Character/Pairing: Lorne, Lilah, Lindsey
Disclaimer: This work of fiction is written by me, but the characters belong to the masterminds behind BtVS. I'm not profiting from this so I hope no one will sue me.
Summary: This is a ficlet set after my BtVS story, Omega Rising. It would probably make more sense if you read that first. A lot of people wondered what happened to Lorne after we saw him in Omega Rising, and/or why he didn’t go with Faith and Kim to meet Angel. Omega was set after season 1 of AtS, so Lorne had not actually met the fang gang yet. It didn’t make sense for him to accompany them. But your questions made me think… what did Lorne do next?
A/N: *Please do not distribute or post this story anywhere without my permission.* Thanks to cookiesarefood for her betaing skills.
Apocalypse in A Minor
Calmly picking his way down the street toward Caritas, Lorne tries to shake the sadness from his himself. It never gets easier to learn someone’s future is destined to be short and brutal. He figures there’s more of that on his menu now. Not many people have a future waiting for them. Blocking the entrance to his street, a group of the dead are clustered.
“Wizard of Oz,” he complains to himself, “can’t a guy catch a break?”
The zombies turn now, noticing his presence. Moving as one, they shamble his way. Lorne walks confidently toward them, more annoyed than threatened. It’s late. He’s tired, and he just saw that a perfectly nice young woman will be devoured in a few weeks time. He is not in the mood.
He waits until they’re close, almost close enough for their bloated fingers to touch his impeccably pressed jacket. Lorne opens his mouth, and he sings. His pitch rises higher and higher, shattering the windows of a nearby car. The zombies tremble, struggling to stay upright. But soon they tumble down, twitching on the ground, brain stems damaged if not destroyed. This isn’t a power Lorne has used often, but with the state of the world, he’s glad to have it.
He finishes the line he’s singing, then presses his lips closed. Time to get inside and away from all this mess. There’s a Sea Breeze with his name on it, and maybe a nice bubble bath if his plumbing is still mustering up water pressure.
As he reaches Caritas, he pulls out his key ring and unlocks the door. He’s through the doorway, breathing in the lingering scents of fruity drinks and happy customers, when he hears a shout in the street.
“Wait!” A woman’s voice calls, and Lorne peers back out, the early morning sunlight shining off his horns.
A man and woman jog down the street, approaching him rapidly. They’re grimy, carrying swords in their hands.
“We need a place to rest,” the woman wastes no time in getting down to business. “We can pay you.”
Lorne finds the pair intriguing. Neither of them looks particular scrappy, but somehow they’re making their way through the city alone. Still, he shakes his head. “Pay me?” He repeats. “Don’t know if you’ve noticed this, doll, but the economy’s tanked. Courtesy of them,” he nods at a new group of zombies, slowly meandering up the street.
The man gives the woman an exasperated look. “Please,” he says simply, clearly the more socially adept of the two.
Lorne considers it. He’s got a big heart, big enough to make him an outsider in his own clan. He doesn’t want to see anyone killed whom he could have helped. But a man’s gotta protect himself. Who knows what these two are up to?
Fortunately, he knows just how to determine that. “Sing,” he orders the pair.
“What?” The woman asks, incredulously. Her eyes cut to the horde that’s approaching them.
“Sing, or you’re not getting past this door,” Lorne says sternly.
“Oh, for God’s sake,” the woman mutters, before taking a deep breath. “O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain…”
After he gets to know Lilah better, Lorne will often recall this moment with surprise. Lilah Morgan is not the patriotic type. She is not even loyal to humankind, or her own dimension, if some of her less savory tasks at Wolfram and Hart are any evidence. But on this particular morning, she stands at the doorstep to Caritas, belting out America the Beautiful in a surprisingly sweet alto.
Lorne closes his eyes, drinking in her voice, and lets his mind be flooded with images of her past and future. Lilah throwing her graduation cap in the air... Lilah brushing a woman’s hair, chattering on animatedly although the woman looks blank… Lilah with Faith, offering her a job... Lilah laughing, smiling, kissing the man from Cormac’s upstairs room... Lilah and the man asleep… Lilah driving a pick ax into the forehead of a zombie.
He lets her finish the song, wiping away a tear as she sings from sea to shining sea. “Come in,” he invites.
“You read auras,” Lilah states, having figured out why she was asked to sing.
“Sure do, gum drop.”
“And you’re still inviting me in?” She’s always been one to look a gift horse in the mouth, and this is no exception.
Lorne smiles easily. “Honey, you may be a tall glass of evil, but I’ve seen your heart.”
Beside her, the man’s face displays shock. “And that made you open the door?”
With a vicious elbow to his ribs, Lilah smiles, stepping over the threshold. “Thanks.”
The man moves to follow her, but Lorne holds out one well-manicured green hand. “Not so fast, hot lips. You want sanctuary, you’ve gotta sing for it.”
