Author's Note: This follows "Being Found", "Being Taught", and "Being Accepted". It will make more sense if those are read first. Post-Angel the TV series.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything from Angel and am not making money from this fic.
Warning(s): AU; discipline of adult

Being Stubborn

"Just don't let me disappear
I'ma tell you everything"
Secrets by One Republic

Angel looked around the kitchen table at his 'family'. He had to admit he felt very lucky. Yes, they were unconventional- but they had chosen each other and they had chosen him. His lips turned up in a crooked smile. Spike caught his eye and gave him a quizzical grin back in return.

Had anyone told him- even a few months ago- that Spike and he would actually get along, he would have laughed at them. Only now could he see how much of Spike's disagreeable nature was because of Angel's own distancing himself from his grand-childe. All it had taken was Angel accepting his own responsibilities toward Spike and the blond had seemingly grown and blossomed overnight. He was confident enough to disagree with Angel when Angel needed it- but loyal and deferential when that was needed as well. Angel was proud of him. He smiled again a little more widely, letting his gaze fall onto the woman sitting next to Spike.

Illyria was too independent- no too ancient- to be considered anything more than Angel's friend. Even if she and Spike continued the relationship that they seemed to think no one else knew about, he knew she would never accept him parenting her. But she was a part of the family anyway and he couldn't imagine what they would do without her help or her quirkiness.

Next to Illyria and sitting directly across from Angel was Lorne. He had called himself the kids "uncle" and threatened to take them in hand if they didn't start listening better. It had caught Angel by surprise, but it had been a welcome discovery. The more he thought about it, the more he realized that Lorne truly had become a good friend to him- a brother. He only hoped the green man realized how much Angel respected him and his opinion.

Out of the corner of his eye, he caught movement as someone stole a French fry off of Lorne's plate. He turned his gaze onto Faith, his youngest. He well remembered the night that he had held her in his arms as she screamed at him about how bad she was and then he'd stood by her as she turned herself in and tried to atone for her actions. She had come a long way since that night. He felt honored yet again that she trusted him enough to grant him the position of father- knowing her past as he did.

Finally, he looked at his youngest son, Lindsey. The fact that the boy had ever placed his life and well-being into Angel's hands was a miracle- considering how much they had hated each other before. The fact that the boy had submitted to Angel and accepted Angel's correction- even craved it- still surprised the vampire when he thought on it. Lindsey hadn't said a lot about his past, but he'd said enough that Angel suspected abuse played a large part in the younger man's formative years. That made Lindsey's given trust and loyalty all the more special. Angel vowed, yet again, that he would not let the younger man down a second time. He smiled at Lindsey when the kid looked at him curiously.

"I'd like to talk with you after dinner. Please meet me in my office?" He spoke softly and smiled again when Lindsey nodded in agreement.

Taking a sip of his drink, Angel leaned back on his chair. He truly felt very lucky.

# # #

An hour later, the kitchen had been cleaned and everyone had either gone to their respective rooms, or gone home. Angel sat on the sofa in his office, sipping a cup of coffee and reading, while waiting for Lindsey to come in. He didn't' have long to wait. The kid peered around the door before meandering into the room, and slouching into the other side of the sofa.

"You needed to talk with me?" the younger man asked curiously, trying to hide the fact that he was nervous.

"Yes. I'm worried about you." Angel didn't try and ease the boy into the conversation. Lindsey blinked at the bluntness of the answer.

"Ok…but I'm doing much better really…" Lindsey, for his part, didn't even try and act like he didn't know why Angel would be worried.

"That's good to know. But when you aren't doing better- how do you feel? What exactly happens?" Angel prodded, needing to get information but not sure where to start.

Lindsey sighed softly, and then ran a hand hesitantly through his hair before looking into Angel's eyes. "It's hard to describe. I…it isn't that I feel bad. I don't. Not really. I sense things. It's like I can tell if something bad is about to occur so I'm able to adjust for it or prepare for it or something. And sometimes my strength is on a par with you and Faith, but then other times I'm just plain ole' normal Lindsey- and I never know when I'm going to be strong and when I'm not, so…." He shrugged. "I had thought all the abilities had disappeared when…" Lindsey bit his lip, suddenly finding his hands fascinating and unable to look Angel in the eye.

Angel narrowed his eyes, frowning slightly and letting his gaze linger on the younger man. Lindsey was acting very much like a child who'd gotten caught in the cookie jar but didn't want to admit to it. "Why would you say that, Lindsey? What abilities? Why would they disappear? And WHEN?" he spoke quietly, making certain to keep his voice calm and non-accusatory.

Lindsey swallowed heavily, and then looked back at Angel uncertainly. "You're going to be mad," he blushed at how much like a little boy he sounded. Angel just smiled.

"Maybe I will be mad. However, I promise not to do anything until you've explained yourself…." Angel watched as the indecision crossed the boy's face before Lindsey nodded and looked back down at his hands.

"It was at least three years ago- maybe more… time kinda blends together sometimes, ya know?" Lindsey started softly. Angel blinked in surprise.

"Before the whole Black Thorn thing?" Angel asked for clarification and sighed softly when Lindsey nodded. "Ok…I wasn't expecting something from that far back…" he muttered before motioning Lindsey to continue.

"I was so furious at you, at that time. I was positive I hated you- although now I think I was just jealous and resentful. Anyway, I had planned to come back and cause you problems at the same time I wanted to stick it to Wolfram and Hart. No one could say I wasn't ambitious…" Lindsey laughed slightly, but it wasn't a happy laugh. Angel watched the emotions pass over the kids face, the predominant one being shame. He reached over and squeezed Lindsey's shoulder in support.

"What did you do, son?" Angel asked quietly.

"I was in Tibet…took up with some of their mystics…did a few mantras...some other- questionable- things; I think the Bardo Thodol was used. Needless to say, the tattoos you destroyed that day you discovered who I really was weren't the only mystical protection I had arranged for myself…." Lindsey hunched down into the couch, drawing his feet up so that his knees were under his chin and he could wrap his arms around his legs.

"By the time everything was done, I'd arranged for speed, strength, and senses to rival that of a vampire, plus a few other mystical abilities. I wanted to be on even footing with you, if it came down to another fight. I was positive there was no way I could stand up against you if I didn't have it." Lindsey snorted softly.

"I remember that…I never questioned it at the time, figuring Wolfram and Hart had something to do with it. When you didn't seem to have those abilities when I found you a few months ago- I guess I had assumed they took the powers back because you'd helped go against them." Angel shrugged slightly.

"Yeah…no." Lindsey shook his head. "I did this to myself all on my little lonesome." Lindsey smirked. "I just figured the abilities had been broken when I died in the hospital. They didn't come back for the entire time I kept myself away from L.A. and only just recently started manifesting again. It's just they aren't predictable and…they feel wrong somehow. In a way they never did before. I don't know if that's just because I'm trying to adjust to them and they are in flux or…or if it is something else." Lindsey shrugged helplessly.

"Ok. We need to research the particular mantras or spells that you actually used- and we need specifics. We need to find out cost for casting, penalty for breaking, every little piece of information we can find about them. I'm going to help you get through this kid. You'll be ok." Angel promised solemnly.

Lindsey gave him a relieved nod and smiled crookedly. "I thought you would be mad at me." He whispered.

Angel patted Lindsey's shoulder. "I'm not happy. But you did this before we came to an understanding- before I realized you weren't what I thought and before you realized you could trust and rely on me. I can't very well hold it over your head that you were trying to protect yourself in any way possible." He smirked slightly. "Having said that, if you ever try something like that NOW- you'd better believe you won't be sitting comfortably for a very long time. Got it?"

Lindsey nodded quickly, his eyes wide. "Yes, sir. I won't…." he quickly agreed.

Angel stood up and held out a hand to his charge, taking note of how tired the boy looked. "Come on, Sport. Time for you to go to bed."

"But it's only eight!" Lindsey made to protest, but ended up yawning. Turning bright red in embarrassment, he sighed. "I guess bed doesn't sound that bad after all." He remarked sheepishly, while Angel chuckled and led him upstairs.

Angel hid his worry when the boy didn't even protest Angel helping him get ready for bed or tucking him in. It was like the kid was sleep-walking. Whatever the spell was doing, it was draining the younger man. They needed to find a way to fix things soon- before the kid DID get sick from it.

# # #

"A Little off center
And I'm out of tune
Just kickin' this can along the avenue
But I'm alright"
Jerk It Out by Caesars

Lindsey rubbed his eyes wearily. It was so frustrating. He'd come to one of the libraries in L.A. known for their volumes in esoteric teachings and felt optimistic when he'd located a copy of the exact book he'd used to plan his 'enhancements'. Nearly six hours later he had not been able to find anything that might shed light on what was occurring to him. He'd found a few references that might have offered some insight- but unfortunately THOSE volumes were so rare that the library did not have a copy. In fact, he could only think of one place that might have the volumes.

Unfortunately, he was fairly certain Angel would never agree to him going to the research library of Wolfram & Hart to borrow some research material from them.

