and Razor Blades
(A Divergent Destinies Story)
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Written by IceWing (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Standing in front of the door to the office he was supposed to be at, Xander looked down at the slip of paper in his hand. "Well, hopefully her prices will be reasonable. I mean, she's not spending crap on her monthly rent." He reached out and pressed the button on the intercom.
A moment later, a female voice answered. "Go away kid."
"Well, nice to meet you too. Look, I'm here to meet a Meg Coburn."
"Never heard of her."
"Funny, your office matches the address I was given for her. So."
"What do you want kid?"
"Well, off hand, I'd like to come in instead of standing out here in the hallway of this high class office tower and doing business over an intercom."
"How'd you get here?"
"The bus actually. I swear, the LA mass transit isn't all its cracked up to be. Took me three transfers to get here. But, I got your name and address from Evelyn O'Connell. She said"
Before he could even finish, the door was buzzed open. A bit confused, he stepped inside, making sure to close the door gently behind him. Not out of politeness, but because he wasn't sure that the frame could handle a heavy impact and remain intact.
As he turned around, he got his first look at Meg Coburne. Her hair was similar to the color Buffy's had been when she had first arrived in town. Kind of that half brown, half blonde combination. She wore it well. There were other similarities as well, enough that the two probably could have been cousins. But Meg had a look to her that Xander seriously doubted Buffy ever would. Meg was darker somehow. Maybe it was the all black clothes she wore. Or a combination of that and the barbed wire tattoo around her upper arm, shown by the tank top she was wearing. Or the chain feed through the double edged razor around her neck. But the biggest difference was in the eyes. The were dark and hard, like any smile or laughter which might escape her tightly pressed lips would never reach her eyes.
Never reach her soul.
Xander paused, then shrugged internally. He wasn't here to psychoanalyze the forger, just to get what he needed and get gone.
"So, assuming that I believe you know who you say you know, why would you want anything from me?"
"Well, to be blunt, I need some identification, with, how shall we say, less that accurate information in place on it."
"Kid, I'm a specialist. I don't work up documents so that brats like you can sneak to the local stop and rob and buy a case of beer for a party or sneak into some club on a Friday night. You don't need to shell out the money, assuming you could afford it, which frankly I doubt, for the work I do. Go find some hood in your school and stop wasting my time." She turned back to her computer, dismissing him.
Xander's response was not the departure she had been hoping for. "Look lady, I don't need a fake ID so I can buy beer or cigerettes. I need to be able to open up a bank account without anybody looking over my shoulder. I need to be able to rent an apartment, maybe get a car. I need to be able to get by as an adult for my business, and for my job, and I can't do that if I can't prove to people that I have the authority to do what I need to do. And I won't be able to do the stuff I need to do until I can prove that I'm not some snot nosed kid. So, I need forged papers, so I can establish a person who can do everything I need to be able to do. And for that, I need a professional, and I'm both willing and able to pay for your time and services. So, you're going to take my hard earned money, and work your magic and I'm going to take the papers you give me, say thank you and then I'll promptly walk out that door, which I never came through as far as I'll be able to remember, and be gone from your life."
Meg looked at him for a moment, then picked up the phone. She dialed a number and waited. "Hey Eve Yeah, its me. Look, I've got this kid here" She paused, then asked Xander what his name was. When he responded, she continued talking into the handset. "Yeah, the Harris kid. You sure? I don't like dealing with kids, you know that Eve. Yes, I am the best, but I still don't like dealing with kids. They can't keep their traps shut about where they get anything, unless its communicaible Why would you vouch for a kid like this?" Meg glanced at Xander again. "Yeah, I guess I can see the resemblence. Is his money good? Well, as long as its cash, I can't bitch too much I guess. Fine, I'll handle it, but if this comes back and bites me, you're the one I'm going to be after. Cool. Later."
Hanging up the phone, she turned back to Xander. "Eve's willing to vouch for you, god knows why. Here's the way it works. I don't know you. I have no clue who you are, but Eve's word is enough to get you in my door. No more." She paused. "Are you a cop?"
"A cop? Do I look like" Xander noticed her eyes tightening and changed gears. "Ok, calm down. No, I am not a cop."
"Fed, FBI, ATF, Interpol or any other law enforcement organization?"
"No, to all of the above."
"Strip. Down to your shorts."
"Don't you think this is a little quick? I mean, you should at least buy me dinner first"
"Shut up kid. I need to make sure you're not wired. So, if you want your paperwork, you do it my way."
Xander didn't look happy, but he complied. "This is embarrassing you know"
"It shouldn't be," she said with a smirk. "Turn around." When he had complied, she nodded and told him he could get dressed again. But to kick the bag over.
