rating: pg 13
main characters: Fred Kwan, Laliari, appearance by Lorne
disclaimer; I own nobody from Angel or from Galaxy Quest. There may be a few minor original characters.
distribution: Twisting the Hellmouth, anyone else please ask, I'll probably say yes.
note: AU season 2 for Angel, post Galaxy Quest the movie. This could fit in the 'With Special Guest' universe, or be read seperately.
Fred Kwan was now a happy man. He'd never asked for terribly much from his life, a career successful enough to let him live in moderate comfort, good health, and someone to love and cuddle and call his own. It had looked fairly bleak for a while, since the market for actors who'd really only had one successful role, and that on a cancelled series was fairly slim. That had changed drastically last year. Everything had changed last year.
Now, his career was back on track due to a delightfully renewed interest in the show, enough that it had actually been revived for Galaxy Quest: the Series, with an unspoken 'second' before the word series. He was playing the same character, but it was paying better, the scripts were better, and now, he had Laliari. Granted, his schedule was pretty busy, but he didn't expect everything to be effortless. After all, meeting Laliari and getting that relationship started had been far from effortless. Actually, it had involved a brief kidnapping by real aliens, the involvement in a desperate effort to prevent an entire sentient species from being destroyed, and a crash landing back on Earth.
So what if his girlfriend came from another planet? She was sweet, and patient, and forgiving, and thought that he was wonderful just as he was. And she spent most of her time looking like a pretty, if a bit serious, dark haired woman with pale skin and the most beautiful violet eyes...
"What shall we do tonight? There are no rehearsals, no cast activities, and Laz... Alex has his date." Laliari slipped her cool hand into his, her thumb rubbing over his knuckles.
He smiled at her, still finding it hard to believe that such a wonderful woman wanted to be with him. "I'm sure that we can find something to do."
They strolled along the streets, enjoying the evening. They'd had an early dinner at a little cafe, nothing fancy or complicated. Then there had been a walk along some of the prettier streets, and they'd just sort of explored a bit. Laliari hadn't seen a lot of Earth, and she was still very curious about it. She would occasionally ask him about some places, if the names of them or the signs didn't help her figure out what it was.
"Fred? What is Karaoke?" She gestured towards a club, the place looking fairly nice, if oddly lacking in neon or bright lights. Probably some sort of bar or club.
He smiled at the question. "It's a chance for people to try to sing in front of an audience, when singing isn't what they do for a living."
She had that look, where she tilted her head a little, and her smile went just a little too big, too bright to look normal, and her eyes glazed just a bit. He knew by now what it meant, that she was turning over some new and strange human thing in her mind, trying to understand it. "This sounds... it's supposed to be fun? And relaxing? Could we... do you think we could try?"
Part of him wanted to refuse, wanted to hide his rather unimpressive singing abilities - more like words to rhythm than anything actually melodious. But he could see that Lalari was interested, wanted to learn more about this. She thought that it might be fun. It had been for him, for a chance that they could be a couple that she'd come here, left her home, her people, everything that she'd known to come to a strange planet and stay with a man that she barely knew. The least that he could do was be supportive when she wanted to try something new.
It probably helped that this club looked fairly quiet and respectable. The building seemed in good repair, clean, and not glaringly commercial. The name was a bit distinctive as well, a simple sign that read 'Caritas'.
Nothing in his life had prepared him for the sight of Caritas. Not so much the outside, but the inside, or rather, the assortment of... beings inside. Something that looked a lot like Bigfoot was currently on stage, attempting to sing something. He couldn't identify the song, but the music made him think it was some sort of Country. The person running the Karaoke machine was some sort of small grayish creature with four arms, and there was what a casual glance identified as a lounge singer in a turquoise and gold leisure suit, and it was only as he glanced back over everything in shock that it dawned on him the lounge singer had green skin and horns. The creatures seated at tables and along the bar looked like some weird mixture of a science fiction convention and the cantina scene from Star Wars.
"My God... what? How?" Fred found himself effectively speechless as he stared in shocked wonder at the place. He was looking around, eyes wide as he tried to take in all of the sights.
Taking his hand, Laliari tugged him towards a little table. They sat down, and a waitress that had deep blue skin and scales, contrasting with her intensely yellow eyes, sauntered over, offering them both menus. In a slightly resonant voice, the words rolled from her "Let me know when you've made up your minds what you want."
"I had no idea that there was anywhere like this in your city." She sounded almost breathless, her eyes lit with enthusiasm and delight.
He smiled at her, offering a gentle squeeze to her hand. The only thing that came to mind to say about this was a simple phrase. "Neither did I."
Fortunately, the Country moaning Bigfoot soon finished his 'song', and went to the side of the stage, apparently speaking to the green skinned man in turquoise and gold. If fate was kind, the green guy was offering some singing advice.
