Categories > TV > Angel0 Reviews
Wesley finds that the afterlife is filled with bureaucratic red tape that binds rather tighter than it did in his previous life.
Setting: mid-/Not Fade Away/
Disclaimer: I do not own Joss' or ME's toys.
A/N: Many thanks to yourlibrarian for the very helpful beta job.
In the Memorandum
When Wesley opened his eyes, it wasn't to a hell of bodies, held in ice, heads wrenched forward. Nor, rather expectedly, to a blinding light. Instead the view before him was so commonplace it was pure bathetic comedy; in fact, he was sure he'd conducted a quarterly review in a room such as this mere months ago with his Demons and Acquisitions staff. Reasonably, it was a perfect replica of the Wolfram and Hart 12th Floor Executive Meeting Room, and just to complete the picture, seated at the opposite end of the ten-person boardroom table was Holland Manners.
"Good morning, Mr Wyndham-Pryce. So kind of you to join us. I hope everything is to your satisfaction?" And suddenly before Wesley was a steaming cup of coffee, his favourite fountain pen and a bound leather folder filled with W&H watermarked stationery.
"How was the transition? Not too bumpy?" Holland Manners continued.
"It's just that mine was. Dreadfully uncomfortable. But that could have had something to do with the way my lights were flicked out." He winked. "Heard your end was a bit untimely too."
"Yes, yes. Fighting the good fight and all that malarkey. That's what your beloved leader's up to about," and he paused and looked at his watch for the precise second, "now. But then, he was the one that sent you to your death, wasn't he?"
"Oh, Mr Wyndham-Pryce. I just couldn't resist playing with you. Got a bit of a blind spot as far as Angel's concerned, you see. But on to matters at hand-"
"Is Angel all right?" Wesley asked as Holland Manners got to his feet and started walking toward him.
"I don't know. But what I do know is what's before you. And that's a ten-page memorandum, drafted by your intermediary, on how Wolfram and Hart expects you to fulfil your tenure. I'll go ahead and let you read it, before the Heads of Areas meeting in twenty minutes. Oh, and you might want this for later." He handed Wesley a satin-covered box containing the dagger with the arm strap he had purchased from Emil. God knows how Wolfram and Hart had found it; Wesley thought he had lost it forever. "I believe it's your weapon of choice."
Holland Manners strolled out of the room, silently shutting the door behind him, before walking briskly into an adjacent room that joined the room where Wesley was contemplating the material before him. He took a chair facing the one-way glass that separated the two rooms and turned to the other person in the room. "You think he'll do?"
"Of course he will. He's Wesley Wyndham-Pryce." They watched him roll up his shirt and attach the sword to his arm, with a smile at their lips.
Wesley didn't know why they'd left the weapon with him, but it was a case of waste not, want not. Even with a trap neatly concealed behind the exit sign. As to the document, he tried to pry his eyes away from it, knowing the minute he started to read, he'd be even more bound to this confusing set-up. Ignorance, in this case, was bliss. And somehow the nagging feeling that Wolfram and Hart contracts were all about perpetuity, even for him, was evolving from a naÃ¯ve belief that he was immune, to a rather more worrying sensation that this was indeed, if not Dante's, then certainly the more sinister version of Wolfram and Hart's Hell.
The most expedient option was definitely to escape. Somehow. The rooms would be monitored by some kind of panoptic system, no doubt. But perhaps a break for it was called for, just do it, feet first and Spike-like, and suffer the consequences. Maybe then he could provide some sort of assistance for whatever was happening in LA.
Just as Wesley roused himself with a fighting speech about storming out of the boardroom, the door opened to a crowd of people. Faces he recognised from days terrorising the lawyers when they were all alive, some he didn't. Perhaps they were older; or possibly had been groomed for other plots than those connected with the LA office. One glaring omission he realised, as they took their seats around him, was Lindsay MacDonald, probably suffering a torture too intolerable for words.
And, of course, there was someone he couldn't bear thinking about. Someone he'd hope to save from the vicissitudes of eternal death. First by severing her neck from her body. Then with fruitless chivalric honour by burning her contract.
Trying not to think about her was rather confounded by the overwhelming vision of her sitting directly in front of him, smiling as if her entire body emoted pleasure that her eyes held him in her sight. Then her face twisted into a smirk that sealed their introduction, particularly as he was trapped in the nightmarish position of half-standing, half-sitting. Her face was varnished in faultless make-up, her lips emboldened with satiny lipstick and her hair swept away from her face. She had on the maroon suit he had last seen her in, cut far too scandalously above her knees and between her tits, with a three tier pearl choker at her neck. His eyes, avoiding the voluptuous curve of her breasts, went directly to that. The guilt got him every time.
"Hello Lover," she mouthed, twirling a pen in her hands.
"And, so, to the matter at hand," began an elderly man Wesley failed to recognise, seated at the head of the table. "All are present, I take it, and, I've been reliably informed by my secretary, that we have a new member of staff to greet. Welcome, Mr Wesley Wyndham-Pryce. Your knowledge of demonic cultures and language and your famous derring-do will make you a vital member of our little corner of Wolfram and Hart. We seem to have a slight problem in the region... Mr Linwood, I believe you have all the details in your briefing?"
