Little Green Men
Title: Holidays for the Heart: Little Green Men
Author: Restive Nature (aka bavite)
Rating: PG-15 (at most)
Pairing: Lorne/ Legolas
Disclaimer: All things Angel & Buffy belong to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. All things Lord of the Rings belong to Tolkien.
Time line: This story follows the events of Stupid Cupid. It is now March.
Summary: Never trust an explanation with Xander talking!
Little Green Men
"Ugh Du-ude!" Xander whined, pushing Legolas back with a hearty and very panicked shove. "For the ladies. The Ladies!"
"But Xander," Legolas grinned impishly. "I was but following the commands on your clothing." He glanced down at the brilliantly green shirt with the white script that Legolas had been endeavoring to make out for the last few minutes. When he had finally understood the missive, he'd risen from his seat in the library and done as commanded. He knew that it was amusing, for the girls, Willow and Buffy were nearly doubled over in their seats and even Oz and Rupert Giles were fighting hard to suppress smiles.
"Jeez," Xander took another step back from the Elf crowding his personal space and wiped at his forehead. "I knew I should have waited until tomorrow to wear this."
"Just couldn't wait to get to the good smoochies, huh Xan?" Willow tease when she finally came up for air. "Or were you hoping to advertise your wares early?"
"Little of both," Xander shrugged, as he glanced down at his long sleeved sweater that was now moist with Legolas' sloppy saliva. "Urgh, at least it wasn't a sloppy wet one somewhere else."
"Forgive me," Legolas simpered. "Once again, I seem to be caught unaware of my misdoing with your customs."
"Oh don't worry about it Legolas," Buffy interjected. "Xander's just bein' a homophobe." There was a pause as the group stared and gaped at the young blond She leaned back in her chair smugly and shrugged. "What, I used it right!"
"Yes, quite," Rupert exclaimed softly, still trying to refrain from smiling, especially at Xander's expense. That usually didn't deter him, Xander being the person in question, but still, the topic was one that could be extremely sensitive for young men. Apparently Legolas had realized the same thing, from just the look on Xander's face and it seemed that the young man was about to launch into some sort of tirade if action wasn't taken.
"So tell me then," Legolas began, gesturing to Xander's shirt, "why should the young ladies kiss you because you are I-?” he began to pronunciate and at the nods around him, continued with what was apparently the proper inflection of the last word. “Irish?"
"Huh?" Xander's attention transferred back to the Elf before understanding dawned on him just what Legolas was asking. "Oh, this? Another holiday."
"I was telling you about it Legolas," Willow piped up. "Saint Patrick's day."
"Oh yes," Legolas nodded as he resumed his seat. "The patron Saint of Ireland who drove out all the snakes from the country," he recalled his small lesson from the previous week. Of course, she had not mentioned that people of this country were then accorded special honor. Legolas thought it had just been the Saint that had been honored. But perhaps, given his lessons on Valentine's Day, another supposed saint, kissing was the mode of celebration in everything these people did. For some reason, he didn't find that so surprising. Even given Xander's reaction to his bendictive kiss on the forehead.
“Willow!” Giles protested at once and Legolas turned from his contemplation of celebratory manners to the older human. “I'm surprised at you, embracing such twaddle and then passing it on to someone so impressionable.”
“What?” Willow demanded immediately, her eyes going wide. Legolas could see that she truly did not understand why she was being taken to task. Giles seemed to have recognized it as well as he heaved a long suffering sigh, removing his glasses to wipe at them with his ever present handkerchief.
“Did we not learn our lesson with Valentine's day?” Giles prompted, staring at the redheaded girl, despite the obvious blurriness of his vision. There was silence as the group shifted uncomfortably in their seats. Giles rolled his eyes and replaced the glasses to their proper perch before turning to Legolas. “Once again, St. Patrick's day is a religious oriented holiday, that has grown more secular over the years. Indeed, it has enjoyed a long succession in the America's, but what it once was was completely different from what it has become.”
“And have you done your research in preparation of saving me from the embarrassment of misdeeds among the lovelorn?” Legolas teased gently. There was a frown playing upon Giles' lip and it took Legolas a moment to ascertain that it was humor and not disapproval.
“Indeed,” Giles harrumphed and Legolas allowed his own smile to form. As chastely as he could, he pulled back the remaining empty chair from the table around which the others were seated, lowered his form to it and politely placed his hands, one folded over the other on the table and looked up at the human expectantly. Giles rolled his eyes at Legolas' exaggerated movements, but apparently the chance to correct their misinformation was too great to resist.
“It is quite simple,” Giles began, addressing the entire group. “The legend of St. Patrick evolved through many tales of folklore, none of which were substantiated and through metaphors that have largely lost their meaning. For instance, the idea that St. Patrick drove the snakes from the country of Ireland.”
“He did not do this?” Legolas asked. That was one point that Willow had been very clear on.
“Exactly,” Giles was triumphant. “There have never been snakes that are native to the country of Ireland. No snakes means no driving of the snakes from the land. It is simply a metaphor used to spread the idea that St. Patrick, who of course, was not sainted at that point, was successful in his conversion of pagans to Christianity.”
“So in this metaphor, the snakes one refers to are these pagans?” Legolas asked, testing the last word carefully. Giles nodded. “And what are pagans?”
“Well,” Giles grinned, enjoying the turn of the topic of conversation, “a pagan these days refers to anyone not practicing some form of Christian religion, but in those days, pagans were simply sun worshipers. In point of fact, St. Patrick was once a pagan before he converted.”
