Security Camera #46:
Time: 5:50 AM
[Xander Wyatt awakens. His hair is a mess.]
Xander: … my hair's a mess.
[He stumbles into the bathroom. The sound of water running ensues, soon accompanied by loud singing.]
Xander: [Warbles theme song to Star Wars]
Intercom: Do shut up.
The singing does not resume.
Xander Wyatt: professional singer
"So," Xander said as he slipped into the chair. "you heard me singing, huh?"
Villa continued to eat her breakfast in silence, shooting him a poisonous look. On any other occasion, Xander would have backed down, intimidated into submission by her glare. Today, however, he was feeling rather reckless.
He pushed on. "What did you think?"
"You know, before you kidnapped me, I was actually thinking about going professional. I think I have a real talent, you know? A connection – "
She stood abruptly, placing her palms flat on the tablecloth. "I thought it was atrocious."
Xander deteriorated into (manly) giggles as he watched her stalk away. Despite how scary she could be, sometimes riling Villa up was so fun.
From the Files of Villa:
Case Xander (does it even matter anymore?)
Xander seems to think making me angry is very amusing. His good humour diminishes noticeably, however, when he steps into the sparring room with me.
"Ouch!" he complains piteously after his fourth straight loss. "I'm new at this. Cut me some slack."
"We've been doing 'this' for three weeks." I grind my teeth together, frustrated at his lack of progress.
"Maybe if you instructed me more, rather than just constantly beating me up, I'd actually improve."
But beating you up is so enjoyable. Rather than voicing my thoughts, I opt for a rough "get up". When he doesn't, I pick him up and set him on his feet.
"Thanks," he says, sounding just a little awed.
Then I sweep his legs out from under him.
"Damn it! What the hell?"
I motion for him to get up again. "Never let your guard down around the enemy."
Scrambling to his feet, he assumes a defensive stance. "Like this?"
In a heartbeat, I've sent him tumbling back to the floor again.
"Your feet are too close together. Retain your balance. Bend your knees a little."
After he follows my instructions and I correct his posture, I knock him over again. "Now, what did you do wrong?"
Xander pouts from the floor. "I dunno – "
"… I let my guard down?"
Without a word, I pull him to his feet. "Don't let your emotions overwhelm you. Keep your mind clear. Observe your surroundings, you never know if they might be helpful."
"I feel like I should be writing this down," he mutters.
"I am the enemy," I say, settling into my own defensive position. "Knock me over. No weapons. Other than that, you may try anything."
Xander looks incredulous, then shrugs. "… All right."
He takes a few steps back before heading towards me, getting a running start.
Xander Wyatt: on some of the odder colleagues in existence
"... you didn't have to laugh at me," Xander complained on the way back to his room. "The whole sidestepping thing was embarrassing enough."
"As amusing as it was to watch you plow into the mat, your dumbfounded expression was by far the best part." Villa walked beside him, an extra spring in her step. There was an actual smile playing on her lips – no doubt she was reliving the events of that morning.
"What's even more mortifying," Xander sighed, "is the fact that I didn't even manage to touch you the entire time I was trying to knock you over."
"If I recall correctly, you did fall on me once."
"… I tripped."
They reached his door and Villa swiped her keycard, receiving a rather sour look from her companion (who recalled all those times she'd barged into his room unannounced). She rolled her eyes at his expression. "Take a shower, Xander. After lunch, you get to meet some of my colleagues."
She pushed him in and closed the door on his face from the outside. Xander didn't protest, instead walking to the bed and falling onto it. Colleagues, huh? So far, the only people he'd had contact with in the company were Lance (only once), Jeremy (several times), and Villa (on more occasions than he'd like to remember). It was interesting. Other than the boss, the tech guy and the emotionless, superhuman bodyguard girl, he wondered what types of people the company employed.
"So," he said, bringing up the subject to Villa after lunch, as she led him down an unexplored hallway in the building. "What kind of employees does the company have? Are they mostly technicians? Or security people, like you?"
Villa graced him with an abnormally detailed answer. "Some are normal employees, for managing business transactions or files; keeping up the business front of our company. Others are technicians – there are those who are educated in more basic areas, then there are the ones who possess particular skills that we require, or who are just overall better equipped, like you or Jeremy."
"Ah," Xander interjected. "but I'm not employed, am I? You don't pay me anything. You just grabbed me and brought me here."
She frowned. "I think you'll find that Lance is willing to compensate you for your work, and your silence, after you complete the assignment."
He was about to ask for clarification, but she cut him off, continuing her speech about the different categories of employees as if his interruption had never occurred. "There are also those who specialize in the physical areas, not technical. Some work in both. As you may have guessed, I only operate in the physical aspect of the company. I am also one of the people in the upper echelon of Lance Corporations. Lance himself is first, of course, then his second in command, and the board – the ones who make all the decisions. Then comes the employees like myself and Jeremy; his first choice for missions of importance."
Here she paused to give Xander a look, one that suggested she didn't view her role as his (for lack of a better word) babysitter to be one of great significance.
"After us, we have the middle ranking employees. They do the bulk of the work around here – people like me are usually sent on classified missions, or those most valuable to the company."
Another pointed look at Xander. He was beginning to get tired of them. The hallway seemed impossibly long.
"The lowest rank consists of the aforementioned business workers. However, without their input, our company would probably be a mess."
Xander nodded, a mental image of a pyramid structure forming in his mind, with Lance Kirby perched on the very top. "So you're like, Lance's right hand man – or in this case, woman – when it comes to missions."
"You could say that."
They finally reached a door at the end of the hallway, a huge slab of dark wood. Xander watched nervously as Villa swung it open, revealing a large, dimly lit room on the other side.
