Devil Went Down To Georgia, The
Subject: [glass_onion] FIC: The Devil Came Down to Georgia (AtS) 1/1, PG13 Date: Friday, June 07, 2002 7:49 PM
TITLE: The Devil Went Down To Georgia
FEEDBACK: Pope. Shit. Woods.
CONTENT/WARNINGS: The barest hint of slashiness. RATING: PG 13
ARCHIVE/DISTRIBUTION: Bugger This, fanfiction.net, List Archives. Others please ask first.
SUMMARY: Vignette. Lindsey goes to Caritas for advice. Set during `Dead End'.
DISCLAIMER: C'mon - you KNOW they aren't mine. Not even slightly.
COMMENTS: Thanks to SA & the foamy Buffistae. Title from the song by The Charlie Daniels Band, because if Lindsey McDonald had a theme tune, this would surely be it.
The Yetis did not want to leave.
The rest of his customers had taken the hint some time ago and lurched or slithered off to their various nests and sewers as the sky gradually lightened towards dawn, but the Yetis were being troublesome.
Lorne had tried coughing and tapping his watch whilst standing next to their table. He had tried switching all the lights on full blast as the waiters collected glasses, wiped down tables and stacked chairs. He had tried singing "Hit the Road, Jack" while glaring at them pointedly.
He had abandoned subtlety and tried cajoling them, begging them and outright ordering them to go home and now he was prepared to resort to physical violence. Not personally, of course, but Jean Paul and Garcia were both muscle-bound gym bunnies waiting for their big Hollywood break and Raoul was half troll on his mother's side. The Host thought they'd stand a reasonable chance of being able to manhandle two drunken Yetis while he cheered them on from the sidelines.
"More beer!" slurred one of the Yetis. Lorne rolled his crimson eyes.
"No more beer. Beer gone," he told them firmly. "But I understand that some Firriak demons are having a spawning party over in West Hollywood tonight, so maybe they'll have some beer. Why don't you go find them?"
"More beer!" repeated the Yeti.
"Did anyone ever tell you that you're a lousy conversationalist? Listen very carefully, my monosyllabic friend: Beer all gone. Now you go."
The Host felt someone entering the bar behind him and snapped: "We're closed, we're closed already! Didn't you see the big sign on the door saying "Closed" in twelve different languages?" At which point he registered the migraine-inducing chaos of emotions pouring from his visitor and spun round to stare wide-eyed at the dishevelled figure of Lindsey McDonald.
"Oh! Hello there, trouble," Lorne said, taking in the lawyer's appearance with eyebrows raised. "Back so soon? Let me guess - you and Angelcakes are getting hitched and you want me to be bridesmaid?"
Lindsey was too furious or maybe too miserable to speak at first; he just stood there staring blankly at the demon out of desolate sky-blue eyes.
"O-kaaaay...the strong, silent type, we can go with that. Well, you manly man, since you're here you can give the boys a hand with Mr and Mrs Abominable Snowman - and Sweet-cheeks, I do mean abominable," said Lorne hurriedly, darting a quick look down at the lawyer's wrists to double check that he hadn't just made a faux pas. Yes, both hands still attached and neither showing any immediate signs of overt evilness. So far. One thing at a time, he thought; get rid of the damned Yetis and then decide what to do about Scarlett O'Hara here.
Once the Yetis were gone The Host locked the front door, bolted it, hung up a crucifix and activated two spells of ward. Raoul had been reluctant to leave, but Lorne eventually chased all his staff out through the kitchen, assuring them that he could handle Lindsey himself.
"You should be so lucky," replied Raoul - who was truly a Thing Of Beauty - as Lorne ushered them away.
"You're sacked," shot back Lorne with good humour. "Get out, get out already! The cleaners can worry about the mess. We were meant for finer things than wiping up yaks' bile and yeti vomit."
Raoul looked over at the bar and Lorne waved one emerald hand dismissively, bustled them all out, closed the goods entrance behind his giggling staff and locked the door. He stood there for a moment, massaging his temples. The tender skin around his horns itched from the smoke - and he could feel a full set of matching snakeskin suitcases developing under each of his eyes.
Footsteps behind him - a demon's work was never done. He turned to survey Hurricane Lindsey, who was positively bristling with rage and misery and frustration, and sighed. All he really wanted to do was have a shower and a mug of cocoa and curl up in bed. Lorne would, of course, very happily share a shower, mug of cocoa or bed with Lindsey McDonald any day of the week because hey, he was only human. Well, okay, perhaps not technically, but there was no need to be pedantic about it. Lorne was as susceptible as the next person and young Lindsey would melt a frozen nun. Right now, however, he could feel a headache coming on just from being in the same room as the lawyer.
