Title: A Push in the Right Direction (5/17/06)
AN: Written for the Good__Evil challenge for May, this is a Good Lorne ficlet.
Disclaimer: Lorne, Fred and Spike, of course, all belong to Joss Whedon and I am just playing with them.
Beta’d by Always_jbj
Banner and icons by the talented Selene.
A Push in the Right Directon
The green empathy demon frowned with concern as he walked past his boss’s office and heard the souled vampire humming a Barry Manilow tune. Lorne tried not to pry when he was around his friends, but he couldn’t miss the aura of smug satisfaction surrounding Angel as the vampire settled into his big leather chair after sending a very dejected Spike from the room.
With a sigh of resignation, Lorne set off down the hall, following the trail of gloom left by the newly-corporeal vampire. He followed the usually snarky blond as Spike’s feet took him inevitably to the person everyone went to for comfort – the thin, hyper-active woman in the white lab coat. The only one on the staff who actually seemed to care about the resurrected vampire and his future. As Lorne entered the lab, he saw Fred giving Spike a platonic hug and murmuring platitudes in his ear. The demon wasn’t sure, but he thought he saw a trace of a tear on the vampire’s cheek before they noticed his presence and Spike leaped to his feet in embarrassment.
Ever the southern lady, Fred struggled for an explanation for their behavior that wouldn’t spoil the lonely vampire’s image as the unfeeling bane of Angel’s existence.
“Lorne! Hi! Spike was just thanking me for what I did to try to make him corporeal – even though we all know I had nothing to do with it.”
“Relax, lean, blond and gorgeous,” the demon said kindly to the clearly mortified vampire. “I’m not here to bust your big bad bubble. I just want to hear you sing a bit before I stick my nose in where it probably doesn’t belong.”
“Sing? You want me to sing again? I did that already, remember? The great poof wouldn’t believe I was me and that I wasn’t up to something until you gave him the all clear.”
“I know. I know. But this time I want to hear a different kind of song. I don’t want to hear your imitation of Joey Ramone, I want to hear something else. A love song.”
“Oh no!” Spike reared back and looked at the demon with wide eyes. “I don’t do Manilow. That’s your broody boss’s thing –not mine. I’m a punk rocker all the way.”
Lorne held up his hand in surrender. “All right. How about a little Clash, then? Can you do ‘Should I stay or should I go?’” He cocked his head and met Spike’s suspicious gaze innocently.
“Yeah, alright. I can do that I guess; but I still don’t see—“
“Just sing, Spike,” Fred said softly. “Lorne usually knows what he’s doing.”
Looking somewhat uncomfortable, and glancing at Fred who was smiling her encouragement at him, he jumped into the song’s chorus with, “Girl you got to let me know – should I stay or should I go. This indecision’s killin’ me. – you know you got to set me free…la la la… should I stay or should I go now…” His voice trailed off and he shrugged with embarrassment.
“Guess I don’t know the words as well as I used to.”
“It’s okay. That was enough,” Lorne said with sigh, nodding to himself. “I heard what I needed to hear.”
“That you should have been on a plane to Rome ten minutes after you became solid,” the demon said firmly. “You’re not doing yourself any good staying here and letting Angel fill you full of doubts. And you’re not doing her any favors either.”
Spike stared at the demon’s serious face for a full minute before turning away and saying roughly, “You don’ know anything about us. Her.”
“I know that when she was here just after the near-apocalypse – right after you did your Joan of Arc imitation – she was grieving as hard as anyone I’ve ever seen. Grieving for a man she thought was gone forever.”
“I can’t believe Buffy sang for you,” Spike said, the faintest trace of hope creeping into his voice.
“She didn’t need to. The grief was rolling off her in waves. Oh,” he waved his hand around, “I’m sure she put up a good front for everyone – all her friends and those new slayers. Told them the same thing she told Angelcakes - how proud of you she was; how happy that you had turned out to be the champion she knew you would be. But her heart was broken. I couldn’t have missed that if I’d been blind and drunk instead of just listening through a half inch of frosted glass… “ he explained unrepentantly. “I don’t think I would have been able to handle it if she had felt like singing – which, to be sure, she didn’t. If I had felt that much pain in a song, they would have had to carry me to my room. As it was, it was all I could do to hide what I knew.”
“Did you tell the great Poof?” Spike asked shrewdly.
“No. He saw it, I think. She must have let her guard down with him at some point. That’s why he—“ The empath demon stopped, loyalty to his boss and friend at war with his desire to help two very unhappy people.
“That’s why Angel is telling you to leave her be,” Fred said firmly. “I love him for rescuing me, but he can be a real poophead sometimes.”
The vampire looked at Lorne for confirmation and when the demon nodded sadly, he stood up straighter.
“You really think she wants to see me?” he asked quietly.
“I know she does. She might be keeping up that front for her sister and her friends, but I can guarantee you that finding you at her door would be the best present you could give her. And yourself. You saved the world, fella. You deserve a reward.”
“Don’t know as how the Slayer would care for hearing herself referred to as a ‘reward’,” Spike grinned.
“Well then, we won’t tell her,” Lorne smiled back at him before adding softly, “Go get your girl, Spike. She’s waiting for you.”
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