Author's Note:Part of my "Being" verse. 
Verse/Setting:Post-Angel the TV series. (about 3 and ½ years after Blackthorn)
Rating:R
Disclaimer:I don't own anything from Angel and am not making money from this fic.
Warning(s):AU; discipline of adult.


BEING SHIFTY


"I know what I was feelin', but what was I thinkin'?"What Was I Thinkin' by Dierks Bentley


The accident had shocked them all in its brutality. What had shocked them the most, however, was the fact that it was a regular- run-of-the-mill- accident and not something to do with the supernatural.  Lindsey had been driving home from singing at the lounge and a drunken driver had run a red light, plowing into the passenger side of his truck at 90 miles per hour.  Luckily he had not had a passenger in the car with him. As it was, all considered it a miracle that Lindsey had not been killed immediately. It was an even bigger miracle that he'd been able to walk away from the mangled truck and to the waiting ambulance with only a slight limp.
  
The miracles had ended there of course. A plethora of scans later and an enforced stay in the hospital for three nights so that the doctors could observe him and Lindsey had finally been sent home with explicit instructions to take it easy. Multiple cracked ribs, a slight concussion, and a slight tear in his liver had the doctors worried. They weren't certain that he didn't have tearing elsewhere in his body, but that it hadn't shown up yet- so they insisted that someone keep an eye on him for at least a few days. 

Angel was taking the doctor's concerns very seriously; a source of frustration for Lindsey.  Yes, he would admit to being a bit sore- well, very sore- but there was no reason that he could see, why he shouldn't have been allowed to work out a bit in the gym. It wasn't like he was fighting anyone else. Hitting the punching bag shouldn't strain him too hard.
 
Unfortunately, Angel didn't agree with him…and rather than just quit gracefully and go find something else to do, Lindsey had made the mistake of arguing with his father. And in the process of arguing, he had made the mistake of trying to use the fact that he had only gotten a few hours of sleep the last couple of nights- and was doing just fine, thank you very much- as proof that he could handle the punching bag.  Angel had not been impressed.
 
Lindsey couldn't say that he was terribly surprised when the vampire put him on a month long medical grounding. Once he'd calmed down and actually thought about what he had been doing and how worried his family had been for him, he could honestly say he deserved some sort of response from Angel. Didn't mean he had to like it though- and he had felt a month was a bit of overkill, though he'd decided against saying anything to Angel about the time length. 

Maybe he should have said something, though. He was into his third week of grounding, all his superficial wounds had healed completely and the more serious wounds were healed enough that just this morning, the doctor had given him the go ahead to resume normal activity. But he was still grounded for another week and a half.

….Which led him to his current situation.

"I have to check in for my next flight very early- around 4am… but if you want to spend a few hours with me before then…." the stewardess trailed her fingers up Lindsey's arm and gave him a coy smile that caused his stomach to flip-flop.

"I'd like that…" Lindsey managed to find enough air to respond to her invitation, giving her a melting smile.
 
She leaned over and gave him a quick kiss on the lips, whispering into his ear "I'll pick you up out front then….Don't keep me waiting." She smiled again then disappeared into the crowd.

Once she was out of earshot, Lindsey huffed in frustration. He was supposed to be home and in bed by 9:00 per his grounding and that was only thirty minutes away.  He ran a hand through his hair irritably. He should have just admitted he wouldn't be able to meet up tonight and asked if they could get together when she was in town next. Since she'd indicated she wouldn't be returning to L.A. for at least a month that would have given him time to get through with his grounding.
 
But she'd been a lot of fun to hang out with. And she'd been so sympathetic when she'd heard about his accident and genuinely happy that the doctor had given him permission to resume favorite activities- and she'd responded just like he'd hoped by issuing her invitation to spend the evening with her.

Now- he had to choose between standing her up and her never giving him the time of day again, or breaking his curfew.
  
# # #

Spike had been watching Lindsey from a few feet away. His little brother seemed very smitten with the young woman; the fact that he didn't even notice his older brother staring at him only gave proof to the fact.  Lindsey's obliviousness to Spike's presence allowed the blond vampire to notice the way his brother was acting with the girl- and how he acted after she'd taken off. Hmm… seemed like little brother was up to something he shouldn't be, if the slightly guilty and frustrated look on the brat's face was anything to go by.

Sidling up to the younger man, Spike couldn't help but chuckle softly when Lindsey jumped at his sudden presence and gave him a nervous look.

