Title: Equitable Exchange
Author: Jedi Buttercup
Disclaimer: The words are mine; the worlds belong to Whedon and Rowling.
Summary: The money was never any part of the reason Lindsey had taken the job. 850 words.
Spoilers: Angel post-NFA: Harry Potter vaguely post-series
Notes: Challenge/pairing prompt fic.
"Here you are, Mr. Malfoy," Lindsey said, removing two Ziploc baggies full of fine, grey powder from the inner pocket of his jacket. "The dust of an ensouled vampire-- times two."
"Two?" Elegant blond brows arched high as his contact reached out a careful hand for the plastic-encased remains. "I had thought finding one would be difficult enough; I had nearly despaired of locating such an ingredient before you responded to the request I placed with your firm."
Lindsey replied with a cool smile, watching the aristocratic wizard weigh the ashes in his palm. "Right place, right time," he said. "You may want to do some additional testing before you use either of them, though. The one with the slightly lighter shade of ash was immediately resurrected as a human the minute he was staked; I wasn't sure if that would affect the potency."
"How... unusual," Malfoy replied, wheels visibly whirring behind his pale eyes. Lindsey had no doubt that piece of information was going to earn the wizard double or triple the already-astronomical rates for the extraordinarily rare potions ingredient; money Lindsey would barely see a fraction of in his fee. That was all right with him, though; the money was never any part of the reason he'd taken this job.
"I trust you did not incur any... additional costs or damages in procuring the additional amount?" Malfoy ventured further, eyeing Lindsey with a speculative expression.
"Nope," Lindsey smirked back. "Like taking candy from a baby." More like trash from the floor of an alley, actually; but his client hardly needed to know that. Better this wizard think Lindsey stronger than he was, not weaker; the form of magic practiced in this dimension wasn't exactly comparable with the stuff used back home, and the runic tattoos Lindsey had had reestablished would only protect him to a certain saturation point of energy they were never formed to deflect.
Particularly since no one here was yet aware that he'd left Wolfram and Hart far, far behind him. The more contacts he reestablished while the Home Office and its agents in the Circle were undergoing reconstruction, the better.
"Well," he had to add on further reflection, "there was a slight complication with an attempted assassination or two; ruined one of my favorite shirts. You know how it is. An additional ten galleons should cover the expense of replacing it."
Okay. So money had been a small part of the reason. But mostly, he'd just been in it for the satisfaction. He'd always intended to kill Angel anyway, no matter what either side, light or dark, threw in his way; when he'd rifled through Eve's files and discovered a peculiar potions ingredient request submitted through one of the extradimensional firms, it had seemed like a total win-win situation. He could have his revenge, and eat all the cake he wanted, too.
The cake was maybe a little sour without Eve there to eat it with him, but it was better than nothing.
"That won't be a problem," Malfoy assured him, setting the baggies down on a little carved table in the entryway of his house and reaching into the pocket of his robes. A small, clinking pouch emerged in one hand; when he turned it upside down, a cascade of glittering gold all out of proportion to the pouch's size poured out into a box set on the table just for that purpose. When it reached a certain depth of fill, he tucked the pouch away again, then cast a brief spell that produced a glowing number above the box.
At the current rate of exchange, Lindsey's expenses would be taken care of for the next decade on that payout alone. And those bags were hardly the only samples he'd taken in the alley full of demonic debris that day; he had a few other visits to make before returning to the nearest magical portal and heading for friendlier ground.
Satisfied with the exchange, Malfoy turned conversational again. "May I inquire as to the means of your miraculous survival?" he asked, politely.
"No miracle about it,'" Lindsey chuckled. "The one who shot me was a do-gooder; they never think to check and make sure you're actually dead, especially if you make it look convincing. I was wearing a lot of defensive spells at the time, and once he left the room..." He trailed off, shrugging.
Malfoy's lips curved into a cool smirk at that. "Yes, indeed. A potions master of my acquaintance also found that to his benefit at the end of the war; his movements are rather limited these days due to his need to maintain secrecy, but these ingredients should improve matters for all of us." He took up the baggies again, tucking them away in his robes as Lindsey picked up the chest of gold.
"I think that's my cue to remind you that even under a banner of client confidentiality-- what you don't tell me, can't be tortured out of me," Lindsey told him with a smirk. "I wish you luck, though."
"You as well, Mr. McDonald," Malfoy replied.