Rating: R (language, sexual content, adult themes, disturbing imagery)
Characters: Josef, Elle, Adam, assorted
Pairings: Elle/Josef, Josef/Adam (history), Elle/Claire (implied), Claire/Adam
Disclaimer: Dude, seriously, so very not mine at all, okay?
Timeline: Two months post-"How to Stop an Exploding Man"
Spoilers: S1 of Moonlight; S2 of Heroes (completely canon through 1x23; tweaked spoilers of S2)
Notes: I have no excuse for this, yo, and I'm going to the Special Fangirl Crossover Hell, I know - but I'll blame my new obsession for VM and several actors on there, ahem. Anyway, there be vampires here and superheroes and big plots between Company backstory and the aforementioned vampires, and, you know, sexual encounters of the het and slash and femslash kind but, nah, nothing too graphic. Yeah, just... no laughing at me - I am well aware of my pathetic fangirlyness here.
Teaser: Elle makes quite an impression on her late uncle's business partner.
One - Impressions
Elle Bishop had no artistic ability—but that didn't stop her from doodling.
Slush-O condensing on her father's desk, Elle scribbled in the margins of her horrendous romance (romance meaning: badly written sex scenes that used words like "sausage" in incredibly cringe-worthy ways) novel with the brilliant blue pen she kept tucked in her favorite black leather purse. Some were words and quite a few were stylized lightning bolts, but there was a new shape that had joined in recent months, a tiny little figure with long hair in a bright uniform.
The late Isaac Mendez wouldn't have been impressed with the skill but he would have been easily able to pick up who the little shape was.
Elle drew little lightning bolts that shot down into the little figure, leaving the little cheerleader with her arms akimbo and her eyes bugged-out and hair standing on end; she drew big trucks hitting her, always completing the little doodle with a thought bubble above that read "SPLAT!" and she drew the little cheerleader after a bad fall, a bent little shape with a thought bubble that read "OWIE!"
Her father said she couldn't actually play with Claire Bennet, but she could pretend.
"I told you to use a coaster with those things," her father sighed, slipping into his office and giving the offending Slush-O a sharp look through his glasses, moving past her and easing into his chair. He caught sight of her book then, and pulled a face as he dropped his folder onto the desk and snatched it out of her hands, closing it and tossing it without a second glance into the wastebasket in the corner. "And stop killing your brain cells with that trash."
"I wasn't actually reading it—" she started, but her father wasn't listening, pressing fingertips into his forehead and flipping fast through his folder.
"I honestly don't think you're ready for this," her father told her as he searched, eyes scanning each paper before moving onto the next, finally sighing and dragging a stapled portion out. "But most of our people are trying to handle problems elsewhere and we can't spare any of our others so it'll just have to fall on you," he explained, pushing the folder to the side and sliding the rest toward her. They were hand-written papers, she noticed with a touch of surprise, stapled together with a single snapshot, a skinny white guy in dark glasses and an expensive suit getting out of a sports car. "This is Josef Kostan, Elle, a business acquaintance of uncle Linderman's."
"What does he do?"
"He's one of Those People," her father said flatly, vague curl of his lip matching the distaste in his voice.
Elle's eyebrows shot up, though, and she snatched the papers up, peering with a lot more interest at the guy in the pictures. He didn't look like much, was sort of skinny and not at all as pale as she would have thought, wearing a suit that must have been tailored just for him. "He's a vampire?" she asked curiously, regretting the wording a second later at the look he shot her, grin sliding fast of her face as she dropped the papers to the desk and found herself suddenly self-conscious of her Slush-O on the desk.
"Vampires don't exist," her father snapped irritably, rolling his eyes. "He's just a business partner, Elle."
Properly chastised, she pushed the papers around the desk, coughing and shifting her shoulders as she studied her hands in her lap, the faint flickers of bright blue under her nails. "Sorry, daddy," she managed, flashing him an overly bright smile, faltering when he didn't even see it, now focused on his paperwork again. "What do you need me to do?" she asked, and he shrugged, making a face.
"Just to make a delivery for the Company, handle a quick pick-up for us."
"A people pick-up?"