"What are you up to Lin? And don't say nothing or I won't even consider not telling Da when you inevitably aren't home in bed when you're supposed to be." Spike murmured so only Lindsey could hear him.

Lindsey let out a put-upon sigh, giving the blond a disgruntled pout. "We had a lot of fun together and she was happy for me that the doctor said I didn't have to 'be careful' anymore- and well- I just couldn't turn her down.…she won't be in town again for over a month and I like her, ok?" The ex-lawyer bit his lip and straightened his posture, suddenly seeming to realize that he was reacting more like a spoiled teen about to be thwarted, than the adult he was. He gave Spike a sheepish smile. "I do like her. And the doctor said it was ok…and I promised everyone I'd be careful, and I fully intend to keep that promise…I just…might be a little late for my curfew is all. She has to leave for her next assignment no later than 4am, so…"

Spike sighed, staring at the exit so he wouldn't see the hopeful look in his brother's eyes. The blond vampire could sympathize. He truly could. A month long medical grounding because the kid had wanted to exercise when Angel didn't want him to had been a bit of an overkill in his opinion. Even if the brat hadn't slept very long for a couple of days- he HAD gotten some sleep. Plus, Angel hadn't even asked why the kid hadn't slept and had seemed to assume that it was because Lindsey was deliberately not sleeping.  Lindsey hadn't even attempted to defend himself, so maybe Angel's assumption had been right, but to not even ask? Spike hadn't said anything to their father though. They had all been scared at the thought of how quickly and easily they could have lost the young ex-lawyer.  The fact that Angel had gone mega-over-protective Papa-bear didn't surprise any of them. Sighing again, Spike turned to face his brother.

"Ok. You give me an address where we can find you- in case we can't reach you by phone- and I won't say anything to Angel….unless he specifically asks me. I won't lie for you Lin, but I won't turn you in either," the blond finally decided.

"Thanks Spike! You're the best!" Lindsey bumped shoulders with him in brotherly affection  before grabbing a napkin off a nearby table and quickly writing out the name of the hotel where the girl had said she was staying.

"Yeah…yeah…Just hope we don't end up regretting this…" the vampire muttered as he watched his younger sibling waltz out the door to meet his paramour.

# # #

Spike thought no more about it, driving himself home and plopping in front of the television with Faith and Illyria. The two women didn't ask where Lindsey was- assuming he'd gone straight to his room. When Angel and Lorne returned home two hours later, he still didn't think of it. His grandsire had gone directly to the kitchen for a mug of B-Positive and Lorne had followed him to make a sandwich.

The trio watching TV could hear the other two mumbling, although what their conversation was about could not be heard.  Thirty minutes later, both Angel and Lorne poked their heads into the room to say good night.

"I'm going to go check on your brother. Don't stay up too late, kids. It's already 11:30…" Angel smiled at the group before quickly turning and heading up the stairs. Lorne gave a quick wave and followed him.
 
Five seconds later, Spike remembered and couldn't help the wince that crossed his face.  Oh, this was so not going to be good…..

Spike was already glancing nervously at the door when the aggravated growl of Angel could be heard through the house. Illyria and Faith both looked toward the door as well, curious looks on their face; Faith's slightly worried.  Angel didn't attempt to be quiet as he ran back down the stairs and stormed into the room, looking straight at Spike.

"Where's your brother?" Spike couldn't help but cringe back into the couch at his grandsire's furious look.

Well- he had warned Lindsey he wouldn't lie if asked. "He met some bird at the bar and she invited him to go to her hotel room." He couldn't help but give a chagrined look toward the girls then his father, as he spilled the information. 

Angel frowned sternly and took a deep breath. "And you didn't think I needed to know this?" his voice was soft, calm, and non-accusatory. Spike still felt like a little boy caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

Wincing, he answered. "I kinda told him I wouldn't say anything unless you asked me directly…" his voice had started out strong, but by the end of his confession it was barely above a whisper. Wrinkling his nose in irritation at himself, he swallowed then stood. "I have the name of the hotel in my coat pocket."

Angel just held out his hand silently. Shoulders slumped in guilt Spike quickly went to where his jacket lay and pulled the napkin out of the pocket before walking to Angel and placing it in his outstretched hand. He had just turned to go back to the couch when he felt himself suddenly tugged to his father's side and tucked under an arm before Angel's hard palm was slapping his backside rapidly. After five stinging smacks, he found himself straightened up again- only facing his father. "Next time- tell me," the older vampire ordered firmly.

