Title: Unnatural Selection
Author: Restive Nature
Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to Angel the Series. They belong to Whedon/ Greenwalt. I also do not own the rights to the Twilight series. They belong to Stephenie Meyer and to Little Brown & Company publishers. No infringement is intended and this fiction is purely for private enjoyment.
Type: Angel, Twilight Series (New Moon)
Pairing: Lindsay McDonald/ Bella Swan
Summary: On a mandatory W&H recruiting tour, Lindsay never expected to find the gem that he did.
Spoilers/ Time line: This takes place in Season 2 for Angel and New Moon for Twilight. Bella still does not know that Jacob is a werewolf, just that he is avoiding her.
Feedback: Always welcome!
Distribution: Ask first please.
A/N: This fiction is a contribution for the TtH fic-for-all pairing, Lindsay/ Bella.
“Remind me again why we're here?” Lindsay McDonald demanded, sotto voce of his partner for this mandatory tour America gig that their employers, Wolfram and Hart had set up. Aiden Donovan smirked as he watched the principal of the latest school, an unimaginative Forks High, approached the podium to speak to the assembled high schoolers.
“Because Lilah suddenly clammed up in the midwest and we all know what that means,” Aiden smirked. Lindsay nodded, adjusting his tie minutely at the base of his throat.
“She's found something,” Lindsay agreed. Aiden never looked at him, his wide grin remaining, even as his searching eyes scanned the gymnasium slash auditorium where a couple hundred bored children were waiting. Even in a small town, it was all the same. Children might not be enthused about career day, or career counseling or whatever the school administration wanted to call it. But an assembly was a break in the routine and if it meant that they didn't have to attend class in this dreary city of perpetual rain, then they'd take it. Lindsay barely took note of the principal making a few announcements regarding the students conduct during his presentation. He'd heard it all before when he'd been a teen in a podunk town, not much different from this one, in his native Texas.
“And from the smugness Gavin's reading off her reports, it's something big,” Aiden continued to supply what could be called the closest thing to a friend that Lindsay had at the moment. And seeing that they worked for the same firm, albeit in different capacities, that was like saying they were bitter enemies burying the hatchet for the moment to work to a common goal, before they'd be back to the sniping, petty antics that entertained the older members of the firm. They liked seeing the young pups claw their way up through the ranks. And Lindsay knew that in some cases, that was quite literally how it happened.
“You getting' anything yet?” Lindsay wondered, just a trace of his accent showing through. He knew it would get him farther here, than to try and come off as some snotty, big city lawyer come to rub these kids noses in everything he had that they did not. No, the whole ploy of Wolfram and Hart was to prey slyly on those insecurities, with themselves in the position to make these kids lives better. And when the child had walked into the trap, to snap it shut, snap them up and have themselves a real fun time breaking the newbie in. It was a rite of passage that Lindsay still wasn't sure he was over.
“Think so,” Aiden's grin suddenly faded a little as he cocked his head and concentrated. “There. Dark haired girl, back row, sitting by herself. Looks like death warmed over?”
Lindsay slowly allowed his eyes to roam over the rambunctious crowd, even as he kept an ear tuned to the principals words. Wouldn't due to look a space cadet because he was trying to find the girl Aiden had honed in on. But it wasn't that hard to spot her. She was completely alone, slouched down in her seat, wearing jeans, and an over sized flannel shirt. Her hair hung slightly stringy around her face, hiding the majority of her features from casual observers.
Her posture, the baggy clothing, pretty much everything about her screamed 'loner in pain'. Lindsay knew enough to recognize that. It was standard teen angst the world over. “And what's so great about her?”
Aiden's eyes slid slyly to the side for just a moment. “I can't seem to read her.”
Lindsay's sharply inhaled breath sounded loud in his ears. But it went unnoticed by everyone else save one. As he stood at the principals introduction of him and crossed the stage, his mind was whirling with plans and suspicions. He settled his hands on the podium and began his well rehearsed speech about how being there, speaking on behalf of Wolfram and Hart, in exactly the same manner as another employee had done when he was in high school, had led him to a brighter future. And thinking now, how much he'd be able to accomplish with a child that was possibly a natural mental shield on his side and under his tutelage, it was no lie that crossed his lips.