“Really?” Willow piped up, her eyes, nose and mouth scrunching together as she thought things out. “Well, you can't blame me for not knowing. Jewish here, remember.”
Legolas looked over at his good friend thoughtfully. “So does that mean that Willow would be considered a pagan?”
“Oh no,” Giles denied immediately while Willow grinned. “Jewish faith falls under the pervue of not being paganistic because they recognize Yahweh as the true God. The difference between Jews and other Christian sects, lay in their differing beliefs about the validity of Jesus Christ as the son of God.”
“How fascinating,” Legolas smiled.
“So, if St. Patrick didn't drive the snakes from Ireland,” Xander interrupted then, “how come he's such a big deal?”
“Really Xander,” Buffy grinned, “given what Americans like to do to celebrate our holidays, how could we not embrace St. Patrick's day?”
“Drink, brawl, kiss and then drink some more?” Xander teaed, his grin growing with each word. There were answering smiles all around, but before more could be said the warning bell calling the children to their first class sounded, echoing around the library.
There was the familiar sweep of books and bags into waiting arms and the clatter of chairs being pushed back.
Legolas, still intrigued followed after them, waving a genial goodbye to the librarian who simply returned to his office in preparation for the rare student that might stop by that actually required one of the many dusty tomes that resided in the Sunnydale High Library.
“Is this truly what the holiday has degenerated to?” Legolas asked of the group. There were looks among themselves and he recognized that they were corralling their natural tendency to mock another, since they were well aware that Legolas really had no frame of reference for these things.
“Pretty much,” Willow finally answered. “Like Giles said, holidays evolve and while it started off as a Catholic holiday, when it was brought over to America in 1737, it was adopted by many people that saw the Irish celebrating in ways that were natural to them. Wearing shamrocks, drinking toasts and it didn't hurt that Maewyn's, which was actually St. Patrick's real name, that his birthday was actually supposedly March seventeenth. That put it so close to the first day of spring that other people adopted the celebration kind of as the arrival of the first green of the year.”
The group had stopped their forward progression as the teens looked at awe at the redhead. Then Buffy burst out giggling. “Nice one Willow!”
“Way to confound the G-man,” Xander complimented smugly.
Willow started forward again and gestured to her forehead. “Didja see the way his vein was all throbby in his temple?”
Legolas caught up just seconds after the others. “Willow, for shame, baiting Mr. Giles in that manner.” But his words held no rancor, as it was actually a little amusing.
“Oh come on,” Willow whined good-naturedly. “Giles just loves the chance to go on and on about old things that not everyone cares about. At least this way it was something we were actually familiar with, this time.”
“Man does love his speeches,” Oz agreed mildly. There was some more laughter as they foursome parted from Legolas to reach their classes before the second bell rang. But Xander paused and turned back to Legolas.
“Hey man, if you really want to join in the fun, you should search for the leprechaun?” he instructed the Elf. Legolas was instantly wary, seeing the glint of amusement in the boy's eyes. Knowing the adolescent's predilection for sophomoric humor, he knew better than to take Xander's words at face value at most times.
“The search for the what?” Legolas mused aloud.
“Leprechaun's dude,” Xander reiterated. “They're little green demons that hail from Ireland. St. Patrick's day is the only day that they can appear in this world. And legend goes that they're complete mischief makers. They do some damage, but they're wicked fast getting away. Buffy's never been able to catch one even. But they like gold, they even keep pots full of it under cover of rainbows. And the cool thing about catching a leprechaun is that if you do, they have to turn over their gold to you and grant three wishes before they return to their own world.”
Legolas simply raised one cool eyebrow at the boy.
“Fine, don't believe me,” Xander shrugged, quite unconcerned that Legolas was unconvinced. “Everybody knows about it. You can even research it in the library if you want.” With that assertion, Xander ducked into the room he was assigned for the first period of classes. With a wary sigh, Legolas turned back to the library. He had planned to spend the day roaming the parks of Sunnydale, reveling in the arrival of Spring, something that he did not need explained to him. He could feel it coming in his very veins. The cooler temperatures that did little to bother others were rising, the color in the foliage also were rising, becoming greener, more vibrant, more pure. The trees, though not like those of his homeland, seemed to be emerging from a deep slumber.
Truly Legolas knew that the others might consider him fanciful, since the land here was different from other sections of the earth. Being so close to the ocean gave it a different climate, one more moderate than to the extreme north or south, but everything had it's own cycle and regardless of how much the humans of this realm disregarded that, Legolas knew it to be true. And if the Irish of old could celebrate the first of the greening, then Legolas was more than happy to indulge as well.
After all, his name meant Green Leaf, did it not?
It was such a singularly frustrating thing, Legolas decided at the end of the school day, as he was waiting for the children to be finished with their schooling. He had returned to the library, to decipher these odd ramblings that Xander had plagued him with. Unfortunately, Mr. Giles had been preoccupied with the upcoming advent of a prophecy that needed immediate deciphering. Legolas knew that he could not interrupt and divert the man's attention from that most important duty that he held. But when Mr. Giles had noticed Legolas wandering around the stacks, trying to understand not only the ordering system of the books, but the titles as well, he had kindly found several that had to do with the next day's holiday.
Legolas could read some Westron, but while he had discovered that the languages spoken in his friend's homeland, well, his friends back on Arda, and his new friends here, suffice to say that the written language was much different. He had wondered about ten minutes into trying to decipher the text, if he was developing one of Wilow's mother's headaches. Resigned, and with his ears burning from Mr. Giles' occasional bursting rant of strung together curse words, Legolas had escaped for a short while, letting the librarian know that he was borrowing the book. Mr. Giles had noted that and said he could sign it out on Willow's student account and to be careful with it. Legolas agreed and put the book in his bag before he moved off to try and enjoy the day as he had intended.