Spike swallowed hard. "Yes sir," he finally whispered considering himself lucky that it hadn't been a full-blown spanking.

Nodding once in satisfaction at the answer, Angel glanced toward the girls. "You two- go to bed. Spike and I are going to retrieve your brother."

"Ok, pops…." Faith quickly responded, standing up and grabbing Illyria before the blue woman could start questioning why they weren't going to retrieve Lindsey as well. Within seconds the slayer and ancient goddess were gone.

"I can't believe you just let him go off with a strange woman…he doesn't even have a car. How was he supposed to get home? The taxis don't come this far out at this time of night. You know that!" Angel began scolding his oldest child, shaking his head in disbelief at the actions of his sons. He continued scolding all the way to the car- every word making Spike feel more foolish at having gone along with Lindsey's plans.
 
"Gah…next time the whelp can get his own self in trouble. I'm not joining him…" Spike mumbled in grumpy guilt. He didn't see Angel's amused smirk or he would have been even grumpier.

# # #

Lindsey and the stewardess- whose name ended up being Christine- hadn't gone straight back to the hotel as originally planned. They had actually gone to a secluded park area to look at the city lights, talk, and make out a little planning to go to her hotel later. It hadn't bothered the ex-lawyer in the least, however. He genuinely liked this girl and if a little romance and talking increased his chances that she'd want to see him again, he was willing to go along with it.

They likely would have spent their entire time together just talking and kissing, had a police officer not tapped on the car window to find out what they were doing. Both blushing like teenagers, they'd left the park and begun driving to the hotel- both surprised to note that it was nearly 11:00 at night. They'd parked the car and quickly headed toward the room, neither one of them noticing that they had caught the attention of a group of men exiting another room a few doors down.

Still wanting to keep the romance going, Lindsey had suggested sharing a shower before bed and Christine had been eager to agree. The water had turned cold before they finally turned it off and stepped out using the fluffy towels provided by housekeeping to dry each other off. It was at that moment that Lindsey heard movement in the outer room.
 
Frowning, he'd held a finger to his lips then shoved Christine's clothing into her hands urging her to get dressed quickly.  Christine hadn't heard the noise and was a bit frightened at Lindsey's sudden shift in mood, but did as he asked almost frantic in her haste to get dressed. Lindsey meanwhile had pulled on his underwear and jeans- mentally cursing that he had begun to undress the minute they were inside the room. Nothing to be done for it though; he'd have to try and protect Christine and hope that his shirtless and shoeless state didn't work against him. Gently, yet firmly, he pushed the stewardess behind himself and motioned for her not to leave the bathroom. Unfortunately, she wasn't given the choice.

Suddenly the bathroom door was flung open, but before Lindsey could attack whoever the intruder was, a gun was held against his head and another was pointed at Christine. "I wouldn't do that if I were you, Mr. Spencer. The girl is, after all, expendable."
  
Lindsey glanced in confusion at the man speaking from behind the two goons with guns. "Spencer? My last name is McDonald…"

# # #

Angel and Spike had made it to the hotel in record time, pulling into the parking lot and slowly driving as Spike tried to identify the car of the woman he'd seen Lindsey talking to. It wasn't encouraging when he found a rental car parked in front of a room with two armed goons standing by the door.  "Well that can't be good," he muttered, drawing Angel's attention to the room and who was in front of it.

Angel's mouth thinned into a hard, determined line. Leave it to Lindsey to put himself into danger- without even realizing he was putting himself into danger. Angel's disappointment and irritation at the younger man deepened along with added worry that the boy could be inside that room and seriously hurt. He managed to keep control of his emotions, but he didn't try and hide the worry he felt. "You ready to take them out as quietly as possible?" he asked his oldest son.

"Definitely," was all Spike said- his own worry having risen as he realized that they weren't just retrieving his brother. They were staging a rescue.
 
Without another word, Angel quickly parked the car and he and Spike got out, silently making their way toward the door. When they were close enough without any impeding obstacles, Angel nodded at Spike.  As soon as Spike nodded back, Angel and the blond vampire rushed at the two guards with vampiric speed, rendering them unconscious before the two men even realized there was a threat to them.

The older vampire gave the younger one another look before carefully opening the door.  Both Angel and Spike stepped in and situated themselves so that they weren't too easy of a target- although neither of them were worried about being shot themselves, they didn't want Lindsey or the woman with him to be hurt in crossfire or retaliatory actions.