It was ridiculously easy to approach the girl in the cafeteria. She's been at a table by herself, again. There were a few curious eyes watching as he approached the table with a tray of abominable meatloaf, potatoes, gravy and red jell-o. She had been startled at his approach and Lindsay had been gentle and charming. She took no notice. So then he took the hard line. He saw her and he was worried. Because living in LA, he actually saw kids like her all the time, and it damn near broke his heart not to be able to help them. He shared half truths and tidbits from his past, his real past and not the one he fabricated for clients and co-workers. And the more they talked, the more he could swear that a spark lit in her eyes.
When he mentioned the Wolfram and Hart apprenticeship program that took place over the summer, she bit at her lip and mentioned that her father Charlie, the town's police chief probably wouldn't like that idea. Lindsay had told her to let him talk to her daddy. She had offered shrugging agreement and left to call her father to make arrangements for them to meet. She didn't return. But as Lindsay was leaving, the school's secretary, a forty something with a bad red dye job, caught him in the parking lot with a note from the police chief, inviting him to the house that evening.
Going on a whim, Lindsay had eschewed the designer clothing, and trappings of a successful young Los Angeles entrepreneur and had dug into his comfortable clothing. He had showed up at the Swan household, wearing boots, jeans, his soft denim shirt that had been washed so many times that the blue had almost completely faded to gray and a battered, brown cowboy hat.
He and Charlie had gotten along like gangbusters. Isabella, the girl, had seemed stunned at that. True, Charlie had knocked around a few evil lawyer jokes, but that's all they were. He was in law enforcement and he knew the system wasn't perfect. Probably never would be. But when Lindsay asked about the hunting and fishing around Forks, well Charlie looked like he had found a new best friend. He had gone away that evening with the promise that both Bella and her father would keep in mind this opportunity, really, a once in a lifetime chance to figure out if law and order, in whatever capacity interested her, was something she wanted to take. Something told Lindsay that she would.
Bella sat on her bed, well, huddled was more like it. Just when it seemed like she was finally finding some semblance of warmth, or the jagged edges of her being, smoothing out a little, the rug had been yanked out from under her again.
Really, she asked of herself, how much could one person endure? She was the only child of divorced parents, with a flighty, harebrained, though loving mother and an emotionally distant, though loving father. When she had returned to her father's home in Forks, she had the luck, and she was sure ninety nine percent of the earth's population would say it was bad, to meet and fall in love with a Vampire. And though there were enough pitfalls in that relationship alone, she'd gone and bonded with said Vampire's family as well as attracting the attention of another coven bent on toying with her and the peaceful “vegetarian” Vampires that inhabited Forks, Washington.
She'd been beaten and bitten, nearly drained and hospitalized. But she had survived, thinking that she had come through it all stronger. But then the advent of her eighteenth birthday had hit and the center caved again when his brother had smelt the blood of a paper cut on her finger and, being the empath that Jasper was, feeling the blood lust of the majority of the family, had reacted naturally. And badly. Not that she blamed him. She never had. But it was the catalyst for the devastating mess she was now.
If only her sunshine hadn't deserted her, she mourned. It had been a long hard slog for Jacob Black, son of her father's best friend, to reach her. To help her, to smooth the tears and help give her a reason to want to get up each day, instead of remaining in that zombie like void she'd been in when the Cullen's had left her. She had been trying for days to talk to Jake, but after promising her that he'd never desert her, never turn his back on her, would always be her friend, he had reneged.
Now suddenly she was a pariah to him and she had no idea why. If he would just tell her what had changed...
She stared over her knees that were pulled up to her chin, at the cream colored card that had been carelessly tacked to the bulletin board in her room. The name was elegantly printed in black script, with several telephone numbers and a business address underneath. So mundane, so anathema to her, this... normality. She'd had no clue why he'd really sought her out after his little speech. To see him again that night, registering that in the normal human world the man was handsome and very rugged looking in his western apparel, Bella had been shocked. Of course, she was grading on a different curve now, after having been subjected to the perfection that was the Vampiric form.
