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Tales from the Host

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Summary: Lorne has seen many souls pass through his bar over the years but, as one might expect, the special ones tend to stick out. This is their story… A set of answers to the Andy Hallett Memorial Challenge.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > Lorne-CenteredBarefootXOFR1856,9432174,8513 Apr 0931 Oct 10No

Sometime When We Touch ~ Rogue's Tale

I don't own Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel the Series, X-men or the song Sometimes When We Touch. The first two belong to Joss Whedon. The third to Marvel Comics. The last to Dan Hill. This ficlet and all those that follow are responses to the Andy Hallett Memorial Challenge. Each fic will feature a different fandom and a different song (in addition to the Angel & Buffy fandoms) which will be featured in a disclaimer above the chapter. All of these tales will be told by Lorne in the first person...

And now, without further ado, on with the show.

~~

Welcome one and all to Caritas. I am the Host and I’ll be telling you all about all of the many and varied customers that have come through my little haven here. There’ve been an awful lot of them over the years and many of you probably think that old Angelcakes and his crew were the interesting ones. Certainly they’re the ones that affected my life the most, but I like to think that there were many more fascinating people walking through my door. Why just a few weeks after I managed to rebuild my precious Caritas there was this sweet girl…

It was a night like any other at Caritas. I was fixing a drink for a slime demon at the bar whilst another demon proved just how evil he was by butchering Stairway to Heaven and Alphonse (my new bartender) was being a dear and fixing me a sea breeze to help me forget the utter headache that the demon on stage was working on creating for me. It was in that moment that a child came in. She could scarcely be called more than that, the poor thing looked barely out of her teenage years. Still, I’m a bit fuzzy on humans so I didn’t feel too guilty when I discovered she was actually twenty-one. She claims that even other humans have trouble telling.

She’s an adorable little thing, even if she feels the need to cover up so much. I can’t help but think it’s an utter tragedy. I’ve been around humans long enough to know that she’s considered to be quite a looker, even if I don’t really feel the physical attraction myself.

“What can I get you, Sugar cane?”

The girl looks at me with hooded, slightly spooked eyes, and I’ve gotta wonder if she’s ever seen a demon before. As safe as I try to make my place Caritas is not a place for the uninitiated. “Just water please.”

I nodded agreeably to her and paused to get another mental whiff of what that demon’s vibes are telling me. I top up a glass of water for the little human cutie and politely excuse myself. I inform the demon who has finished assaulting my ears that he’d be wise to get out of Cleveland before a slayer makes him into mincemeat. The demon in question snorts dramatically. Damn fools think they’re invincible. They come in here expecting me to go on and on about how their plots can’t possibly fail. I’ve seen his type before. He’ll ignore my warning, do his dastardly deeds and be promptly minced by a slayer. Probably Vi, this time. She’s a real spitfire, that one…

But anyway, back to my new customer, that lovely little girl. Once I was done trying to save that idiot from an inevitable death I return to my newest customer. “Hey there, Peach pie, the stage is free. Why don’t you go up and give it a go?”

The girl brushed back her prematurely grey streak of hair and glanced mournfully up at me. “Ah don’t feel much like singing, Sugah. Maybe some other time…”

My heart went out to the little southern belle. She was already reminding me vaguely of Fred, God rest her soul. “You know, Sugar pie, singing isn’t just about the songs here. If it were then I’d like to hope that some of the ones with the more painful voices would stay home.”

The girl looked mostly unimpressed, but there was a sliver of interest in her gaze now. She had to know that I had brought it up for a reason. “That so?”

I nodded dramatically. “I am the Host, Peach fuzz, and that means that I can read the aura of anyone that sings on that stage. It also means that I might be able to help you on your path to wherever it is you’re going. It often helps the aimless ones to find their way.

She seemed to stare through me then, as if she were evaluating my truthfulness. Finally she nodded her head and took a place on the new stage. I taught her quickly how to call for a tune and she sung a song that she’d obviously had in her mind for quite a while…

“You asked me here to kiss you
But still collapse again
How can I find a guy to love
If they can’t embrace the pain?
But who am I to judge you
In a race that none can win?
I just can’t help but wish, that someone could touch my skin…

“And sometimes when we touch
The voices join the rush
And I cannot keep your thoughts from my mind
If I hold you you will die
As will any other guy
I wanna hold you but the risks to you are high

“Romance and all its chemistry
Are explosive at the best
But when they are combined with me
The reaper is your guest
I'm just another mutant
With a power I can’t control
A terrified young lover
Who cannot touch a soul

“And sometimes when we touch
Your mind reduced to mush
And I cannot keep your thoughts from my mind
If I hold you you will die
As will any other guy
I wanna hold you but the risks to you are high

“My touch, it tends to break you
And cause your heart to seize
As your power and mind comes through
With terrifying ease

“And then I understand you
For a moment’s eternity
I watch your life passing through
As I wield your ability

“At times I think that I have been cursed
To be alone ‘til the end
But then I touch another person
And I’m never alone again

“And sometimes when we touch
Your mind reduced to mush
And I cannot keep your thoughts from my mind
If I hold you you will die
As will any other guy
I wanna hold you but the risks to you are high”

The music I recognised but the lyrics were her own, obviously created to try to convey how she truly felt. I still wonder to this day if she had those lyrics written for some other reason or if she was just that good at improv. I guess I’ll never know.

Anyway, this poor girl has a tale of woe when it comes to her love-life. Ever since her first attempt at a kiss (in which she put the poor lad in a coma) she has been unable to make physical contact with another being without triggering her dangerous ability. I knew instinctively that it worked with demons too, despite her not having tried that yet.

She came over to me with this almost wistful expression on her face. It really broke my heart. Luckily, I had some advice for her as I set up a lemonade for the girl. I knew she was old enough to drink by then, but I also knew she didn’t hold with alcohol. “Well Peach blossom, I’m afraid there is good news and bad. What would you like first?”

“The bad…”

I wasn’t surprised. The bad was always good to get out of the way. Only the odd masochist wanted the good first. I think Angel asked for it once… “I’m afraid that not one being in the world, be they male or female, human, mutant or demon, can resist your power. All of them are susceptible.”

The girl’s face fell. I really felt for her, I did, but I’d be damned if I was going to get someone’s hopes up only to have them be dashed later. I never lie about my readings. “But, as I said, there is good news. It is very difficult, but with both of you working together, you and a guy who loves you enough can overcome it overtime. That power of yours is the type that someone can build up an immunity to naturally given sufficient exposure and patience. I know it’s not the quick and easy answer you wanted, Honey bunch, but it’s the best I can do.”

She nodded thoughtfully. I could tell, even without reading her aura any longer, that she was remembering the so-called cure. The darn thing had turned out to be all too temporary in many cases, especially with powers as volatile as hers. The girl was smart. She wouldn’t seek out that sort of band-aid solution again. She just needed to find a better boyfriend than that two-timer Bobby.

I glanced at the time and realised her destiny was about to pass her by. “I think it’s time for you to go, Peach pie. Now I want you to run out that door and not look back.”

She looked incredibly hurt at first, thinking I was kicking her out, but then she caught the sincere smile on my face and dropped her money on the bar before leaving at the run. I could faintly here the slap-bang of destiny blindsiding her. The destiny I had in mind for her took the form of a watcher with a heart of gold who had come to Cleveland recently after a long stint in Africa. They said, once upon a time, that he was the heart. I’m just hoping that he can be hers as he was once theirs…

~~

I hope you all liked it. I've never tried Lorne before and hope I captured him to the satisfaction of all...

Jasper
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