Two thugs were holding guns on the woman- likely the only reason Lindsey hadn't gotten away. For his part, Lindsey was tied to a chair.  His face hadn't been touched- but there were cuts and welts all over his chest- signs of interrogation. So these weren't simple thugs- they were organized thugs? Government thugs?  Terrorist thugs? Angel snorted softly, causing the one standing closest to Lindsey to frown.

"Well, this is quite a surprise. All of my reports indicated that you- Mr. Eliot Spencer- did not play well with others. And yet you have two men willing to die in a futile attempt to rescue you." The man sneered, even as he slashed at Lindsey's chest with a tiny knife- leaving a thin line of blood in its wake.

Lindsey grimaced but didn't let out any other sign that he was in pain. Instead he growled irritably, "I told you I wasn't this Spencer guy you keep talkin' bout. Name's McDonald.  And I have no clue what painting you think I stole- but I didn't take it. Too bad for you, you didn't believe me and just leave…" Lindsey finished his denial with a short barking laugh.

The man ignored Lindsey's comments, staring at Angel and Spike. "You really shouldn't have come gentlemen.  Now you'll have to die."

Angel just stared at the man who had cut his youngest boy, his eyes cold and predatory.  The man's instincts seemed to realize that the position of power had changed and he was the prey; he shifted uneasily away from Angel, holding the knife a little more tightly and more threatening toward Lindsey. Angel couldn't help the growl that escaped, causing all but his sons to pale at the sound.

"You got the girl?" he asked Spike.

Spike quickly answered, "Yeah."

"Good. Go." Was all Angel had to say before the two vampires blurred into action. By the time they stood still again, the two men with the guns were unconscious and the girl was being helped by Spike. Meanwhile, Lindsey had been untied and Angel held the leader of the 'goon squad' in an iron-clad grip.

"Call our friends at the precinct Spike- get them out here so we can get this garbage disposed of…" Angel requested.

"On it," Spike responded, quickly pulling out his cell phone and hitting the speed dial.

Angel smiled grimly at Lindsey, taking in all the visible injuries. Lindsey couldn't help but shift nervously at the look in his father's eyes. The oldest vampire wasn't hiding any of his emotions from his youngest son. Lindsey could see worry, but he could also see irritation, recrimination, and a great deal of disappointment; it was the disappointment that was the predominate emotion and unfortunately it was that emotion that cut Lindsey the deepest. He swallowed hard, and looked away, unable to face his father at the moment. Instead he concentrated on Christine.

"Are you ok?" he asked her softly.

For her part, Christine finally seemed to realize that they were both safe and that the ordeal was over. The adrenaline that had kept her upright for the last thirty minutes finally fled and she found herself weakly sinking onto the bed. She looked at Lindsey, then at the two men who had rescued them, and came to a realization.

"You aren't just a singer, are you?" She quietly asked.

Lindsey winced slightly, but answered her truthfully. "No. I also work in a detective agency…"

Christine swallowed. "So, you get into danger frequently then?"

"Not that frequently. Well, not recently anyway…" Lindsey's voice trailed off as he thought about how often he actually was in danger.

"Uh huh," was the quiet response. Lindsey could feel the potential of this new relationship slipping through his fingers with every second. It surprised him how much that hurt- but he couldn't think of anything to say that might stop her from backing away.

Surprisingly, it was his father that came to his rescue. "Listen- I know tonight was rough…but making decisions without thinking about it first seldom results in anything good." Lindsey couldn't help but squirm as his father glanced in his direction- the pointed comment heard and understood loud and clear.

Christine smiled faintly, and snorted. "Yeah, I get that. I…" she glanced at Lindsey and gave him an apologetic wince. "I just need some time to think. Please- don't try and contact me. Once I've figure out what I want, I'll call you…" she didn't wait for Lindsey's response, instead pulling herself together and standing up to go meet the detectives who'd just arrived on the scene. She had a statement to give and then she would need to arrange for another room so that she could try and get a couple of hours sleep before she had to leave for work. It was going to be a very long day.

# # #

Lindsey had given his statement quickly, as had Angel and Spike. By the time they had finished, Christine had already gathered her items together and moved to another room. He wished he could have said good-bye, but he would honor her wishes.

He'd already put his socks and shoes on, but carried his shirt, the cuts from the interrogation still 'weeping' slightly. He didn't want them to dry to the shirt and risk having the scabs ripped off when he went to change clothes.