The stage was taken by a trio of giggling females. One was a deep crimson color, with deep purple lips, a figure out of a teenage fantasy, wicked talons, and a little black dress that looked two sizes too small. The second had yellow green skin with a faintly diamond like pattern that made him think of snake scales, and no hair at all, when she whispered something to Red, her tongue proved to be long and forked, just like a snake. The third was remarkably full figured, almost human looking, but she seemed to have a few extra fingers, and only a single eye in the center of her forehead instead of the usual two. The three of them started singing the classic 'R-E-S-P-E-C-T' made famous by Aretha Franklin, but only the cyclopean woman had any musical ability at all. She almost made up for the other two's poor voices, and the Red's dancing almost made up for her voice, but...
Well, that was why Karaoke was for amateurs. Poise, and even the ability to carry a tune weren't the point. But it did look like the people here were enjoying themselves. Fred started to relax, thinking that things wouldn't be too bad at all. Both of them had ordered a drink, and some potato wedges to nibble on.
Fred Kwan had no idea just how the evening would end up unfolding. He might have had a few suspicions if he'd known a little more about Thermian biology, but even his character was a technical expert, dealing with electronics, not biology.
Laliari's Margarita hit her system fast. Not only fast, but it hit hard.
She hadn't even drank more than half of it before her cheeks were flushed, and her eyes had the bright and cheerful glitter of someone well on their way towards intoxication. She was even smiling and swaying along with the next aspiring singer.
By the end of the drink, the pink flush of her cheeks had taken on a mottled purple cast. He could feel her running what had been a foot along his leg, her smile definitely suggestive. He just didn't think her foot was quite a foot anymore. "Are you having a good time?"
"Oh, yes! This is wonderful." She giggled, a faint clicking counterpoint emphasizing the more human laughter.
He smiled at her, wondering if he should mention that her shape was slipping. After a moment, he decided not to, she might get upset if he brought it up. "So... do you want to sing?"
"Could we? It seems to be very important, and I can remember that song, by the Share and her former... what's the word... former wife? no, no, not wife..." She started giggling again, tilting on her seat, the tip of a tentacle preventing her fall.
"Share woman... what do you..." For a moment, Fred was trying to figure out what song she could possibly mean. Then, she started humming, her fingers waving almost bonelessly along with the rhythm. That made it all make sense. "Of course. 'I Got You, Babe' by Sonny and Cher. Let's see if they have it."
They started looking through the massive songbook, giggling as they recognized some of the songs, others sounding less familiar. Finally, they found the one they were looking for, and made their way over to the gray machine operator during a lull between performances.
"Can we do this one?" Fred pointed at the song as he asked, hoping that Laliari wouldn't pass out before they could get back to the car.
The creature looked at it, and nodded, the lower left hand already punching numbers into the Karaoke machine. He waved them towards the stage, indicating that their moment to join the ranks of the talentless on display was now.
Truly, they were actually no worse than some of the other people had been. Laliari's swaying could have been passed off as simply an added layer of performance except for the occasional drunken giggle. Fred just felt a bit of relief that his own non-talent wasn't that much of a let down in comparison to the original Sonny Bono. Finally, they finished, and made a slightly wobbly bow to the crowd, some of whom seemed to be clapping.
"Well, that was something different." The green man spoke as he flocked the pair of them off the stage. His red eyes looked almost darker, possibly a little bloodshot, although it was hard to tell.
They ended up in the little cubby just off the stage, and he looked at Laliari, a sort of strange smile on his face. "You sure are a long way from home, sweetie. But don't worry too much about it. Life is what you make of it, and old friends are never more than a call away... and you'll probably be hearing from them soon. Just... be sure to get plenty of iron in your diet." He turned towards Fred, an amused smile on his face. "We don't get a lot of humans in here, but feel free to drop back in anytime. Closest to Sonny that I've heard here in years, and a lot less high strung."
"So... you're some sort of fortune teller?" Fred had been trying to puzzle out this guy, and he'd finally realized who he reminded him of. This rather sweet palm reader that he'd bumped into at almost a dozen conventions over the years.
There was a tiny wince. "Fortune teller sounds so... crystal balls and tea leaves. You sing, and I can get a peek ahead, see what might be in store for you. It's... well, the how isn't really important. Just watch out, there's going to be another big adventure coming up. And they won't have any decent coffee with them."
"No coffee, big adventure. Okay, that sounds simple enough." He nodded, considering the upcoming events as scheduled. Adventure might be a pretty welcome thing.
Then he glanced over at his girlfriend, who had sort of stuck to the wall, the pads of a couple tentacles sticking enough that she hadn't collapsed to the floor. Her eyes were closed, and she was making a soft, slightly wheezy snore. "Do you know anyone that could give us a lift back to my car?"
Blinking a bit at the sight, the green man nodded. "Is she... is she alright?"
"Oh, I'm pretty sure that she'll be just fine. She's just not used to the alcohol." He smiled a bit, looking at her. His girlfriend was definitely one in a million, or maybe even some bigger number. She was special.
end Questing For.