"My colleagues," she said simply, gesturing to several figures. There were one or two watching the television in the corner, and a few more sitting in armchairs, conversing quietly or fiddling with various weapons.
There were nods from all around the room, and several echoes of Villa's name, but other than that, none of the employees came up to greet themselves.
"Hey," said Xander nervously. "I'm Xander."
Nothing, but for a few brief nods, and more than a few cool, skeptical glances. He was beginning to feel very unwelcome in this company. He turned to Villa. "So, um, by 'meet', did you mean this? Or am I actually going to speak to them at some point?"
She rolled her eyes. "Danielle, Uri, Reginald."
As she spoke, three figures rose from their seats and made their way over. There was a woman, slightly older and a lot taller than Villa, with straight brown hair cascading down her back. She was accompanied by two men – one was shorter and rather scrawny; the other sported hands the size of frying pans.
They were civil, but not friendly, acknowledging Xander with nothing more than a few nods and a handshake (from frying-pan-hand man). Villa's reception was only slightly warmer – she and the big man exchanged smiles, while the other two forwent any greetings at all. As the individuals made their way back to their seats, Villa leaned towards Xander. "Those three are a subgroup. They are under my command. The woman is Danielle – Dani for short, I suppose – Uri is the short, skinny man, and Reggie is the behemoth."
"They're not very friendly," he commented, making sure to keep his voice low. If these people were anything like Villa, he'd rather they didn't overhear him.
"Reg's all right. The other two…" She pursed her lips. "They are my team. They are competent and trustworthy, if nothing else."
"Lacking in social skills, maybe," Xander chuckled.
He expected some sort of reprimand from Villa, but a glance to his side revealed that she had already left. "Hey!"
He caught the door just before it closed, tugging on the handle to find his mentor-of-sorts strolling down the hallway. She aimed a languid gaze at him over her shoulder.
"You disappeared on me," Xander said, hurrying to catch up, then settling into a loping pace alongside her. "You gotta to stop doing that."
"It keeps you on your toes," was her only reply.
A comical image of himself en pointe flashed through Xander's mind. He chuckled. Villa shot him an inquiring look, but made no comment. She found that geniuses like Xander were prone to random flashes of stupidity. It was probably to balance out the rest of their intelligence, she mused.
He caught her staring. "What?"
This time it was her turn to chuckle. Xander was so surprised at the small laugh that he tripped over the carpet and had to scramble for balance. "Nothing."
Excerpt from Lance's diary of pure win:
You know, I could swear that the kids are starting to get along.
I'm in the camera room, as is my habit, and I see them strolling down a hallway. They're not quite hand in hand, but Villa's smiling and Xander's smiling and they're smiling at the same time, an occurrence so rare I feel like taking a picture to commemorate the moment.
It doesn't last, of course. The next second they're arguing about something. Villa reaches over and slaps Xander audibly on the side of the head with a closed palm; that's gotta hurt. Sure enough, he winces and reaches a hand up, then decides to retaliate and soon they're reenacting one of their deadly 'training sessions' right there in the hallway.
I should probably play the part of their elder (not to mention boss) and break up the fight, but I can't help but enjoy watching my kiddies play. It incites in me all sorts of sentimental and mushy feelings; makes me feel old.
WHAT – they just broke a door. Don't they know how much it costs to run a company this large? I don't need the added expense of having to fix my own doors. I'm going to KILL THOSE KIDS.
Xander Wyatt: on punishment
Yes, he supposed it was their fault that they crashed into a door and it subsequently splintered into several pieces. How could he help it if Villa wanted to start a fight in the middle of the hallway? Lance should know that it was all Xander could do to keep her from gouging his eyes out, or shoving her elbow in his mouth, or her knee in his crotch or something…
He said something to that effect, voice somewhat muffled by the large hand that was clapped over his mouth.
"I don't want to hear it," Lance rumbled in reply to the inaudible complaint. "I'm very disappointed in you two, very disappointed."
"She started it!" Xander made to say, but of course all that came out was a series of muted sounds.
Villa, who had escaped the hand-over-mouth treatment, was standing on the other side of the room, eyeing him the same way a bird of prey might eye its victims. Her arms were crossed tightly, her hair in slight disarray.
Compared to the myriad of bruises he would have by tomorrow morning, messed up hair was nothing, Xander thought resentfully. He would have said this, but he had learnt enough from his last two attempts to know that it was useless.
Lance was still talking. "… and I hope that you know the example you've set for your fellow co-workers is appalling. Especially you, Villa. You should know better."
Xander would have said 'ha!' but all he would have gotten was a mouthful of Lance's hand, so he remained silent. Villa did likewise, though her glowering increased tenfold.
"I can't believe I had to come down here and break you two apart like you were children. Your performance has been astounding. Xander, act your age… also, stop licking my palm; it's useless."
The young man drew his tongue back into his mouth, disappointed that his bid for freedom had not been effective.
"Villa," Lance turned to his best subordinate. "stop letting him drag you down to his level. I'd've thought that after so many years, you'd learn to control that temper of yours."
He let his palm slip from Xander's mouth. "As punishment, you two are not only going to replace whatever furniture you broke, you are also going to attend specialized training."
"… anger management?" Xander said hopefully.
The glint in Lance's eyes was more than amused; it was downright gleeful. "No. Parachuting."
A/N: Derp. It's 2 in the morning, goodnight.
This chapter was fun to write, but the latter half had practically zero editing, and it shows. I've tried to keep an equal balance between action and humour, but they both seem to be spiraling into pure ridiculousness… fighting in the hallways, honestly.
NEVERMIND. This is like my filler story; it gives me a break to chill and unwind from all the rest of the stuff I'm working on. And oh yes, I am working on stuff. Lots of stuff. Be excited.
See you when I see you (soon, hopefully),