Title: Strange Bedfellows
Author: Zath Chauvert
Summary: Lamont checks on Margo late at night and makes a discovery.
Feedback: Yes, please! Any and all feedback, positive or negative, would be greatly appreciated. I don't mind being told that the story stinks as long as you also tell me why it stinks. Just hit the "Review" button at the bottom of the page.
Disclaimer: To be honest, I'm not sure who currently owns the rights to the Shadow. I only know that it isn't me. I'm not making any money from this story. I'm not making any money from much of anything these days, but I'm especially not making any from this story.
Author's Note: I'm basing this on the 1994 movie, so if you're a fan of the Shadow from the radio plays or the pulps but haven't seen the movie, then this story will probably leave you with a case of WTF-itis. It may do that anyway, but then it would be my fault instead of yours.
By Zath Chauvert
Lamont Cranston eased the door shut behind himself as he entered the house. Had he been anywhere else, he could have just used his mental powers to makesure that no one noticed him, but those tricks usually didn't work on Margo, so he had to sneak in the old fashioned way. Officially, Margo still maintained her own house on the other side of town as a minimal concession to the rules of propriety, but she was spending fewer and fewer nights within its walls. Just the thought of it was enough to make Lamont smile, even if it also meant that he had to worry about making too much noise in his own home.
Most nights, Margo stayed up, waiting for him to return. Some nights she even demanded that he allow her to accompany him as he stalked the city in the guise of his alter ego, the Shadow. These past few nights, however, she had always been asleep when he got home, so that he didn't see her again until the noon meal that she called lunch and he called breakfast. For his own part, Lamont had been tired enough from fighting the forces of evil that he had been grateful for the lack of distraction between the front door and his pillow. Then, tonight, she has pleaded fatigue and had already been on her way to bed as he was leaving.
Lamont paused in his tiptoed journey towards his own bedroom, thinking about how unusual it was for Margo to go to bed so early. He hoped that she wasn't getting sick. It was probably nothing, he assured himself. He had recently begun attempting to train her in the use of her psychic abilities, and he remembered how exhausting that could be from his own time as a student. Still, he had to be certain. It was nearly dawn and he was dead tired, but he knew that his conscience wouldn't let him rest easy until he checked on her. Turning away from the siren song of his bed, Lamont headed towards Margo's room.
He had no intention of disturbing her. He'd just take a quick look and then be off to bed.
Margo's door stood slightly ajar. At the touch of his hand, it swung open without a sound, and Lamont mentally thanked God for well oiled hinges. The light of the streetlamps spilled in through the gossamer curtains, providing more than enough illumination for Lamont's keen night vision. As he had hoped and expected, she was sleeping peacefully with no outward sign of illness. She was even having a pleasant dream by the looks of the smile that was tugging at her lips. However, there was also the completely unexpected fact that she wasn't the only one the bed asleep with a smile.
A myriad of emotions (mostly subtle variations of shock, jealousy, and denial) battled in Lamont's mind as he stared at the odd bedfellows. Denial and its various associates were the first to be defeated. He could cloud men's minds to hide the truth from them, but it was much more difficult to hide it from himself. The shock died soon thereafter, as he remembered how the two of them had reacted when he introduced them to each other. Really, he told himself, he should have seen it coming. And that left jealousy and its close cousins as the battle's champions.
Maybe he had lost control and was psychically broadcasting his emotions. Maybe it was fate laughing at him. Maybe she could sense him staring at her. Maybe he was grinding his teeth too loudly. Whatever the reason might have been, Margo Lane chose that moment to wake up. She stretched languidly and turned to look at him, all without displacing her companion.
"Lamont," she started but then interrupted herself with a jaw-cracking yawn, which she only made a token effort to cover using the back of her hand. It was a moment before she could speak again. "Lamont, darling, you're finally home!" The smile which had lingered on her lips slowly faded as her conscious mind sifted through his thoughts. Her eyes went wide and her mouth opened into a small "oh" of surprise as she looked down at the head pillowed against her breast, as if she had been completely unaware of its presence. Perhaps she had been. "Lamont, I--"
"No, it's fine. Really." And it was. In the back of his mind, a voice which sounded suspiciously like his dead teacher reminded him that jealousy was just another form of greed, and that greed was just another form of darkness within the human soul. Just as quickly as the jealousy had overwhelmed him, Lamont was able to suppress it again. He had, after all, had plenty of practice suppressing the evil within himself. He crossed the room and gave Margo a kiss on the forehead, being mindful not to crowd her bedmate. "Go back to sleep. I'm sorry to have disturbed you. I'll see you at breakfast."
"Okay." She sounded slightly unsure, but it was a start. "Good night, Lamont."
"Good night, Margo." Lamont gave her one last kiss before retreating to his own bedroom, still slightly at war with his emotions but no longer at their mercy.
He could deal with this. Really, he could. He might not like it, but he would just have to accept the fact that the Phurba liked Margo better.
Fun Fact: I contemplated (for about 10 seconds) calling this story "Everybody Loves Phurba," before deciding that it would give away too much.
Fun Lie: Tim Curry's spheres really are made of beryllium.