Summary: "There's this saying, "stuff happens."" Owen felt his lips twitch. "I'm pretty sure that's not how it goes."
Rated for language.
A/N: requested by Ayame the Song of the Wolves who told me to make it Owen centric and then gave me the profile of an OFC and nothing else… So yeah. This is somehow the first thing that came to mind. I tried to incorporate each and every bit of info I got and sorry if Lynn's personality is a bit off but her bio kind of reminded me of a friend and… yeah. Bit long but it was fun once I got into it.
Vaguely related to Five Minutes to Midnight and Ten Minutes Past Noon, with vague easy to miss references to both. If you didn't read them, oh well, but you really should. It'd make me very happy if you did. If you did read FMtM, then this takes place about three weeks after that.
Not one of Owen's best days. There was coffee on his tie from Intern Coffee Girl - or whatever her name was – running into him and he'd left a stack of files in his office that needed to be in Mr. Xanatos' hands thirty minutes ago. Thankfully his employer had been distracted by the antics of his son (again) and Owen had been saved from having to make excuses.
The elevator was full, of course, and Owen watched with an expression of mild annoyance as the doors closed, a group of technicians looking out at him as though he might physically attack the elevator. Owen pushed his glasses back up his nose and glanced at his PDA. He had just come to the horrible realization that he had to prepare Mr. Xanatos for a meeting he'd completely forgotten about when someone touched his arm.
"Elevator's here," Owen distinctly did not jump because Owen didn't get startled. He did, however, look rather sharply at the other person - and was promptly distracted by the… uh… flattering cut of her jacket and skirt. He cleared his throat and calmly stepped into the waiting elevator, the young woman following him in. There was a long moment of silence. "So Mr. Burnett…" Owen glanced at her out of the corner of his eye and recognized the long brown hair as belonging to the owner of cubicle 4a on the fifth floor. It was a little upsetting that he knew that. The girl that owned the hair frowned at him when he didn't say anything. "Or am I mistaken? Artax Project leader, personal assistant to Mr. Xanatos, are you not he?" Something in him (something short with pointy ears and long white hair) answered before he could stop it.
"'thou speakest aright. I am that merry wanderer of the night'," he flinched and promptly returned his attention to his PDA. There was a pregnant pause.
"I beg your pardon?" the woman asked tightly. He looked up at her, saw her incredulous expression and blinked.
"…Shakespeare… you paraphrased…" she gave him a blank look and he sighed. "Never mind."
"I never was one for Shakespeare," she said conversationally, looking up at the slowly blinking numbers indicating their descent. Owen just looked at her and she was apparently not willing to spend the elevator ride in silence because she continued. "My high school English teacher was a bit of an idiot. If I ever see a copy of Romeo and Juliet again it will be too soon."
"Admittedly not one of his better works," Owen muttered as he tried to sort out a way to push the surprise meeting back about an hour without anyone noticing.
"I'm more into Borges personally," that got his attention. Owen turned to look at her straight on and this seemed to make her nervous because she looked at him anxiously. "…What?"
"Magical Realism," Owen said slowly. She raised her eyebrows at him. "Not many people can stomach it and frankly you don't look the type miss…?"
"Lynn," the answer was obviously an automatic one. "Lynn Hopkins from-"
"The derivatives department," he remembered her now. For the first three weeks of her employment her reports had come in with doodles of mythical creatures on the top right corner. The drawings had stopped when he'd mentioned it to her supervisor. He realized that the conversation had just ground to a halt and they were staring at each other now. He cleared his throat again. "You read Borges?" She nodded and he made the appropriate, vaguely interested noise in the back of his throat before returning to his PDA. "I'd always preferred Murakami and Marquez."
"No kidding?" her voice was bright and Owen realized belatedly that all he'd managed to do was draw himself into a literature discussion. "Which Marquez is your favorite?" He was thinking of a way to answer and politely end the conversation at the same time when the elevator jerked sharply sending Owen into one of the walls and Lynn to the ground.