But while at one of his favored parks, and mildly enjoying watching some children frolicking in the park, he had found a boon in the mother's that watched over the children. One of the younglings, seeing him with a book, under a tree, and retrieving a ball, had bluntly asked him what he was reading. Because Legolas could not honestly tell him the title, so he held the book up for the youngling to see. The child had grinned wildly and told him that he loved when his mother read those stories to him at his bed time.
At that point, the ever vigilant mother had scurried over to check on the situation. Legolas had greeted her politely while her son had protested. The child had informed his mother that the man was reading fae tales. The mother had smiled indulgently and unfortunately, though Legolas didn't realize it until later, he had misheard what the child, thinking that the youngling spoke the Elvish word for soul. His confusion must have appeared on his face, as he could have attested to the fact that the librarian had given him a book on little mischievous spirits of this world. When he had asked for clarification, the woman had chuckled and corrected him. Fae tales were legends of the old spirits that usually resided in the Old World, which was how Legolas knew that some people referred to the countries of Europe and east of the American states. She told him quickly that fae had become fairy because many people thought that the fae were little sprites, which was different from spirits.
Her child however was a little more blunt.
“Are you stupid?” he asked with honest ingenuousness. “Everybody knows about fairies.”
“Not I,” Legolas corrected gently and then including the boy's mother in his gaze, explained further and as honestly as he was able. “English is not my first language.” He had remembered at the last moment not to call it Westron, as apparently that word for the language did not exist here. At least not in the English language. “I am an exchange student.”
“Well, the children were about to have a snack,” the woman pointed out, reaching for the book. “Would you like to join us and I can read one of the stories for everyone.”
Legolas found himself lighting up slightly. “That would be ever so kind of you,” he agreed rapidly, even as the boy whooped a little. “I have been interested in hearing more about this holiday of St. Patrick's day, and our librarian gave me this book.”
The woman nodded thoughtfully as she scanned through the book.
“Well come on,” she decided, still carrying the book. Legolas rose gracefully and followed after her, amazed that with one book, he could go from perceived potential threat to poor, hapless lost student. But he was not about to begrudge the help.
And so, once all the children had been gathered together and snacks had been passed out, they all settled in to listen to the woman read, which seemed to be something of a novelty. Legolas, used to the term snack to describe a small nutritional boost of food at odd times in the day, thanks in large to Xander's propensity for them and for the parental units of those said children providing them after school was let out, made no protest when a juice box and little crackers with cheese spread between them, was pressed upon him. He found that despite the strange flavor of the cheese that he was not used to, he quite enjoyed them.
They all listened to the short tale the woman told about the leprechaun's and how, just as Xander had said, they protected their gold. But Xander had never said that leprechaun's were always found at the end of a rainbow. He surmised that were these things real, then the possibility of finding one in California might be very difficult. The weather patterns seemed too vague and unlikely in certain regions, given that it only sporadically rained, even through the winter term. Perhaps later in the year?
But what truly convinced Legolas that he might perhaps be onto something, was several conversations that he overheard while the story was being read. One woman was talking with another about her husband's visit to something called The Rainbow Room in the city of Los Angeles. Both women seemed horrified about it and if Legolas suspected that leprechauns were real and the rainbows were connected to leprechauns, and leprechauns were a type of demon masquerading as children's spirits, what kind of shock must the man have had, to discover the truth as well? And there was the children's gossip as well, about what they would do, should they ever achieve the catching of a leprechaun. Here Legolas discovered the joke that Xander had played on him, because he had told Legolas that the leprechaun would grant him three wishes. That was not true. The leprechaun simply had to give up it's treasure to the one who had caught him.
With grateful thanks and smiles from the children, Legolas had retrieved the book and explained that he must return it to the library. The women had sighed at him and complimented him on his manners and he had taken his leave of them to return to the school. He was not thinking too much more of the sporting holiday, until he heard Buffy and Willow approaching. They were deep in conversation and had not noticed him as yet.
“So Mom is trying to figure out how to make the mortgage payment,” Buffy concluded, her face slightly glum.
“Well, ya know Buff,” Willow was answering earnestly, as she usually did, “I can pay your cover charge, if your Mom can't, you know-!”
“I'm sure she could,” Buffy protested. “I just, well, I don't want to even ask right now. Mom doesn't need me hassling her for money.”
“Well, maybe your dad's check showed up today,” Willow offered instead and Legolas recognized that the redhead was trying to be tactful and supportive.
“I hope so,” Buffy sighed. “I hate it when he switches secretaries!” she almost growled. “They always mess everything up.”
“I don't think it's the secretary signing the check Buffy,” Willow pointed out gently. But Buffy was shaking her head.
“He relies on them for everything,” Buffy explained, her expression very sad and angry at the same time and Legolas felt himself wondering again for how many times he did not know, why she would look like that because of her father. He was too polite to ask over so sore a subject and neither Buffy nor Joyce were at all forthcoming on the subject of Hank Summers. “His schedule, taking care of bills, everything. I doubt he'd even remember me when he's busy with a case unless his secretary du jour pounded him over the head with a sledgehammer.”
“Oh Buff,” Willow sympathized with a hand on her friends shoulder. But in true Buffy fashion, she shook it off.
“Well, it's not like it's a complete disaster,” she sighed. “If Mom's late, it's not like they'll take the house. She'll just have to pay the fine for being late. Of course, she'll have to take the money from something else and when that happens, she usually hits the clothes budget first.”
