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Posted to the RoswellSlash mailing list June 15, 2001

Title: Afterworld
Author: Elizabeth
Category: Crossover (Angel/Roswell) Slash
Spoilers: Angel spoilers through "Dead End"
Roswell spoilers through end of Season Two
Summary: After everything changes...
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters.
Distribution: RSA, GP, and my site. Anyone else, please ask.
Feedback: Please.

        L.A. is far behind him, two states back and three months distant, and the sign an LA cop handed him, unsmiling, sits folded up in his glove compartment. Lindsey means to throw it away every time he stops but always forgets to.

        He's in New Mexico now. Mexico--where he went first, sinking into the desert-toned pallor of its sky and driving its endless rutty roads, only surfacing when he'd woken up one morning thinking he never wanted to leave--was interesting. New Mexico is not.

        It's a boring state. Flat and brown, unrelieved by the mountains, chasms, and spotty towns that scar it. He meant to push on to the far corner of the state today, meant to go to sleep knowing that tomorrow he'd be crossing into country that he knew, that he understood. He was going to return to Oklahoma and just be, try to remember the person he'd left behind years ago. He was finally ready for that.

        He had to stop though. He didn't think he would, but he did because he realized once he was there--back in Okalahoma-- he would have to do...something. What, he wasn't sure. But he knew he'd have to quit living the way he is now, just driving and drifting and not thinking about anything beyond tomorrow.

        So he stopped and got a room, then drove around till he found a bar. He almost stopped at the brightly lit and shining establishment beckoning at the end of the town's 'business district,' a grand name for a collection of four office buildings and a sign, but realized he didn't have to.

        He isn't part of that world anymore.

        There's another bar because of course there always is one, even in small towns. It's darker, smaller, and its parking lot is more crowded. He rubs his neck absently as he walks inside, kneading, with one hand on either side, and then stops for a moment, smiles. He's still not used to having two hands, and the joy he feels when he remembers is almost enough to make him stop worrying about how he could wake up tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, to find a hand-picked 'special contractor' of Wolfram and Hart's waiting for him.

        The bartender is not interested in chitchat; his only comment is a brusque, "What d'you want?"

        Lindsey orders a beer and stares at the rows of liquor bottles behind the bar, noticing that New Mexicans seem to prefer whiskey over vodka and that there are no containers of exotic flavored liqueurs. Fancy cocktails with fancy clients are something else he's left behind.

        His beer is placed in front of him and the bartender waits with an outstretched hand. Lindsey pays him and then looks around while he drinks. There's nothing much to see. A group of people at the far end, clustered around a tv. The bar itself is merely serviceable--dark wood, layered with finish, and dotted with chipped glass ashtrays. Over the other end a man with dark hair sits, looking down at the bar, and for a moment, the sight of that hair, the way it shines and somehow manages to both reflect and capture light at the same time, makes Lindsey's breath catch.

        But then the guy--a kid really--looks up and Lindsey is able to breathe again. The face is nothing like the one he knows; the features are softer, rounder. Younger. Pretty, actually, and he can notice that. Pretty doesn't cause him to do stupid things. Dark edges, beauty glossed with cruelty--that's a different story.

        The kid puts one hand down on the counter unsteadily and says something that makes the bartender laugh out loud, shaking his head as he turns away.

        Lindsey has always wanted to be funny.

        He gets up and walks over to the kid. "Can I get you another one?"

        Bad idea, buying probably underage boys beer in borderline seedy bars in states he really meant to just drive through, but so what? He's turned his back on the minions of hell. Literally. It's already been established that he is the king of bad ideas. Guess he hasn't lost his reckless streak after all.

        The kid turns to him, looks at him with a hazy gaze that Lindsey remembers seeing on his own face several times when he was younger and thought that problems could be solved by forgetting them for a few hours with vast quantities of alcohol. "I don't know. Can you?"