It didn't occur to him that anything might be wrong until the red emergency light came on. He pressed the intercom button and got a load of static for his trouble.
"That was exciting," Lynn said rather sarcastically, pulling herself back up to her feet. Owen was too busy glaring at the elevator doors to answer. "What's wrong?" Other than the broken elevator? For one crazy moment Owen wondered if his stone fist would survive being punched through the elevator doors. "Claustrophobic?"
What bothered him – what really bothered him – was that it wasn't even a question. From the sympathetic, pitying tone he (imagined) he heard in her voice, she'd already decided he suffered an irrational fear of small spaces. And yes, maybe he was less than at home in cramped spaces, it wasn't a phobia and who would honestly blame him, anyways? The only small spaces on Avalon had been tree hollows and those were natural damn it. Not like this manmade death trap. And how dare she-
"Hey, you're turning purple," Owen took a breath he hadn't realized he'd neglected and felt his lungs expand comfortingly. "The important thing is to breathe and remember: this could be worse," Lynn gave him an encouraging smile that he responded to with a glare. "Well it could. You could be under a pile of rubble… again."
"What are you-" Owen rested his forehead against the (still closed!) doors. Of course everyone in the state of New York knew about the mechanical failure that had buried Owen and several others of Xanatos' employ. Most of America probably knew about it. Owen closed his eyes. "Either the building is under attack… or something in the control room has failed," he was muttering to himself, but Lynn nodded as though they were sharing vital information with each other.
"If it's the control room, how long do you think until it's fixed?" she asked innocently enough. Owen suppressed what would have been a violent shudder and forced his voice to be calm and distant.
"That would depend on what's wrong and if it effected all the elevators or just this one," he paused, mentally calculating. "Anywhere from thirty minutes to six hours," Lynn sucked in a breath and Owen felt a rush of vindictive pleasure at the idea that she was equally uncomfortable with the situation.
"Oh man. I have to get home to feed the kids," Owen looked at her sharply and she smiled slightly. "Ferrets; Snowflake and Shinpi… Do you have pets?" Lynn was clearly not seeing seriousness of this situation, if Owen was any judge.
"No, I don't," his answer was short and effectively ended the conversation. They stood in silence for a moment before Lynn gracefully folded herself into a sitting position on the floor. Owen wasn't too busy wallowing in self pity to miss the fact that the change in position gave him a decent look both down her shirt and at her legs. He gave his head a sold thump against the door.
"So you were telling me which Marquez is your favorite," Lynn said coaxingly. Owen started to snap at her to pay attention to how they were going to die in an elevator of all the stupid, undignified places when he realized what she was doing. He sighed and made himself step away from the doors.
"I don't have one," he said, rubbing at his eyes. Lynn elbowed his shin. "I've read them all, I don't have a favorite."
"Well that's silly. I happen to love The General in His Labyrinth," the blond man made a noise that was supposed to mean that he thought her opinion was interesting but really just sounded like he might have caught some deadly disease. "Oh come on, you're an Ivy Leaguer, right? Surely you have opinions about books," Owen took a deliberate, slow breath but said nothing. "Ok, what do you like to do in your free time?"
"Paperwork," he said dryly. Lynn laughed and Owen raised an eyebrow at her.
"I used to surf, before coming to New York. Waves around here are either toxic or non-existent, now I just draw and read and hang out with the ferrets…" she paused. "That's kind of sad actually."
"I do paperwork and babysit my employer's year-old son," Owen pointed out. "You could be doing worse," she laughed again and Owen felt himself relax a little. "Today," he said philosophically, "is one of those days people talk about around the water cooler," she looked up at him questioningly and he sat abruptly, landing beside her with a painful thump. The brunette winced in sympathy. "There is coffee on my tie," he gestured angrily to the offending spot. "I've misplaced this week's reports, there is a meeting in two hours I didn't even know about until," he glanced at his watch, "fifteen minutes ago and now the elevator is broken."
