Smallville: Heart's Desire
Disclaimer: Lex Luthor is not mine. St Patrick's Day (which is on the 18th of March, I believe, for those who aren't sure) is not mine. And I don't own any leprechauns. This story was written for Andraste, who wanted a non-X-Men, non-Christmas holiday fic. *g* I hope she likes this one, even if it is late.
Lex Luthor hated St Patrick's Day.
It was a silly holiday. And really not much more than an excuse to get very, very drunk and shout randomly cheerful things at people who were trying to work.
So he was avoiding it as much as he could, by taking his laptop and a cup of coffee out into the grounds, planning to get some work done in the small summer-house that someone had thought would be charming and quaint. It wasn't, but it was a nice place to sit on a nice day like this. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, spring was starting to get a good foothold in the garden ... in short, it was the sort of day that made him want to step on flowers and crush bunnies beneath his heels. He was a cynic at heart, and spring made him cranky.
When he saw a flash of movement, therefore, just as he'd gotten comfortable, he reacted by grabbing it. Be it bunny or bird or human, it was fucking TRESPASSING and he was going to ...
Going to ...
He'd grabbed a tiny little leg, and was holding onto a tiny little man. With bright red hair and beard, green eyes, and a round, weatherbeaten face. Except for the tiny hawaiian shirt, he looked a lot like ... "A leprechaun?" he asked, wondering if someone had slipped something into his coffee.
"Oh, all right, laddie, ye got me," the tiny man said, in an Irish brogue so thickly exaggerated that it was a wonder he hadn't dislocated his jaw. "I'll take ye to me pot of gold, then."
"Nuh-uh," Lex said, incoherently but firmly, getting a grip on the tiny arm with his other hand. "I know this trick. You show me where the gold is buried, and then before I can dig it up you move it."
"Oh, it's a sharp one ye are," the leprechaun said, with the sort of insincere flattery that Lex had learned to detect when he was ten. "I'll tell ye what, I'll let ye get a shovel before we go, how's that?"
"Uh-huh. Nice try." Lex kept his hold, racking his brain for everything he remembered about leprechauns. "What if I don't want the gold?"
The leprechaun sagged a little. "All right, all right," he said testily. "Ye can have the perpetual coin." He dug into one of his pockets, and pulled out a silver coin. "This is a magic shilling. If ye put it in your purse ... or wallet, or whatever ye keep your coins in, every time ye spend it, a new one will take its place."
"I don't want it. I have plenty of money." You weren't supposed to take your eye off them, not even for an instant, he remembered. They disappeared. "I don't want the gold, either. What else have you got?"
The leprechaun blinked at him. "Ye don't want the gold? Or the silver?" he asked, sounding a bit confused.
"No. I don't need them." Lex maintained both grip and eye contact. "What else do you have?"
"Nobody's EVER turned down the gold and silver before!" The leprechaun complained, his brogue getting suddenly much less thick and corny. "What do you MEAN, you don't want the gold!? Everybody wants the gold!"
"I don't. I'm already rich. Do you have anything better?" Lex let go of the leprechaun with one hand, to move his laptop out of harm's way. He didn't trust the little bastard not to try and get him to look away by kicking it over or something.
"Better than GOLD?" The leprechaun demanded. "I ... uh ... nobody's ever ASKED for something else before ... well, except Cuchulainn, and he was but jesting ..."
"Oh?" This was promising. Lex had heard of Cuchulainn. "What did he ask for?"
The leprechaun's green eyes gleamed. "An erection that would never wilt," he said with wicked cheer. "And I can't do it, before you ask."
Lex blinked, and let out a rueful little laugh. "That's the stupidest wish I've ever heard of. You couldn't give me that one. What else have you got?"
The leprechaun frowned thoughtfully, his shaggy red eyebrows meeting above his nose. "Well ... uh ... a magic sword? I know where I can get my hands on a magic sword."
Lex raised an eyebrow. "This is the twenty-first century, little mythical whatever-you-are," he said with exaggerated patience. "What the hell am I going to do with a magic sword?"
"I ..." The leprechaun frowned. "Good point. How about ... let me see ... magical harp, no ... uh ... I've got a ... no, you wouldn't like that ... let me see now ..." He gave Lex a plaintive look. "Can you give me something to work with, here?"