The man glances nervously around, as if people might be observing his performance. Confident that no one is watching save Lilah, Lorne, and the ever approaching zombies, he launches into song. He doesn’t begin in the right place, but Lorne doesn’t mind. He bobs his head along as the man’s husky voice belts out, “Tommy used to work on the docks, union's been on strike… He's down on his luck, it's tough, so tough…”
In his mind’s eye, Lorne sees the boy behind the man, crying and clutching his sister as sheriff’s deputies put a padlock on their front door. Lindsey is his name, and now he visits that little girl’s barely marked grave whenever he can. Lindsey being recruited to work at Wolfram and Hart... Lindsey burning with hatred for the vampire, Angel, and yet… is that envy he detects? Lindsey appearing in time to decapitate the dead man about to eat Lilah... Lindsey rescuing a little boy from a hungry horde... Lindsey and the child, eating a cold breakfast, but happy, so happy... Lindsey smiling, crying, his child in his arms, an old shortwave radio on the ground beside them, pouring forth instructions. There is hope. There is a place for them.
“Oh,” Lorne says in a bright whisper, when the last line of Lindsey’s Bon Jovi impression fades away, “oh, you get yourself right in here, cinnamon buns.”
“What’d you see?” Lindsey asks, as he steps through the door.
“I can’t tell you,” The Host says mildly. “Where would be the fun in that?” He closes the door and turns the lock. “Welcome to Caritas,” he says grandly. “I think you’re going to like it here.”
There are good days. And there are bad days. The day Mac’s bar is finally breached is one of the bad ones. Lorne sings his throat raw when he finds those creatures gnawing on his friend’s mutilated body. So gentle he was rejected by his own bloodthirsty people, he’s never taken pleasure in hurting another living being, but today is different. He sings, his voice a deadly, beautiful weapon. He sings Patsy Cline, because Mac was old fashioned, and honestly, it’s a comfort to sing about someone else falling to pieces, when he is so perilously close to doing so himself. He sings every song of hers he can remember, watching the bodies fall one by one. When he’s spent, he steps over them, and clutches Mac’s grizzled cheeks between his large hands. He cries for Mac. He cries for himself, and for the world that used to be. He waits until his friend’s eyes open once more. Then he looks into those strange, possessed eyes, and he sings. It’s Billie Holiday now, and I’ll Be Seeing You is the eulogy he’ll never get to give. When Mac is still once more, Lorne closes his eyes gently. He pats his friend’s cheek, and then he climbs to his feet to go home.
One day, they’re out scavenging supplies when they run into the vampire with the face of an angel. Lilah leaves them then. She’s moving toward her destiny, although she doesn’t know that yet.
Lindsey won’t join their group. His blood still boils with anger when he sees Angel. He’s just fine in Caritas, thankyouverymuch. So Lorne stays with him, and the days pass.
“Lorne?” Lindsey’s voice drifts softly to his ears as they both hover on the verge of sleep.
“Hmmm?” Lorne’s almost out; he can already feel the artificial light of Las Vegas shining on his face. And the showgirls, oh, the showgirls!
“Do you think this is all there is?” The other man’s words rouse him slightly.
“Is that all there is?” Lorne sings softly, the dulcet tone of Peggy Lee’s voice rumbling through his sleepy mind.
“I’m serious,” Lindsey protests, but he’s amused, as always, but Lorne’s musical mind. “Do you think there’s anything left out there?”
“For you,” Lorne says confidently, “the whole world is waiting. You haven’t even had the best day of your life yet.” He thinks happily of his friend and his eventual adopted son. Lindsey can’t even comprehend how full his life and his heart will be.
“And for you?” Lindsey asks, closing his eyes to listen. Some nights, the world is too cold and lonely, and he seeks much needed comfort in Lorne’s words.
“I’ll be just fine,” Lorne assures him. His voice changes, becoming more melodious, “One fine day...”
He can’t see his own future, but Lorne just feels it. Good times are on the horizon. “You and I, we’ll move out to the country and open a saloon. Survivors will flock to us, and we’ll have a little town on our hands before you know it.”
“I can play the banjo,” Lindsey volunteers, also falling asleep.
Cracking a red eye open, Lorne looks across the room at him. “You can?”
“What do you think we Alabama boys do for fun?” He exaggerates his southern twang, and Lorne chuckles.
“Cow tipping?” The Host suggests mildly. “And I’ve heard some stories about sheep…”
Lindsey half snorts, half laughs. “Well, we better leave the sheep out of our new town just in case.”
“No sheep,” the demon agrees.
Lindsey grins to himself, feeling just a little lighter. It’s enough to get to sleep. “Goodnight, Lorne,” he mumbles.
The Host thinks of the day he met Lindsey and Lilah, so long ago now. Life took you on such wonderfully unexpected turns sometimes. “Goodnight,” Lorne says gently, closing his eyes.
This is the last piece of the Omegaverse, for a while at least. Hope you enjoyed it. Please leave a comment and let me know what you thought! :)