The young lawyer kept quiet, when the older vampire firmly took hold of his arm and led him to the car- Spike trailing along behind them. He kept quiet when Angel sat him in the back seat. He kept quiet all the way home, waiting for Angel to say something- but the vampire never did. By the time they got home, Lindsey's stomach was churning with guilt and worry.  He knew Angel would never throw him out- but had his blatant disobedience caused the vampire to decide he didn't want to be his father any longer? Why wasn't Angel saying anything? He'd fully expected to be lectured but the brunette hadn't said anything at all.

Spike was eyeing Angel and Lindsey with an inscrutable look.  When they pulled into the garage, he finally broke the silence, turning to look at Lindsey. "OK, little brother. Go upstairs and get ready for bed. Leave your shirt off though- I'll be in with the med kit and will fix up those cuts so they won't scar…" he gave Lindsey what he hoped was an encouraging smile. Lindsey smiled back at his brother weakly before jumping out of the car and running upstairs to do what Spike said. Spike turned toward Angel.

"Listen, Da…" he licked his lip trying to think of the best way to continue. "I know he disappointed you a lot. You need to let him know that. I know he worried you a lot. You need to let him know that too…" he glanced toward Angel, relieved when the vampire appeared to be listening and didn't appear upset at his 'interference'.  "I think maybe… the rules and consequences for this family are important. They gave him a sense of stability.  But I think he needs more than that now.  I…" he sighed, realizing he didn't have a clue how to complete his thought.

Angel reached over and patted his son on the knee, giving Spike a proud smile. "Thanks Spike. I appreciate it and I'll take your words under advisement. To be honest, I’m still trying to decide how to handle this," he sighed softly. He ran a tired hand through his hair. "Why don't you go take care of your brother before he worries himself into an ulcer…send him to my office when you are done."

"OK, Da." Spike agreed, quickly leaving the car and heading inside to help Lindsey.

Angel continued to sit in the car while he tried to figure out the best way to deal with the situation.

# # #

Lindsey knew he was lucky that the cuts hadn't been terribly deep- meant more to sting and cause discomfort than to incapacitate. He knew if his family hadn't arrived when they did and they had been held prisoner much longer, the results would have been vastly different. He didn't have a clue about any painting that had been stolen. He did have a clue about the name Eliot Spencer- but they had been convinced that HE was Eliot, so telling them that they were looking for a man who had been dead for over a decade wouldn't have helped him at all. 

He grimaced as Spike wiped antiseptic over another of the shallow cuts, then put butterfly bandages on it. He was grateful for his brother's help. He truly was. But he'd hoped it would be his father helping to clean him up- so that he could apologize for skipping out on his curfew. He'd likely be getting at least another month of grounding, since he supposed he had disobeyed his father by ignoring the curfew he'd been set.  The only thing in his favor at the moment was that he hadn't deliberately placed himself in unnecessary danger- although he’d somehow ended up in danger anyway- so he wouldn't be upended over his father's knee.  He didn't have a clue how to make things right. He'd seen the disappointment in the vampire’s eyes and it hurt.  It hurt a lot. 

Spike finally finished with the last cut, putting the last bandage in place. "OK. You can put your shirt on now. Then you need to go wait for Da in the office." The blonde vampire gave Lindsey a sympathetic look. "Whatever happens- just remember he does love you, yeah?"

Lindsey frowned at the words, wondering why Spike would feel the need to remind him of that, but nodded. "Thanks. Yeah. I know," he gave his brother a small grin, before heading out the bathroom door and turning to go downstairs. "Don't know how he can the way I act sometimes, but I know…" he whispered to himself.

When he walked into the office, Angel wasn't there. Biting his lip in apprehension- just how angry was his father anyway?- Lindsey walked the rest of the way into the room, then sighed. He was already in big trouble- best not to aggravate the situation. He walked to the corner and stood facing it, trying to think of something to say that would justify his actions and calm his father down. If he could just convince Angel that what he did wasn't so wrong- then the vampire wouldn't be so disappointed would he?

# # #

Angel couldn't help but smile, though briefly, when he walked into the office and saw his youngest son standing with his nose in the corner. At least the brat seemed to realize the seriousness of the situation- although the self-imposed corner time could just be because he sensed that Angel was upset and he was hoping that would buy him some leniency. Either way, it gave Angel time to go to the couch and arrange himself carefully before calling Lindsey over.

"Please, come here son." The vampire’s tone was calm, but stern letting the younger man know in no uncertain terms that it wasn't a request.

