TITLE: Triptych

AUTHOR: Shadowlass

EMAIL: shadowlass2000yahoo.com

SUMMARY: Three snapshots of Lorne, from happiness to heartbreak. Spoilers for the entire run of AtS.


DISCLAIMER: I don't own Lorne, but I sure like the guy.

Chapter One: Caritas

I don't know what it is about the guy—he makes you want to help him. I think it's the way he hates to ask. If he had his way, he'd probably walk around all day not asking. Or talking, for that matter. Giving people those deep, dark looks, like he's carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. Or like he's trying to figure out how to program his VCR. It could go either way.

Of course, what I mean by hates to ask is "stomps in and demands help and sometimes gets your place destroyed." But it's the thought that counts … right?

Look, that's what I have to tell myself. Otherwise the guy's just a jerk who comes in to get what he needs with no thought about anyone else. And I tell you, I can't help but like the big lug. Not just because he smells like kumquats, but because he's always there trying. Sometimes he gets his head smacked against reality, but the trying—man, I'm a sucker for trying. Gets me right in the old ass, and—wait. Just to be clear about this, I'm talking about my heart. You get that, right?

'Course you do.

I like warriors, I really do. But I like them from a distance. That's why I own a club, instead of wielding one. All that hacking and slashing and, uh … okay, that's just unpleasant. It goes right along with wearing someone's skin as clothes and having a dance of joy that most closely resembles the mating ritual of the foklar, which are … well, I guess the closest thing on earth are pandas. Except with really big horns, some of which aren't where you'd expect them to be.

So let's get this clear: I respect champions. I don't want to be one. I don't want to be surrounded by them. I want to be surrounded by happy people, singing people, drinking  people. Happy chattering people, and cabana boys named Pablo. Honestly, there's a reason I want Angel to sing, not talk, and it not 'cause he's Mario Lanza. But sometimes, when he sings, these little bits bubble up, and I can see how he's trying. Like I said, I rate trying pretty high on the Lorne-o-meter.

I used to try. Back hom—in Pylia, which is most certainly not home. Well, I tried a couple of times. To be the son my mother always wanted, big and strong. And you know, I didn't do too bad on the big and strong part. It was the fierce-warrior-out-for-blood part that I always sucked at. They really probably should have eaten me instead of Moog, just like Dad always said. I would have been meatier, probably. Definitely more tender. These boots are made for sitting, or words to that effect.

When I stumbled through that vortex that brought me to L.A., I was happy as a pig at high tide, or whatever it is that makes pigs happy. Other pigs? Plentiful slop? Heck, I don't know. But whatever it is, that's how happy I was. Music in the air—in shops, coming out of cars, people singing as they walked down the street. Someone I didn't even know—I mean, hello, strange world here—came up to me and offered me a job in his nightclub when he heard me singing. Out loud, with joy, the way I never could in Pylia. Not if I didn't want to lose my head.

It was paradise. It still is. This world—it's tough, but it has a tender side too. Singing and seabreezes and fat-free desserts, everything that makes life worth living. And here, at Caritas, I can help. I can be a little bit of a hero, too. Very little, maybe. But I can help people. They sing and I love it, and then I help them. Sometimes what I read in them scares me. Sometimes it brings a tear to my eye—a happy tear, I mean. And then I climb on stage and people stop what they're doing to listen to me. Back there I was the shame of a great clan. Here I'm just Lorne, and that's how I like it.

So babe, I didn't leave my heart in San Francisco, as it were. My heart's right here, intact, resting against a barstool of the finest Corinthian leather.

It's not where I was bred to be, but it is where I was meant to be.