Caesura: a break in the flow of a song or piece of music
A/N: My contributions to the Andy Hallett memorial fics. I know it took a while but inspiration was slow in coming till I figured out that I would simply write about my favourite guy characters from my favourite current shows. I know, very intelligent. Not. Sorry, it just took me a while.
Disclaimer: I lay no claim to Angel or StarGate or Eureka or any of the other shows I might get around to writing about. It is all in good fun and in memory of a wonderful actor.Part One: Flyboys
Lorne knew his type well. Military guy just about to ship out to whichever warzone his country was sending him to. Probably Afghanistan, judging by the way he was downing his shots of bourbon. Quiet drinker, mind and Air Force where Navy was more usual.
Funny how things turned out. When he’d opened Caritas he’d been as leery as the next demon when it came to the United States Armed Forces. Theirs was not the kind of attention you wanted drawn to yourself. There were still rumours floating around that the Americans had picked up the nasty little demon projects the Nazis had started in World War II.
So Lorne had been less than pleased when a trio of hugely inebriated marines had almost fallen through the front door in his second week. In fact, he blamed the levels of alcohol in their blood for the ability to even get past the various stay-away and notice-me-not spells layered on his home.
Regardless those three had been easy to please if a bit hard on the ears. His conscience demanded he warn the youngest of what lay in his path, though he never did find out if the boy listened or even remembered his words. The kid’d had a name like a car, that much Lorne remembered.
Since then a fair stream of marines had come through his door, looking for a drink r a reading (usually egged on by laughing, jeering friends only occasionally a believer sent there on the behest of a friend).
And now the Air Force was here. Or at least one of them trying to drink himself into oblivion. Something told Lorne that this one had to sing. There was an aura of destiny around him, a sense of ‘chosen one’. Not that the guy looked it or anything. Sure the uniform was starched and pressed to a tee; there was just something about the man’s slouch, the unruly hair that spoke of somebody who pushed and prodded at regulations and boundaries instead of abiding by them.
Ordering himself another Seabreeze, Lorne gathered himself and wandered over.
“Something you want to get off your chest, sugarplum?”
The man’s head shot up, one hand dropping to his thigh and Lorne realised two things. Namely that this man was dangerous and not half as drunk as he appeared.
A smirk appeared on his handsome face, one that didn’t make it quite the distance to his eyes.
“Sorry to disappoint. I’m not looking to hook up.”
“Nice costume,” he added after a brief pause with another smirk that hinted strongly at the fact that he knew full well it was anything but a costume and had chosen to overlook that fact.
Lorne laughed out loud. “Oh, honey, that wasn’t a pick-up line. I’m The Host, this is my bar and I listen. Or you can sing and I’ll tell you about yourself.”
“What?” The man’s voice was incredulous. “Like fortune telling or something?”
The smirk was back, but Lorne wouldn’t be who he was if he couldn’t spot a defence mechanism when he saw one.
Silence reigned between them for a few golden minutes before the man spoke again.
“I was disinherited today. And I ship out to Afghanistan day after tomorrow.” He took another swallow from his glass and added. “The former is due to the latter.”
Lorne would have been shocked but knew all about weird families. There was only one thing he could say to help.
“Sounds like you need another, honey. It’s on the house.”
The man nodded in acceptance and went back to his prior focused drinking.
For the next hour or two Lorne watched as the man switched from shots to on-alcoholic drinks. Smart move if he had to be up for muster the next day.
There were few readings to do that evening, most patrons were there simply to unwind and relax.
“So how does this work?” A voice asked over his shoulder, causing Lorne to jump, only just preventing a squeak.
“Don’t do that, honey. Or I’ll get you a bell or something.” He placed a hand on his chest theatrically. “How does what work?”
“The fortune telling thing.” The man’s voice was carefully casual.
“Oh, that.” Lorne said. “Well you just mosey on up to the stage and pick a song and I’ll be here when you’re done.”
“Well okay then. Why not?”
It took a while for the man to decide on his tune, but then a guitar riff filled the bar and he began.My daddy left home when I was three
And he didn't leave much to ma and me
Just this old guitar and an empty bottle of booze.
His voice wasn’t quite up to par with Johnny Cash but he did the song justice and got a decent round of applause when he was done.
A few backslaps came his way when he left the stage and wound his way back to Lorne.
The Host sighed; why was he always stuck with the tough ones?
“So John, likes football, ferris wheels and anything that goes faster than 200 an hour, what do you want to know?”
John started a bit, but didn’t seem too surprised that Lorne now knew his name. He didn’t answer though, just shrugged.
Lorne thought about it for a second, some of the things he’d seen were enough to drive a demon to drink and the bar was already set pretty high in his case.
“Well, John, three things then. First, when it comes down to a flip of a coin, do the opposite. Two, you’ll do the right thing. It might not feel like it after, but it will be the right thing and don’t let anybody tell you different.” He thought some more and then added. “Incidentally one day you might want to remember that everybody makes mistakes and nobody is perfect. And holding their actions over their heads never does anybody any good.”
John merely nodded, unsurprised or maybe unbelieving, Lorne didn’t know. He’d done his part, the rest would be up to the young man.
“Have another on the house.” Lorne said, before leaving him to it, knowing that his part in this man’s life was now over.