"Kid, you keep arguing with me, we're not going be able to do business."
"Look Meg, you can look through the bag, but I just came from Evelyn's
place, and the stuff she looked
at for me is in that bag. And I'm sorry, but there is no way in hell I'm going to kick it across the floor." He walked over to the bag, pulling his pants up, then picked the bag up and set it on the counter in front of her desk, then went back and finished putting his clothes back on.
Meg quickly patted down the bag, then opened it up and gave it a quick once over for cameras or any other recording devices. "Ok," she said as she rezipped it. "You're clean."
"Well, I do believe in personal hygine."
Meg rolled her eyes as she returned to her chair and fired up her computer. "So, what all do you want?"
"Driver's License, passport, social security card and birth certificate."
"Let's say 21. Put the birthday a month or two ago."
"Do you care what state the ID is for?"
"Nah. I guess make it out of state so I can get it converted and put into the system legitimately."
"Good thinking. Most people don't realize that this ID's aren't any good if you get pulled over and there's no record of it in the computers." Her finger's were already flying over the keyboard, bringing up files and templates. "You have any particular name you want on these? Or you want me to pick something?"
"Lets go with Alex. No, better idea. Jesse Alexander." He liked the idea of having his cover identity pay respects to his fallen friend.
"How fast you need this stuff?"
"What's average turn around time?"
"For a job like this, nothing really specialized. Couple of days, since I don't have a lot in queue ahead of you."
"And the cost?"
"Piecemeal The passport, I'm assuming you don't have one that can be used?" She shrugged with his negative response. "The passport will be 2k. Since you don't care where the license is from, I'll give you a Nevada ID, that'll be eight hundred. The social security card and the birth certificate are five hundred each. But since you're buying the whole shebang, it'll be thirty five hundred." She picked up a digital camera and told him to go stand in front of the green screen on the wall. Several flashes later, she tossed him a jacket, told him to put it on, then took a few more pictures.
"Ok, that gives me what I need to work with. Toss the jacket back on the counter, will you?" Already she was downloading the pictures to the computer and starting up the graphics program she used.
"Umm, so now what?" asked a slightly confused Xander.
"Now you come back in two days, in the afternoon. You pay me the rest of the money, as you're paying me half before you leave. Then, I hand you the documents and you walk out my door. We never met, you don't mention my name to anybody and I've never heard of you"
The Slayerette pulled his bankroll out of his sock, already significantly thinner than it had been this morning, and counted off seventeen hundred. "All I've got are hundreds. Would this be ok for now or can you make change?"
Meg looked at the cash, picking one of the bills up and holding it to the light for a moment. "No, seventeen's fine." She took the rest of the stack and pocketed it. "Now get out of my office so I can get some work done."
** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **
Two days later, Xander was walking back down the steps from Meg's building. He'd picked up the merchandise and had to say, he was quite impressed with the work. Although not an expert, he couldn't tell that the documents weren't authentic. As he stepped onto the sidewalk, he almost bumped into a somewhat stocky oriental gentlemen. "Sorry about that," he said instinctively. "I wasn't looking where I was going."
The asian looked him up and down for a second, before accepting Xander's apology. He quickly went up the stairs, moving with an economy of motion. The way he moved reminded the Sunnydale native of the way his sensei moved, like a jungle cat, sliding through the brush. A moment later, he had vanished into the decrepit building.
Xander looked around for a moment, then accepted that the odds of him finding a cab down in this part of town were only marginally greater than the chances of him becoming drinking buddies with Deadboy. Muttering, he jogged quickly to the nearest bus stop, and a moment later was on the number 12 uptown express.
** ** ** ** ** ** ** **
"Sir, I have the weekly reports for you."
From the heavily tinted and mylar coated window, the office's occupant thanked him for the files and indicated that they should be placed on the desk. As the sun set, the reflective qualities of the window changed, now reflecting the inside of the office and its contents. All the contents that is, except the man standing by the window. "Set them on the desk please," he said as he continued to watch the realm outside.
The intern set the files on the heavy oak desk, then quickly hurried from the office.
As the reinforced door closed, the vampire walked to the desk and sat down behind it. The flat screen display was already on, with his e-mail program up in one window, a search utility running in the background. He debated for a moment as to which task he should tackle first, deciding after a moment to look through the files
The first three dealt with the Mayor's activities, the next half dozen were
status reports from his companies, fronts and underworld contacts. But, near
the bottom, he found an updated file on one of his pet projects His hobbies
as it were. "So, Mr. Alexander Harris. What were you doing in Los Angles."
** ** ** ** ** ** ** **
End - Photoshop and Razor Blades
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