2007-05-05: Friends in High Places


Illusion_icon.gif Sydney_icon.gif

Summary: Candice approaches Sydney with a friendly proposition.

Date It Happened: May 5th, 2007

Friends in High Places

The Back Alley

When closing time arrives at the Back Alley, it's custom for the staff to draw straws. Nobody wants to spend an extra forty-five minutes at work wiping down tables and stacking chairs before they lock up and head for home, but somebody's got to do it, and tonight that somebody just happens to be Sydney. Dressed in a pair of black leggings, a denim miniskirt and an olive green sweater that's several sizes too large for her lanky frame, she tackles her final task of the evening with a grumpy sort of gumption: balancing the cash register behind the bar. Straddling a pole takes a lot more energy than most people realize; right now, all she wants is to get her work over with so she can go home and wash the grease, grit and sweat out of her stringy blonde hair, which is plastered to her forehead and cheeks after a night of being stuck under a wig.

A pair of eyes follow Sydney's movements from the shadows. They've been following her movements all night. When it came time to vacate the bar, the owner of those eyes merely stepped into the shadows and remained unseen by the other employees. Poor, unfortunate Sydney Ransom didn't actually draw the short straw. It just looked like she had. It's so much more convenient for the woman to be here. Alone.

Once Sydney's finished balancing the register, a woman steps out of the dark. She's dressed just about as provocatively as any of the other working girls, in a teal halter neck minidress that shimmers when the light catches it. Her hair is dark, a large mess of unruly curls. "Hello, Miss Ransom."

"Miss Ransom" is punctuated by the cacophonous sound of the cash register's drawer slamming shut. Sydney's dark eyes dart to the source of the voice, though the expression on her face shows no surprise. Her body language, too, is carefully guarded. Tense. In the low light of the club, it's difficult to make out her movements — one hand grasping the edge of the counter, the other dropping swiftly behind it. Her fingers close around something unseen, and tension visibly ripples up her arm all the way to her shoulder. She knew this was coming. It was only a matter of time.

"Relax. If I were here to hurt you, or steal the cash, I'd have done it a long time ago." The woman takes a few steps closer, black heels clicking on the hard floor as she makes her way toward the register. "I know who you are. By the way you're carrying yourself, you think you know who I am, too."

As the stranger approaches, Sydney's whole body seems to stiffen and leer back like a snake readying itself to strike. Although her breathing is slow and measured, it's not much of a stretch to guess that her heart is actually beating very fast. "Doesn't matter who you are," she says, "or what you're here for. This is my bar. One more step and I'll give you a broken glass enema — no joke."

"Oh, I like you already." The dark-haired woman's posture is relaxed. She doesn't step forward again. "Allow me to introduce myself. I'm Agent Willmer. And if you don't cooperate with me, I'll make sure you're haunted by memories your ability will never be able to free you from." The Company agent smiles pleasantly. "I would like to give you the opportunity to put that precious ability to good use. All I ask is that you hear me out. If you don't like it, I'll turn around and we can both pretend I was never here."

Pretend. Sure. Judging by the creases at the corners of her mouth, Sydney trusts Agent Willmer as far as she can throw her, which isn't very far at all — unless you're Jessica Sanders. She tightens her grip on the counter's edge, knuckles going ghost white. Her only response is a slight upwards tilt of her chin that translates easily enough: Talk.

"I want you to take the memories of one of my agents from someone. He's going to compromise her, and I'd rather not have to deal with that situation. Bringing him in is /such/ a pain." Candice rolls her eyes skyward. "I'd rather handle the matter outside of the official channels. Fly under the radar, as it were. And you, my dear, are the perfect person to help me with that. There will be compensation, of course. As well as my assurance that I will do everything in my power to ensure that no one from my organization comes after you."