At this point alcohol was probably not the best of ideas, but after the night he'd had so far Lorne didn't feel up to a Mother Theresa act without a little liquid assistance. He turned around, took one look at the turbulent face of his sweet little blue-eyed boy and heaved a theatrical sigh.
Not for the first time Lorne wished that Lindsey and Angel would just get on with getting it on; but to be fair he didn't think that this great big vortex of misery was all caused by God's Neanderthal-browed gift to black leather.
"Honey britches, something tells me I'm going to need a good stiff drink. And you look entirely too sober yourself."
He stalked back out into the shadowy bar. Didn't wait for Lindsey's reaction because it was entirely clear to him that what the lawyer really wanted more than anything right now was somebody to tell him what to do; and sure enough he followed the demon like a little lost chick, waited obediently while Lorne poured a couple of generously proportioned T&Ts and then accepted the glass he was handed.
"Bottoms up," said Lorne. He blinked at the image that his irrepressible imagination promptly provided. Why thank you, Mr Freud.
Lorne reflected that the boy looked about as far from happy as a person could get this side of Pylea. Which was certainly a shame, but also pretty damned melodramatic. He fixed Lindsey with a gimlet-eyed glare.
"Stop pouting, Brer Lawyer," he said bracingly. "Did they give you an evil bottom lip all of a sudden? I don't think so. Was I or was I not bang on the money about Angel? He helped you out with your Evil Hand problem, didn't he? No more `Kill Kill Kill' unless you mean it, eh?"
Lindsey knocked back the alcohol in one smooth motion and stared over at the darkened stage. He laughed to himself in a hopeless, angry way that made Lorne ache unexpectedly.
Lorne waited for several moments, sipping the gin and wearing a saintly expression. When nothing more was forthcoming, however, he found himself losing patience.
"Sugar, you know I enjoy `Jeopardy' as much as the next demon, but it's been a long night and I'm really not in the mood for playing guessing games. Talk or walk, my little Mint Julep."
And that was enough to crack the boy's bleak expression for a moment, but the raw pain in his eyes was thoroughly pitiful. Lorne felt like he'd kicked a puppy, but repressed his Jewish Mother impulses and fixed Lindsey with a stern look.
"I want out," Lindsey said, staring at his toes. "I just...I want out."
"Okay. Can I have a little more to work with here?"
Lindsey bit his bottom lip and then knocked back the rest of the drink.
"D'you have any cigarettes?"
"I thought you'd quit?"
"I've quit quitting."
"You know these things will kill you?" His voice was so thoroughly laced with disapproval that Lindsey laughed again. It wasn't exactly a joyous sound still, but there was a little less bitterness in it.
"Lorne, you sound like my momma. The chances of me living long enough to be killed by cigarettes are right up there with the chances of Angel getting a nice healthy tan."
"Machine's over by the bar."
Lorne watched the easy slide of muscles appreciatively as Lindsey ambled over to the machine. The lawyer might not be the most tranquil of companions, but he was certainly easy on the eyes; a regular pint-sized Adonis. The wings of his shoulder blades drew together and his spine arched as he reached into his back pocket and slid out the wallet. Cute. How Angel Cakes had managed to keep his soul safely fastened in his pants around this boy during his flirtation with the Dark Side of the Force was a source of ongoing bafflement to The Host, but he had the feeling it had been touch and go for a while. Metaphorically speaking. And perhaps not-so-metaphorically speaking. Hmm.
Lindsey slithered the cellophane off the pack as he walked back to the table and plucked out one skinny cigarette.
"You got a light?"
"You don't have one? Does this mean you've finally stopped carrying around that great big torch 24/7? `Cause Lady Liberty has pretty much made that look her own."
Lindsey McDonald could have given Queen Victoria lessons in looking unamused. His nostrils flared adorably. Lorne wanted to pinch his cheek, but contented himself with lighting the cigarette instead.
"No more torches. Darla's history," Lindsey said at last, his voice brittle as frozen molasses. He sucked smoke into his lungs and then breathed it out very slowly, staring poker-faced at the Marlboro pack before him. Not exactly Mr Social Skills, this evening.