“Well, if she has to, you can borrow my clothes any time,” Willow smiled cheerfully. But Legolas was dumbstruck at how nonchalant she was being at this turn of events.
He was almost seeing red as he thought over the information he had just gleaned. Willow had with Mr. Giles' help, had already explained that the nation's and most of the world had moved from a barter system for trade, to a currency based economy. And once that became established, then checks and things called credit cards had made their appearances. Legolas had required a little more information to understand, how a religious group and also royal treasuries were assuring the money they held in trust for the general population. That had led to discussions of loans and more specifically mortgages, which were the loans for buying a home. He had been startled to find that none but Xander's parents had owned their home outright. Mr. Giles rented the use of his apartment from a company and the Rosenberg's and Joyce were still paying off the loan they had used to purchase their homes from private individuals.
But now, to discover that Buffy's father was so negligent that he paid no attention to their need, in not providing his child and his former spouse with a home, or other things. And then he felt slightly guilty when he realized at Buffy's words of budget, that they tried to hold themselves to a limited expense. And he certainly couldn't have helped, visiting their home frequently and using the things that they had to pay their own money for. It was at that point, that Legolas made the decision that he needed to contribute to the households that were so very graciously hosting him.
He knew that the girls would argue with him, should he point this out. That was the polite thing to do of course, to protest that his visit was a burden. And so he did the expedient thing by keeping quiet about his plan. He greeted the girls and then Xander and walked with them to their homes as they discussed the work assigned to them, to be done at their homes and returned within a certain time frame. Willow was expressing interest in Legolas attending a local young person's hot spot with them. The Bronze. Legolas was already familiar with it and could only stand the raucous, noisy building for short periods of time. Xander was encouraging as well, since he needed what he called a wing man. Legolas had pointed out humorously that he was neither a man nor a winged beast, much to the amusement of the girls. The explanation of what a “wing man” was, took up the rest of the walk.
Finally, when Willow had reached her home, Legolas had gone immediately to retrieve his bags and Willow expressed dismay that he was leaving and Legolas assured her that he simply wanted to spend the night under the canopy of tree and star, reveling in the coming advent of spring, which was very familiar to him. Willow had fretted of course, until he gently reminded her that despite being new to the world, he was actually quite older than her and a seasoned warrior in his own right. With a final admonition to make sure he took a stake and plenty of arrows, and maybe a sword and not just his daggers, Willow was finally content to let him go.
Legolas wasted little time in heading out to his intended destination. He was glad that some of the lessons that he had accrued since his coming had already prepared him for this excursions. Until this point, he had limited his travels to Sunnydale and the surrounding areas. But he knew enough of the geography gleaned from discussions between the children to know in which direction he needed to go to head to Los Angeles, to this Rainbow Room.
It was to Legolas' mind, extreme good luck when he chanced upon an extremely large vehicle, a semi-truck, his mind supplied, pulled off of the highway. There was a slightly portly man roaming along the rear of the truck, stopping every so often to check something.
Legolas made sure to make some noise as he approached, already having caused some frights and screams by nature of his stealthy approaches. Once he was sure that the man was aware of him, he called out, “excuse me, do you require assistance?”
The man glanced up, looked Legolas up and down a few times and then chuckled, before turning back to his cargo. “No thanks youngin'. Just checkin' to make sure those yahoos got everything tied down right.” He glanced back at Legolas and jerked one thumb over his thumb. “Had to stop at the weigh station back a ways and they got search happy.” He shook his head in resignation. Legolas wasn't exactly sure, but from what he understood someone at a way station had been inspecting the man's property. He stayed quiet, as he didn't want to look foolish by not understanding. The man stopped what he was doing then and turned to fix Legolas with a hard stare. “Were you wanting a ride?”
“Oh,” Legolas was startled then. He had not really considered that angle. He had been quite sure that once he was in a more open area, he would be able to make the run to Los Angeles within a decent amount of time to arrive with plenty of time to spare. But a ride, even with a stranger, would definitely speed up his plans. Perhaps he would be able to catch this leprechaun just as it made it's appearance at the start of the new day and he could sooner return to Sunnydale to help Joyce and the others. “I had not considered that. I had planned on walking.”
“Where you headin'?” the man harrumphed as he straightened up and dusted his hands off.
“To Los Angeles, sir,” Legolas responded politely, though it truthfully was a very rude inquiry. The man looked thoughtful and looked Legolas over once more.
“That's a long walk kid,” he grunted. He seemed to debate for a long moment and then gestured to the front of the truck. “You can ride with me.”
Legolas was surprised and grateful and said so. The man waved off his gratitude and then moved to the front of the vehicle where Legolas displayed his customary grace in jumping up the steps and into the high cab of the loud vehicle. He found that he quite enjoyed the higher up view than riding in a car or pick-up truck gave.
The man concentrated on watching the oncoming traffic as well as the flow moving up behind him and after a few minutes, had eased the large, cumbersome vehicle back onto the motorway.
“Name's Gary,” he offered after he had gotten them up to a higher speed that Legolas noted was used for this intercity travel and not for in the cites themselves.
“I am called Legolas,” the elf returned. “I am pleased to meet you Gary.”
The man now known as Gary glanced at Legolas with one eyebrow raised. “You a furrener?”
Legolas took a moment to decipher the man's word, as the slur made it slightly off to him, until he realized what it was the man was asking. “Yes,” he nodded. “I am an exchange student here in Sunnydale. But I need to go to Los Angeles for business tonight.”