"Something like that," he agreed, and she relaxed because he was looking at her again, focusing on her as he drew a second folder out of his desk, checking it before tossing it in front of her. "Linderman set up a careful system with an associate of Mr. Kostan's some years ago, and only a few of our agents are allowed full access to that area. It won't last long, he'll move on in a few years but right now, we're forced to follow his rules." He paused, rolled his eyes again, apparently at the idea of making a deal with Those People. "You'll be giving him his annual delivery and also bringing back our employee."
"He's just going to hand him over?"
"It's a her, not a him, and yes, we've already come to an agreement over phone."
"You give Mr. Kostan the case, and you bring back our employee," he told her flatly, standing and reaching out to grab the Slush-O, shaking it in her face with a short look of disgust. "You shouldn't ingest this trash, Elle, it's not good for you." This so stated, he tossed it into the wastebasket as he left the office, not blinking an eye when the lid popped off and the melted slush spilled across the crumbled book, causing her face to fall, realizing she wouldn't be able to steal it back like she usually did when he threw her books away.
Fine, she'd just buy a new one before her flight.
Two days after she first got the job, Elle Bishop was riding up to Mr. Kostan's disgustingly high-rise penthouse.
She had made the decision to dress to impress, her favorite black business suit and a dusky blue top that she knew brought out her eyes, proud of how well she carried herself in her sky-high heels. She had a lot of money and could easily buy a wardrobe while in Los Angeles, but still, she wanted to make a good impression on behalf of the Company, especially now that she was being used as an actual operative.
The only thing she carried (other then the thin twice-read romance novel she had tucked into the inside of her blazer) was what her father had simply called her "delivery," a locked metal briefcase that her father bluntly told her not to let out of her sight until the second she handed it over to Mr. Kostan.
Not to any of his workers, he had insisted repeatedly, but only him.
Glancing down at the case as the elevator rose, flanked by big guys who could bend her into a pretzel without breaking a sweat, she caught her own reflection, distorted but still clear— innocent blue eyes and blonde hair cut neatly to frame a soft face that looked young. She knew she was attractive, knew it in the way boys (and some girls) watched her when they spotted her, and while she sorely wished she had bigger boobs, she was proud of her legs, the little strut she had trained herself to use without even trying to.
She was proud of the way the guards let their eyes move up and down her form.
Firmly determined not to disappoint her father, especially with Linderman's name involved, she had memorized every word he had told her, focusing on her job. Linderman had always taken good care of her, visited her when she was in solitary, told her she was a good girl and Elle would die before she'd ruin his good name, not after how good he had been to her.
Already tense, she straightened further when the motion stopped and men dropped back behind her, herding her neatly into the penthouse as she tightened her fingers around the handle of the case, took slow breaths. She wasn't easily intimidated and even less easily impressed and so she knew what this was— the limo that had been waiting for her, the impossibly long elevator ride, the small army of bodyguards that moved around her in quick little formations.
Elle had accepted how often she was used as a message to her father and this…
This was a message to her father, this was politics— and after the little incident Elle had read about in the file, that mess with the explosion, she honestly couldn't blame the guy. They were lucky, Elle knew, that Kostan hadn't just sent their employee back in a box, especially considering this agent's talent and how violently (literally) Kostan's predecessor had first laid out the ground rules regarding such people.
What she was doing was important.
Spotting him as she moved deeper into the penthouse, she flashed him a cheery smile, getting a better grip on the case and holding it out in front of her like a prize, grinning outwardly at the way he cocked his eyebrow at her as if she was crazy. He was prettier than he looked on paper, she decided immediately, and she took him in as she moved past the guards and set the case carefully down on the table in front of the couch.
Someone needed to tell him that all of his talent at intimidating someone went out the window when he slouched on the couch with a glass of blood while watching a Mexican soap opera on mute.
"Your delivery, Mr. Kostan."
He wasn't looking at her though, fingers sliding across the sophisticated little lock, the barest sound of escaping air making the hair on the back of Elle's neck stand up in curiosity. She didn't know exactly what was in there, knew better than to ask anyone, so she laced her fingers tightly behind her back and carefully studied a spot on the vampire's (her father would send her to solitary for a month if he knew she was calling him that in her head) wall behind him.
"Is there some reason your father gave me an extra three vials, Ms. Bishop?"