Lindsey slowly turned around, his defense of his actions on the tip of his tongue. When he saw where and how Angel was sitting, however, all his previous arguments fled his mind and his eyes widened almost comically. "But it wasn't deliberate!" he blurted in stunned disbelief.  Flushing darkly at the vampire’s raised eyebrow, he forged ahead- attempting to get in all his arguments before his father actually took hold of him.  He ignored the growing frown on the vampire’s face, not heeding the unspoken warning that he really shouldn't try his father's patience.

"I didn't deliberately place myself in danger- I don't know who those men were- they thought I was someone else! I shouldn't be spanked because of a mistaken identity!  The only thing I did wrong was stay out after my curfew- and if you hadn't over-reacted and given me such a huge medical grounding that wouldn't have even been an issue…the doctor cleared me to resume all normal activity…so I'm not even one hundred percent sure I should get into trouble for THAT either…but if I did get into trouble for it, disobeying you only gets me grounded, so…" Lindsey abruptly stopped his argument, finally noticing the thunderous look on Angel's face and realizing that instead of calming his father down and helping his cause- he'd just made things all that much worse. He swallowed hard, the gulp audible in the now nearly silent office.

"Come here, Lindsey." Angel repeated, his voice not quite as calm, although he managed not to growl at the boy. "You don’t want me to come and get you. Trust me on this."

Lindsey knew he should obey. He really did. He knew he had been wrong to break his curfew- he really should have spoken to Angel first. The man was more than reasonable most of the time and he'd had enough time to calm down from his worry about Lindsey being hurt in the accident that he likely would have let him go and dropped the remainder of the time Lindsey had left.  He really hadn't handled that situation well at all.  Unfortunately, knowing he should obey didn't translate into him actually doing so. At that moment, he couldn't have told anyone- even himself- why he chose to react in the way he did. But instead of going to Angel's side and facing the music like the adult he was- Lindsey ran for the door.

Of course Angel had seen in his child's eyes just what the boy would do and had moved even more quickly so that he was standing in front of the door by the time Lindsey reached it. The brat ended up running straight into his waiting arms. A tiny squeak was all Lindsey managed to expel before he found himself tucked under his fathers arm receiving ten very hard smacks to his backside before Angel frog-marched him to the couch.

Lindsey opened his mouth to try and plead for leniency, but the look in his father's eyes froze his voice. The vampire was furious, but still under it all was concern and disappointment.  The disappointment is what kept the young ex-lawyer quiet, even as his father yanked his sleep pants down to his ankles and drug him between his knees and then over his lap.  It kept him from speaking, but he couldn't help the whimper that escaped when Angel pulled him in close against his torso, effectively locking him in place with one arm pinned against his father's side and both his legs locked into place by his father's leg. He made once last feeble attempt to stop what he knew was about to occur- throwing his one free hand back to 'protect' his bottom. Angel quickly took that hand in his own and held it in place against the small of Lindsey’s back.  

"Don't fight me son…" Angel said softly, giving the hand he held a gentle squeeze and not letting go of it. Without waiting for Lindsey to respond to that last order, Angel quickly raised his other hand and brought it down on the pale backside with a harsh smack. He regulated his strength- making sure not to damage the boy but also making sure that it would be very painful.  After ten smacks, Lindsey was already crying openly, though he still held himself in such a way that Angel knew he hadn't submitted yet. On the eleventh smack he began to speak.

"You disrespected me Lindsey. You disrespected what I thought our relationship had grown to. You disrespected our agreement…" the vampire allowed his frustration and disappointment in the younger man's actions to seep into his words, relieved when the boy responded by crying more deeply. At least the child was listening. "You didn't take the medical grounding seriously. From the beginning you thought it was unnecessary and that I was overreacting. The only reason you went along with it was because you felt guilty about how worried I had been. Isn't that right?" Angel finally asked a question, holding his hand still so that Lindsey would be able to answer.

Lindsey cringed inside at his father’s words- they hurt almost as much as the spanking he was currently receiving. He had been very disrespectful. When Angel admonished him about not taking the grounding seriously- and then proven that he knew exactly why Lindsey had done what he had- Lindsey couldn't help but grip onto his father's hand just a bit tighter, the childish fear that he'd crossed over a line and he'd never be forgiven plaguing him again. He didn't know how he could answer Angel's question- admitting that he'd been so disrespectful and hadn't taken the vampire seriously seemed like it would nail the lid shut on any chance he had to make things right. But he wouldn't add lying to his sins. In a tear choked voice and holding Angel's hand in a death grip, he answered, "Yes, Daddy…."

