lindsey backed up toward the bathroom. After several steps, he turned and hurried there, closing the door behind him.

Lindsey didn't dare breathe again until he was under the hot water, feeling all his aching muscles relax. The water ran pink with blood, and Lindsey reached up to trace his sensitive skin, not sure how he should feel about this permanent mark of ownership left on his unwilling body. He knew how he wanted to feel; he wanted to feel resentful and angry. But that odd contentment came and settled into his heart again.

A memory floated up. After he'd gone back to Wolfram and Hart, Holland Manners had thrown him a party, half welcome back and half congratulations for Lindsey's promotion. Lindsey remembered signing the new employment contract. He remembered his feeling of contentment as he'd shaken everyone's hand—a real part of the upper management now. Tracing the stylized shape of the fish, Lindsey suddenly realized that he knew what slavery felt like, and god have mercy on his soul, it felt good.

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