SEQ CHAPTER h r 1IKTOMI'S GNAYE
(The Spider's Fool)
By D.M. Evans
Disclaimer - Nope still haven't morphed into a man named Joss. Mr. Whedon owns all with the following exceptions: James Whirlwind Soldier, he's mine. Sophie, she's S.J. Smith's and both are copyrighted to The Cauldron. Iktomi owns himself as it should be.
Feedback - yes please,
Rating - PG-13
Pairing – None, Lindsey-centric
Summary - Lindsey's hopes for a good vacation get dashed when he attracts the attention of an elder god.
Author's Note - # 1 This story was written for the Angel Book of Days: Spring and was written for Ragna
Author's Note # 2 - I TRIED for humor, really I did. They tell you in creative writing, humor is the hardest thing to write. They aren't kidding. I shot for humor. I hit sarcastic irony. Sorry. I wish I had done better but at least it's not angst. And thanks to SJ Smith for editing this monster and for letting me play with Sophie. Any mistakes in the Lakota language are all mine. The web sites named in the story are real and no harm is meant in using them.
Author's Note #3 – this is a 6 chaptered story
Lindsey studied the Lakota medicine shield that had been picked up by an operative. He preferred that term to calling her what she really was; a thief. He didn't know what the Senior Partners wanted with this piece of painted leather and didn't really care. He was just its temporary guardian. It was an interesting item, though, reminding him somehow of home but it didn't feel bad like thinking of home often did.
His head wasn't into work. Dreams pushed into his mind during boring staff meetings. He was expecting Saeth for the weekend. She was flying in from Wales for a little R&R. Lindsey was looking forward to a few nights of stormy leather, being covered in caramel, deerskin floggers, mink-lined cuffs and liquid latex. He needed more weekends like the one he was anticipating, where all he needed to think about was spending time with someone exciting like Saeth. The fact that Wolfram and Hart considered her an unfriendly made their illicit tryst that much more exciting.
He looked up, hearing Lilah's heeled footfalls. Even the sight of her darkening his doorway didn't dampen his high spirits. Lindsey was sailing on the idea of introducing Saeth to Los Angeles in the full bloom of spring.
Lilah leaned against the doorway. "Busy weekend planned?"
"No." He leaned back in his chair, unable to appear busy or even mildly interested.
She snorted. "So, you took off tomorrow for no reason?"
"It's spring. Maybe I want to run barefoot through the wild flowers." Lindsey smirked at her.
Lilah shoved her hair out of her weary eyes. "Now there's an image I'll be chuckling over all the way home."
"Speaking of which, time to call it a day." Lindsey locked his desk, put the medicine shield in the wall safe then pushed past Lilah. She stepped back and let him past. She seemed exhausted and Lindsey knew why. They both had been working extra hard just to stay alive after the Darla debacle. He promised himself that he wouldn't think about Darla. He knew he still had feelings for her. Saeth didn't care about that. She was all about polyamory and didn't care if he shared himself with others.
"So you'll be off beeper then?" Lilah pressed.
"I didn't say that," Lindsey replied, not wanting to let Lilah get a clue as to what he was up to. She was likely to ruin it if she could.
Lilah smiled like the cat who swallowed a flock of canaries. "Up to no good? That's our boy."
Lindsey watched her walk off, wondering if she would have believed that he was up to something regardless of what he said or had he inadvertently given up something with his body language? If it was the latter, he'd need to do something about it in the future. He couldn't afford to have Lilah reading his face.
He headed home, finding that the concierge of his condo had let in the florists as per his request. He had ordered enough flowers to cover an entire room. Lilacs, tulips, poppies, roses, little brightly colored daises and lilies, he didn't know if Saeth was the hearts and flowers type but somehow he thought they were appropriate.
As he stood in the doorway, surveying the potently fragrant floral arrangements, Lindsey noticed that someone was moving in to the condo next to his. It hadn't been on the market a week. He thought about saying hello but the shaved-headed pair of men and their "fresh from the bimbo mould" girlfriends looked less than friendly. They didn't look like the condo's usual clientele. One of the men took a look at the explosion of flowers in Lindsey's condo and smirked. Lindsey thought he heard the man mutter, 'fag.'
Lindsey locked the door, wondering if he had heard what he thought he heard. What a less than auspicious way to meet the new neighbors. Putting the group of out of his mind, he arranged the flowers more evenly through the condo then hit the shower. He needed to steam away the slime from a day at Wolfram and Hart. It was his ritual, a way to rejuvenate and save what soul he had left.