"He's probably trying to suck up for going back on Linderman's word," she chirped before she could stop herself, catching her breath with a jerk and snapping her teeth together even before the last word was out of her mouth, horrified. She dropped her eyes and stared warily, gritting her teeth painfully when she realized he was smirking at her, fingers drumming a little rhythm against the open case.
Oh, god, if this got back to her father, she was fucked.
"Do you even know what's in this case?"
She thought about lying, but quickly dismissed the idea, not wanting to make an even bigger ass of herself. "No."
Mr. Kostan studied her more closely then, and although the smirk didn't leave his face, it changed slightly, left him looking impossibly old despite his young face, a look that made her feel itchy inside the way Adam's unwavering stare did. She regretted that thought immediately, biting the inside of her cheek and working hard not to blink at the way he held her gaze, irritated at how her eyes were beginning to ache from the focus. "You're the little electric girl, aren't you, with the static shock?"
"I call it electromagnetic manipulation," she snapped, crossing her arms over her chest.
"I thought you could only use electricity."
Elle hesitated, swallowed slowly, thinking about the file she knew by heart, the things her mother had been able to do before she had burned herself out. So much more than a bunch of electricity, and the doctors said she had potential, if she could just focus— "I'm still young," she finally stated flatly, "but I come from good stock."
He made a short humming sound, nodding towards one of the guards behind her. "Go get our guest," he ordered lightly before his attention shifted back to her, reaching into the case and withdrawing a vial, holding it up like a teacher at the front of a classroom. "Very special blood," he told her pleasantly, turning it and allowing the liquid to pool on its side. "Four hundred years, and I've never seen blood like this."
"You're really four hundred years old?"
"Adam's nearing his three hundred and sixty-fourth birthday, isn't he?"
"How do you know about—" and she snapped her mouth shut again, rattled as she stared at the blood in his hand, seeing it for the first time, pieces falling into place. She felt like an idiot but only dimly, chest tight as she glanced between the vial and Mr. Kostan, feeling like she had dropped into a hole. "You're not allowed to have that blood, my father says—" but again, she shut her mouth because her father had sent the blood, hadn't he?
"You really didn't know what was in this case, did you?"
He sounded genuinely surprised, swirling the blood in the container, eyes narrowed as he took her in with that look again, the one that made her feel like she was being dissected—she didn't like it and glared back at him this time, tightening small hands into fists, breathing calmly as she felt the flickers under her skin. He just kept staring at her, though, taking her in for a long moment before he nodded as if he had come to some decision while he put the vial away and shut the case, brushing fingers protectively across it. "You can tell your father I'm satisfied enough with this," he told her lightly even as she heard the click of a door behind her.
A quick glance over one shoulder found Meredith Gordon blinking at her in surprise, those lethal hands of hers wearing the handcuffs with a grace that Elle envied. Pushing her previous anger down, she looked more closely at the firestarter, took in the dark business suit and the professional way she carried herself, at the emotionless face and straight shoulders. It was the Company face, that was what her father had always called it, and Elle could pick it up a mile away.
"I thought my father took you off active duty."
Elle got a look of disgust in answer, Meredith tossing her hair back from her face and lacing her fingers together in a way that made the guard standing beside her shift nervously. It was understandable, and Elle glanced back at Mr. Kostan, surprised at how unafraid he seemed of the pyrokinetic just a few feet away from him, eyes on the case of blood as he ran a thumb along the edge.
Curious, Meredith forgotten, she studied him a bit more, pleased when he glanced up at her again, amused. "Yes?"
"Aren't you worried she's going to set you on fire, Mr. Kostan?"
"I can take it," he assured her, the corner of his mouth twitching with laughter even as Meredith made a fuzzy short of sound in her throat that sounded infuriated. "Being set on fire doesn't slow me down for long, Ms. Bishop."
"The books say it does."
"The books also say a stake to the heart will kill me," he chuckled, standing up and handing the case to his other guard, meeting the big guy's eyes in a way that made her straighten, unnerved, even as the guard turned and disappeared into another doorway. "I don't like when Company pyrokinetics start skulking around my home, Ms. Bishop."
