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 Title: Getting the Joke
Author: Tania
Summary: Sometimes all you can do is laugh.
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Angel/Lindsey

He doesn’t smell like sex, and that is the only thing that has amused Angel all night. Not that the fight wasn’t a rush, or that saving the few bodies Wolfram & Hart left unmutilated wasn’t gratifying, blowing up the building had a certain poetic justice to it, but somehow knowing that Lindsey doesn’t smell like sex is the clear highlight.

Such typical Darla, leaving her scent all over him. Musky, burnt flesh, lipstick and blood, that combination of uniquely Darla roars over Lindsey’s skin, seeps from his clothes, but it’s the absence of anything but his own unrequited arousal that sends Angel into the wall, clutching his sides and wiping tears from his eyes.

“What the hell’s so funny?” Lindsey asks, desperately trying to look taller than his five-foot-barely-anything frame will allow.

Angel can’t answer, it seems unduly cruel to point out the obvious fact that Lindsey’s getting about as much action as he is, despite having one of the world’s most insatiable women living under his roof. Yet, the jab is so sweet Angel can’t help but make it, “Just admiring the essence of Darla, minus the essence that is.”

“Anybody ever tell you you talk too much?”

“Not really,” Angel says, pushing himself up the wall until he’s standing on his own again, the last shakes of laughter rumbling out of him. “Usually I get the opposite.”

“Yeah, I don’t get that.” Shaking his head, Lindsey turns from Angel, hopping into the car. “Just take me back to my truck.”

“But the night’s so young,” Angel says in mock surprise. Garnering no response, Angel slides behind the wheel, putting the Belvedere in drive and turning away from the still smoldering building. “You know she won’t be there when you get home.”

Lindsey ignores him, not that Angel expected a response.

“Once she sees that her bad boy’s gone all warm and fuzzy,” Angel snorts, “she’ll be packing her bags.”

“Just means you won’t know which direction she’ll come at you from next, which means we win.”

“Is that what you think you are? ‘We’?” Pulling the car to the side of the road, Angel bites back the laughter building within. “You’re not part of a ‘we’ anymore, Lindsey. I have a feeling Wolfram & Hart aren’t going to take tonight in stride, and any ‘we’ you had with Darla was just a game to her.”

“Everything is a game to Darla,” Lindsey agrees, a few drops of melancholy tingeing his voice. “If you think Darla came back…”

Angel’s hand is gripping Lindsey’s shirt, twisting just below his neckline until the fabric threatens his oxygen supply, “She didn’t come back,” he hisses, less malice in his voice than he had hoped to convey. “It was you who brought her back, if the plan was for her to drive me out of my mind you maybe should have figured out she’d have to be a little obsessive. You can relate.”

Releasing his grip, Angel rests back in his seat, pulling the car onto the road again.

“I’m not obsessed.” Lindsey growls, wheezing briefly as he tries to catch his breath. “I may have a hand I can’t control, but the rest of me…” His voice trails off, forgetting who he’s trying to convince.

“Not so amusing when you’re the one she’s trying to fuck up is it?” Angel asks, with what may be genuine pathos, but he’s not sure. He’s had too many people telling him how he should feel for too long, and sympathy for Lindsey isn’t an emotion he wants creeping in on the exhilaration of the night.

“I was fucked up way before she got here,” Lindsey says, small laugh in his throat as he watches the city blur by.

“And yet, not fucked,” Angel laughs. “Ain’t that a bitch?”

When they reach Lindsey’s truck the silence between them is almost pleasant. Nothing left to say that doesn’t involve Darla, and neither wants to let her back into the conversation.

Jumping out of the car Lindsey can’t help but turn back to Angel, leaning over the side of the car. “Thanks.”

“Where are you going to go?”

“Back to work.”

“They won’t have you,” Angel says as Lindsey turns to go, watching as he pauses for one slow pace.

“No one will.”