Knock Me Over With A...
main characters: Warren Worthington, Willow Rosenberg
disclaimer: I do not own anyone from Buffy the Vampire Slayer or the Marvel Comics X-Men titles.
distribution: WLS, NHA, Bite Me, QPC, Twisting, Paula, Cat, anyone else please ask first.
note: AU post season 5 for Willow, less certain where for Warren. Umm.. before Zero Tolerance, and he's not dating Betsy.
Warren was in an extremely foul mood. Not only had he had to try to stop a group of rampaging mutant teenage vandals from destroying a few city blocks, resulting in aches and bruises everywhere, he'd had to follow that up with a meeting of the Board of Directors for his company, Worthington Industries. Such a gathering of egotistical, arrogant obsessively determined people... well, he was used to it. He'd been raised to deal with obsessive people, both by his father, Warren Kenneth Worthington the second, who had expected him to take over the company and family fortune, and by Professor Charles Xavier, who'd expected him to become a mutant superhero. It was open to debate which was the easier and safer arena of battle.
He stalked into his office, feeling relieved that there was the slight advantage that since everyone already knew he was a mutant, he didn't have to wear one of those image inducers. They worked wonders, but always gave him a headache. But here in his office, he was alone, he could relax and stretch his wings, admiring the view and...
Hold it, why was his computer opened up with parts spread all over the desk and a toolbox perched in the center? Why was some redhead bent over the parts? Immediately, his mind began trying to sort out who had red hair and might be in his office. The only possibility seemed to be Mystique, but that didn't quite seem right.
"Who are you and what are you doing?"
With a startled squeak, the redhead looked up, pale skin and wide startled greenish eyes. Definitely not the normal features of Mystique, but then again, Mystique was a shape shifter. The mystery woman looked at him, her eyes flickering over him, pausing the longest over his wings.
"Umm.... Willow Rosenberg. And you must be Mr. Worthington, and umm... this is your office and that would make this your computer that I've got gutted right now. I was hired to update some of these systems, and the guy who hired me said he was sort of in human resources and he swore that this would be the best time to work on your system because your never here right now but here you are so he had to be sort of wrong. Unless you aren't expected to be here right now, which would explain the surprise. This computer was really outdated and slow, how did you expect to get very much done, and it's having trouble interfacing with the newer systems, so I was upgrading, and I'll have to copy over the memory..." Her rush of words flowed out like a waterfall, a sweet alto entirely unlike anyone he'd worked with. Definitely not the sort of nervous babble Mystique would use.
Part of him was wondering if she'd actually breathed during any of that. Another part of him was actually wishing that he'd worn the stupid inducer. She... Willow, hadn't she said her name was? Willow was actually rather pretty, in a fragile looking way. Not exotic of classically striking like he usually dated, and nothing like Betsy... who had just decided that they weren't working out, and that she 'wanted to take a break from their relationship'. But Willow seemed... pretty, and unlike any of his exes. Maybe... He sighed, trying to shift his mind back to serious matters. "Who hired you, and exactly what did he want you to do?"
She seemed to be relaxing a bit, no longer looking quite so unsettled. "His name is Paul Kendrick, I can't remember the title he gave for his job, and I'm supposed to upgrade your computer so that it's competitive with the systems used by your closest business rivals, as listed on some paper he gave me, the only one of which I can remember the name of being Frost Incorporated... the paper's over there under my coffee mug."
With a small snort, he nodded. "That's Paul for you... now, exactly how are you supposed to know what would be competitive with these companies?" The paper did list some of his rivals, as well as a few companies that didn't quite move in the same areas but had similar administrators.
"Because I did the upgrades for four of them. You sit here and own a fabulously wealthy business, and I do computer consulting to make sure that your systems can do what they need to. Of course, you seem a bit cuter than Emma Frost. Very sharp lady, keen mind for business, and quite sexy, mind you, but not cute. She's not approachable enough to use the word cute." Willow seemed almost distracted, searching through the box for something.
One thing stuck in his mind, beyond the very private corner that agreed with her description of Emma Frost as sexy. "When did you meet Emma Frost anyhow?"
"About two... almost three months ago now. She hired me to upgrade some computer systems for her. Quite a memorable woman." Finally, her search seemed to bear fruit, and she lifted a small... well, it almost looked like a screwdriver. "Hah! Found the little thing..."
He settled along the couch, wings curled around as he watched Willow. She wasn't acting quite like anyone he'd been around before. No awestruck stares, or half veiled fear or hatred because of his mutation. "You aren't bothered by the fact that I'm a mutant? That essentially, you're accepting mutant-tainted money?"
There was a small snort from her, and some mumbled words that he didn't quite catch beyond a few scattered words. '...self pity... stupid hate groups... brooding... should have...' She looked at him, a small smile dancing over her features. "Mister Worthington, I suspect that you've been listening just a wee bit too much to some of the more radical hate groups out there. When I accept a job, I have a few questions about my employer, but they aren't along the lines of what sort of genetic code does he she or it have. They might include what's on the menu just to make sure that I'm not, but I do not consider the fact that you have blue skin and wings to make your money 'tainted'. In my mind, 'tainted money' suggests organized crime and smuggling, not mutants."
"It doesn't bother you? Really?" He felt stunned. She'd looked curious, and startled, but... how much of that had been from simply assuming that she'd be uninterrupted?
"Why should it? I mean, it's a bit different, but... At least you aren't a six foot tall green scaled guy in a turquoise leisure suit, you know? That's... a bit much color, and it sort of clashed. One of your secretaries had mentioned the feathers though, and I sort of... Well, they fit a bit better than I'd expected. More balanced." She smiled at him, a shy, almost hesitant expression.
His head was spinning as he tried to picture that. "Six foot tall... green scales, and a turquoise leisure suit? Oh dear...."
"With horns. He runs a Karaoke bar in LA. I got the job through a friend of mine... He's a nice guy, but... his fashion taste is completely... attention demanding. And in a colorful way, unlike the memorable Ms. Frost." She was still smiling, that little look that almost teased at him.
Warren shook his head. "That's... I guess it's good to have friends. And if your record and efforts were good enough for the demanding Emma Frost, I have no doubts that you'll do amazing things for my system. Will I still be able to run everything? What else are you capable of if I need anything in the future?"
She giggled, there was really no other word for it. "Yeah, friends are good. You'll still be able to run things, and I'll leave instructions for all the new software... not just the manuals but things in normal english that's easy to understand. You can get a hold of me for any sort of computer problems you have, up to and including a possessed computer."
"Possessed?" Warren frowned, wondering how much she'd learned about his adventures and trials as an X-Man.
"Umm... Sort of a bad joke... nothing to worry about. But seriously, any sort of computer problem. Hardware upgrades, virus induced damage and crashes, software bugs..." She looked almost nervous, as if trying to keep him calm. Maybe the joke wasn't as much of a joke as she wanted him to think it was.
He grinned at her, feeling unexpectedly relaxed. "Okay, not a worry then. And I'll keep you in mind." He grinned at her, watching her blush. "For any computer problems."
She was definitely cute. And obviously quite capable in her chosen field. It was nice to talk to someone that didn't mind his obvious mutations and at the same time wasn't a super hero. Part of him could almost feel some sort of 'random computer problem' shaping up in the future. He was sure he could come up with something...
end Knock Me Over With A...