For his part, Angel kept a firm grip on his child's hand, squeezing it gently to let the boy know that he wasn't going to just let him go because of his mistakes. He knew Lindsey would never be completely free of the fear that he didn't deserve to be loved or that people would leave him if he didn't behave the way they expected. He'd prove himself to the boy for the rest of the boy's life if needed. Nodding at the answer- pleased that the brat hadn't added lying to his list- Angel continued to spank.

When next he paused, Lindsey’s bottom and upper thighs were scarlet and hot to touch. The young man's tears were falling rapidly, although he still hadn't allowed himself to let go of his pride. Angel smiled thinly at the stoicism of his son, giving Lindsey time to catch his breath before asking his next question. "Do you realize why you were wrong?"

Lindsey hiccoughed and tried to gain a hold of his thoughts. Taking several deep breaths and gulping back tears, he brokenly answered. "I sh..should'a talked to ya, D..Daddy. I sh..shoulda tole ya how I felt abou..the groundin."

Angel squeezed Lindsey's hand again, allowing his other hand to rest on the very hot and thoroughly spanked backside. Lindsey shivered at the comfort provided. "Yes. You should have spoken to me. I'm not unreasonable, am I?"

Lindsey frantically shook his head, before gasping out "No..not unreas'ble."

"I would have been willing to shorten the medical grounding to when the doctor said you were fine, had you spoken to me. That would have been respectful of our agreement and of me, don't you think?" Angel softly asked.

"ye'sir," Lindsey forlornly admitted, still sniffling and trying hard not to cry.

"And it would have proven that you took the grounding seriously and we wouldn't have needed to step up to another level of punishment for ignoring the first punishment…" Angel remonstrated firmly.

Lindsey couldn't help but let out a tiny sob at the knowledge that he could have avoided this position if he'd just talked to his father like he'd originally wanted to.

Angel looked at the bright red backside under his hand and frowned sadly. Lindsey had finally admitted he was wrong and how- but he hadn't submitted.  Angel needed the younger man to submit and accept the punishment before he could be sure that it would be effective.

Steeling his heart against the tears of his child, he raised his hand again, letting it fall in firm- though not quite as harsh- smacks against the already very sore backside. He was grateful when only a couple of swats in, Lindsey finally went limp over his lap and allowed himself to vocally sob.

"I..sor..sorry Daddy! Please…. I' …never dis'bey again. I'm sorry…" Angel quickly stilled his hand at the childish pleas of his youngest son, relieved that the boy had finally accepted the punishment.

"Shhh…it's alright son. We're almost done. We just need to address you running away from me instead of obeying me when I told you to come to me…" he quietly spoke, rubbing Lindsey’s back in gentle circles, and still keeping grip of his hand.

Lindsey whimpered at the thought of more punishment, but didn't argue. He'd known when he attempted to run that it was the wrong thing to do and a very bad idea.

"For disobeying my order to come to me and for trying to run away, you've earned yourself five swats with the ruler." Angel sadly informed the boy before reaching back for the ruler he'd secreted in the cushions.

Lindsey couldn't help it, whimpering and giving Angel an imploring "No…Daddy….!" But to the younger man's credit he didn't fight at all, instead allowing Angel to adjust him and remaining limp so that he would feel every bit of the punishment that the vampire had deemed he deserved. Angel quickly brought the ruler down on the well-punished backside five times- not as hard as he had originally planned, but hard enough to elicit short gasps from his son before the boy again broke out into sobbing.

Convinced that his son was fully repentant and wanting nothing more than to comfort the young man, Angel threw the ruler onto the floor before pulling Lindsey up and setting him on his lap careful to hold him in such a way that his poor bottom didn't touch anything if it could be avoided.  Lindsey didn't even have it in him to be embarrassed about the fact that he'd kicked his pants off and was now sitting half naked on his father's lap. He quickly wrapped his arms around Angel's waist and buried his face against the vampire's chest, craving and needing physical comfort and reassurance that he was still wanted.

Angel was more than happy to give such comfort, rocking and holding the younger man until the sobbing slowly died out and Lindsey cried himself to sleep.

# # #

Angel had carefully redressed Lindsey, then carried the younger man upstairs- choosing to place the worn out boy in his bed rather than taking him to his own room. The way Lindsey had clung to him, vulnerable and obviously scared that he would be rebuffed had torn at the vampire's heart and he didn't want the youngster to wake up alone. Plus, he had to admit it helped ease his own lingering feelings of fear and worry from the accident, having the young man nearby where he could listen to him breath.