“Well then how come you didn't ask your sponsor to take you up?” Gary demanded, though not harshly. Legolas was surprised that he asked so excellent a question as most people around him in this world shrugged off the little things.
“They were unavailable,” Legolas offered by way of explanation. “And my friends have not been informed of this excursion because I do not wish them to be disappointed if the outcome is different than what I desire.”
“Ah,” Gary nodded. “So where exactly in Los Angeles were you heading?”
“To the Rainbow Room,” Legolas told him immediately and was surprised to see the man's eyes widen and then quickly ease himself away from Legolas by scant inches. It was probably a move that would not have been apparent to a less observant being, but Legolas saw. And wondered why. “I need to see someone there about a situation I am in.”
It was not his imagination that the man blanched further. Gary was watching the road as he drove, but he kept darting his eyes to Legolas and was licking what seemed to be very dry lips. “Are you acquainted with The Rainbow Room?” Legolas asked politely and Gary's indignant squawk was only the first clue that something was amiss.
“Not personally!” Gary replied loudly. “No way in hell. I'm no...” he trailed off as Legolas waited politely. “I mean, not that there's anything wrong with that. I mean, my son's friend is like that, but ,e? No, not at all.”
“Your son's friend is like what?” Legolas was confused, but only slightly.
“Gay,” Gary supplied succinctly, as if that term was the answer Legolas needed. But for some reason, he felt that he was missing a chunk of information and luckily Gary seemed to sense his confusion as he continued speaking. “Although you might not... You know, a fag?” He whispered the word, like it was a bad word, or perhaps that he shouldn't be saying it.
“I'm sorry,” Legolas felt bad for the man, who as now turning a slightly mottled red color. “I don't understand to what you are referring.”
“You know, homosexuals,” Gary offered in a strangled tone and suddenly comprehension dawned on Legolas. He was familiar with that term thanks to Xander and Buffy. They had even exhibited the same manner that Gary had, repeatedly assuring Legolas and each other, that there was nothing wrong with it. Legolas had quickly realized that it was a lifestyle that was only coming to be accepted in recent times, when before it must have been shunned. As he was not of that persuasion when it came to the people in his life, in his world, he hadn't wasted to much worry over it. Had even discovered to his amusement, that some young men of this world, mostly a Larry that attended school with the children, found his features to be an indicator that he was, though he actually wasn't.
“I am not a homosexual,” Legolas explained lightly. “I simply need to speak with someone known to frequent the Rainbow Room, about a situation involving my friends.”
“Oh, okay,” Gary sighed out, seeming vastly relieved. But then something else seemed to occur to him. “You're not planning on beating someone up are you? Because the cops are cracking down hard on that kinda behavior now.”
“Of course not,” Legolas replied earnestly. “I simply need to trap the little green man and ensure that he provides me with the information and items that I need.”
“Little green...” Gary repeated, trailing off as his face scrunched up slightly. And it was then that Legolas realized that his mistake. While the others of his acquaintance through Willow talked freely for the most part about demons, the world as a large whole was unaware of them and the thought was laughable to them. But then Gary surprised Legolas by chuckling.
“Okay, I gotcha,” Gary nodded. “Know who you mean. But he's not at the Rainbow Room. He owns Caritas.”
“Caritas?” Legolas repeated, completely unaware of the word or the connotation of it.
Gary nodded. “Yeah, I've never been myself, but my friend Blake swears by this guy. Told him that his wife was cheating on him and planning on screwing him over in the divorce. But he managed to hire a PI and got the dirt on her and saved himself a lot of money because she was doing the cheating.”
“How... fortuitous,” Legolas murmured, only understanding bout half of that.
“It was,” Gary agreed. “So if that's the guy you're looking for, fer help, then that's where you'd want to go. To Caritas.”
“Caritas,” Legolas repeated, the word rolling off his tongue. It had a nice sound to it and he nodded deferentially once. “That is where the green man resides?”
“Lorne,” Gary nodded. “Think that's what Blake says he calls himself. Definitely green.”
“Then that is where I shall direct myself to,” Legolas decided swiftly. This excursion was already working out better than he had hoped.
“I can drop you not too far,” Gary muttered, glancing at something on his dashboard and then glancing in his mirrors again. “Can't head down that way with the truck. But I can give you directions.”
“That would be very much appreciated,” Legolas smiled genuinely. “Especially after you've already been so kind.”
“It ain't much,” the truck driver chuckled. “Just as long as ya pay it forward.”
“Pay it forward?” Legolas repeated, wondering slightly at the pay idea, especially as he had no monies of his own. Gary did not seem to take offense at that questioning and Legolas listened with rapt attention to the explanation of how when someone, generally a stranger, helped you out, it was a good thing to instead of trying to repay that person, to instead help out the next person you saw that was in need. A good deed that kept renewing itself from person to person. Legolas quite liked the idea and said so. And, residing in Sunnydale for the foreseeable future, it was most likely that he'd have many opportunities to do so.
After several hours on the road, and new songs learned, as Gary had turned up the radio so that Legolas could experience some newer folk songs of the modern world, which Gary called country music, the man had dropped Legolas at the corner of an intersection, with general directions to the warehouse that housed Caritas. Legolas said a fond farewell to the burly man who had endeared himself to the elf with his kind nature and excellent advice.
A little taken aback by the sheer increase in size, population and smog, Legolas needed a few moments to acclimate himself to the city of Los Angeles. But, realizing that the people were pretty much the same as what he had found in his own world and in Sunnydale, he relaxed just a little. People pretty much ignored him here and he wondered if the larger population meant that they saw more oddities of humans than a smaller township was wont to.