He was going to see if Lorne had any suggestions for the upcoming weekend. He didn't want to go to Caritas contaminated with the energies of Wolfram and Hart, as if a shower could actually make him really clean. Drying off was still a challenge one-handed, but he was getting better, quicker. He pulled on his boxers and blue jeans, loving just being in something other than dress slacks. He picked up the tube of Mederma and squeezed some of the medicine onto the end of what was left of his arm. It was supposed to help reduce the surgical scars. He saw that the stump was swollen and it hurt more than usual as he rubbed the medicine in. The doctors had explained it all to him, how the stump could swell and contract for a period of up to a year. It was the reason he had to settle for a cheap prosthetic arm. He had to wait until the amputation was fully healed because a functional prostheses cost too much to fit on a stump that wasn't healed and could swell. Lindsey tugged a compressive stocking on his arm then slid on the prosthesis, fumbling with the straps to fasten it on.
He headed down the elevator, wondering if he should even go. He hated going to Caritas any more. He used to love it, playing his guitar, singing and now he couldn't do that. He loathed himself because of it. He despised Angel even more. He wanted his life back. He wanted to be able to play guitar. Hell, he'd settle for being able to tie his own shoelaces without a struggle.
"Hello, Mr. McDonald." The doorman opened the stained glass doors for him.
"Hey, Louis. I see I'm getting new neighbors." Lindsey knew Louis knew more about the condominium's doings than anyone else.
Louis rolled his eyes. "So, you're the unlucky one."
Lindsey's jaw tightened. "How so?"
"Your neighbors are the creative geniuses behind the death metal group, Three Days Dead."
Lindsey wrinkled his nose. "How'd they get past the condo review board?"
Louis shrugged. "Money talks."
"Good point. Could you hail me a cab, Louis?"
Lindsey didn't really care for taking cabs and having to take one to Caritas made it even more bitter since it was adding one thing spoiled on top of another. He loved to drive. He enjoyed taking his sports car out of L.A. and opening her up on the lonely mountain roads heading north. His sports car was a stick shift as was his beloved truck. He couldn't drive either now that he only had one hand. He had driven the truck a little, abusing the gears, slapping them around with his fake hand so he tried not to get behind the wheel. He was selling the sports car.
Caritas was crowded as usual. What looked like frat boys were mangling 'We are the Champions' when Lindsey pushed his way through to a back table and ordered a beer. Lorne floated his way, obviously not particularly interested in what was happening on stage.
"Well, if it isn't my favorite pilgrim." Lorne patted him on the shoulder. "Tell me you're singing tonight."
Lindsey had never been entirely comfortable with Lorne's touchy–feelie ways nor his penchant for handing out a series of silly nicknames but he was an okay sort of demon. He had given Lindsey a lot of useful guidance in the past. "I'll be singing. I just need to get on the list."
"I'll have Missy fast track you. And I'll get the house to comp you your next drink," Lorne said then sailed off as the frat boys left the stage, looking for their reading.
Lindsey sat back, nursed his beer and thought about what he wanted to sing. He usually did his own original stuff but since he didn't have his guitar and was less than sure about his abilities to sing without accompaniment, decided his best bet was to pick something from the karaoke vaults. He was in his own little world when someone sat down at his table.
"Surprise, surprise, didn't think I'd see you here." Lilah smiled at him.
Lindsey scowled, wondering if it was coincidence or had she somehow followed him. "I was thinking that myself. Don't you have to go to work tomorrow?"
"Maybe I'll take a page from your book and stay out all night and play hooky tomorrow." Her grin broadened.
"What do you want, Lilah? I'm trying to enjoy myself." Lindsey knew he'd never get rid of her so easily.
"Oh, don't tell me you're not here to see which of us gets the prize in the end. You've got something planned, probably ready to make your big move and have me cut." Lilah sobered. "Literally."
Lindsey entertained that idea. He couldn't tell Lilah he was thinking of getting out. She'd see it as ludicrous. There was no out for people like them. Wolfram and Hart owned them. "No, I'm not. I just want to see how the weekend goes."
An oily smile smeared over her face. "Has our little man found someone who doesn't mind working around the defects?" She tapped her manicured nails on his fake hand.
"I still have one good hand, Lilah. Want to see what I can do with it?" He gave her the middle finger.
