Title: Not Always What It Seems
Author: Christy
Rating: FR15
Disclaimer: I do not own any of these series...I'm just borrowing the situation for a bit. I may not own the series that Alissa filters through, but the concept of her is something I came up with
Genre: Gen/AU Romance
Part: 1/7
Fandoms: Angel/Lie to Me/Highlander
Timeline: After Angel's series finale; After season 1 for Lie to Me
Series: Alissa's Interests
Summary: The FBI has another case for The Lightman group- and this one hits closer to home than Cal would like

Cal Lightman may not have liked it, but he'd finally signed the papers agreeing to let MacKenzie Corporation take over some of the shares of The Lightman Group after Zoe had personally vouched for Mrs. MacKenzie. Apparently the women had met in New York at law school before Alissa had gone to take over control of the company from her ailing mother. It was her law expertise that had him calling her at nine at night, hoping she was at one of her U.S. offices and not overseas, as he'd seen talked about in the trades from time to time.

"MacKenzie," she answered in her typically brisk manner that always put Cal in mind of a military background, though he hadn't found any information to back up that assumption in her files.

"Mrs. MacKenzie, it's Cal Lightman."

"Doctor Lightman, what can I do for you?"

"Well, the FBI has asked for the company's help in a series of killings and Zoe suggested that you might be able to be of some help. I know that our original agreement was that you would not be assisting in active cases, but between what Zoe had to say about your legal expertise in some of the moreā€¦unusual cases she's had and what the FBI office in LA had to say about your help with their case, I felt it would be prudent to amend the agreement, for this case, at least."

Alissa smirked on her end of the line. "Really? Unusual occult related cases, you mean?" she asked, the laughter in her voice coming through clearly to Cal.

"Yeah, something like that," he admitted, still wondering to himself why he'd agreed to deal with her company in the first place. He still insisted to Foster, with her concurring, that Alissa was still hiding things from them. But, if he was truly honest with himself, he'd admit that even hehid things from his friends and family- that was part of the reason why he and Zoe had divorced.

"So, do you want to bring the information on the case you want me to consult on over to my office here in DC? I'll be here for a while- the Asian market just opened. But only if it's on your way home; I don't need you going out of your way if it would just be easier for me to get it in the morning."

"No, it sounds like a good idea to me. Where are your offices again?"

Alissa relayed the information to him then, hanging up the phone, turned to look at the other person lounging around after breakfast in her hotel suite. "So, want to pop back to DC with me for a few hours? I'd rather not try and explain how I managed to get from my talks here in Bangkok back to DC and back so fast to Dr. Lightman. If only the negotiations weren't so prickly due to these protests," she said with a frown as she took a bite of her croissant, glancing over at Methos sitting around in just his robe.

Her old friend grinned at her. "Yes, I do believe that trying to explain how you managed to show up in DC when the papers have you out here- without the whole magic angle- would be a bit difficult."

Alissa took the cup of coffee he poured for her and walked over to the window to look at the view for a moment before turning back to face him. "You never did tell me what you're doing in Bangkok yourself in the first place, Adam."

"I had a few things to take care of, so Joe sent me over to collect some of the older diaries while I was at it," he informed her, pointing to the leather bound books on top of his suitcase.

"That reminds me, how is the electronic archiving going?" she asked, having had most of her earlier objections to the project set aside the year before.

Methos grinned, remembering their confrontation at her office, even if her explanation had left him a bit unsettled. "It's going well. We're starting from the beginning, even though I know you and I thought it should have been done the other way."

"So, how far have you gotten?" she asked as she pulled out one of her designer suits while he slipped on a pair of jeans and a sweater.

"We're only up to about 2400BC or so, so you'd only have been in your 80s then," he told her, doing some quick mental calculations.

Alissa grinned as she snapped her fingers, transporting them both directly to her office in DC. Making people believe what she was doing was magic was so much easier than the truth, but that was an issue for another day. Turning to look at him while she turned off the alarm system, she asked if he'd like to stay when Cal came in or not. "I'll just listen in from next door," he told her with a grin, knowing the entire building was wired for sound and video, even though it was just for her own personal use. Alissa may be more safety conscious than most Immortals, but he put it down to her having been a Slayer as well, and therefore having more reasons to be concerned. Walking into the other room and pouring himself some more coffee, he sat down in one of the chairs and prepared to enjoy the show.

"The door's open," Alissa called out, studying the money transfers on the market and making notes for later.

Cal was intrigued by his first glimpse of her office. While having the stark lines needed to exude authority in American culture, which was especially true in a city like DC, she also had an alcove of mainly swords and other weaponry, while her windows offered up a view of the Potomac and Northern Virginia.

"You didn't want a view of the Capitol?" he wondered, setting the files down on a nearby coffee table.

Alissa finished up her notes before putting the television on mute and answering. "Why would I want a view of political excess at the expense of everyone else? I may live here in DC because it's advantageous to my company, but I dislike pandering. Can I get you anything to drink, Doctor?"

"Wine, if you have it," he said with a grin.

"I'm a bit of an aficionado, so I have plenty here," she said, pouring him a soft Italian red and a light white for herself since, by her internal clock, it was 12 hours later than what Cal was dealing with. She handed his glass off to him before taking a seat across the table from him.

Before handing the files to her, he said, "You know I called the FBI to see if you were cleared for this, right?"

Alissa let a small smile touch her lips as she saluted him with her glass. "I wouldn't expect anything less from the man who put me and my company under the microscope for six months before agreeing to give me shares of his company."

"Fair, and it's interesting when they told me how helpful you'd been with them in that case in LA a couple years ago. Finding a flaw in the facial recognition software and catching a killer all at the same time. A killer whose MO seems to closely match that of the one responsible for these latest crime scenes," he told her, flipping the folder open to reveal the photos within. Instead of shock, he saw sorrow and anger clear on her face as she looked over the grisly pictures.

"Could I keep a copy of these for a couple of days? I'd like to make a few phone calls and get back to you, if that's all right?" she asked.

"Certainly. I have to go pick up my daughter from her mother's right now, anyway," he explained, then was mildly surprised at the look of contentment that crossed her face, so discordant after the photos she'd just seen.

"How old is she? I have one of my own-a teenager," Alissa told him with a grin, getting up and bringing over a frame with a blond teenager grinning for the camera against a man-made replica of an ancient castle. Alissa flipped the folder closed as Cal looked over the photo. She saw enough death as it was- she didn't want it in her face right now.

He smiled as he handed it back. "What's her name?" he asked, even though the questions prevalent in his mind had more to do with how come there didn't seem to be any record of her having had any children, whether in her custody or not.

"Her name's Amber, and she just turned 16. She lives with her father more because I'm so busy with my businesses and she's a teenager- she needs stability," she told him, her face growing dark.

"You didn't have that kind of stability growing up," he said, stating a fact, not asking a question.

Alissa shook her head. "No, but how can you when your parents are dead and you get adopted into a new family. They really love you, but they're still not your real mom and dad," she said softly, admitting to herself for the first time that though she loved Deanna for adopting her, the pain of losing her parents in that earthquake was something that still pained her. Taking a deep breath, she smiled as she walked Cal back out to the elevator. "Like I said, I'll make a few calls and let you know what I've found out in a day or two, okay?"

As the doors closed in front of his face, Cal was reminded of that line from Lewis Carroll "Curiouser and curiouser". Alissa MacKenzie was definitely a puzzle, but if she could help him with this baffling case, he would surely be thankful.