        He smiles at that, a little, and the kid smiles back, shrugging his shoulders, a supple flexing that Lindsey notes because the kid's shoulders are pretty broad, really and--oh no. Not going there. Between a blonde vampire that 'forgot' to wear clothes while she was wandering around his apartment, spilling blood all over his sofa, and another vampire, dark-haired, that alternated between beating the shit out of him and hovering over him till all Lindsey could think was kissmekissmekissmepleasejusttouchme, the last thing he needs is to be noticing what he's noticing now. He looks anyway, and the kid is still just pretty, even with the shoulders.

        So Lindsey sits down and says, "Can we get another beer over here?"

        The bartender turns to look at him, clears his throat. Lindsey sighs and puts a twenty onto the bar. He's forgotten what it's like to drink in places where proof of ability to pay is required.

        The beer appears in front of him and he slides it over to the kid. "Here."

        "Yep. Here it is," the kid says, deadpan, and then picks it up with the careful over-coordination of the drunk and drinks.

        "So," Lindsey says, when the glass is returned to the bar. "What's a--"

        The kid laughs. "Are you trying to pick me up? Cause if you are, I gotta tell you, I, uh, like girls. Mostly. No! Wait. I mean, always. It's just that," he lowers his voice a little, and Lindsey watches the kid's eyes gleam and thinks that once, he was probably a lot like this boy and wore his heart on his sleeve. He resolutely ignores the little voice that says he hasn't changed all that much. "there were some--special--circumstances. And also, I'm kind of coming off the ultimate bad relationship. I had this thing--kind of--with someone and it ended badly. So you know. Damaged goods and all that. Am I still talking?"

        Lindsey laughs. "Me too." And then, "bad relationship type thing, I mean." He says that slowly, years of caution shrieking at him not to say what he feels. But he isn't going to be that person anymore. Someday. Maybe. He's trying.

        "Oh yeah?"


        "How badly did yours end?"

        Lindsey shrugs. "Bad." Darla gone, his apartment cleaned out, himself all broken and bloody and waiting--longing-- for a nighttime knock on his door, for Angel to come and finish things, that never came. Yeah, it was bad.

        "Tess--that was her name--she--uh--hurt someone. Really--a lot--and--I. Helped. I didn't mean to, but I did."

        Lindsey looks over at the kid, who is staring down at his beer. He sometimes thinks about Brad staring at him, trapped under glass and in pain, alive because that's the way Wolfram and Hart wanted him to be. Sometimes he thinks about how his one remaining hand has done far worse things than the recently attached and slightly evil one. He thinks about a lot of things, sometimes. "Memories are hell to live with."

        Now the kid looks up at him.

        "I'm Kyle," he finally says.

        "Lindsey," he replies and Kyle smiles. Doesn't try to shake his hand and Lindsey likes that. He shook a lot of hands at Wolfram and Hart.

        He did a lot of things he hopes he'll be able to forget someday.


        There are tables, sort of, in the bar. They are rickety and old and wobble from side to side alarmingly for what, as far as Lindsey can determine, is no reason at all. He and Kyle sit down at one and talk a little, about nothing mostly. Lindsey learns Kyle is just "passing through" town and answers the same way when he's asked. He smiles when he realizes it's the truth, that he is just passing through, and Kyle stares at him like he's crazy, asks,

        "What's so funny?"

        "It's just that I'm really am passing through."

        "And?" Kyle replies, raising an eyebrow. "Cause that's not really all that funny. Or at all." He grabs a handful of 'free' peanuts out of the bowl that sits on the table, (Lindsey hasn't touched them--he's not that ready to return to his roots yet) eats them, and then grimaces. "Spicy," he mutters. "Figures." He eats another handful and then looks up at Lindsey. Waiting.

        So Lindsey tells him a little bit. Tells him that he lived in LA, that he'd left.

        "Still not getting the joke," Kyle says. "But whatever. How come you left? The bad relationship thing?"

        "Sort of."

