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Any Road

Author: Scynneh
Disclaimer: If I had them.*Scy grins. Widely*
Spoilers: Er, Lindsey is off on a Grand Exploration of Self.
Distribution: Oh, heck yes.
Improv 29: century -- unleash -- ground -- melt
Summary: Who knows.
Ratings: R for thoughts oh, and very dark weather.
Dedications: Lar, who needs something to perk her up and who was very excited about this one. And to Kassie who lets me babble about Lindsey to her when I'm on an idea high.
Feedback: Coveted at: Scynneh@yahoo.com

People had to be idiots to live in an area of regular monsoons and such a state was Washington. Western, to be more geographically correct. The Eastern part of the state was arid and more likely to have snowfall than rainfall, and it was almost always scorchingly hot in the summer and the kind of weather persisted where no one sensible was going to be donning anything wool-related. One would either melt or become a 'hikers wear layers' warning.

But as he turned his truck in the direction of the Pacific part of the state, he concluded that only three types of people lived in the Northwest: the crazy few who enjoyed monsoon rains, those who, for career or family had no choice but to live there, and idiots, who were bent something fierce on being near one of the largest suppositories of caffeine-laced liquids. Though, Lindsey didn't understand the last, there were plenty of Starbucks in other states now, no need to get sopping for a latté with triple whipped cream or wossitcalled.

So Lindsey resolved not to remain long in the state- then he got caught up in the landscape and scolded himself for the weakness. Towering trees comprised forests that looks as thought they might very well have a claim on the gods themselves, shades of moist green that he'd not seen before outside a mold culture in college biology. And moss. Something left alone in a damp area would be captured by Kingdom Plantae and not surrendered until a drought hit, which was rarely.

After losing some pieces of laundry overnight to voracious plant life with supernatural rates of propagation, Lindsey never set anything on the ground, or any other place where it could be removed or covered. By anything. The radio had been stuck on one station, an appallingly twangy country station until he reached towns where the population counted more than the raccoons as citizens, then some classic rock and even 'feel good' melodies saved the ex-lawyer from having to murder his radio. The smaller settlements had a distinctly Norwegian feel to the buildings, with military families in evidence as well.

Lindsey knew that he was clearly not at home; wearing an old bomber jacket, fleece collar turned up to try and warm him, a flannel shirt and a plain t-shirt for further insulation. His jeans were worn in that 'only pair and these are years old' style that spoke of not having a permanent address and his boots were definitely from out-of-state. And he didn't see may others like him, a few couples from Oregon, and thereabouts, but clearly if one wanted amusement, this was not the place for it. In fact, some of the senior residents looked as though they would take a stern stance against anything that hadn't been reviewed by the FDA and the Surgeon General. And in their eyes were the questions that he didn't want to answer himself.

He didn't think about why he was still on the road, not taking time out to rest, just seeing the country in a way that he hadn't. Not since before college and learning about restraint. He was trying to forget that lesson, and all the ones that led to him losing a hand and heart to someone who was too busy saving souls to love one. Or just his. Because the Bat Brats were so much tied to Angel that if they died, he would probably go a bit nuts. But it was all right for him to abandon them, just not for them to be taken away by Death.

There was no desire to reflect on how he'd been able to leave Angel behind, with all of his intentions that could be so right in so many ways, but he knew that if he wasn't careful in his mental wanderings, that his actions would mirror them and he'd be back under the fist of Wolfram and Hart, and Angel, at the same time possibly, and he was getting to like his freedom.

It was in his mind, utterly obvious that things were not going precisely to his plan of action. He'd set off from Los Angeles, finding the sign taped carefully to his tailgate after being pulled over for the seventh 'burned out light'. After some heartfelt curses and a penknife's edge prying the adhesive away from the metal, Lindsey was no more noticeable to law enforcement than any other redneck backwoodsman out on the highway. Except of course, he could most likely get himself out of nearly all legal situation imaginable, or enforceable.

The road spun out before him, a spool of concrete thread, spiked along the seams by pins of wire, connecting the people, most of whom could have done with a goodly amount of distance to get their lives in order. Onto that path he turned himself, aware that with this journey, he was about to enact an American fantasy, he'd read somewhere that being on the road was in the blood of any citizen from 'sea to shining sea,' put down for the same reason that people had sat in boats and written about lights in the sky centuries ago, and now he was off to 'discover himself' or whatever folksy description applied.

