Beside the Setting Sun

Learning the local language was easy. Prescience helped a lot -- listened to a few songs, and poof, it was in his head like the swirling notes he'd always heard. Learning the culture was easy, too, once he found the right places to be. Where demons and monsters and humans all meshed together and there was no one right culture, no dominant way of doing things. No reason to think you were doing it wrong, just doing it differently.

Setting up his club, his home, took a few months. Lorne had made friends in that time, ones who helped him move -- bodies, as well, but don't go there. A year and a half later he was established, happy, and settled into what was going to be his new life.

Trust a vampire to screw that up. Things -- and let's keep that one capitalized -- started happening after *he* showed up. Doesn't play by the rules, doesn't understand, doesn't have any patience. Lorne doesn't mind, really, because the boy's nice to be around. For all his angst and world-weary shouldered weight, his future is refreshing to see. Cut into lines of black and white --the only grey was the shifting association, the uncertainty of his path. The paths themselves are easy to read. No noise, no feedback. Must be the Powers That Be, taking a direct hand in things. Make the picture clear.

If only the guy could sing. Now there was a shame -- the head he doesn't mind looking into, paired with a voice that...well, let's be polite and just say...huh. Nothing's really coming to mind. Let's just say it's better for everyone when it's someone else up there.

Not anyone else. Not... Lorne isn't sure he knows what to think about the other two. Cordelia and Fred are nice enough -- he does wish Fred would stop singing at him, there's nothing in her head he *wants* to see and that's just guilt talking. What happened to her happened because of Lorne, and he's hard pressed to admit he doesn't regret it. Going home proved he had no place there, but the girl paid an awful price for his freedom. Hopefully, if tall dark and broody doesn't mess things up, she'll be better off for it.

Gunn has almost got back into Lorne's good graces. Showing up with his friends to help clean up the club and fix all the broken furniture helped a lot. There wasn't so much extra cash in the till that he could bring in a crew to do it, and the boy *did* owe him. Lorne's willing to admit it wasn't his fault, but he hadn't done much to stop it...or stop it in time. In Lorne's point of view -- but he hadn't been looking into Gunn's head that night, and he doesn't really know what happened there. He just knows he almost lost everything -- the crowds still haven't come back, but he doesn't think he'll have to close down -- and Gunn was there, was partially responsible, and it took him two weeks to offer any kind of apology.

Wesley explained about that afterwards, since he'd been the one to round up his crew and bring them over. He'd given Gunn a stern look, and whipped puppy boy had slunk over and said he was sorry. Even hummed a bit, when Lorne hadn't looked convinced.

What a shocker that was. Not to see how sorry he really was. Not to see his shame, and where his guilt really lay. But to see everything else, laid out around him. Every path led to one man. Every choice, every decision, yes or no. Together or apart, he was everywhere.

Lorne suddenly, for the first time, stopped feeling left out. When he'd met Wesley a couple years back, he'd had seen how Wes was the type to make his world out of whomever he loved. Lorne had been all for being loved, and Wesley was sweet. He'd started thinking about making an approach -- then Wesley had come in one night talking about a vampire, and Lorne had seen a whole new future for him.

He'd realized that Wesley was just that way. Mr. Right was always Mr. Right Now -- and a year later after heartbreaks healed, there'd be someone else. When Gunn had entered the picture, Lorne had just smiled to himself. Gave himself another year, then maybe he'd try his hand if *he* was still free.

But that was before he'd seen into Gunn's future. Seen how their paths were so intertwined, he couldn't be sure who he was reading. The first time, they'd sung together and he hadn't thought anything of it. The second time, and the third... well, even a blind man could read those signs. No matter what those two are, or become -- friends, lovers, comrades-in-arms -- enemies, or strangers -- they were always there together. Even if Gunn should fail to follow, if Wesley should make that choice to return to England, they will still manage to live their lives more for each other, than anything else. In those paths where they never see each other again, Lorne can still trace the marks of their future, touching each other through blind alleys and around dark corners.

That's only if they mess things up in the next few months, of course, and Lorne has a few tricks up his sleeve to make sure they don't. What's the point of seeing everyone *else's* futures, if you never do a thing about them?


Previous Story: Beside the Rising Sun