Disclaimer: I don't own Hellboy. Ms. James on the other hand....
Summary: Ms. James is a very strange character to keep around. I gather that. However, there are reasons why. There are also reasons for her being as crazy as she is.
"So…let me get this straight." Two fingers gripped the bridge of the man's nose; a preemptive strike against the tension headache that was in the making.
He opened his eyes against the fluorescent light and leveled his glare at Manning.
"You've got a Demon from Hell, a woman who can burst into flames at a whim and a fish man living in fifty-one…and you want extra funding to convert three adjacent storage closets into rooms for this.." The man haphazardly flipped the cover on the rather large file. " …Ms. James." He finished in a rather disbelieving tone.
Manning absently swallowed the remainders of another antacid. He leaned back folding his hands behind his head.
"Actually, it's only two." Manning remarked offhand.
The Washington man harrumphed.
"I…see" He didn't sound anymore enthusiastic about it.
Manning could and couldn't understand the man's reluctance to issue them extra funding. Okay, the bureau was a pretty well funded organization. Those vault doors that Liz Sherman liked to occasionally blow down weren't in anyway cheap and Red's 'nutritional requirements' put one hell of a sizable hole in the weekly budget. But of course, they were the BPRD stars. If Hellboy put in a request for a solid gold litter tray for every single one of his cats, the people in Washington would blink a few times at the form and write Manning a cheque. However, Ms. James couldn't burst into flames, she couldn't put her hand on something and tell you what it had for breakfast and she most certainly couldn't kill anything more than her blueberry pancakes. As measly as the seventeen thousand was to accommodate her, because she wasn't a big blip on the Washington radar someone had to come down and approve the request.
And the reason for moving Ms. James to the base?
It had taken Manning two hours to stop laughing when he'd been told what happened. Basically, Ms James, the ever hated little paranormal magnet, had officially brought her work home with her. For the first time in her year at the Bureau, the forces of darkness and all things slimy had crashed Ms. James' apartment at four am.
As much damage as the creatures had done as they'd plowed through her living room and burst down her front door in their hasty exit, Ms. James had done the most damage as she'd run around the apartment screaming.
And that had been before the stupid woman had gotten hold of an aerosol can and a lighter.
The team had arrived to find the Fire Brigade fighting back the flames engulfing the woman's apartment building. She'd not only burned down her own home…but two apartments each side of her and the one above.
It would have been much funnier if it hadn't have been so damn expensive.
The man coughed, drawing Manning's attention back to him.
"Tom, you've got to see this from our point of view. Washington has no problem signing off on anything regarding Hellboy or his two associates…however, she has no skills, no social abilities and there are some damning reports made by your very own agents on the unsuitability of this woman for the Bureau." He desperately wanted Manning to understand his reasoning for the denial that was about to come.
The Washington man pulled a page from the file and studied it.
"Look here! Hellboy himself said, and I'm quoting word for word here, 'You just keep that chick away from me and if I catch her even blinkin' at my cats again I'll nail her ass to the wall with Big Baby.'" The man recited calmly. "Agent Manning, not only do I not feel you deserve the funding, but unless you can convince me otherwise, I'm going to put forward an order to terminate her employment immediately." The Washington man sternly reprimanded.
There was a heavy silence between the two men. The Washington man was waiting irritably for an answer while Tom Manning just seemed to slouch back in his chair, staring at the ceiling.
"You know how many black suits I own, Davis?" Manning's question just came right out of the blue. Its casualness startled the other man.
"No. No I don't." He gruffly replied.
Manning popped in another antacid and sighed.
"I own five black suits, Davis. Five. Considering I only have two work suits and a handful of casual clothing, that should say something." He sounded very depressed. "Last year I was attending more funerals a month than meetings. I know it's a hazard of the job...but this branch had one of the highest death rates in the country. Then little Miss Accident comes along with a reference from a Valac, of all things to give you work advice. And you know what happens?" He asked the Washington man.
The man in question had absolutely no idea what the hell a Valac was, and personally didn't want to.
"Then it all stops. We've now got one of the highest success rates and you know what…" He added smugly. "in the last year we've only had one death." He spread his hands in a gesture of bewilderment. "And that guy choked on a handful of peanuts."
The Washington man laughed at the very concept.
"Wait a second. Ms. James has absolutely no hidden talents. She's not smart. She's not athletic. She's not.." The Washington man was about to say something along the lines of pretty and attractive but thought the better of it. "..a typical man's type. How can you sit there and defend her? She's not special. Not in the Human way...and not in the.."He struggled to come up with another word. "...not Human way." He ground out with difficulty.
Manning found himself on his last antacid for the fifth time in three days.
"No. But she is cursed." Manning smiled.
The man's frustration cooled instantly.
"What do you mean...cursed?" He questioned.
Manning let his smile widen a little more than his usual triumphant grin.
"Oh, she's not smart, or in any way talented...but she doesn't have to be. The woman is a walking magnet for the odd, bizarre and a lot of the time, utterly disgusting. How much of her file have you read?" Manning asked.
The Washington man fumbled with the file as he desperately flicked through the pages for something that he'd missed.
"I read the whole thing. Why?"
Manning pulled the file over and pulled out a CD that had been taped to the back panel. He held it up for the man's inspection.
"On here is a recording of her interview...and a recording we made when we visited her old apartment. I'm gonna get us two cups of coffee. I'd take a listen if I were you and you can give me your answer when I get back." He suggested.
The Washington man took the CD with a great amount of nervous reluctance.
"Wh...what's on it? He stuttered.
Manning smiled knowingly.
"You'll find out..."