        "I wish I could leave. But even if I could it wouldn't be--" Kyle pauses, looks at his glass. "I need another beer."

        Lindsey goes and buys him one and another for himself. When he gets back to the table and hands Kyle his beer he says "Still wouldn't be what?"

        Kyle takes a sip--a gulp, really--and looks right into his eyes. Lindsey almost--almost--flinches because there is a lot of pain in Kyle's gaze. It's been a long time since he's seen that kind of naked emotion. "Even if I left, it wouldn't be enough to make me forget. There are things I've done and even if I didn't mean them, didn't really know about them, --" He breaks off, takes another huge gulp of beer. "I see all of it every time I close my eyes, you know?"

        Brad's pained face, his whispered 'kill--me.'

        "I do."

        "You know," Kyle says slowly, "I think you really do."

        They drink the rest of their beers in silence.


        "So," Kyle says, when their empty glasses are on the table, "Bad relationship. Tell all."

        Lindsey smiles. There's no way he's doing that, but still. "There was this--woman. Darla. I loved her, but she didn't love me. I thought that maybe, with time, she might, but she never did."

        "Oh." Kyle says. And then, "I thought you were gay."

        "I'm--"he says, and then pauses. It's not that simple, but he doesn't have the heart to tell Kyle that. He longs to be young again, to see the world so simply, in terms of true or false, either/or, with no shades of being in between. "There was a guy too--" He hasn't spoken Angel's name since he left. Tonight is the first time he's even let himself think it. It's just a name. "Angel." There. He's said it, and the world didn't end.

        "Angel? That was his name? For real?..." short bark of laughter and then a pause, when Lindsey doesn't say anything, followed by, "Wait. This guy. Angel. And Darla. They--"

        "They knew each other. For years. Had--a history." He hates that word. Darla used to say it with such joy. 'Angelus and I have a *history *, Lindsey. Lifetimes together. You wouldn't understand.'

        He understood plenty, in the end. He'd wanted both of them and had gotten nothing.

        "A history," Kyle says. "History. God, I hate that word."

        Lindsey smiles. "Yeah."

        Kyle smiles back and then looks down at his glass. "Do you miss her? Or--uh--him?"

        Yes. And. Yes. "Sometimes."

        "Me too. And that's what's the worst. Because I know wha--who--she is and what she did and I still find myself--I think that maybe if I'd known beforehand and talked to her that things would have been different. You know?"

        "No," Lindsey says, because he doesn't. He wishes he did, though. And then, because Kyle is looking at him, kind of shocked and sad at the same time, at the idea that Lindsey doesn't even have the hope that he could have changed things and because he hates pity, he says, "I should get going."

        "Right. Whatever," Kyle says, his gaze going far away and blank. "I'm here with some people anyway. Well, not here. But you know. They're probably worried. One of them might be, anyway."

        Lindsey smiles at that. "I didn't think anyone could do the self-pity thing as well as Ang--" He breaks off, swallows the rest of his beer. It doesn't clear away the bad taste in his mouth, doesn't get rid of his last memory of Angel, smiling down at him, the faint vestiges of who he'd always be, no matter how noble he got, peering out around from the depths of his dark eyes. Angel, smiling like he knew what Lindsey wanted more than Lindsey did, and was still going to deny him anyway. Just because he could.

        "Maybe things could have been different with Angel then, huh?" Kyle says, smirking a little. "And it's not self-pity. It's fact."

        The flatness of his voice startles Lindsey. "Kyle--"

        "Oh--"Kyle says and then stops, all expression falling off his face. "Oh," he says again. He is staring at the door and Lindsey turns around to see what he's looking at. There's another boy there, tall, dark-haired, glaring in their direction.

        "That the someone that might be worried?" he asks, looking back at Kyle.

        Kyle laughs, but it's a bitter sound. "Uh, no," and then Lindsey hears someone walking towards them, turns to the side and the boy from the door is standing by their table.