"Skulking," Elle repeated, glancing intently at Meredith. "You were skulking, Mere?" When she got no response, she finally looked back at the vampire, giving him her full attention. "My father understands the intricacies of your agreement with Mr. Linderman, Mr. Kostan, and I can assure you that Ms. Gordon's actions were entirely her own—"
"Which is the only reason I'm giving her over," he told her flatly, tossing Elle the key to the cuffs with a flick of his wrist. "I want her out of this area, like I told your father… I'm sick of her popping up." He paused to glance at Meredith, narrowed his eyes at the way her jaw tightened in response, as if she was five seconds away from lunging at him and setting him on fire. She didn't, though, just glared back at him balefully and for the second time the hair on the back of Elle's neck went up.
But it was far from the first time Elle had no idea what was going on, so she kept her mouth shut and watched the two stare at one another, an angry looking pyrokinetic and a vampire standing in rocky silence. After seconds ticked into actual minutes, she decided that they were trying to burn holes in each others' heads with the force of their apparent hate for each other. She shifted as another minute melted by, cracked her knuckles and held herself back, not sure who she was supposed to shock if they came to blows—
"Go home, Meredith."
The older woman opened her mouth and then shut it, face going blank again before she shook her head and turned on her heels, stalking fast towards the elevator, snapping over her shoulder in irritation: "Come on, Elle."
"It's Ms. Bishop—" she started but Meredith turned and even in her handcuffs, face tight and pale with exhaustion, she cut down Elle with a single look, a lone acerbic stare that made the younger woman fall silent. She was still standing there, impossibly humiliated, when Meredith started moving again without another blink back at Elle a few heartbeats later. Ashamed, face burning in embarrassment, she went to fiddle with her jacket but then stopped herself, not wanting the novel to drop to the floor.
Even more humiliated just by the thought of that, she bit her cheek hard, tasted blood as she swung her head around to stare at Mr. Kostan, found him studying her intently, that same damn look that he'd already settled on her twice. "I do believe our business is concluded, Mr. Kostan—"
"You bit yourself."
The book was burning a hole in her jacket and she pressed a palm against her side where it was placed, swallowing the bloody taste in her mouth down carefully, trying to look away but unable to. Fighting an insane urge to shock him and run, she managed to smile slightly, unwilling to show her teeth, afraid they might have been stained red. "I'll tell my father that you're satisfied—"
"You won't have to tell him, Ms. Bishop, he'll know."
It was an odd line, as odd as the big smile he gave her when he said it, and she smiled more awkwardly, a disconnected twist of her lips as she tried to tuck the slipping book between the skin of her waist and her slacks. When it finally worked, she bit back a gasp of relief, reaching to tug her jacket down, smooth her palms down her lapels. "I can personally assure you that Ms. Gordon will no longer be a problem—"
"I have no doubt you can handle Meredith, Ms. Bishop."
Elle wasn't often complimented and even when she was, there were strings attached, strings that usually ended up strangling her until she was forced to cut them, push everything that they were connected to away. But this was something new, and despite her best attempt not to react to the words and the grin he gave her, she felt heat flush up her neck and then higher still, filling her face until it felt like she was burning. "Thank you, Mr. Kostan."
"You're quite welcome, Ms. Bishop."
Not caring that it caused a sharp pain in her cheek, she grinned delightedly and rocked on her heels, lacing her fingers and arching her shoulders, feeling like a cat that had just managed to get her paws on the cream. "I hope you enjoy your..." She paused, blinked and then shrugged, grinning brilliantly. "I hope you enjoy your blood, Mr. Kostan."
Proud of herself, planning ways to get a few good few jolts into Meredith for revenge, she left the penthouse.
What she was doing was important.
On the way back to her father, Meredith sitting infuriated beside her, Elle doodled in the margins of the book.
She scribbled the miniature cheerleader like always, with her little fists on her hips and her legs in a strong stance and her head thrown back like a cartoon heroine. She dug out the yellow pen and filled in blonde hair, shaded in a uniform with deep red and then drew little black lines to give the uniform some extra definition. She knew the girl's habits by heart, was waiting silently for the meeting, but now she had new things in her head, a new person's habits to memorize—
Tucked in the middle of the book was the snapshot, the file photo she had stolen.
If she had been paying attention, she'd have noticed the surprise on her father's face when she stepped into his office with a cheery smile, breathing and alive and in a better mood than she had been when she had left two days before, mourning her sticky novel. If she had been paying attention, she'd have been suspicious at it— but her focus was still in Los Angeles, so she didn't.
It was probably for the best.