Grimacing as he felt his stomach rumbling, he closed the book he was reading with a sigh. He needed to eat. Maybe after he'd had a sandwich (or two- he was really hungry) he'd be able to focus better. He may have missed something the first four times he skimmed the book. He hated to think he'd have to read the whole thing front to back, but it looked like that might be necessary. Gathering up his notes and carefully handing the book back to the librarian (and requesting that he set it aside for Lindsey to return to in an hour or two) Lindsey headed out into the bright sunshine. His feet seemed to have a mind of their own as they began walking immediately in the direction of Lorne's bar.

# # #

30 minutes later he'd finally relented and caught himself a taxi. He couldn't help but grin a little sheepishly when Albert asked him, "Where's your truck?"

"Left it back at the library. Felt like walkin and then suddenly realized it'd take me all day ta get here if I didn't drive. Course by then my truck was thirty minutes of walkin behind me." He laughed along with Albert, then sat down and leaned on the bar.

"Got any of those sandwiches with the bacon and avocado?" he asked hopefully. "Yer a life-saver Al, don't let anyone tell ya otherwise!" He enthused as Albert slid a plate with two of the sandwiches in question as well as a couple of pickle spears and chips.

"Yeah, yeah- I know. A regular Florence Nightingale." Albert chuckled and went back to wiping down the bar. He kept his eye on his friend however, and noted that he seemed distracted- even while enjoying the meal. Pouring a tall glass of cola, he slid it over to Lindsey then slanted his head in question.

"So what's got you looking so pensive?" he asked curiously.

Lindsey took a swallow from the drink, nodding in thanks then shrugged slightly. "Just trying to decide if I should do something or not." At Albert's more curious look, he elaborated. "I think there is some information I need at a certain location- it wouldn't take much for me to run over and get it and be home before anyone missed me. Problem is, I'm not entirely certain that Angel would want me going there." Albert didn't know the extent of Angel and his relationship- only knowing that Angel was the boss and that they were close friends. Lindsey felt a bit unfair asking for Albert's opinion when Albert didn't realize exactly WHY Angel might not want him to go somewhere.

"Maybe this is one of those ask forgiveness and not permission times?" Albert shrugged. "Course you know Angel better 'n I do. Is it someplace he's told you to avoid for some reason?"

Lindsey forced a smile. "Nah. He hasn't said anything at all about it. Not even sure he knows the place exists. I wouldn't be going against any directives or disobeying orders or nuthin. Just pretty sure he wouldn't be happy about it if he knew, s'all." He shrugged too.

"Yeah." Albert went back to working, not thinking anything more about it. Lindsey slowly finished his lunch, not thinking of anything else.

# # #

He'd taken a taxi back to the library and retrieved the old volume once again. Another two hours of searching the weathered pages and several more notes later, he was positive. What he needed was not in this book. The book, however, had pointed him in the direction of three other tomes that he was positive held the answer to his predicament; all three tomes which Wolfram & Harts extensive research library held.

He frowned to himself, then quickly put all his notes away again and returned the volume for good, going out to his truck. Sitting in the cab for several minutes, he thought over his options.

He could tell Angel where the information was at and say he planned to go there in the morning. Of course Angel would tell him he couldn't go- or that he couldn't go by himself. And since he was fairly certain the library would have wards up that would make it difficult for supernatural beings to get by unnoticed, it would be problematic for him to have any assistance from Angel, Spike, Lorne, or even Faith. Not without a lot of pre-planning. It could be a week or more before they got inside and were able to look for the information.

Of course, he could tell Angel, have Angel forbid him to go, and then just do it anyway- but he really didn't want to spend anymore time grounded. He loved his 'family' but he liked seeing other people too. Plus, Spike had managed to get him addicted to that damn soap opera of his. He'd hate to miss a week (or likely more) because he disobeyed a direct order and got himself grounded.

Maybe Albert was right. Maybe this was one of those ask forgiveness instead of permission instances. What Angel didn't know about, couldn't hurt Lindsey, right? It wasn't like he was throwing himself into a den of flesh eating demons. He'd be in and out no problem. Still….

It might not hurt to let someone know where he was planning to go. Quickly he made the call.

"Hey Albert! Lindsey here…"

"Yeah, I've decided to go get that information I was telling ya about at lunch. I don't think there'll be any problems…"

"Yeah. Just in case though, take this address down and if I don't call you back in the next hour, give Lorne a head's up?" Receiving an affirmative response, Lindsey rattled off the address, and then listened as Albert repeated it back.

"Thanks buddy!"

Hanging up, Lindsey sighed, then pulled out and headed toward the research facility.

# # #

Albert hung up the phone then went back to chatting with the brunette girl in front of him. She had a funny look on her face.

"That was Lindsey, right?" Faith asked curiously.

"Yeah. He's going somewhere to get some information. Wants me to give Lorne this address if he doesn't call me back in an hour." Albert shrugged, seeing no reason to keep the information from Faith. She and Lindsey were friends. Besides, if Lindsey felt the need to give out a location 'just in case' then it was possible his friend was about to pull another bone-headed stunt that would land him in the hospital. Albert didn't know exactly what Lindsey was up to, but he'd rather have the guy mad at him than dead. He smiled as Faith grabbed the piece of paper out of his hand and looked at it.

She let out a long whistle then looked back up at Albert, palming the address. "I think maybe we need to get this to Lorne before the hour is up. I recognize this address, and the people there aren't very fond of our blue-eyed crooner." Albert nodded.

"yeah- I kinda got that impression." He looked toward the back. "Lorne's in his usual booth."

# # #

Lorne was watching a rather short man and a very tall woman wailing "Love is Strange" to each other, when Faith slid in next to him. He glanced at her with a smile.

"Hi Sunshine! Everything ok at home?" he'd noticed the worry in her eyes immediately.

"Yeah, at home everything's great. Just outside of home…" Faith bit her lip, having second thoughts about telling on her brother. Maybe there was nothing to worry about…. But if there was something to worry about and she didn't' say anything, she'd never forgive herself. She sighed.

Lorne frowned then looked at her sternly. "That sounds like an 'I have something to say that is going to make Lorne very unhappy' sigh. What's up, buttercup? Do I need to call your daddy?"

Grimacing, Faith nodded. "Yeah, I think maybe you should. Lindsey's gone to do some research. He told Albert it was all routine and no reason to worry- but he gave him this address just in case. Said to give it to you if he hadn't called back in an hour." She handed him the slip of paper.

"Albert figured he must be doing something that wasn't completely routine- or the precaution wouldn't be needed, so he gave me the paper and well…." She shrugged slightly. Lorne's eyebrows went up into his hairline when he saw the address.

"That little brat! When I get my hands on him, he's getting double of whatever Angel gives to him!" He muttered, and then pulled out his cell-phone.

"Peaches, we've got a problem….."

# # #

Angel was watching a game on TV with Spike and Illyria when a distinctive ringtone filled the air. Eyes still on the screen, he lifted the phone to his ear.

"Hey Lorne, What's up?"

His focus quickly turned completely to the phone call, his forehead wrinkling in worry. Spike and Illyria immediately noticed the tense posture and sat up straighter, listening to the one sided conversation.

"What's happened?"

"He WHAT??? Why would he do that without telling anyone first??? I mean OTHER than Albert!" Angel groused.

"Sorry, I know you don't have any more idea than me. Faith is still with you, right?" Angel nodded in relief.

"I'll bring Spike and Illyria, you bring Faith. If there's nothing to worry about, then we'll all be doing research. I don't think we'll be that lucky." He muttered, then hung up and tossed the phone onto the couch in irritation.

Spike quirked his lip slightly. "So what's the young pup done now?" When he heard, he shook his head in exasperation. Would the kid NEVER learn?

Illyria just raised one delicate eyebrow and shook her head.

Used to the routine by now, Spike and Illyria headed straight for the car while Angel got any weapons that might be needed. They were soon on their way.

# # #

Lindsey supposed everything really had gone much too smoothly for there not to have been a sinister reason behind it. He'd gotten into the research library with no difficulties, the glamour he'd put on himself making him very non-descript. He had been surprised in a happy way that the glamor was stronger and better than the one's he'd been placing on himself when he first arrived in L.A. He'd been a bit worry that the lack of practice would have cause that particular skill to degrade- since he hadn't attempted to use one since moving in with Angel. He'd also put a small charm on himself to keep people from noticing him. It made him feel like a spy, in a way, sneaking in under their noses. Or at least that is what he had been led to believe.

He'd found and retrieved the three volumes that he'd needed and had confirmed that the information was in them. Knowing that he didn't really have time in one evening to read through all three tomes, he'd done a quick charm to disable any theft or locator spells on the book- skills he'd gained when working for Wolfram & Hart. He smiled in amusement at using the law firms own questionable practices against them. He'd then slid the three tomes into his bag and threw it over his shoulder. It was only then he noticed the odd way the libraries patrons were moving away from him. The librarian was scurrying in the opposite direction as well, while what was obviously a security detail was moving rapidly towards him. It was too soon for them to have arrived because of the monitoring spells being removed- therefore they had to be here because they knew who he was.