Recalling Gary's instructions, Legolas began his cautious crossing to reach the warehouse. He was relieved when he recalled Willow's lessons about intersections and crossing lights. Finding that he was swift enough to reach the other side of the road safely before the lights had changed and the early evening traffic tore off in their haste.
It only took him a matter of minutes before he found the warehouse as had been described to him. It took him a few moments of deciphering the curling letters to ascertain that this was indeed the place that he wanted. But when he tried the door under the signage, he found it to be locked. Frowning slightly, Legolas noted that there was a smaller sign next to what looked to be a doorbell. He read the sign, much easier since it was printed, rather than in the multiple forms of cursive that he had been subjected to.
Ring bell for service.
Grinning to himself at the missive, Legolas pressed one slim finger to the button and could hear from within, a loud buzzer. Satisfied that his plan would come to fruition, he carefully withdrew his bow and arrows from the bag that he had stowed them in. He glanced both ways down the alley, to be sure that there would be no interference in his plan and then, pressing one ear close to the door, could hear mutterings and the sound of footsteps coming near.
Prepared now, he skipped back a few steps and held his bow at the ready. The moment the door begun to swing open and he ascertained that it was indeed the form of the green man, the bow swung up with unerring precision and the demon's eyes, red rimmed, matching the tiny horns sprouting from its head, widened in surprise.
“I am Legolas of the Woodland realm and by right, I have captured you Leprechaun. You will lead me to your gold and surrender it to me!” he demanded, knowing that an authoritative tone was the only way to go. The demon leprechaun blinked once and then grinned.
“Hate to tell you bubelah,” it chuckled, “but St. Patrick's day is tomorrow and I ain't no leprechaun.”
Legolas paused, recalling that the fairy tales had said that the leprechaun's only appeared on St. Patrick's day. But, Gary had informed him that this Lorne leprechaun was around all the time. Surely little green men needed somewhere to call home as well? And didn't the fairy stories also say that the leprechaun's would try to do anything they could to retain their gold for themselves.
“I will not listen to your honeyed words,” Legolas spat out, his arrow staying true to it's aim, right at the creatures heart... if it had one. “You will lead me to the gold, now!”
“All right, sugar cakes,” the Lorne leprechaun sighed and pulled the door further open. “Right this way.”
Wary of a seeming trap and perhaps there being more of these beings, who Legolas had realized, was not so little, he cautiously entered into the building. At first it was dark and he moved slowly to allow his eyes to adjust, but realizing that the Lorne leprechaun was moving swiftly down the steps, Legolas knew that he could not allow the creature to escape. He hurried after the thing, moving into a club that was slightly similar, in feel, if not look, to the Bronze. The back lights that were on, did not provide much in way of illumination, but it was enough for Legolas to see, had he cared to look. But all of his attention was focused on not losing the leprechaun.
“Well, since you've got me up at this ungodly hour,” the Lorne leprechaun was saying, “would you care for a drink. You look like you could use a Seabreeze.”
“The freezing breeze of the sea and the gulls that scream out their sorrows is the last thing I should need at this moment,” Legolas growled. “All I desire is that you should hand over the gold you so zealously guard.”
“Lambkins,” the thing grunted as it moved around behind the counter that separated the alcohol from the patrons, “like I said, you've got things a little screwy up there in that brain of yours.” It gestured to itself. “Not a leprechaun. I may be green, but do I look little and Irish to you?”
“You do not,” Legolas conceded, “but as I am not completely versed in the ways of leprechaun magics, I could not say that this is not a power that you have.”
“Oy vey,” the thing sighed, rubbing at it's temple. “Somebody sure pulled a number on you.”
“Pulled a number?” Legolas repeated, starting to become just a little annoyed at this things' attempts at diversion. But the Lorne leprechaun was staring at him, appearing just as bewildered.
“Now, correct me if I'm wrong,” it spoke, seemingly amused now, “but it looks to me like you're a bit of a newcomer to this world as well.”
“I... may be,” Legolas hedged, wondering what the demon was getting at. But it was nodding now.
“And from what you know, Leprechauns come from Ireland, right?”
“That is my understanding, yes,” Legolas agreed. The demon nodded and continued manipulating something behind the bar. Legolas stayed alert, wondering if it were putting together some sort of weapon. Well, the demon would discover his swiftness and accuracy with bow in hand before it could try anything.
“Well, there you go!” the demon crowed. “Not from Ireland,” it chuckled, pointing to itself. And then waved at Legolas' bow. “And you should probably put that down. Don't want to hurt yourself.”
“I assure you,” Legolas grimaced, “the chances of that are as slim as me letting you hie yourself away in effort not to fulfill your end of this bargain.”
“What bargain?' the demon grunted. Finally his hands came up again fully, with a glass of red liquid in one. There was ice in it and it was bubbling slightly, and Legolas wondered if it were some magic potion or poison. But the demon took a quick sip of it and sighed, before Legolas could do anything more than wonder. “That hits the spot. Sure you won't reconsider?”
“As I am adverse to drinking poisons and their ilk, I will refuse,” Legolas growled.
“Boy oh boy,” the demon sighed once more as it moved around the counter once more and settled it's robed self onto one of the high backed stools. “Honey, lemme tell you a little about what's really goin' on in this fair town of ours.”
Legolas eyed him warily. “Nay,” he finally decided. “You are trying to use words to distract me and I find that I am out of patience. Tell me where you have hidden the gold, or I shall slay you and then search for it myself.”
The Lorne leprechaun rolled his eyes and then shrugged his shoulders. “All right, angel cakes. But don't say I didn't warn you.”