"In the flesh," agreed Lorne. "Four hundred years of it, to be precise - and so much more exciting than the text book version." He gave the lawyer a measuring look, his head cocked to one side. "But it wasn't just her you wanted to screw, now, was it? And really, I'm not seeing any changes there, Honey Britches."
Lindsey's head snapped up at that, but he said nothing. It didn't take the infinitesimal quiver of the hand holding his cigarette to tell Lorne how things stood, though - the boy was still wearing his aura on his sleeve for anyone to see. His bosses must just love this.
"Cat got your tongue?"
"I just...I want out," repeated Lindsey quietly. He sounded tired.
"But why? They're handing you the promotion on a plate. Heck, they're handing you a new hand on a plate. What's not to like? You're rich and powerful and no repo men are going to take away your sofa for non payment of bills. I thought this was what you'd always wanted?"
"It isn't ...this isn't what I thought it would be, y'know? I thought it was enough. I thought I could be like that guy in the song, "The Devil Came Down to Georgia" - you know the one? I thought I could beat them at their own game. Man, how dumb was I?"
"Dumb as a rock."
"My pleasure. So the big question is: now that you've had your little moment of clarity, what are you going to do about it?"
Lindsey's face lit up in a courtroom-honed smile as disarming and sweetly wholesome as a kitchen-full of Mom's fresh-baked apple pie. Lorne looked at him warily.
"I was hoping maybe you could help me with that," said Lindsey. "I've got some stuff, but I don't know if it's enough to keep my ass out of the dogfood factory, and I know a lot of the guys from the firm come here for advice. I thought maybe you might know something that could give me an edge?"
The sort of apple pie that Lorne's mother used to make, however, had been known to contain skulls; and while he might not be immune to the lawyer's charms, he certainly wasn't about to be dismembered by Wolfram and Hart just because of a pretty smile.
"Oh no, not me. I'm strictly neutral, thank you very much. You think I want your Senior Partners getting their collective panties in a bunch over this business and taking it out on yours truly? Think again, Sugar. Setting people on their paths is one thing, but using what I've read in their aura against them? That's completely immoral and unethical - and, more to the point, very bad for business. We're talking terminally bad. No. No no no no no. Absolutely not. And don't even think about pouting."
Lindsey gazed soulfully at the demon, all wide-eyed wounded innocence, but Lorne wasn't falling for that one. After a few moments the smile faded away, leaving Lindsey's face looking wearier than ever. Ironically enough the frustrated little-boy-lost expression that he wore was actually a lot harder to resist, but Lorne was reasonably sure it wasn't calculated. He reminded himself that crossing Wolfram and Hart was a sure-fire ticket to a messy and untimely demise and tried not to notice the waves of bleakness rolling off Lindsey McDonald.
"What have you got on them so far, champ?" he asked, trying to sound encouraging.
"Oh, fuck it. It doesn't matter, does it?" Lindsey stubbed out his cigarette savagely. His expression was one of pure despair. "You don't leave Wolfram and Hart."
Against all his best intentions, Lorne melted like a lone scoop of vanilla icecream under a blanket of hot fudge sauce. He rolled his eyes in crimson disgust at his own predictability.
"Jeez, alright already! Look, sugar, you've already got as much dirt as you need on them. You know as much as Ms Morgan does - Nathan's offshore accounts, Ronnie's stock manipulations, Charlie's shoe fetish..."
"Charlie has a shoe fetish?" Lindsey choked at that. "Really? And this is helpful why?"
"You didn't know that one? Huh. He's been indulging a whole barrelful of kinks with a rather highly paid...lady...who makes Imelda Marcos look ill shod. But of course she is a Shaylo demon, which means more feet than the average girl." Lorne grinned. "Makes him wear a collar and bark like a dog, that kind of thing - which wouldn't be a big deal, but she also works for Klein and Gabler." Lindsey sucked in his breath with a hiss. "She's been blackmailing him into giving up all manner of information. Very sticky situation. And I cannot believe I am telling you all this."
"You're not telling me that Charlie comes here?"
"Hardly - but his ladyfriend does. Oh, just relax, will you? You're going to be fine. You've got all the dirt you need. Trust me, I do know what I'm talking about."
Lorne watched with satisfaction as the tension seeped out of Lindsey's body and an expression of guarded hopefulness crossed his pretty face.