Well. Damn.

Securing his bag to his person more firmly, he quickly looked around for an escape. Not so much of one. Yeah. He'd gone and done it this time. There WAS a window behind him, but it was a five story drop onto concrete steps right in front of the building's entrance. He couldn't be sure if his powers were working or acting up again- since he wasn't sure if he'd been found out because the glamor failed or some other reason. If his powers weren't working, he'd be lucky if he didn't break his neck. If the guards got hold of him, it wouldn't matter though. Taking a deep breath, he ran at the window and threw himself out of it.

# # #

Faith and Lorne were sitting in Lorne's car in front of the huge building that was Wolfram & Hart's research library. Faith fidgeted then pouted at Lorne. "If you'd just let me….." she began again only to stop at Lorne's stern frown.

"I said no. End of discussion. You wait for your daddy to get here and THEN we'll go in and pull your brother out by his ear if ne…." Lorne's voice choked off in shock and his eyes widened as a body came flying out of the fifth floor window.

The being somersaulted once and then landed on its feet like a cat. It stayed hunched down for a few seconds as if doing a self-check and then carefully stood up and began running toward the street. Only then did Lorne recognize who it was.

"LINDSEY!" he screeched, causing Faith to throw her hands over her ears and wince. Revving the engine of his car and peeling out after the younger man, Lorne sputtered to Faith as he attempted to catch up to the boy- "Call Angel and let him know we're on the move….."

# # #

Angel was within a block of the library when Faith's call came in. Spike answered as Angel was breaking too many traffic laws trying to reach his son to add using a cell phone into the mix.

"Yeah!? Oh wait! I see him!" Spike's voice rose in agitation. "STOP!" he yelled at Angel, even as he jumped out of the still moving car and ran to head his errant brother off at the pass.
Angel swore and slammed on his brakes, quickly pulling to the side to let the frustrated drivers behind him go by, blaring their horns. If he wasn't already undead, his children would be giving him a heart attack by now.

# # #

Lindsey hadn't heard Lorne calling him, but he had certainly heard the car as it began to bear down on him. Positive that it was Wolfram & Hart's goons out to drag him back to unbearable torture- or maybe just trying to run him down like a stray dog- he forced himself to run even faster. He could feel his strength flagging though- he'd overdone it with the mystical stuff and his luck was running out. If he didn't find a hidey-hole soon, his body would give out and they'd have him. Grimacing, he was just about to use the last little bit of strength he had when two arms wrapped around him from the front and spun him around in a dizzy circle.

How? How had they gotten in front of him??? He quickly fed the last of his strength into fighting off his captor, adrenaline and fear lending him more power. "Let me go, you bastard!" He let loose with some very colorful curses and threats, clawing and biting at the arms that had him trapped. His captor was responding with curses of his own, although it wasn't until the man growled out an aggravated "LINDSEY!" that he realized he recognized the voice or that the man wasn't actually hurting him. He immediately stilled.

"Spike?" he said in a hesitant and very worried voice.

"Yeah, it's me tiger. And don't think I'm any too happy with you right now!" the blond muttered, glancing around the street before deciding he just didn't care. He turned Lindsey around and gave him five hard swats before frog marching him to Lorne's car- since Lorne had pulled up right beside them and Angel was still parked at the end of the block.

Faith quickly jumped into the back of the car, whistling slightly and muttering "Big brother's pissed!" She pretended not to notice Lindsey's scarlet face or the fact that Spike was buckling him into the car, taking away any opportunity to bolt again. Once Lindsey was safely buckled in, Spike nodded at Lorne.

"I'll get him home. See you there soon." Lorne nodded back then frowned at Lindsey with some unspoken promise that made Lindsey wince and hunch further down into the seat. Spike grinned, shut the door and went back to let Angel know what was going on.

# # #

"Trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble
Trouble been doggin' my soul since the day I was born."
Trouble by Ray Lamontagne

Walking back toward the car where Angel and Illyria waited, Spike pulled out his phone and dialed Lindsey. He grinned at the tone in the kid's voice- a cross between sullen irritation and confusion about why the vampire would call him right after putting him into Lorne's car. Spike jangled the keys to Lindsey's truck so that the younger man could hear them through the phone and then asked, "Where'd you park your truck? I'll pick it up for you."

Lindsey blinked at the phone then reached into his pocket, noting that the keys were indeed missing. Sighing in resignation he answered. "I parked it in a parking garage three blocks from the library- in the direction I was running before you stopped me. Just stay on this street, you can't miss it." Hanging up, he saw the unasked question on Lorne's face and sullenly remarked. "He took my keys. He's gone to get my truck for me." He wrinkled his nose in irritation, then leaned against the door of the car and stared at the buildings as they drove past.

Faith leaned forward and hesitantly asked. "I left my bike at the bar, Lorne. Do ya mind dropping me off there before heading back to Angel's?"

Lorne glanced at her and grinned. "Sure thing cupcake. I'll call when it's safe to come home." He smirked as he heard her snort and felt Lindsey's glare at the words.

# # #

Angel didn't remark on Spike's request to drop him off at the parking garage. He recognized the keys in the younger vampire's hand and knew what the man planned to do. He didn't even remark when Illyria decided to join Spike in driving Lindsey's truck home. If she hadn't said she was going to, he was going to suggest she do so. When Spike indicated that he'd not be back until later that night, Angel was actually relieved. The discussion he planned to have with his youngest 'son' was not going to be pleasant.

After dropping the other two off at the garage, he drove home debating with himself what to do about Lindsey's duplicity. Granted, the boy hadn't lied to him. And he hadn't disobeyed a direct order. But deliberately hiding his plans from Angel so that he could avoid being told not to do something- it felt the same to Angel as if Lindsey HAD lied, or had disobeyed a direct order. To say he was displeased by the kid's actions would be an understatement- and he wanted to make certain Lindsey knew how wrong he'd been to try and skirt the expectations held of him.

But would that be fair? After all- the kid HADN'T broken any of the rules- save the putting himself in danger. And Angel hadn't actually seen evidence that the kid HAD put himself in danger. He assumed that there would be danger, due to who owned the library- but could he punish the kid on the assumption that the library was dangerous? Especially if nothing had actually happened? Although, he really wanted to know why Lindsey was running down the street when Spike had caught him.

Growling softly, Angel shook his head. He would talk first. If Lindsey didn't admit to anything that would get him in trouble, then Angel would have to take him at his word and trust him. Even if his gut was saying the boy deserved a sore bottom at the least.

# # #

Lorne had dropped Faith off at the bar- she'd given Lindsey a sadly empathetic smile before turning and heading into the bar. Lindsey had hunched down even further once it was just Lorne and he in the car. If Lorne noticed, he didn't say anything. He was more than willing to let the kid stew in his own guilt and worry for the short time it would take to get him home. After the near heart attack he'd given Lorne by jumping out of that window- Lorne shuddered, causing Lindsey to glance over at him curiously before sighing sadly and turning to look out the window again when Lorne didn't say anything.

When they pulled into the garage, Lindsey made to bolt out of the car, stopping only when he heard Lorne clear his throat.

"Go get ready for bed and then wait in Angel's office- in the corner. I believe you know what to do?" Lorne kept his voice as calm as possible, considering he wanted to begin upbraiding the younger man. Lindsey's shoulder's slumped slightly, but he nodded and whispered, "yes'ir."

Lorne smiled crookedly at the term of respect. He wondered if Lindsey's respect and obedience would carry as far as allowing himself to be disciplined by his friend. While Angel had always held a somewhat 'Alpha' position in the man's life- he suspected a lot of the confrontations earlier on in their relationship were due to Lindsey not wanting to submit to the vampire in any way, shape, or form- Lorne and he had been equals. Lorne didn't boss him around and he didn't boss Lorne around. Lorne may have been calling himself 'Uncle Lorne' but that didn't mean Lindsey actually saw him as such. Sighing, Lorne got out of his car and headed into the house. It didn't matter if Lindsey saw him as an authority figure or not- the kid had done something deadly IN FRONT of him and he couldn't let that slide.

He went into the kitchen and sat at the table, waiting for Angel to get back.

# # #

Lindsey wasn't sure what to do. Lorne wasn't speaking to him and as much as he hated to admit it, receiving the silent treatment from the normally chatty demon was unsettling. So unsettling, Lindsey debated disobeying the green man's directive, just to see what would happen; he ended up doing exactly what Lorne had told him to do.

He'd grabbed his sleep clothes and gone to take a shower, checking himself for any unintended wounds that his throwing himself through a glass window might have caused. He was pleased to notice that except for one scratch on the shoulder that he'd initially used to break through the window, he hadn't been cut in any way. Standing under shower's spray, he let the tepid water cascade down on him. He was unable to stand it any hotter or any colder. Now that the adrenaline had worn off and he was starting to unwind, his body was showing him how badly he had mistreated it. His whole body was hyper-sensitive; the result of over using mystical powers that he still didn't have full control of or even understand.