Legolas waited for a moment, but the demon just ignored him, in favor of drinking it's red potion. And as much as he disliked random killings, this creature before him was obviously not going to cooperate. And the moment the arrow was loosed, Legolas found himself in the horrible predicament of being thrust back and tumbled head over heel into the wall that had been behind him, a flash of white, blinding light taking his sight momentarily.
When he recovered enough to pull himself up off the floor, he was entirely discombobulated that the demon calmly sat at it's seat, watching him with slightly sad eyes. Legolas debated pulling his daggers, but the Lorne demon held up one hand.
“Violence is not welcome here in Caritas,” he told the elf firmly. “I've had a no violence spell cast on this place since before I even opened it. Too many people don't like what I have to tell them.”
“What is it exactly that you tell them?” Legolas demanded as he rose from his position on the floor. “The same as that which you have told me?”
“That I'm not a leprechaun?” the Lorne demon chuckled and then sighed. “That's actually a first for me. Although after I heard about the legend, I was kind of expecting it. No sugar, I'm an empath demon.”
“And empath demon?” Legolas repeated. But for all that he was used to his senses telling him things that normal humans usually paid no attention to, this had the ring of truth to it.
“An off worlder, like yourself, I think,” the admitted demon mused. “Though obviously not from the same world.”
“Obviously,” Legolas agreed, moving in slightly closer, still fingering one of his daggers where it was hidden under his clothing. “Should I ever have found a demon such as yourself in my homeland, I would have slayed it without thought.”
“Mmm,” it agreed with a slight tilt of it's head. “And you might have succeeded. Although, the warriors on my world, and they do take up a good percentage of my world, might have given you a run for your money.”
“I do not understand,” Legolas growled, feeling confused and disliking immensely the sensation. “What makes you different?”
“Probably the fact that I didn't like the hunting,” the Lorne demon shrugged. “I was more interested in the music in my head to want to pay attention on the most efficient way to kill things.”
“The music in your head?” Legolas repeated, angling his body away slightly from the demon. He had heard tales from the younger children that such things often indicated insanity in some people.
“Maybe a better term would be my soul,” the demon chuckled. “Look, in Pylea, where I'm from, our people were taught to use our senses, our talents, toward hunting. I never did. I put those talents to use in reading other people. When I came here, it was like the world opened up and there was such beauty in the music. I finally found a place where I could feel somewhatly at home.”
“How did you come to be here?” Legolas wondered.
“Big old portal,” the demon grunted, swirling his drink again before taking a sip. “Opened up right in front of me and when I went to investigate, sucked me right in. I landed right on this very spot.” He gestured around him and smiled wistfully. “I opened up this bar and found my niche in the world.”
“And you are not a leprechaun?” Legolas pressed once more. Despite what he wished, this story was sounding more real than any other he had heard that day. The thing nodded.
“No more than you are,” he smiled softly. But then he reached out one hand to rest near where Legolas was starting to lean against the bar. “But something tells me that there's more reason than just wanting to capture a pot of gold that's led you to my door step.”
“I am starting to think that perhaps Gary was wrong and I should have gone to The Rainbow Room after all,” Legolas sighed and then his eyes widened as the Lorne demon barked out a harsh laugh.
“I never would have pegged you for the man on man loving,” Lorne chuckled and then stopped short as he realized that Legolas was not referring to that. “Oh bumpkin, all you'd find there is some kinky fetishes and a whole lotta eye opening, you know... well probably not.” He shook his head. “Not a real rainbow or a leprechaun to be found there either. I'm afraid whoever set you up on this little quest of yours is probably having a real good chuckle right now.
Legolas eyed the demon. Whether he had realized it or not, he was absolutely correct. Xander of curse. And the teen probably was regarding this whole thing as a foolhardy quest that Legolas had jaunted off to. Legolas frowned.
“I did not trust just the boy's word,” he sighed. “And my need was real.”
“I'm sure it was,” the Lorne creature sympathized and then patted Legolas' hand. “Tell you what, you sing me a little ditty and I'll give you what help I can.”
“A ditty?” Legolas sighed. That word was familiar to him. It was what Giles had called his humming. When Legolas had questioned him on it, Giles had explained that he liked relaxing by playing a musical instrument called a guitar and singing in the privacy of his own home. It was not something he shared with the world at large and so when he was in public, he sometimes hummed, rather than singing.
“That's how I connect with my subject,” Lorne explained, gesturing at the stage. Like the Bronze there was equipment set up, but also what looked to be a television.
“Do I need to?” Legolas began to ask, gesturing to the stage, but Lorne was shaking his head.
“That's to entertain the crowd,” he offered. “Karaoke, is what the humans call it.” Legolas took in this new word, storing it in his mind. “Don't worry about the song,” the empath demon went on. “Just pick something familiar, the language doesn't matter.”
Legolas nodded, knowing that it would be easier for him to sing one of the songs of his homeland, than to try and offer up one of the strange songs that he was just becoming acclimated to on this world. With low tones, he began the sorrowful tale of Luthiel and Beren, the she-elf and her human lover. He was pleased to see that Lorne's face took on a sad smile and when he had finished the song, Lorne began applauding.
“Lovely voice,” he sighed and then chuckled, picking up his red drink once more. “Not something I see in my line of work a lot.”
“It is simply a gift of the Eldar,” Legolas shrugged one shoulder, having accepted that not all of the race of man shared these traits. The demon nodded.