"What about a wish? Not one like Cuchulainn's, a useful wish." Lex suggested. He still wasn't sure he believed any of this was happening ... he'd probably just dozed off over his financial forecasts ... but on the off-chance that this was really happening, he'd take a wish over fairy gold any day. Wishes were notoriously tricksy things, but he thought he had enough strength of mind to handle one.
"Leprechauns don't do wishes," the little man snapped, his red beard bristling. "It's material goods or nothing."
Lex picked the little man up off the ground and held him at eye level, ignoring the little kicking feet. "I know you can't disappear while I'm looking at you," he said flatly. "Now, tell me on your honour you cannot in any way get me a wish." He'd gotten the impression somewhere that, tricky as they were, leprechauns were reluctant to lie outright. Hopefully especially when they were being held twice their own height above the ground.
The leprechaun kicked and wriggled, then sighed in defeat. "I can give you a wishing ring," he confessed in a surly mutter. "It's only got one left in it, though, so you'll have to be satisfied with that."
"I'll take it," Lex agreed immediately. "Where's this ring? I'm not letting you go or taking my eyes off you until I get it."
The leprechaun growled, and fished a small ring out of one of his pockets. It looked like it would just about fit Lex's little finger. "Here it is," he muttered. "Take it and let me go, ye great bully."
Lex looked at the ring. He looked at the leprechaun. "What's wrong with it?" he asked suspiciously.
"You don't miss a damn thing, do you?" The leprechaun sighed and rolled his eyes. "It doesn't grant just any wish. It'll give you your heart's desire, and nothing more or less."
Lex blinked. "And this is a problem?"
"Of course not!" the leprechaun said hastily. "It's just that, ye know, ye can't wish to get your hair back, or something. Because that's not your true heart's desire. Go on and wish, boy, so I can go."
Lex just knew there was something wrong with this plan somewhere. The little man was being entirely too enthusiastic about giving up such a useful treasure as a wishing ring. But ... his heart's desire ... "What do I do?"
"Put it on, and-" Lex raised an eyebrow, and the leprechaun swore under his breath. "But you're not letting go, of course ... stick out your hand, and I'll put it on." When the ring was rather daintily encircling Lex's little finger, he tapped the blue stone with a calloused forefinger. It lit up like a cheap special effect in a bad fantasy movie. "Right. Now say 'I wish for my heart's desire'."
Lex frowned at it. Just because he was hallucinating didn't mean he shouldn't be careful what he said. He'd had a secret X-Men comicbook thing for a while, he knew that that way lay Demonic Queenhood. And he wouldn't look good in the skimpy leather dress ... well, okay, he would, no false modesty here, but he wouldn't look dignified. Still, committing to wanting his heart's desire seemed all right. After all, it was HIS heart's desire, presumably it was something he did actually want. "I wish for my heart's desire," he repeated slowly.
Lex blinked, lifting his head with a start. He looked around. What ...
Oh. He'd just woken up. Good. That whole thing with the leprechaun had been very unnerving. He was a cynic. He didn't believe in wee folk, or wishes, or any such sentimental claptrap. He did wonder why his subconscious had dressed the leprechaun in a hawaiian shirt, but ... well, that wasn't really important. The important thing was that he'd fallen asleep in the middle of his coffee, which clearly meant that someone had tried to slip him decaf or something. Time to go back to the house and sneak into the kitchen to get at the espresso machine. Gathering up his laptop and half-empty mug, he stalked back to the house, feeling a bit offended by his own subconscious' lack of dignity. St Patrick's Day. Pfeh.
When he was gone, the leprechaun peeked out from under a floorboard. "Fuck you too, ye oversized asshole," he muttered vindictively. "I hope your heart's desire is something really bad for you." He held the ring up to his large, pointed ear and shook it. "So what was it, then?"
There was a faint hissing sound, and the leprechaun frowned. "What, really?" The ring hissed again. "You're sure?"
The leprechaun looked after the retreating shiny head. "Huh. Who would've thought. Good wish. It'll get him killed, though, right?"
"Good. Asshole." The leprechaun waved a miniscule middle finger at the figure that was even now entering the house. "That'll teach ye to try'n squeeze wishes out of people!"
This story hosted by: Mind Dance