A pile of cassette tapes tumbled out of their box like teeth in a jaw that had no room. He reached over and selected one about to fall onto the floor. Sliding it into the deck and waited for his pick to reveal itself. The first notes of Chris Isaak's 'Forever Blue' spilled out, the warbling emotional wounds cosseting Lindsey's own oozing sores. At least he didn't have something obscenely happy, like 'Aqua' that might have really driven him to murder.

Lindsey had often compared the upper echelons of Wolfram and Hart with any typical parental unit. Though, after having been poked, observed, threatened, never overtly, and openly evaluated, he sometimes thought bitterly about how much he'd longed for a father who would care about all he did. Then he had it, in Holland, and he could the constant attention more menacing than encouraging. He'd always thought it not too smart to trust anyone who was always smiling. A barracuda smiled all the time, often while they were ripping other fish to easily digestible bits. The beach was pleasant, but when he returned home, he found sand where it should not have been, not even on special occasions.

A billboard with a photograph of a Frapuccino on a Popsicle stick- he briefly contemplated the sloshing quality of such a snack, and spent all of a minute calculating how thick of a support beam would be required to keep the bottle upright. Then he abandoned that path of contemplation and idly switched lanes, drifting almost sleepily, ignoring the angry blare of other drivers' displeasure.

The combination of wariness and fascination with visitors in each small town caused him to keep his comments to a minimum, the accent again saturated his speech and he regained the trademark walk for from his secondary school days that had kept him out of trouble or well informed of its imminence. He was polite to man and woman, a real Southern gentlemen, on a low budget. He wasn't looking for something interesting, but in a situation filmed so many times as to be the ultimate roadway cliché, people meeting.

Still, when he was just outside a small town called Chimacum, which appeared to have only several attractions, the baseball fields, he saw a man walking alongside the highway, perhaps looking for a ride. His shoulders weren't tensed as the first-time riders tended to be, so he knew what he was on about and the trench coat he wore said- 'good leather, money at one time, could be that I'm just taking a cross country jaunt.' Then again -

He only had a duffel slung across his shoulders, and the dusty condition of aforementioned jacket could also point to 'down on luck and looking for an easy target.' The rain, of course it was pounding, unleashing torrents held in reserve, most likely responding to a cue in the script held by higher powers. pouring down in sheets of damp, drizzled over the windshield as Lindsey coasted gently to the side of the road, just a few feet from the tall man walking alone.

"Need a ride?" he asked in his friendly, ignorant easygoing way. It was an act that had sold many a time, when the man came parallel with the truck, he swung around to stare at Lindsey, as though he hadn't known there was anyone else around until the very moment Lindsey's lips let words pass between them. Auburn hair, the color of fern fronds crisped by a hot, rare crimson. There were highlights in that messy tangle, whether natural or added, he did not know, and they were red as well.

A large, appropriately black pair of sunglasses was balanced on a well-placed nose and with them blocking those eyes, Lindsey couldn't tell if there was interest, disgust, or homicidal intent. Sunglasses were one of the very best disguises and nobody had really developed them he thought of great factories of lentes del sol being fitted according to the strictest of calculations on mustachioed men who sidled in one certain days of the week after their odd and mysterious business had been completed. This man was too attractive for that though, he had something that told Lindsey he could be truly warm, if he felt someone worth the effort.

"Some day for a walk," Lindsey invited, the smile fading to only passing query.

"Yeah, I was just taking my time, me, and de sky opened up." The grin was like a door unhinged, an open, ungreased expression that Lindsey knew was genuinely curious. He'd rolled down the passenger window, and now the man leaned his arms in- the open space, seeming like some gypsy wandered, fascinated by the people around him.

Lindsey looked the man over- he didn't appear too violent, more capable of handling himself in all situations. In totality, he seemed more interesting than anything else, and if he was any trouble, Lindsey had the hammer in the bed of the truck- or the compartment behind the seat. So he opened the door and the man hopped in. "Lindsey McDonald," he introduced himself, and the man accepted the hand offered to him.

"Remy Lebeau," was drawled right back, and a very deep place inside Lindsey was warmed by the vowels of the South, Louisiana, and by the way that the other man regarded the truck, contents and driver in one all-encompassing dip of his chin. Ah, survival instincts, someone who had been there.

And he could see the smile, *aware* which he didn't remember ever being on the opposite end of when not fearing for his life and wished that he didn't appreciate it so much for an instant, but then decided to take what he'd gotten and move *forward*, challenge maybe, or just *I know what you are* nod that made this a game for two.


Copyright Tania 2003-2004
Violators will be forced to ride in the trunk.

A FangedFour.com Production