Finally, deciding that he'd procrastinated long enough he stepped out of the water, dried himself off, and pulled on the thin cotton pants and tank top he normally wore to bed. He then put ointment and a Band-Aid on the scratch. He had no doubt Angel would insist on checking on it himself- he didn't want to give the vampire any other reasons to be irritated with him. He frowned at himself in the bathroom mirror. He was tempted to go back and put on a pair of boxer's and the thickest sweat pants he could find- but that would only delay the inevitable. He grimaced to himself. He could protest being punished. After all- he'd gotten himself out of the situation by himself and without TOO much difficulty. He hadn't REALLY been in all that much danger…. Angel wouldn't do anything if he truly felt he didn't deserve it. The problem was he wasn't sure he didn't deserve it.

He sighed, still toying with that thought as he walked into his room, dumped his soiled clothing in the clothes hamper, then turned and headed downstairs to Angel's office. No sense in fighting authority if he wasn't positive he was in the right. Angel and Lorne were already mad enough at him. Insubordination could only make it worse.

Going to an empty corner he stood, staring at the intersection of the two walls and doing his best not to fidget. He grimaced, chagrined at the position he found himself in. He'd have a much easier time coming up with reasons why he shouldn't be in trouble if he didn't feel like a naughty five-year-old.

# # #

When Angel finally pulled into the garage- sans Spike and Illyria- he was calm. He would give Lindsey opportunity to explain his actions. He already knew what he planned to do, but he would give the boy a chance to talk himself out of trouble. Happy with that course of action, he walked into the house and into the kitchen, seeing Lorne sitting at the table with a glass of water that he held in a death grip. His friend looked more upset than he'd seen him in a very long time. Angel could hear the shower upstairs running.

"Lindsey cleaning up?" He queried, planning to gauge Lorne's mood by the response he would give.

"Yes. I told him to get ready for bed and then wait for us in your office- in the corner." Lorne said softly, his voice strained. Angel frowned. The host didn't seem angry, but he was obviously not happy. What had happened? Angel had obviously missed something. He sighed and sat down.

"What did he do, Lorne?" He asked softly. He still planned to let Lindsey explain himself- but he didn't trust the boy not to withhold information if he didn't feel it had anything to do with the situation at hand. Not after the stunt he just pulled.

"We'd just pulled up to the library and were waiting in the car for you and the others to arrive- I was barely keeping Faith from rushing in ahead of everyone else- when Lindsey comes barreling out of the window. Shattered glass raining down everywhere! Then he stands up and takes off running!" Lorne's voice intensified with each word- only extreme effort keeping his voice low so that it didn't carry through the house.

"He had to exit through a window? Not an ideal situation, but it is better than him staying and attempting to fight- which is what I was afraid he'd do…" Angel wrinkled his nose in confusion. "Why would his jumping out the window upset you so much? Did he hurt himself doing it?"

Lorne gave Angel such a scathing look that Angel had backed up two steps and held up his hands in a calming manner before he realized what he was doing. Giving Lorne a sheepish look, he shrugged and waited for Lorne's explanation. Then Lorne uttered six words that destroyed Angel's calm.

"It was the fifth-story window."

Angel had to go outside. He refused to deal with his errant child when he was so mad. Lorne followed him out to do the same.

# # #

Lindsey swallowed and fidgeted some more. He'd spent a good ten minutes coming up with reasons why what he had done wasn't the wrong thing to do. He'd had his defense well planned. There was no way Angel wouldn't agree with his view of things once he'd explained. The only problem was, Angel hadn't come in yet and he hadn't been able to explain. It felt like he had to have been standing, nose in the corner, for at least 30 minutes. Normally, Angel would have at least entered the room and kept an eye on him- even if he didn't immediately address Lindsey's misbehavior.

Lindsey winced. He hadn't thought he'd done anything that bad, but if Angel wasn't even able to be in the same room as him. Lindsey was chagrined to find himself close to tears. Damn it, he shouldn't be so upset just because Angel decided to let him stand in a corner alone for a while. Straightening his shoulders in irritation, he glared at the corner. He was still glaring when Angel and Lorne walked in five minutes later.

# # #

Angel and Lorne had both finally calmed down enough that they felt ready to face the younger man without fear of losing control and yelling. They'd agreed that Lorne would be there for the questioning and the punishment- since Lindsey had terrified him so badly with his jump out the window.

Angel called the youngster over immediately. "Lindsey, come here please."

Lindsey spun around, pushing down the guilt he'd been feeling and drawing on his sense of indignation that he was being treated as if he was a disobedient child, before it had even been established he'd done anything wrong. "Why did I have to go stand in the corner for so long??? I didn't do anything wrong!" He snapped irritably, his eyes flashing.

Angel frowned at the antagonistic tone, recognizing it for what it was- Lindsey trying to deflect guilt and blame somewhere else. He told himself to remember that the boy also had very little control over his emotions lately, due to the mystical backlash he was currently suffering. That didn't mean he had to accept disrespect.

He narrowed his eyes at the younger man. "That's enough attitude, little boy." He calmly, yet sternly admonished. He nodded, pleased when Lindsey immediately looked to the ground and didn't say anything else.

"Ok. Here is how we will do this. I will ask you a yes or no question. You will answer. If I need clarification of your answer, I will ask for it. Unless I ask for clarification, I don't want to hear excuses. Am I clear?" Angel looked at the younger man, who looked back up at him with worry in his eyes. It was obvious the ex-lawyer had been counting on being able to argue his case. "Am I clear, Lindsey?" He asked again waiting for a verbal response.

"Yes sir," Lindsey worriedly drawled.

"Did you deliberately fail to give me information about your plans and whereabouts when you decided to go to Wolfram and Harts library?" Angel began. "Yes or No, Lindsey," he reminded when it looked like the boy was going to give him an excuse.

Lindsey sighed then reluctantly answered. "Yessir"

Angel nodded then decided to let the younger man give his reasons. "Why?"

Lindsey winced. Having had time in the corner to think about his decisions, his plans didn't seem as smart as they had before. "I knew you would forbid me to go by myself if I told you what I wanted to do. And I didn't want to wait till you or anyone else could go with me. And I didn't want to disobey a direct order…so I decided if you didn't know and couldn't forbid me, then it would be ok…." His voice trailed off into nothing and he couldn't meet Angel's eyes.

Angel nodded, having suspected as much. He continued.

"Did you deliberately put yourself in danger by going to Wolfram and Hart's library, when you know they are actively looking to get hold of you?" Angel effort to ask in a calm manner was only partly successful. Lindsey stepped back eyeing him warily.

Lindsey wanted to say no. He really did. A library wasn't dangerous, damn it! But he couldn't say that in good conscience. If it hadn't been dangerous he never would have called Albert and given him a heads up and his location. Lindsey swallowed hard. "I don't wanna answer that…" he cringed at the whininess of the words.

Angel raised an eyebrow and he quickly caved. "Yessir. I did…" Lindsey stepped back again, his hands going to protect his bottom instinctively. He blushed darkly when he realized what he was doing.

Angel slanted his head then decided he wanted to hear from the brat's own mouth how he had escaped. "Why did you leave the library so fast, and how did you leave?"

Shaking his head mutely, Lindsey looked up at Angel with pleading eyes, but the vampire was resolute. Lindsey glanced at Lorne, debating on if he could get away with a lie, but the look on the demon's face was too knowing. They knew enough that if he lied, he'd be hanging himself out to dry. But how much did they actually know? Could he keep most of it secret? He bit his lip then looked back at Angel.

"I thought I had made it in unseen- but somehow their security figured out I was there. I couldn't get around them and I didn't want them to catch me- so I jumped out a window that faces the front entrance and I ran…" he left the detail as sketchy as possible.

"Jumped out the fifth-floor window onto concrete below, you mean." Lorne's voice startled Lindsey, before his words registered and any hope Lindsey had of being able to overlook that part of the explanation was dashed. He closed his eyes tightly and bit his lip before nodding. "Yes. I did that…."

At the admittance, Angel relaxed, relieved that the kid hadn't attempted to lie to him. Sighing softly he stated, "I'm very disappointed with what you did today, son," he quietly stated. Lindsey found himself tearing up at the words, swallowing several times in an effort to not start crying immediately.

"You deliberately hid information from me because you knew I wouldn't approve of what you were doing. If things had gone even slightly differently, you could be dead now- and I wouldn't even be aware of the fact that I should even be worried because you kept me in the dark. That is not acceptable." Angel kept his voice even and his eyes stern and focused on the younger man. Lindsey squirmed and looked every where but at Angel.

When Lindsey's eyes fell on Lorne, the demon continued where Angel left off. "If you believe Angel will forbid something, it is probably because you know it is too dangerous to do and trying to avoid disobeying Angel by not giving him enough information so that he can forbid something just makes it all that more difficult for him to help when things go pear shaped. Especially when hiding things means he may not even be aware he is needed- let alone be able to reach you in time." Lindsey winced again, looking at the ground and nodding.