"Sounds like Murphy's Law is making you its bitch today," Lynn said in a deceptively sympathetic tone. Owen gave her a scathing look and shifted, moving his left arm so that his hand would no longer be digging into his side. "Um…" Lynn cleared her throat significantly and Owen followed her gaze to-
"Sorry," he muttered jerkily, pulling his arm across his lap. Stupid hand. Lynn shifted slightly, pulling her skirt down further and Owen felt his face warm. Worst. Day. Ever.
"But you know," she carried on like his hand had not just tried to assault her without his permission. "That's life. It starts and it ends but it's the bit in the middle that's hard."
"Interesting philosophy," Owen decided not to tell her she sounded like a fortune-cookie, if only because his mask was slipping enough as it was without him saying stuff like that. Puck was pushing at his consciousness, begging to come out. But besides the fact that Alex was nowhere in sight, this really wasn't the time. "Any advice for getting through that middle part?"
"Yeah," Lynn grinned at him and Owen suddenly realized why Puck was pushing so hard. She looked just like- "Stuff happens. Get over it."
"I'm pretty sure that's not how it goes," Owen said, lips twitching. The elevator shuddered again and Owen jumped to his feet in time for the doors to open.
"Owen!" This sort of emotional outburst thing had happened enough in the last month or so (usually because of something Owen did) that he was not the least bit surprised when David Xanatos grabbed him by the shoulders and shook him as soon as he'd stepped out of the elevator. "Are you alright?"
"Yes, sir," Owen responded, perfect mask sliding right back into place. Amazing what some fresh air could do for a disguise. The question had been asked enough lately that Owen knew how to respond now. "All is well now. What happened?"
"There was an incident," the dark haired man gave him a significant look and Owen mentally filled in the rest of the sentence. There had been an incident in the nursery. Owen would have to find something to occupy the Xanatos heir to keep him from messing with the building's machinery. Again.
"I see, sir," Owen pushed up his glasses. "I'll take care of it right away."
"Good!" Xanatos smiled and turned, clearly intending to walk with Owen to the Eyrie Building's living section. Owen didn't turn with him, but looked back to where Lynn was now stepping out of the elevator herself.
"Ms. Hopkins," Owen inclined his head in pseudo bow and Lynn smiled at him. "Thank you for…" he gestured to the elevator, making a mental note to get the security tapes for that lift and destroy them. Lynn shrugged at him.
"Anytime, Mr. Burnett," she said in that careless, dismissive tone people tended to use when saying that. Owen started to return to his employer's side. "But maybe next time we can do something normal, like go out for dinner or a movie."
Owen whipped around to face her again, mask utterly obliterated by the surprised look and blush that had overtaken his face. Whatever he might have said died on his lips. Lynn was already disappearing around the corner. The sound of someone clearing their throat broke him out of his trance and he turned to see Xanatos giving his a sly, knowing look.
"So," Xanatos started walking, hands held loosely behind his back. Owen straightened his stained tie and followed. "I expect you to tell me what happened in there," he glanced back at the blond and winked. Owen swore out loud and felt his face turn red. Xanatos, true to nature, laughed.
End Notes: I couldn't think of any fiction authors that write mythology centric stories so I thought about all of Lynn's other attributes and decided she'd probably like Magical Realism. The "type" Owen was talking about is the Indie Crowd look, nothing wrong with that (I myself am a HUGE Florence and the Machine fan) but you know, hemp skinny jeans and recycled plastic shoes (which are awesome, btw) would look kind of weird in the shirt-and-tie enviroment that I imagine the Eyrie Building employees work in.
The thing I REALLY like about Owen is that I can have him be serious one minute and then do something silly because he's literally got the worst case of Split Personality Disorder ever.
The 'she' Owen mentally compares Lynn to is the same 'she' that he referenced in FMtM. Still don't get it? GO READ THE PLAY AND LOOK UP THE QUOTES.
R&R please and thank you.