How, she wondered, had she managed all this time, to balance between those two worlds. Unbidden, the thought came to her. She hadn't. She had walked a fine line, too fine. And when she had slipped, it had all disappeared. But Ed- he wasn't coming back. Nor were any of the others. And Jacob had abandoned her. Maybe it was time she picked up and looked to the normal again. Because the supernatural was going to kill her. That, or the pursuit of her delusions of hearing his voice in her mind would. Bella knew it wasn't healthy, but like a junkie in need of a fix...
Suddenly, determinedly, she let loose of her knees and reached for the cordless telephone that she had brought to her room in another fruitless effort to contact Jake, to beg him just to say something to her. Looking to the first number listed, she pressed in the numbers carefully and listened as the call connected.
A cool feminine voice answered. “Wolfram and Hart Los Angeles. How may I direct your call?”
Bella had to moisten her lips before she could speak. “Lindsay McDonald's office please.”
“One moment while your call is redirected.”
She barely had time to wonder at the muzak playing before the smooth, more familiar tone of Lindsay was answering.
“This is Lindsay,” he answered abruptly.
“Mr. MacDonald?” she whispered and then cleared her throat. “This is Isabella Swan. From Forks Washington?”
“Bella!” he sounded, to her ears, truly delighted to hear from her. “I didn't expect a call from you so soon.”
“Oh, sorry,” she muttered. “I can call back, or... oh this was stupid,” she sighed.
“Not at all darlin',” he interrupted and she heard that slight hint of Texas accent leaking through again. “Now, was this a social call or did you have some more questions for me?”
“Actually,” Bella inhaled deeply, trying to steel her courage. She knew it had to be in there somewhere still. For crying out loud, she had willingly gone to face the Vampire that she had thought had kidnapped her mother! “I was wondering if you only do apprenticeships in the summer?” She winced a little and then hastened to explain. “Sorry, um, our spring break is coming up and I've been... thinking about the future.”
“Well,” Lindsay drawled over the phone, “I don't know that a week or two would be enough of an experience. I think though that it would be easy enough to arrange some tours of our offices, give you some idea of what we do here. It would certainly help you make a decision about apprenticing over the summer. If your father approved, of course.”
“I'm eighteen,” she shot back immediately and then winced once more and softened her tones. “I don't need his permission, technically.”
“Technically no,” Lindsay agreed, sounding like he was smiling down the line. “But I think it'd be safe to say that it would be a good thing to have, regardless.”
“Yeah, probably,” Bella agreed, deflating a little.
“Well all right then,” Lindsay sounded downright jovial to her ears. “I'll put together a packet of information about our offices, chaperons, that kind of thing. I just need a few pieces of information.”
“Okay,” Bella hesitated just a little. “Such as?”
“Just when the actual dates of your spring break are, and where to send the information to,” Lindsay chuckled. Bella grinned as that was completely mundane and totally sensible. If she couldn't have her personal sunshine, then the remembered sunshine of California would have to be a poor substitute. She relayed the information to the man and with promises that he'd send the packet out to her and her father immediately, they said their goodbyes.
Bella let her hand rest on the phone for just a moment before she clambered off the bed. She'd need to set Charlie up in just the right way to get him thinking along this line. And a meal straight out of Grandma Swan's cookbook would be just the ticket to start. She never realized that there was a slight bounce in her step as she carefully navigated the stairs and path into the kitchen.
Lindsay leaned back in his chair, having just hung up the phone with Bella Swan. He rubbed his fingers over his lips, fighting the grin that was rising there. Who'd have thought that the girl would show the gumption? Earlier than what he'd been thinking to schedule her for. That kind of initiative, pointed in the right direction, spoke well of her.
The summer apprenticeship was just a ruse, a cover. To bring in the kids that their paranormal department discovered while out and about, obviously Aiden's contribution to the project. If the girl wanted to come sooner, there was no way that Lindsay as going to stop her. And once he had her here, he smirked to himself. Well then, that mental shield of hers would be put to very good use. And Lilah and her little prodigy telekinetic terror would be history.
Lindsay reached for the telephone again, this time placing a call to the secretary of his supervisor, Holland Manners. Always a good idea to keep the boss abreast of some of his work. Holland would be pleased and Lindsay's star would rise just a little bit more, giving him time to work his plan and achieve his goals.
Yes, stopping in Forks had been just the ticket that he had been looking for.