"I'm sorry…" the kid shakily muttered.

Angel looked at the younger man thoughtfully before stating, "New rule. You can inform your 'siblings' about it when they return. No hiding things from me in an attempt to avoid being ordered not to do something. Hiding things because I wouldn't agree or approve will get the offender grounded and a night time spanking for as long as the grounding lasts."

Lindsey looked up in shock, his eyes wide and mouth opening and closing wordlessly. "A…a…are you …am I…?" He blinked nervously, unable to articulate his question. Luckily Angel had gotten used to filling in the gaps for children who were having a difficult time speaking.

"No. Not this time. Since it wasn't a rule before you decided to hide things, you won't be punished for doing so." He noted Lindsey slowly letting out his breath in relief. He continued, "However, you did put your life at risk- twice. Once by going into a Wolfram and Hart owned area and the other time by gambling that those mystical powers you arranged for wouldn't crap out on you when you jumped out of that window. If they had…." Angel shuddered in dismay. "And yes, I realize that you didn't feel you had a viable choice when you decided to jump- but if you hadn't been there in the first place, you wouldn't have had to make such a decision- would you?" He noted the slumped and defeated child in front of him.

"Since you terrified Lorne with your stunt, he will be punishing you for the window. I will be punishing you for the trip to Wolfram and Hart's lair. You will not be grounded this time- since you didn't disobey a direct order." Angel nodded at Lorne then went to sit on the sofa. Lindsey looked at his older friend in shock, having not expected Lorne to do anything more than give him a few orders.

Lorne eyed the younger man in front of him, debating the best way to handle the situation. He wasn't' Angel and as much as he cared about the kid in front of him and as much as he knew Lindsey cared about him- he also knew that Lindsey would not accept discipline from him in the same way Angel delivered it. While Angel could get away demanding complete submission and vulnerability in the kid, it was only because Lindsey trusted him to completely protect and nurture him in return. Lindsey just didn't have that kind of relationship with Lorne.

Narrowing his eyes, the demon crooked one finger at Lindsey motioning him to come to him. Lindsey swallowed hard then forced himself to move until he was standing in front of the green man. Taking Lindsey's arm, Lorne carefully pulled him to Angel's desk. Clearing a spot, he motioned toward it. "Bend over the desk and grip the opposite side with your hands."

Wordlessly, Lindsey obeyed him. The desk was larger than standard desks- in order to grasp the other side as directed Lindsey had to stand on his toes and reach. The end result was a well positioned bottom; the sleep pants Lindsey wore stretched taught and were no protection at all. Nodding, Lorne quickly took a ruler off the desk and held it against the kid's backside, while holding his free hand against the boy's lower back, keeping him still. "Why am I about to spank you Lindsey?" He asked gently.

Lindsey tried, but something inside of him just couldn't keep from spouting off the smart-assed answer that popped into his head. "Because I scared you with my acrobatic feats?" he winced and let out a sharp hiss as the ruler smacked down on his butt. Who knew Lorne had such a strong arm?

"Try again gumdrop. Seriously this time or you'll lose the pants." Lorne admonished.

Lindsey hurriedly answered, "Because I risked my life jumping out the window. I should have tried something else to get away- or better yet not put myself in a situation where I needed to get away…." He lifted his head and looked over his shoulder worriedly. Lorne was giving him a pleased nod.

"That's it in one, sport. Good job." Lindsey flushed at the praise and let his head drop back onto the desk, gripping the edge of the desk more tightly. Satisfied that Lindsey knew exactly what he had done wrong, Lorne proceeded to pepper his backside with controlled, hard smacks with the ruler making sure to pay attention to each and every spot that might make contact with a chair or bed.

At first, Lindsey tried to compare the differences between the ruler and Angel's hand in an attempt to keep his mind off of the pain. The ruler stung worse- but the pain from Angel's hand lasted longer, plus it was more personal so it was more difficult to block and… "OW!" Lindsey couldn't help the yelp that escaped after one particularly harsh smack. After that, the ONLY thing Lindsey could think about was the pain that was building up in his bottom. He couldn't help himself, beginning to squirm and whimper. Lorne was really letting him have it. He must have completely terrified the man for him to be setting him ablaze like this!

Lorne methodically continued the punishment from the top of Lindsey's posterior to mid-thigh and all spots in between. He smacked each and every available spot, once, twice, more than three times. To Lindsey's already hyper-sensitive skin it felt as if each smack was increasingly harder than the last. He bit his lip trying to keep from crying out again, but Lorne would not accept that. "I can continue this as long as needed, kiddo. If you think being quiet and brave is the way to go, you might want to rethink it. Your bottom will thank you, I'm sure."

Lindsey swallowed, then gasped out again, water flowing from his eyes rapidly enough to form puddles on the desk. "P..please Lorne! I…I'm sorry!" he managed to choke out, positive that he'd be sobbing in only a few moments. Lorne just patted his back gently then began smacking him more quickly and harder than before. Arching his back, legs scrambling in a futile attempt to get him away from the instrument that had set him aflame, Lindsey wailed in distress before collapsing on the desk and sobbing brokenly. Lorne immediately stopped and dropped the ruler distastefully on the floor.

Gently gathering the younger man up off the desk; Lorne held him close, tucking his head against his shoulder, under his chin, and rubbed his back. Once Lindsey had calmed down enough to speak, Lorne placed a finger under the kid's chin and lifted his face upward to look into his eyes. "I don't ever want to have to punish you like that again. You know better. Stop taking such risks!"

Lindsey quickly reached up and rubbed his eyes miserably, flushing in embarrassment. "I'll try not to. I don't MEAN to keep getting into trouble!" his lower lip wobbled. "I am sorry…" he whispered, sagging in relief when Lorne wrapped him in a forgiving hug.

The relief was short lived, as Lorne carefully turned him to face Angel, who sat on the couch waiting for him.

# # #

"So I turn to run
And thought of all the stupid things I've done"
Trouble by Coldplay

Lindsey faced Angel. The thought of going over the vampire's knee for another spanking filled him with dread. He'd barely regained control of his out-of-control emotions after the thorough spanking Lorne had just administered. On top of that, his skin- over his entire body- literally felt like it was crawling. The pain on his rear-end was excruciating and he knew Lorne hadn't hit him hard enough to produce THAT result. He could only assume he was reaping the results of his foolishly using mystical abilities that weren't functioning the way they were meant to and that he didn't understand. Closing his eyes and swallowing, he walked to stand in front of Angel. Taking in a slow but deep breath, he hooked his thumbs into the waistband of his pants, preparing to submit to Angel's admonishment.

Angel had watched the younger man as he'd lain across the desk. He'd watched the youngster submit to Lorne's spanking and finally accept it by letting go and crying. The problem was, Lindsey didn't just sound like a penitent child- he was sobbing like he was broken inside. It worried the vampire. He watched closely, noting how Lindsey clung to Lorne and then as Lindsey slowly turned to face him. He could tell the boy was drained. His eyes were sunken and there were lines of exhaustion on his face. Lindsey was trembling; although he was doing a good job of hiding it Angel could still tell. He couldn't help but be proud of the kid when Lindsey tapped into what little reserves his had left and walked to Angel- believing that he would be receiving another spanking. Angel had already decided that the boy had had enough for one evening- he would be punished for going to the library, but it would not be tonight.

Angel quickly took both of Lindsey's wrists in his own hands, stopping his movement. The younger man looked into his father-figure's eyes, confused and a little hopeful. In return Angel gave him a sad smile. "Not tonight, son. You will receive a spanking for going to the library and putting yourself in danger- but it will happen later. Tonight I want you to eat something healthy and then get some sleep." Angel squeezed Lindsey's wrists gently then stood.

Lindsey just stared at the vampire uncertainly. He was confused and worried that the punishment would be postponed. How could everything be made ok between Angel and him if he still had to atone for his misdeed? He blinked and to his chagrin, began to tremble. "Ok….I…" he swallowed not sure what to say, but Angel seemed to know what the problem was.

"Oh Lindsey," the vampire sighed softly- anger at whoever had made the kid believe he could only be cared about if he was 'good and obedient' or had 'paid for his crimes' twisting his stomach. Cupping one hand around the other man's neck and squeezing gently, he tugged the youngster to him and tucked the boy's head against his shoulder before holding onto him tightly. He didn't let go until Lindsey stopped trembling.

Once he could feel that the kid had calmed down, he gently stepped back before holding Lindsey's chin in one hand and making the younger man look into his eyes. "We're ok Lindsey. Even if we haven't dealt with your actions yet, that doesn't mean we aren't ok. You're my kid by choice and you will remain so unless YOU decide you don't want to be any longer. I am unhappy with the decisions you made- not you. And I will deal with those decisions- but right now I want to take care of you, because your health- physical OR emotional- is more important to me that making my displeasure known. Got it?" He relaxed in relief when Lindsey slowly nodded, then hesitantly smiled.

"Got it." Lindsey whispered before throwing his arms around Angel again and hugging him tightly.