"Sure I'm sure, kiddo. Hello? Who's the Psychic here?" And being responsible for the slow smile that lit up Lindsey McDonald's face then might just be worth the agonising and untimely demise at the hands of Wolfram and Hart that...that Lorne most definitely wasn't going to think about right now and would in no way be experiencing as a result of his indiscretion. No sir. Damn, but the boy certainly hadn't been beaten with the ugly stick at birth. "I've told you all that I'm telling, which is already more than I should have said; but trust me, you're going to be just fine." Lorne rose and nodded pointedly at the door, stifling a sudden yawn. "And meanwhile this Fairy Godmother has had a very long day and needs a nice hot shower, so if there's nothing else...?"
He wrapped long green fingers around Lindsey's new right hand and briskly pulled the lawyer to his feet. Oh, but he was cute, quite ridiculously cute, and no sooner could he finally play that guitar again than he was all set to leave LA; it wasn't exactly like Caritas was over-endowed with customers who could carry a tune, after all. The Powers That Be certainly had a lousy sense of humour.
"Up you get, Scarlett. If I don't get to my bed shortly I might just turn into a pumpkin, and orange really isn't my colour. So unless you've got any earth-shattering revelations - and, sugar, I know you don't - then how about you scoot your cute little dimpled ass on home? You can introduce your nice new hand to the concept of packing and I can try out this `sleep' thing I keep hearing about. They tell me it's all the rage." Lorne fished around in his pocket for the key and turned towards the kitchen. "C'mon Sweet Pea; time to start practising your Littlest Hobo routine. Down the road is where you'll always be."
Lindsey was surprised into another smile, but he held back for a moment.
"You're sure about this?" he asked again. "It's really going to be enough?" Still that rough note of desperation buried in his voice under the attempt at briskness.
"What part of `yes' is it that you're finding ambiguous?" asked Lorne tartly. "I'm sure. You'll be fine. You're going to beat the devil at his own game, Lindsey McDonald; just like the fiddle player in the song. Now get out of my bar already and leave me to contemplate the bleak and cheerless vista of a future without your lovely singing voice."
He vanished into the kitchen and after a moment Lindsey absently picked up the empty glasses and followed. The tension had finally gone out of his compact frame and there was something like a spring in his step once more.
"The devil really does have all the good songs, you know, " Lorne added as he sorted through the keys on his key ring. "And singers. Just think yourself lucky you haven't had to sit through one of Angel's excruciating attempts to carry a tune." He shuddered. "Honey, you'd better believe me when I say that all the black leather in the world isn't enough to blot out the memory of that Barry Manilow number." Lorne's brow crinkled and he shot Lindsey a speculative look. "Come to think of it, though, that might have done you a whole lot of good. Quite the passion killer, I promise."
Lindsey bristled reflexively, but then sagged a little. He looked tired.
"Do me a favour and let it go, Lorne. I know he helped me tonight, I know he's the golden boy, champion of truth and justice and all that shit, but he's a jerk." Lorne bit his lip and decided, just this once, to let discretion be the better part of valour. He concentrated on picking out the right key and they stood in companionable silence for a moment.
"So his singing really sucked, then?"
"Like a convention of whores."
The door swung open and Lindsey looked out at the dark alleyway. He shivered slightly and then turned to look at the Host with an uncharacteristically tentative expression. Reached out and clasped Lorne's hand tightly in his own newly-acquired one.
"Thanks. I don't know what - I mean, I really appreciate this, you know?" He smiled again. "I'm going to miss you." Lindsey sounded a little surprised by his own words and Lorne felt a sudden constriction in his throat. He was such a sap.
"Oh, come here, you," the demon exclaimed, pulling Lindsey into a bruising hug. "You take good care of yourself, Sweet Pea. Stay away from vampires and evil law firms and find yourself a nice little girl who can get a suntan, okay?" He eyed Lindsey narrowly. "Or maybe a sugar daddy. But one with a pulse."
"I'll try." There was that smile again, and it looked almost genuine. Lorne watched him step out into the darkness, beginning to hum something by The Charlie Daniels Band as he picked his way between the overflowing trashcans. He smiled at the receding figure. Lindsey McDonald was going to be just fine.
Nestra: I mean, Angel and Lindsey were gay, sure. But Smallville is like 52 straight minutes of gay, with gay sprinkles on top. And a side order of gay.
FayJay: Bloody right it is. Served in a sparkly pink cup by a sequin-clad rent boy singing 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow' whilst being given a blowjob by a biker. I mean, we are talking The Heterosexuality Has Left The Building, boys and girls.
If you enjoyed this story, please send feedback to FayJay
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