When the occasional whimper escaped the ex-lawyer's lips Angel took that as an opportunity to provide more comfort.

The next morning, he woke up feeling more relaxed and rested than he had in several weeks. He was slightly surprised, although perhaps he shouldn't have been, to wake up to Lindsey cuddled up as close to him as he could get, with his head on Angel's chest. He shifted carefully, intending to slide out from under the younger man without waking him, but it ended up being pointless as Lindsey was apparently already awake.

"Am I grounded again?" Lindsey’s sleepy tear-roughened voice whispered against Angel as he burrowed deeper into the bed and closer to his father-figure.

Angel let out a tiny snort. "Do you think you deserve to be?"

"Yes…" Lindsey admitted in a tiny, hesitant voice.

Angel glanced down at the tossled hair of his adopted son before shifting again so that Lindsey had to roll over and look him in the face. He smiled slightly at the wince and tiny hiss of pain that the boy let out before giving him his own answer to Lindsey's question. "No. I'm not grounding you. You've been thoroughly punished for your naughtiness and I don't punish twice for the same offence."

His smile broadened at Lindsey's chagrined look at his choice of words and he couldn't help but tease, even as he issued a warning. "If you are ever so naughty to disregard a punishment you've been given and disobey like that again -I'll not only give your very naughty bottom a spanking- but you'll be grounded for two months. Understood?"

Lindsey blinked up at the vampire, blushing deeply. "Yes Daddy. I'll try not to be…." he wrinkled his nose up and said the next word as if it left a sour taste in his mouth "…naughty…anymore."

Angel chuckled softly, giving Lindsey a fond look and ruffling his hair. "See that you aren't, son."

Lindsey couldn't help the bright smile that he gave Angel at the term of affection. Any lingering fear that he'd had about Angel no longer wanting him had disappeared when he woke up in the morning to find Angel hadn't left him to sleep by himself. The fact that the vampire still called him son was just a verbal reinforcement of what he'd come to remember since waking up.

Angel was his father and would be for as long as he needed. Nothing he did or said could ever change that.

# # #

Lindsey had gotten up shortly afterwards and gone to take a shower, and Angel had gotten up himself and gotten ready for the day. By the time the rest of the household had woken up and drug themselves downstairs, breakfast was almost ready to eat and Lindsey was setting the table.

No one said anything about the occasional wince or the fact that Lindsey was walking like he had been well and truly spanked. Spike and Faith kept quiet because they didn't want to invite a swift response from Angel (who might deal out a few swats to them if they gave their brother a hard time). Illyria kept quiet because as long as everyone was home and in one piece, she tended to ignore the more intricate family dynamics, and Lorne stayed quiet because he believed- like Angel -that once the deed had been addressed and paid for it should be forgotten.

They all quickly sat down in their spots- Lindsey on a pillow thoughtfully provided by Angel- and began to dish food onto their plates and eat. Mostly they talked idle chit-chat, avoiding the topic of Lindsey sneaking out.

Spike didn't feel the need to keep quiet about some of what he had heard in the hotel room the night before. "So…they thought you were another bloke? This Eliot Spencer... Kinda weird that you have a dopple-ganger out there that not only looks so much like you but also seems to draw the attention of undesirables.  Makes me wonder if you didn't have a twin somewhere that you didn't know about…" the blond vampire teased.

Lindsey winced, setting his fork down. "I did have a twin. The brother whose death I've been looking into was my twin…." He quietly said, giving Spike a tiny smile when the vampire got a horrified look on his face that he might have hurt his younger brother with thoughtless teasing. "He….he actually went by the last name of Spencer- it was our aunt's married last name. I took mom's maiden name…" he continued. "I have no clue how or why they thought he'd stolen something from them though. He died over a decade ago. Least that's what I was told by Wolfram and Hart."

He frowned thoughtfully, but didn't say anything else, picking up his fork and continuing to eat his eggs. No one else knew what to say in response to that, so they continued to eat as well until Illyria asked Lorne a question and the subject was forgotten. At least for the moment.

Angel sipped at his mug, watching his family eat and playfully banter with each other. It was times like this he didn't know how he could be any happier. His family was alive and well and happy. What more could an adoptive father ask? He blinked as he noticed something and rolled his eyes.

"Faith, don’t throw food at your brother…" he admonished firmly with a hint of laughter in his voice. What more indeed?  


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