# # #

Between Angel and Lorne, they'd made certain Lindsey had eaten. They'd then had to half drag half carry the younger man up to his room because his body just did not want to cooperate any longer. Angel suspected that Lindsey had overdone it with all the spell work and then the physical exertion. With Lorne's help (though he hadn't really needed it, the green man was obviously worried so he accepted it to help ease his friend's anxiety) he put Lindsey into bed.

He frowned when the kid whimpered as if in pain- even though he was on his stomach. Reaching down, he was upset to find that the younger man had a fever. He quickly retrieved the necessary medication and assisted Lindsey in taking it then went to sit in what he often thought of as 'his' chair. It didn't happen as often, now that Lindsey felt at ease and secure in his home- but occasionally, especially when sick, the kid still had nightmares. Angel's presence seemed to keep them at bay, so he made a point of sitting beside the young man when he knew Lindsey might have problems sleeping. Lorne pulled out another chair that was at a small reading desk and sat down next to Angel.

"You don't think I was too harsh do you?" he whispered worriedly.

Angel looked over at his friend and frowned, shaking his head. "This isn't because of your spanking Lorne. This is because he overdid it. It is complete and utter exhaustion brought on by his accessing abilities that are unstable and it drained him."

Lorne stared at Angel, his glance seeming to say "well, duh!" then rolled his eyes and clarified. "I KNOW that big guy. I wasn't asking because of this…" he motioned toward the completely exhausted human snoring like a chainsaw in front of them.

"I actually meant, do you think I was too hard on him….since you felt the need to postpone, I wasn't sure if maybe…" he shrugged. "I mean it isn't like I've ever taken the kid in hand before and well…"

Angel blinked then grinned slightly. "No, you weren't too hard on him. I decided to wait because you'd gotten through to him. He was as contrite as it was possible to be and I didn't think my adding on to the lesson at that moment in time would benefit him. It might have actually done more harm than good. That's why I waited." He leaned back in his chair. "I plan to finish the lesson tomorrow- if the brat hasn't become sick by over-exertion. If he's done that, he's looking forward to a couple of weeks of supervised bedtimes and eating."

Lorne nodded in relief. "Maybe he needs that anyway- even if he doesn't become sick."

"Maybe he does," Angel smirked.

# # #

Lorne had left not too long after and Angel had ended up falling asleep in his chair. When Faith had popped her head into the room to 'make sure her brother hadn't been killed' she'd blinked in surprise noting Angel slid down so that he might have fallen on the floor if he'd scrunched down any further.

Lindsey was shivering in his sleep- he'd thrown his covers onto the floor at some point. Frowning, she tiptoed into the room and picked up the blanket, carefully putting it over the sleeping man, then felt his forehead. She winced at how hot he felt. She jumped and let out a frightened squeak when Angel quietly asked, "Is he very hot?"

Shooting a glare at the amused vampire- it wasn't often people could startle her- she nodded, whispering back. "He's really hot Angel….should I get a cold cloth for his head or something?" She bit her lip.

Angel nodded, "Yeah. Please do- meanwhile I think it is safe to give him another dose of the fever medicine." Standing up and stretching out his back- sleeping in a chair wasn't comfortable even if you were a vampire- he followed Faith into the bathroom. While she got the cold cloth, he shook out two more tablets and filled a glass with water.

They met up with Spike in the hall, on their way back to Lindsey's room. Spike quickly took in the medicine and cold wet cloth and followed them in. "He's sick, isn't he?" he muttered, worriedly.

"Over-exertion, I hope. If it's something more serious, I'm not sure what it would be…" Angel answered softly while Faith crawled up onto the bed beside Lindsey and helped him sit up so Angel could feed him the medicine and hold the water for him to drink. Once he had drunk the full glass, she helped him lay back down then curled up next to him, holding his hand. Lindsey was asleep again within seconds. Angel went back to his chair and slumped down into it.

Looking at his entire family congregating in his little brother's room, Spike slanted his head. Sighing softly, he went into his room, grabbed a pillow, then returned to Lindsey's room and lay down on the floor. "I'm turning into a bloody pansy, worrying about the whelp like this…" he grumbled good-naturedly as he punched his pillow a few times to fluff it up then promptly went to sleep.

Angel just smiled slightly. While worrying about Lindsey wasn't fun, it was good to see how all the 'kids' were rallying around him. Satisfied that his family was as safe as they could be, for the moment, Angel closed his eyes and went back to sleep.

# # #

Lindsey awoke to a pressing need, and disentangling himself from the arms and legs that were thrown over or wrapped around him, he quickly went to the bathroom. Finishing his business, he'd quickly brushed his teeth and splashed some water on his face before returning to his room. It was only then that he realized his bedmate was his 'little sister'.

He blinked and looked around, noting that his 'big brother' and 'father' were also in his room. He frowned slightly. He couldn't remember much of what happened after Angel had placed a bowl of oatmeal in front of him- he didn't even remember eating, let alone going to bed. The fact that all three of his family members were asleep in his room- still wearing the clothes they had been wearing the day before- didn't bode well for his freedom. Feeling Angel's gaze on him, he turned his eyes toward the vampire.

"Was I sick last night?" Lindsey quietly whispered, though he needn't have bothered. Faith had woken up almost immediately after he'd gotten out of bed and Spike was aware the minute his feet had hit the floor. They both snorted loudly, causing him to blush in consternation.

"Were you sick last night? If you count frying your brain with a high fever being sick, then I'll say yeah to that," Faith teased, relieved that he seemed better.

Lindsey glanced at Angel, and sighed when the vampire didn't contradict the slayer. "Well, that's just…typical." He shook his head, irritated at himself. "I'm going to be supervised, aren't I?" he didn't really ask, expecting that since his actions had led to him becoming ill, he'd be subjected to supervision from the 'parental' units until Angel was satisfied he was taking care of himself properly.

Angel smirked. "Yes…yes you are, little boy." Lindsey grimaced at the term of endearment, though he didn't really mind when Angel called him things that indicated his status as Angel's 'son'.

Faith chuckled. "I've gotta get a shower and change out of these clothes. They're gonna get up and walk on their own, soon!" With that she flounced out of the room. Shortly the sounds of the shower running could be heard.

Spike shrugged and stood up, gathering his pillow. "Guess I should go change too. Good thing there's more than one bath in this place…" he mumbled to himself before leaving.

Lindsey fidgeted from foot to foot, keeping his eyes on Angel. Angel stood up slowly, walking to where he stood in front of the younger mortal, holding the back of his hand up against the kid's forehead. He smiled when he noted that there was no fever. Looking into the boy's face he could also see that the exhaustion wasn't as pronounced- although the kid could probably do with a nap at some point during the day- and his eyes were alert and focused; a definite improvement from the night before.

Lindsey stood still for the inspection, realizing that he must have worried his family very much. He felt a twinge of guilt at what he had put the man through in the last day. "I'm sorry, Angel…I never meant…" he sighed, shoulders slumping, a dejected look on his face.

Angel smiled crookedly back at him, reaching up and giving his shoulder a gentle squeeze. "I know son. I know. We'll finish our discussion tonight. For today I want you to rest. You can read if you want, but I don't want you doing any research. Read something that is relaxing."

"Yes sir," Lindsey drawled, not sure if he was relieved that the discussion would be postponed till the evening or disappointed at the fact it would be postponed. It would be hard to relax knowing what he had coming to him.

As usual, Angel seemed to just know what he was thinking. "You'll be alright kiddo. And you'll be better able to handle our discussion tonight. Right now just focus on continuing to get better. Got it?"

"Got it…" Lindsey replied then quickly threw his arms around Angel in a quick hug before retreating, blushing. If anyone said anything, he'd just blame his suddenly affectionate behavior on the fact that the spells were still playing havoc with him. It was much easier for his pride to handle.

Giving him a knowing look, Angel patted him on the back before heading to his own room, leaving Lindsey alone to get ready for the day.

# # #

Lindsey had to admit the day was pleasant, all things considered. After Faith had finished her shower and disappeared into her room to finish getting ready for the day, he had snuck in to take a quick shower- washing off the remnants of the fever he'd had. His skin was still hyper-sensitive, so he'd chosen the most comfortable clothing he could find: a pair of well-worn, comfortable jeans and a t-shirt displaying his support of Oklahoma City Thunder. He ignored his shoes.

He'd gone down to the kitchen to find that Spike had made a huge breakfast: eggs, waffles, a fruit salad, and bacon. It always amused Lindsey when Spike or Angel cooked, because they seldom ate much themselves; it was obvious they were cooking for Lindsey and Faith's benefit. His stomach growled loudly, drawing an amused snort from the blond vampire. "Eat up, buttercup, before it gets cold!" his brother teased.

Lindsey grinned and unabashedly piled food onto his plate. He couldn't believe how hungry he was. He suspected he might rival Faith on food intake today. Faith had come down not too long after and piled her plate up as well. Angel wandered in and poured mug of blood, forgoing the rest of the meal; he sat down to drink and read the morning paper. Spike made himself a bowl of cereal and poured blood in it then sat down across from Lindsey and began eating.