“And that tale?” he grunted softly, pointing one finger at Legolas. “Quite puts Romeo and Juliet to shame.” This was a reference that Legolas understood immediately, having overheard Buffy and Willow discussing the play written by the Shakespeare man and how star crossed the lovers had been. He had asked about the term and had been told what it implied to teens and theater aficionados.
“So I have been told,” Legolas smirked, though it was quite an easy going facial placement and not indicative of a slur.
“So now, to the crux of the matter,” Lorne nodded, slapping one hand gently against his robed thigh. “You're worried about being a burden on your friends and because they are having financial difficulties, you'd like to find some way to help them ease that burden.” Legolas' eyes widened at that pronouncement. That was precisely his problem and the empath demon chuckled again, widening his eyes, to emphasize the point being made.
“That is truly a wondrous gift,” Legolas breathed out and finally took a seat, as Lorne gestured to the stool next to him. He absorbed the demon's words for a moment and then asked, “have you any advice for me?”
“Mmm,” Lorne nodded his head, swallowing the sip he'd just taken. “For one, I wouldn't worry too awful much about being a burden. Humans have a tendency to start dropping hints on those that they find to be a burden, then build up to maybe telling the person out right that there's a problem. But I think this girl you're worried about, her father not sending his alimony payment?”
“Is that what it is called?” Legolas clarified, yet another new word for the vocabulary. Lorne nodded.
“For divorced couples, those sundering their marriage?” he offered, pausing to see if Legolas knew of this occurrence and the Elf nodded. “When one partner earns more money, the officiator of the divorce, the judge, may order that partner to make a payment to the other, to support them, for whatever reasons.”
“That seems fair,” Legolas agreed.
“But if there are children from the marriage,” Lorne went on, “then the judge will usually order the parent that does not have primary custody, to make child support payments to help with the fiscal responsibility.”
“That is most fair,” Legolas agreed again.
“So the point I'm trying to make,” Lorne grinned, “is that if the support check was late, they'd have these problems whether you were here or not. And they probably have some idea of what to do. Most companies will make allowances for single parents with children if the problem is an outside source.”
“She did say that her mother would use monies from another budget to cover,” Legolas admitted and the empath nodded. “But still...”
“There are other ways to help out,” Lorne pointed out, “even if you have no money. Which I gather you've been doing.”
“But if you're really worried about the money situation,” Lorne went on, “ I do have an idea about that.” He settled his drink on the bar behind him, turning in his seat to do so. He crossed one leg over the other and leaned forward, resting his elbows on his upper leg. “In case you didn't notice,” he began and Legolas stayed quiet to hear the demon's proposition. “That little security bauble that we passed through, is the starting point of the sanctuary spell that keeps the violence to a no go.”
“I had not noticed,” Legolas explained quickly and then quieted as Lorne nodded.
“Up the stairs and into the alleyway isn't protected,” Lorne told him. “I usually keep someone stationed there, to not only keep a head count, because by law I can only have so many people in the club at any given time.” Legolas nodded, as Willow had explained that when they had had to wait outside of the Bronze one evening, in a line. Occupancy limitations, she had called it. He himself had not minded the wait in the fresh air, away from the sweat laden bodies of teens inside. “But also to check that my patrons aren't bringing weapons into the club. They can't use them, obviously, but people can still hurt themselves by accident. The spell doesn't cover the weapons, but the intent behind their use.”
Legolas nodded again. He could understand the differential there. “Are you by chance offering me employment at your entrance, in exchange for monies?”
“Exactement,” Lorne trilled with a smile. “I'd have to pay you under the table I'm sure,” and then held his hand up to forestall the question he saw coming, “which is a way of saying without going through usual legal channels. Employers have to keep track of certain things to report to the government. I doubt you have a driver's license, social security number, those types of things.”
Legolas shook his head in the negative. No he had no such things. Lorne looked like the confirmation was not needed, but he gave it anyway.
“Now, I wouldn't need you every night,” Lorne continued, “since I have a regular door man for the weekends. But word of mouth, people sharing tales about Caritas, are bringing them out during the rest of the week and I've had to expand my staff. Do you think that's something you'd like to try?”
Legolas stared at the man shrewdly. He was not adverse to the idea of work and what the demon had described was well within his capabilities. “There are only two things that I would have concerns about. Well, three actually.”
Lorne nodded for the go ahead.
“The first is that I am uncertain what time I would be able to offer, since my first loyalty is to the friends that I came here to visit,” Legolas told him flatly, making it the priority because the mission of the Slayer was uppermost in his mind.
“We can make a floating schedule,” Lorne assured him immediately. “Which means that I would call to see if you're available. If you are, you work. If not, I fall back on other arrangements.”
Legolas nodded. That was a very workable solution. “The second, is to wonder what wages I would make.”
“Always a good question,” Lorne complimented. “Well, I pay my door men ten dollars an hour. Any tips, which are monetary gratification from the customers, goes directly into their pockets. If the door man works four hours or more, I include two appetizers off the menu. In your case, I would reduce that to eight dollars an hour, but include the food, transportation to and from Sunnydale the days you work and a place to stay if you're working two days or more in a row.”
“That is quite acceptable,” Legolas rapidly calculated matters in his head. “And answers my third concern.”
“Well all right then,” Lorne nodded. “Now, since you're already here this evening, why don't we go ahead and give you a test run, plumpkins.” He tilted his head to the side, considering. “Then you can tell me a definite answer about working at Caritas.”
“That is a workable plan that I should be more than happy to acquiesce to,” Legolas chuckled. “But I have just one more question.”
“And that would be?” Lorne waited with a grin.
“Do you always attach these strange appellations to people you barely know?”
“Always sugar cakes, always.”