Immunity from the Company? Tempting. Sydney narrows her eyes at Candice, and after a few moments the muscles in her arms loosen, her hand relaxing its grip on whatever she's hiding behind the counter. She hasn't let her guard down, not yet, but she's willing to play the agent's game now that she knows this isn't just another bag-and-tag. "You have a file on me." It isn't a question.

"Naturally." Candice folds her arms under her chest in a casual gesture. "It will stay that way. Rather too suspicious if your file were to simply disappear." She raises her brows, waiting for Sydney's inevitable list of demands.

Perhaps surprisingly, Sydney's list of demands is short — though it's not for lack of thinking. She spends almost a full minute in silence before she speaks up again. "I want a copy of it," she says flatly, "and I want copies of Sylar's and Nathan Petrelli's, too."

"I'll see what I can do for you. Though, I have to ask…" Candice's lips quirk upward in an amused smirk. "Why Nathan Petrelli? Caught your eye, has he?"

"It's nice to have friends in high places." No pun intended. Sydney has no idea what Nathan can do, only that he's gifted like the rest of them — he wouldn't have been on the rooftop that night if he wasn't. "It's even nicer to have leverage over them. I don't think it would be good for him, or his family, if his little secret were to eventually slip."

"Is that all your after? Darling, you won't be needing his file for that." Candice's smirk breaks into a wide grin. "The man whose memories I want you to steal is Nathan's brother Peter. A better archive than any file I could produce for you." She really does like the way this woman thinks.

Peter Petrelli? Again? Sydney stares at Candice, and though she succeeds in maintains her outward appearance, she can feel her stomach starting to somersault. "You know," she mutters under her breath, "for somebody I've never even met, this asshole sure likes making my life difficult." A snort. "I still want the file. Any threat I make will be more effective if I have something I can wave under his nose."

"I'll see what I can do, Miss Ransom." Candice keeps the annoyance out of her tone as well as her expression. This girl had better do a damn good job. "And yes, he does cause quite a bit of trouble. That's why I need him dealt with. I'm rather fond of the subtle approach."

"I like subtle, too. It's a lot easier than shooting lightning out of my ears or dropping cars on people." With a flick of her wrist, Sydney pulls a cocktail napkin out of the nearest dispenser and slides it across the counter to Candice. She assumes that the agent already has a pen on her. "Address?"

As if from nowhere, Candice procures the pen and steps up to the bar. "Fourteen-oh-seven is his apartment number," she tells the stripper as she jots down the info. "I want you to remove Elle Bishop from his thoughts. She's his girlfriend." After a beat, she adds, "She shouldn't be."

Sydney eyes the address on the napkin, committing it to memory. "I can't do it all in one straight shot," she cautions Candice. "It's not that easy — there's a lot of digging involved, and even then all I'm doing is turning his brain into Swiss cheese. No guarantee I'll be able to get everything."

"That's why I'm here. You're subtle. My friend from Haiti would merely… /go deep/ and hollow him out. And then Elle would be a basket case." Candice shifts her weight from one side to the other. "So long as they break up, I'll consider your task a success."

Sydney folds the napkin in between her fingers and slips it into her sweater’s pouch. “Peter keeps a lot of friends,” she says. “But you already knew that, huh? If I’m gonna do this for you, you’re gonna have to keep them off my back for me. Nakamura and his posse, especially.”

"That's the plan. You're much more valuable to me unhindered," Candice drawls. "I'll check in with you again, Miss Ransom." She offers her a smile that looks almost genuine. "Until then…"

Sydney returns Candice's smile by way of farewell, though hers is noticeably tighter than the agent's. As much as she hates dealing with the Company, she doesn't have much of a choice. What Candice wants her to attempt is risky if all the stories she's heard about the younger Petrelli are true, but it will be worth it if she gets protection and access to their files in return. As far as Sylar goes, she's seen the Mendez paintings — she wants to know what she's up against. And Nathan? Nathan's might come in handy the next time she's strapped for cash. "Ciao, Agent Willmer. Good night, sleep tight, and don't let the psychotic serial killers bite."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License