        "Well," Kyle says, sliding down in his chair a little, and smiling up at the boy standing over him, "what a surprise. The Exalted One is here. Let the lecture commence."

        "Shut up," the boy says. "I've been looking for you."

        "Really? For me? Max, I'm honored."

        Max shoots Lindsey a cautious glance, sort of like the gazes Angel's co-workers gave him the one time he'd tried to help them, and Lindsey rolls his eyes. "Why don't you take it down a notch or five there, Mr. Intense. Aren't you a little young to act like everyone is out to get you?"

        Max's gaze sharpens and for a moment he looks almost threatening. Almost, but Lindsey smiles his courtroom smile, the one he knows looks impersonal and savage, and Max turns away. "Kyle," he says, "we really have to go."

        "Relax. Lindsey's not with the FBI or anything." Kyle laughs. "Wait. Wait. I didn't ask, actually. Lindsey, are you by chance--"Kyle's voice drops to a stage whisper "a government agent? Or a dangerous alien hunter?"

        "What?" Alien hunter? Maybe he shouldn't have bought Kyle that last beer.

        He looks up at Max. Max's jaw is clenched so tight that it looks like it might snap. "We're from Roswell," he says, as if that explains everything.

        "Oh." It doesn't.

        Kyle laughs again. "Jesus, Max. Go away."

        "I'm going outside," Max says. "Everyone else is meeting us outside town in ten minutes. So. Hurry up."

        Max leaves and Kyle visibly sags, slumping over the table, one hand braced on either side. "Shit."

        Lindsey kind of wants to say something but also kind of doesn't, because in a world where vampires and other demons roam free he's learned that, sometimes, you just don't want to know more than you are told.

        Kyle looks up at him. "Not going to ask?"


        "You're smarter than I am," Kyle mumbles and then says, "I've got to go."

        "Me too. I'll walk you outside."

        He's not going to ask. But he's a little curious.

        Kyle smiles. "Ok." And then he says, "I take back the 'smarter than me' comment, by the way."


        In the dim glow of the streetlights outside the bar, in the way shadows falls across Kyle's face, Lindsey thinks he can see the man Kyle will grow into, maybe. He's still young enough to be mostly possibilities, choices stretching out in every direction. And he has beautiful blue eyes. Lindsey hopes that perhaps, one day, he will see them again.

        "So," Kyle says. "Thanks for the beer."

        "Kyle," Max says sharply, his voice loud in the quiet, and Lindsey looks over at the other dark-haired boy, who's waiting over at the far edge of the parking lot, hands balled up in fists by his sides. Lindsey extends his middle finger up in the air, mentally saluting a few people he's left behind in LA including Angel's lackey, Wesley, who reminds Lindsey a lot of Max. Earnest, serious, rallying for the good fight. Supremely irritating. It's juvenile, what he's doing, and he knows it. But it's a lot of fun.

        Kyle snickers and Lindsey looks back over at him. "Nice friend you've got there."

        "Sometimes you can't pick your friends."

        "Sometimes." And he leans over, touches Kyle's face gently with one hand. Soft skin, warm, and it's nice, to touch someone with no intent other than just making contact. It's nice to touch someone real. Human. It's the first time he's done so for no other reason than that he wants to in ages. "You'll learn to live with your memories."

        "Yeah?" Kyle sways towards him, just a little, and Lindsey can actually hear Max's indrawn breath, even across the parking lot. Apparently Max and Kyle have some issues they need to address.

        "Yes," Lindsey says, and kisses him, just once, and gently, chastely, on the lips. Pulls away and goes to his truck, gets inside. Looks over to the spot where Kyle was standing and sees that he's already gone.

        He drives back to the hotel. Before he gets out of the truck, he opens the glove compartment and pulls out a folded piece of paper, opens it, and smiles a little. After a moment, he puts it away and locks the truck, heads inside. As he walks into the lobby he blinks because it's brightly lit and he's coming in from the dark.


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