"No, you might break one of your blisters." She mimed a jerking off motion, which seemed somehow even more obscene coming from someone who was still dressed in a thousand dollar business suit. She blew him a kiss.
Before he could respond, a very off key voice boomed from the front of the bar.
Lily my one and only
I can hardly wait till I see her
silly I know I'm silly
cause I'm hanging in this tree
in the hopes that she will catch a glimpse of me
and thru her window shade
I watch her shadow move
I wonder if she.......?
Lindsey had to look to see what could mangle the Smashing Pumpkin's Lily so badly. He had no idea what kind of demon it was but it looked like it left a trail of slime like a slug and was painted in the popular Miami home coloring of Pepto-Bismol pink with aqua stripes. Even Lilah gave off tormenting him to watch the thing in horror.
"lily my one and only
love is in my heart and in your eyes
will she or won't she want him
no one knows for sure"
"Ewww, imagine that singing to you." Lilah shuddered.
"Maybe if you were a female whatever that is, you'd be impressed." Lindsey's brow furrowed. "Or is that a female singing?"
"I have no idea but it sings so bad, I thought it might be Angel at first. Heard he was awful." Lilah seemed inordinately pleased at the idea.
Lindsey sided with her on that. "So, are you just going to sit here and annoy me?"
"Pretty much." Lilah crossed her shapely legs slow and deliberate, drawing his eyes to them. "Maybe I'll sing later."
"Talk about frightening."
It was Lilah's turn to make obscene gestures. Lindsey ignored her and got up as Missy called his name to take over the stage from Miami Slimer. He waited until it was properly mopped up first. He saw Lilah watching him intently and that made him all the more determined to sing his heart out. He didn't need the TelePrompTer for the lyrics. He knew them by heart. He just longed to have his guitar in hand as he launched into Toby Keith's Dream walkin'
"She left a
yellow rose and a long neck bottle Dream walkin', pillow talkin'
On a table beside my bed
With a short little note that said I had a good time
It was written in lipstick red
She didn't sign her name I wonder
If that a little secret that she keeps
Ooo... she's walkin' around in my sleep
She's callin' my name again
Day's breakin' I ain't wakin' up, I'm sleepin' in
I'm on a roll now, I gotta know how this dream ends."
Dream walkin', pillow talkin'
Seeing Lorne was detained by one of his fans, Lindsey pushed his way back to his table. He'd rather not get his reading on stage in front of everyone as it was. Lindsey's anticipatory smile faded seeing Lorne's grim face.
"Beautiful, as always, pilgrim," Lorne said. "But..."
"Looks like there's bad news" Lilah seemed thrilled at the idea.
"Whatever it is you have planned, cancel," Lorne said.
"What? Why?" Lindsey had no plans of telling Saeth not to come.
"The Gods have suddenly decided they like you and are interested in what you're doing. This is never a good thing," Lorne said, sympathetically.
"Ah-oh, sounds like someone is about to become the butt monkey to the Powers That Be." Lilah gave him a superior look.
"'Fraid the little lady's right, blue-eyes," Lorne said.
Lindsey shook his head. "You have to be wrong. What did I do to deserve this?"
"Something not meant for you came into your possession. Whatever it is, get rid of it. Things are only going to go from bad to worse until you do. In fact, you might want to just get out of town...or at least, out of my bar until this passes." Lorne shot him an apologetic look. "Just don't want the place to burn down."
"Is that a possibility?" Lindsey asked, horrified as he ran through all the things that had just came into his possession. At home, there were the flowers and some chocolate marshmallow body butter and amaretto flavored massage oil. He couldn't see why any of those would warrant him getting reamed by the Powers. At work there was any number of things including two amulets, a scroll and the medicine shield.
"In a word, yes. Sorry, blue eyes." Lorne patted his back. "Oh, and when the dark-haired woman enters your field of view, run like hell."
Lindsey frowned. Saeth was a dark-haired woman. So was Lilah for that matter; at least until she decided to dye her hair something different. "This sucks."
"Depends on your point of view. I'm amused." Lilah grinned.
Lindsey curled his lip at her, getting up. "Thanks, Lorne."
"Sorry it wasn't better news."
Lindsey didn't even wait for Lilah to get a chance to rub it in. He left and caught a cab, going home in a deep funkHe stripped, took off his prosthesis and crawled into bed. As he snuggled down, trying to figure out what Lorne could have been referencing, he was assaulted by the very loud sounds of sex coming from the new neighbors' place. Groaning, he bumped up the volume on his clock radio and fought for sleep.