Lindsey wasn't even phased when Spike opened his mouth showing him chewed up Weetabix and blood; he retaliated by throwing a piece of banana at the blond.

"Children…." Angel admonished before Spike could throw something back, barely averting a food fight.

"Yes father?" Spike sat up straighter and put on the most innocent expression he could muster. Unfortunately, Lindsey had just taken a large sip of milk and ended up snorting it out his nose. This of course amused Faith greatly, who bust up laughing. Angel just shook his head at their antics and went back to reading the morning paper.

# # #

An hour later, they had all finished cleaning the kitchen. Spike had disappeared into the sewers, planning to meet with Illyria at her place. Faith had taken off on her motorcycle saying something about going to a gym to work out and ogle men. Lindsey was trying to decide what to do when Angel called him into his office.

"Bring me those books you took from Wolfram and Hart. I'll begin looking through them while you relax." Angel's tone indicated that he wouldn't accept no for an answer so Lindsey didn't even try to argue. He went and retrieved his bag, handing Angel not only the three books but all the notes he had taken the day before. Maybe Angel would have better luck than he did. A fresh set of eyes couldn't hurt after all.

Angel smiled at him. "Thanks, Lindsey. Now why don't you go out on the back porch and read. Fresh air and sunshine will do you some good. Here- you can read this." Lindsey caught the quickly tossed book and glanced down at the title.

"Mary Shelly's Frankenstein?" he chuckled in amusement. "Are you trying to tell me something, Angel?" he smirked at the vampire then gave a slight wave. "I guess I'll be outside, then."

When Angel glanced out the window to check on him an hour later, he had to smile. The younger man was stretched out on the porch swing, book lying open on his chest, one arm dangling toward the ground, sound asleep.

# # #

Four hours after Angel had sent Lindsey outside went back into the kitchen to begin making lunch. He had made a lot of headway in the research, thanks in part to the notes Lindsey had made. The young man had written down everything he'd done to gain the abilities as well as all the symptoms he'd been experiencing since the abilities started returning. He was surprised to notice that Lindsey had taken the time before giving him the notes to write down the symptoms he had experienced due to his actions of the day before, especially when he noted that hyper-sensitive skin was one of the things the kid was experiencing. He'd have to remember to ask if he was still experiencing that when it came time for their discussion.

Finishing up the sandwiches he had made, he looked out the window. Lindsey was awake again, reading the book and lazily swinging back and forth. Angel tapped on the window to get the boy's attention then held up one of the plates of food as explanation. Lindsey grinned at him, hopping up off the swing. He was inside within moments.

Angel sat down at the table with his younger charge, sipping at his mug of warmed blood. He frowned when he noticed the kid fidgeting instead of eating. "What's wrong, do you feel sick?" he asked worriedly.

Lindsey, shook his head, then bit his lip and faintly blushed. "I…I just wanted to say…" he swallowed and gave Angel a sheepish look. "I've just been thinking about what I did yesterday and what you and Lorne said about how my hiding things from you and stuff and well…. I'm sorry." He glanced down at his plate and pushed a piece of hair behind his ear. "I can see now how wrong it was…I kinda knew it before I did it, but I just didn't wanna admit it." His softly drawled words caught at the end, and he looked up at Angel uncertainly.

Angel nodded to show he was listening, but remained quiet, waiting to see what the boy would say. He couldn't help feel a little proud when Lindsey straightened his shoulders and looked him in the eye, even though it was obvious he would rather avoid this conversation completely.

"If you think I'm ready…I ... Please…" Lindsey blushed and huffed in frustration. "Would you please punish me now? I don't want to have it hanging over my head anymore….specially not when I know how much I deserve it…" he muttered softly, a hint of disbelief in his tone at what he was requesting.

Angel raised an eyebrow, also rather surprised that the younger man was requesting it. He frowned slightly then asked, "Is your skin still hyper-sensitive?"

Lindsey bit his lip, nodding slowly. "A little, but not as bad as last night. I think it was just cuz I overdid everything…" he remarked sheepishly.

Angel nodded, then stood up and held out his hand. "Ok, then. You seem to be relatively ok, other than the side affects of whatever is happening to you. I'd prefer not to have this discussion hanging between us any longer either, to be honest, so if you are sure..?" Angel gave Lindsey one last chance to put it off, smiling crookedly when the kid didn't take it. Putting his hand into Angel's, Lindsey stood up and allowed the vampire to lead him upstairs to his room.

Angel led Lindsey to the bed, sitting down on it before positioning the younger man between his knees. "Just to be clear, please tell me why you are about to receive this spanking?"

Lindsey swallowed hard keeping his gaze on Angel's face as he answered. "I deliberately went to a place where I knew my life would more than likely be in danger. I hid my intentions from you in an attempt to keep you from telling me not to do something I wanted to do- which could have resulted in my life being in even more danger, had you not found out about it…" he looked down, ashamed of his actions.

"That is correct, Lindsey. And if you ever hide anything from me like that again, you'll be grounded and receive a spanking every night of that grounding." Angel smiled faintly when Lindsey blushed and nodded. "Ok, Sport; time to lose the pants." Angel waited patiently while Lindsey quickly lowered his jeans and underwear then placed the youngster over his knee. He positioned himself so that Lindsey's upper body was braced on the bed, while his legs were trapped between Angel's legs. The kid could squirm all he needed- he wasn't escaping Angel's hand.

Placing one hand on Lindsey's back to hold him still, but also to give a little comfort, he placed the other hand on the younger man's bottom. Without saying anything else he raised his hand and let it fall with a hard smack right on the center of the kid's backside. Lindsey couldn't help the gasp that escaped.

Careful of the amount of strength he was using, Angel quietly peppered the repentant young man's backside, turning it a bright cherry red. He was methodical, making certain to cover the entire posterior from top to mid thigh. It didn't take long at all for Lindsey's tiny grunts of pain to turn into whimpers and then soft crying. When Angel heard the crying, he began to speak softly to his charge- accentuating each word with a firm smack.

"I don't like punishing you Lindsey- but I will put you over my knee every time you put your life needlessly in danger. I care about you too much to let you throw your life away. The pain you are feeling now isn't even half as bad as the pain I feel in my heart when I think I might lose you." Angel had to stop speaking as his own throat filled with tears.

Lindsey's cries turned into sobs as the vampire's words, combined with the pain in his bottom, broke through his final barriers. He hadn't wanted to hurt anyone else. He'd just wanted to be an adult and take care of his own problems. But he hadn't behaved like an adult at all, and he certainly didn't feel like an adult at this moment. He had behaved, and currently felt like, a naughty little boy and he was just lucky he had someone who was watching out for him, because he'd done a lot of stupid things that could have killed him. He didn't know how to express how badly he felt at the worry and pain he caused Angel- the vampire truly did care about and act like a father to him.

Letting himself go limp, he gripped the bedding under his hands in a tight grip. "I…I…I'm so, so sorry…" he whispered brokenly.

Immediately upon seeing his child accept and submit to the punishment- and hearing the contrite words, Angel ended the spanking and gently rubbed his boy's back. "It's all done Lindsey. You've paid for your misdeed, it will be forgotten now. You did good son. I'm proud of you…" Angel crooned to the distraught young man, as he slowly calmed down.

Once Lindsey's sobs ebbed and he was only crying sporadically and not as harshly, Angel carefully replaced Lindsey's underwear then lifted him up to sit on his lap and held the boy tightly, rocking him gently as he continued to sniffle.

"You must think I'm the biggest baby…" Lindsey muttered, embarrassed at how needy and childish he became when Angel took him in hand.

Angel snorted softly. "No. I don't think you're a baby at all. I think that your reaction is normal, considering how vulnerable you allow yourself to be with me, how guilty you felt, and how painful a spanking can be. I just hope you start to think a little bit further ahead when making your decisions. I really don't like having to punish you." he scolded slightly.

"Yeah, me either! I'm sure there are better ways to get your attention than making you have to give me a spanking." Lindsey huffed then hugged Angel tightly before carefully standing up and looking for his jeans. He'd somehow managed to kick them under the bed, despite Angel's having locked his legs in place. He hadn't realized he'd been squirming that badly. Sheepishly, he pulled them on, wincing slightly at the sting.

He gently rubbed at his eyes then looked at his 'father'. "How long am I on health supervision?" he quietly asked, knowing that he was going to be watched very closely and curious as to how long.

"Two weeks, Sport." Angel smiled crookedly, ruffling the boy's hair in affection. "You're usually pretty good about taking care of yourself, but until we figure out what is going on with you, I think you will need a little help. I don't want another night of fevers or worse because you over did it and didn't realize until it was too late that you should have slowed down."

Lindsey nodded quietly, not surprised at the news. Angel continued, "I think a 9:00 bedtime is early enough. You can wake up and get up anytime after 6 am, but if I feel you need it- don't be surprised if you find yourself told to take a nap."