As the man was talking, Wesley decided this was his opportunity. He wasn't going to let Wolfram and Hart control his destiny, years spent being a pawn of other mightier opponents had made it clear to him that "waiting-and-seeing" had only ever turned out inadequately once, and he didn't particularly care for these lawyers. Well, except, maybe her. But as luck would have it, Mr Linwood was seated right next to Wesley, and was bending down to retrieve his suitcase filled with papers, as he struck.
"Don't anybody move!" Wesley shouted as the sword whipped out from his arm, pinging its way to within the barest of inches of his opponent's neck, "or Mr Linwood, here, gets it and you don't get to interfere in the L.A. office."
"Oh Mr Wyndham-Pryce!" shouted the elderly man, "that's certainly not in the memorandum."
Wesley frowned, not quite sure what to do, but unfazed in his resolve. He removed all sympathy from his voice as he replied, "Well, if I'd read the memorandum, I might be able to come back with a witty retort but, as it is, I'm walking out of this boardroom, to go and help my friends. And, if you stop me, Mr Linwood, here, will be skewered. Right before you are, sir."
"Very well, if that's the way you wish to play it, then do as you must. But if this is to be a negotiation, please allow your intermediary to convince you of the necessity of staying. Ms Morgan, the floor is yours."
Wesley faltered, ever so slightly. But kept the sword at the other man's throat, feeling the familiar weight as his fingers curled around it. To his due, Mr Linwood didn't move a muscle.
Lilah stood up, ran her hands down her clothes to smooth out the miniscule wrinkles, walked around the head of the table, running her hands along the top of each chair as she passed her fellow lawyers, and stopped before Wesley. She slid herself onto the edge of the table, crossed and dangled her exquisitely elegant bestockinged legs in the direction of Wes's gaze.
Then she paused and laughed.
"You know, Wes, the first words out of my mouth when I imagined this moment weren't going to be," and she cleared her throat dramatically before continuing in her best mocking British accent, "'Put the knife down, young man, you'll do yourself an injury'", then adding with a slight giggle in her voice, "but I think that's about the best at the moment, don't you?"
"Lilah, I don't...I can't stay, can't you see?"
"Oh, go on, just for laughs, Angel and the boys will be all right. Hey, I know you'd rather spend this time with your scientist girl. But you might find this a little more, let's say, appropriate. Besides, we both know the fun we can have, when we stay?"
"You know this doesn't interest me, Lilah. Never has. That was always Angel's thing. But this," he glanced around the room, "is not my destiny. You cannot make me stay."
"I know you like it when I talk. I know you like it when I tease. And when I smirk and run my tongue along your ear. But most of all," she jumped off the table, and stepped toward him, smiling almost peacefully, "I know you like it when I take control, just so you can get it back again."
Then she lunged at him, grasping his head between her hands, and kissed him. And it was a bit similar to the kisses he remembered, but also a bit different; tempered by how he had lost her and how he had lost himself. The sensation of her lips pressed upon his and her tongue laving the inside of his mouth cascaded over other feelings and memories. Her smell overwhelming him, consuming him, and blocking out all others from the room; the way she tilted her head rhythmically, desire surging through him as he poked, prodded and ran his tongue always on top of hers. Between them built heat and desire and he felt his need for her begin to explode, just as he let Mr Linwood go.
Grasping her head in his, he whispered, "Come with me. Now."
"You know I was always a sucker for your power games," she whispered back, and smiled so sweetly at him, he knew he might win her over.
Taking her hand in his, but making one last lunge with the sword in the direction of the chairman, he ran for the doors, banging them open with his fists. He thought about the escape, and how he had to find a way to Angel. But he also thought of her, and the elation he had felt upon seeing her face, so familiar, beloved yet addictive. Perhaps he could be happy.
They turned down a corridor, running fast, chests heaving and Lilah's hand tensed in his. "One thing, Wes," she gasped, "I'm glad you're here. Don't forget that."
He nodded, intent only on the exit sign before him. Concentration so intense that when half a step later, he was jolted back, through time and space, returned to the moment he had made the attack on Mr Linwood, the shock was cataclysmic. Once again he felt the plush leather beneath his legs of the Wolfram and Hart 12th Floor Executive Meeting Room chair.
"As I indicated before, Mr Wyndham-Pryce," intoned the elderly man, "that little feat was not mentioned in the memorandum. I should know, I had final approval and made sure to thoroughly read Ms Morgan's work. Please don't try our patience again with your shenanigans, and don't ever threaten me again. I've got a soft spot for Lilah, so she's able to get away with it, but not you. And that weapon is not to be used on Wolfram and Hart staff - in times of great consternation, like when slayers, God Kings in human form and/or souled vampires, are attacking you. Now, if we could get back to the matter at hand. Events in LA need some attending to, before we shift our attention to Rome and Johannesburg. Mr Linwood, where were you?"
Wesley slumped, and Lilah smirked across the table from him. She scribbled something on a piece of paper, then made it fly across the table to him as Mr Linwood began with the exposition. He opened it up to read in her concise handwriting, "Round One, eh Wes?"