Disclaimer: I do not own Hellboy. I do however own my OC, Ms. James.
Rating: T, for very mild.
Summary: So, you know a fish man, your girlfriend bursts into flames...but you haven't met strange quite yet.
Warning: For total crackness and mild animal abuse.
"I really don't know what you expect me to do about it." The agent cut off Hellboy before the demon had even begun talking.
They'd had versions of this exact conversation that many times.
If it were even possible, the demon's colour darkened in rage.
"Do about it?" He growled.
The demon produced from the floor at his feet, one incredibly bald cat. The odd patch of remaining fur was the only indication that this wasn't a trait of it's breed. This cat had been shaved.
"For one thing, you can fire her ass. I was gonna ask permission to shoot her, but Liz convinced me to be reasonable and let you handle it." The way he said it didn't exactly emphasize his respect for authority.
While it was doubtful that Red would actually shoot her, he would undoubtedly take out his gun and wave it around some. That in itself could cause problems. Every time his gun came out some piece of equipment, some wall, some vehicle got destroyed.
"So, Agent James has a few..." He seemed to struggle to find the word."...quirks. Being incredibly allergic to cats is just one of them. Really, you left the thing in her bed. Exactly what did you expect would happen." He argued. Although, he could admit that he wasn't expecting the woman to start shaving cats. She put herself in the medical wing in the process, but she'd done it.
He might have reconsidered hiring her if he knew half the stuff she was capable of, beforehand. It's a pity resumes didn't list relevant stuff like "prone to retaliation if she feels wronged" and "feels wronged on a daily basis and mostly without warrant".
Hellboy put the cat down on Manning's desk where it proceeded to wander around in mild curiosity.
"Well, she can be quirky some place else." The red giant sounded resolute.
Agent Manning summoned his most defiant expression and scowled.
"Red, it was because of your incessant prodding that Myers, one perfectly good agent, was shipped off to the back end of the Antarctic. Enough is enough. You don't have the power to simply decide who works here and who doesn't. This is not your personal little club. You work for us. Not the other way round."
Agent Manning smiled.
A red stone hand landed on the Agent's desk, cracking the glass and sending the cat scurrying off with a protesting mewl.
"She goes." The red demon glared through narrow slits.
Manning didn't allow himself to be intimidated.
"She's staying. Ms. James was hired for a reason..."
Hellboy's control broke violently; heralded by the death throws of Manning's desk which shattered this time around.
"What reason would that be? Crazy woman can't even shoot straight. All she does is annoy me."
Hellboy stuck out his jaw and began imitating the quiet woman in a high-pitched, mock feminine voice.
"Oh, don't hurt that monster, it might have feelings. Why don't you just ask it why it's eating all those people? Why does your girlfriend burn everything? Oh my God!!! You have cats?" He finished off with a high pitched shriek.
Hellboy crossed his arms indignantly when he noticed Manning absently mouthing the very same words he'd used. Yes, they'd entered this part of the conversation
"Listen, Red, I'm sorry you don't like her...but you've got to face facts. How many times has James been injured while on a field mission?"
"This again? She's never injured because I save her ass all the damn time. And when I don't, Liz does. Hell, even Abe's saved that skinny ass at least a half dozen times. The woman's a walkin' disaster area. She walks onto a scene and boom, all of a sudden we're standin' at ground zero and there's nasties crawling out of the woodwork. She ain't worth the headache. Damn, at least Myers had people skills." He reasoned.
Tom Manning knew in his heart of hearts that Hellboy was one hundred percent correct in his liability assessment of Ms. James. She truly was a walking charm and not the good 'win the lottery' type charm, either. Monsters took the train, bus and the subway to scare the living daylights out of the woman. Before she arrived on the scene, around eighty percent of the field missions were goose chases. Totally bogus. After she underwent basic training and was sent out in the unhappy wake of Hellboy, that statistic had reversed itself in most spectacular fashion.
In short, blunt terms? She was a paranormal magnet. And yet, defying all reasonable, logical conclusions she walked out of every situation, shaken but absolutely unscathed. As much as the others vouched that it was because of their protection, the fact remained that in the single year previous to her arrival, they'd buried twelve agents. That almost worked out at one a month.
If Hellboy wanted Manning to put in words the one official (because there was an unofficial) reason that she was still employed with them, it would be the drop in work related deaths. The number of clean missions placed against the death toll was Washington's chief way of measuring the Bureau's success. She was a bureaucratic wonder.
All of course on paper.
In the flesh she was pretty much a nuisance. However, as long as she didn't kill anyone or cause any kind of serious trouble. She was tolerable.
"Red, I'll get her to apologise for the cat shaving, promise never to do it again..."Tom Manning folded his hands. "..but she stays."
It was the final word and the red guy knew it.
"Fine, but if I catch her so much as lookin' at another cat..." The demon left the threat open.
Manning smiled as politely as he could while passing over the bald cat that had taken a liking to his lap and had been using his crotch as a scratching post for the last few minutes.
"I'm sure you will. Now if you'll excuse me..." The cat meowed as it was dumped in the slightly cooler but altogether gentler grip of Hellboy. "...I have work to do."
The demon was quickly shooed out the door.
As soon as Manning was certain he wasn't going to be storming back in, he strolled over to his chair and plucked the phone from the remains of his broken desk.
The phone was answered on the second ring.
"Yes, Ann, I need you to order me a new desk." There was a shrill statement followed by a breathy sigh across the phone line. "No, they aren't quite as unbreakable as the sales rep made them out to be. Yes, as soon as possible"
He went on to confirm the size, the shape and the clarity of the glass. Every detail of the new desk was covered.
But before he hung up, he asked his secretary to do one more thing for him.
"Order a teddy bear or something and leave a 'get well soon' card in medical for James."
As annoying and incompetent as he found the woman. He couldn't deny the smile that fought to make itself known at the thought that she'd sat with swelling eyes and spreading rash, shaving a cat to get even with the red oaf. That took dedication and will power.
He had to respect that.
Hell, she might even get rid of those cats.
That happened to be the unofficial reason the woman still had her job.