"I won't," Lindsey answered softly.

"Now- would you like to eat your sandwich and then take a nap, or would you like to take a nap first and then eat your sandwich?" Angel decided to give him a choice, of sorts. Lindsey had to chuckle, and shook his head.

"I think I'd like to eat. Can I take my nap outside?" he smiled faintly as Angel put a hand against his back, leading him out of the bedroom and back down to the kitchen.

"I think that could be arranged," Angel smiled also, rubbing his back gently before reaching up and squeezing his shoulder. "I'll just stay in the kitchen to finish reading those books- in case you need me, alright son?" His heart swelled with affection for the younger man, grateful that he was given the chance to care for him and protect him. He felt very lucky to have been given a second chance with the boy.

# # #

"The road is long, with many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where,"
He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother by the Hollies

Angel had been amused, to say the least, when Lindsey had not only eaten the sandwich Angel had prepared for him, but then had gone back into the kitchen and eaten the left-over bacon as well as an orange, two apples, and half a bag of baby carrots. By the time the younger man was satisfied, Angel could only stare at him in vague shock.

Lindsey fidgeted under the stare turning slightly pink. "What? I was hungry!"

"Nothing…nothing at all!" Angel smiled crookedly. "I'm just wondering where you put it all…." He shook his head and chuckled.

Huffing, Lindsey had to grin back. "Yeah, well....Are you going to read the books I found?" He changed the subject, uncomfortable with the focus being on him.

"Yes, I am- and no, you can't…not yet anyway." Angel smiled to take the sting out of his words. "Maybe after you've taken your nap, I'll let you begin looking through them with me." He was happy that the ex-lawyer didn't argue with him, nodding in acceptance of his directions even though he had a mildly disappointed look on his face.

"Ok, I'll go take that nap now, I guess…." His voice trailed off. When Angel didn't change his mind, he sighed and went outside, laying down on the porch swing again- this time on his stomach.

Angel shook his head once more in fond exasperation, then went and began researching again.

# # #

The sun had gone down. Faith had returned at some point in the afternoon and enticed Lindsey into playing cards with her. Spike and Illyria had shown up sometime after that and joined them. All in all, it had been a peaceful and pleasant afternoon. Angel glanced over as Lorne walked into the house, carrying food. "You know- you should probably just cave in and pick a room…even if you keep your apartment, you're over here so much it would make it a lot easier on you." Angel smirked.

Lorne smirked back. "Who says I haven't picked a room? Just because you haven't noticed me moving anything in…"

Angel raised an eyebrow and chuckled. "Alright, then tell me which one? So I know where to look for you if I can't reach you at your apartment?"

Lorne sniffed. "I picked the other room next to Spike- the one right next to the stairs. You do realize Illyria has mostly moved into Spike's room, don't you?"

Angel gaped at the green man before rubbing his chin. "I didn't, but thanks for the heads up." He finally walked over and took one of the bags from Lorne and walked it into the kitchen and beginning to unpack it. "Food's here!" he called out to the rest of the house. "Hey! No running in the house!" he admonished both Lindsey and Faith as they came bounding into the room and began loading up their plates.

Lorne shook his head. "Are you sure they are full grown? They eat like they haven't finished growing up yet…"

Faith turned around and stuck her tongue out. "I heard that Uncle Lorne! Slayer appetite. Remember?" She grinned unrepentantly and headed back to the kitchen table.

Lindsey turned around more slowly and had a sheepish look on his face. "I dunno? Maybe I picked up some mystical tape worm or something…" he muttered, then got a worried look on his face and quickly knocked on a wooden cutting board.

Angel and Lorne just stared at him, before shuddering and going to get their own meals. They followed Lindsey out to the kitchen table where everyone else was gathered around eating- or in the case of Spike and Illyria trying to decide if they would eat here with the family or go out later. Angel noticed the configuration of the table with some amusement. It was boys on one side and girls on the other, with Lindsey next to Spike and directly across fro Faith, and Illyria next to Faith and directly across from Spike. That left the head of household positions to him and Lorne.

Sitting down next to Lindsey and Faith, Angel took a sip of the blood in his mug before nonchalantly asking Lindsey, "Have you told your siblings about the new rule yet?" The irritated and reluctant look Lindsey shot him was all the answer he needed. He grinned brightly at the younger man. "What? I think it really should come from you- since it was your actions that inspired it."

Lindsey sighed, feeling the gaze of his brother and sister and everyone else at the table on him. "Oh fine! We can't hide things from Angel in an attempt to get around the rules." At the slightly blank looks on his sibling's faces, he elaborated. "In other words, if you try to keep Angel from finding out about something because you don't want him to tell you not to do it- that can now get you in trouble."

Faith nodded slightly. "What happens if you hide stuff?" She asked curiously. Lindsey reluctantly told them.

"Ow! Son of a …." Lindsey bit his lip hard at Angel's admonishing "Language!" Glaring at Spike and Faith, Lindsey rubbed the back of his head where Spike had slapped him and rubbed at his shin where Faith had kicked him rather hard.

"We SO did not need an extra rule…" Faith huffed, although she didn't sound truly upset at it, and actually was fighting a grin. Leave it to Lindsey to find some new way to get into trouble…she had to hand it to the guy. He was much better at getting under Angel's skin than she ever had been. Good thing they actually liked each other now.

"Do I need to make a rule about abusing your siblings?" Angel asked meaningfully. He couldn't help but chuckle at Spike and Faith's hastily choked out nos.

# # #

Later, after dinner had been cleaned up Angel brought the books and research notes back out and spread them out on the table. Everyone stayed to hear what he had to say- they'd all noticed Lindsey's lack of emotional control and his sporadic physical abilities, even if they hadn't commented on them to him directly. Angel smiled at his family, then reached over and gave Lindsey's arm a quick squeeze.

"I believe I have found the situation we are dealing with here." He began his explanation. He held up a hand to stop the questions before they could start, "Let me explain what I found first and then ask me about it…" he requested. At everyone's nods of agreement, he continued.

"Just to make certain we are all on the same page- we are all aware that Lindsey participated in some mystical rituals in order to gain powers that he normally would not have had, correct?" He waited while everyone nodded. "From what I can tell the problems Lindsey is now having stem from one event- the short period of time when he was technically dead." He looked sympathetically at Lorne when a guilt stricken look crossed the green man's face.

"The rituals and mystical elements invoked were darker forms of soul magic." At that everyone stared at Lindsey with varying levels of disbelief. Lindsey couldn't help but squirm.

"Alright, I know. I know. I wouldn't do it NOW!" he weakly tried to defend his actions of three years before. Angel looked at him sternly. "Damn right you wouldn't- you'd be answering to me if you did…" the vampire muttered.

Angel shook his head and continued. "Anyway, since the rituals were based on soul magic, they relied on Lindsey's soul to remain active. When he died, the magic suddenly had nothing to connect to. Normally, this wouldn't be an issue- the bindings would just be broken and the magic would disappear. Even when Lindsey was brought back by the doctors, the powers should have remained gone because the binding connection had been broken."

Lindsey frowned. "But they didn't break with me…"

Angel nodded. "No- they didn't. Instead they boomeranged. There was one instance of something like this occurring mentioned in this book…" Angel slid the tome over to Lindsey, pointing out the passage he was talking about. "Apparently, somewhere in the world, there was a soul that resembled yours so closely that the magic became confused and attempted to find this other soul. When the doctors brought you back, the magic recognized your soul and snapped back to you."

"Kinda like a rubber band," Faith remarked. When everyone looked at her she shrugged and elaborated. "You stretch a rubber band as far as it will go, but it will eventually snap back to whatever is holding it. It's just a bit more stretched out than it used to be."

"So…because the magic didn't disappear like it should have because it was trying to find this other soul- it was able to bounce back to me. But it's all stretched out and unstable because of the little side trip it took?" Lindsey narrowed his eyes thoughtfully.

"That's exactly what I think happened." Angel answered. "The one instance this happened before, the woman it happened to just had to be careful not to over use the abilities. Eventually they returned to their normal, stable power and she wasn't plagued by the side-effects."

"So Lindsey has a soul mate?" Spike eyed his younger brother sideways.

"Naw…soul mates wouldn't be identical enough to fool the magic- it would more likely be a sibling. 'Cept all my blood family is dead…so that don't make sense…" Lindsey mumbled in a thoughtful drawl, unaware of the information he'd just spilled to the others.

Lorne frowned, "So we just wait for everything to settle down again and our cowboy should be right as rain?"

Angel nodded, "That's what I think anyway."

Lindsey chuckled lightly, trying to ignore the feeling that Wolfram and Hart had royally screwed him over. He would do more research later, once he was back to normal. It was good news that Angel had found and it made sense, even if it did raise more questions.

"So I just hafta take it easy until I feel normal again?" He grinned.

Angel smiled back. "Think you're capable of doing that?" he smirked.

Lindsey nodded. "I think I'll have plenty of help doing so, if I'm not capable of it," he laughed. The others could only laugh in agreement.

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