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ANGEL: Administrative Leavening (Harmony)

callmesandy and mosca organized the harmficathon (master list). I wrote a back-up story for spikendru, who requested Harmony & Angel interaction, snark, and Angel's impaired use of technology.

Title: Administrative Leavening
Author: voleuse
Fandom: Angel
Characters: Harmony & Angel
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: Seven ways to become a highly effective secretary.
Notes: Spoilers through S5.



Sunday

Harmony doesn't set her alarm for Sunday mornings. It's hard enough to keep normal hours during the week, and she figures she can afford to be a traditionalist on the weekend, right? It's not like she has to wake up early and go to the gym or anything, because hello? What's the point of being the beautiful undead if she can't sleep in one morning a week?

For example, after having a Keanu marathon, giving herself a mani-pedi, and trying to find a Ben & Jerry's flavor that appeals to her palate, Harmony had looked forward to sleeping in until noon, at least.

Something begins to ring at 9:17 a.m., exactly.

She groans, reaches out and slams her hand against the alarm clock, just in case.

The ringing continues, so she shifts, reaches further and grabs the cordless. Fumbles with the buttons before she hits the right one.

"Hello?"

There's a pause, then: "Harmony?"

"Boss?" She sits up. "What's going on?"

"Where are you?" He sounds peeved.

"At home." She looks around for her calendar. "Isn't it Sunday?"

"Yes." Paper rustles at the other end of the line. "But I pushed the 'Harmony' button on my phone."

"It's the speed-dial."

"Oh. Right."

Harmony sighs. "What do you need?"

"I can't find my blood."

"I think yours is out. New shipment on Monday." She rubs at her eyes. "Are you in the office?"

"Yeah."

"You can have some of mine. It's in the fridge in the lounge."

"Oh. Thanks." Something clicks, and then he's gone.

"No problem," Harmony says to the dial tone.

And she goes back to sleep.


Monday

She doesn't really need to pick up Angel's dry cleaning, but Harmony likes doing it, to start off her week. Plus, if she does, she gets to borrow a company car over the weekend, complete with necro-tempered glass.

While she's waiting for the newly slime- and/or blood-free clothing, she calls ahead to Receiving, makes sure the new blood has been delivered and properly stored.

When she finally gets to work, she reboots her computer, checks her voicemail for urgent messages, and puts the Jamaican Blue to brew for the Monday morning meeting.

As Angel sweeps through the lobby, she heats up his first cup of blood, then grabs the appointment book before heading into his office.

She chatters aimlessly while Angel drinks, because he's always growly before he has his breakfast.

When he's done, she flips open her book, runs down the week's schedule. It's strictly the highlights, pre-Monday meeting, because who knows what the bigwigs will decide to prioritize this week?

The others start trickling in as she finishes up, usually Wesley first, then Fred and Gunn. Lorne rushes in at the last minute, always closing a deal over his cell as he enters.

If it's a bad week, that starlet-wannabe Eve will be there, too, and Harmony always gets a giggle from her Sephora-generic makeup and knockoff pumps.

There's no agenda for the Monday meeting, just brainstorming, so Harmony doesn't need to sit in at the onset. She scoots out of the office as they pull their chairs together.

She calls down to the lobby coffee shop, orders Lorne's mocha low-fat latte with extra non-dairy whip. While she waits for the delivery, she pours coffee into mugs for the others, making sure to measure sugar precisely, because Fred tends to get punchy early in the morning.

By the time she gets everyone their coffee, Angel's usually grumpy again, so she smiles brightly, and goes to pour another serving of blood.


Tuesday

Every second Tuesday of the month, Harmony makes sure Angel's afternoon is clear of appointments. After his noon meeting with Non-Human Resources is done, he pulls on his coat, nods at her, and together, they descend to the garage.

They drive in silence to the hospital, and walk, similarly untalkative, to Cordelia's room.

In fact, Harmony realizes after a few months, Angel never says anything at all. After a long gaze at Cordy's still form, he withdraws to the corner and lets Harmony pull a chair up to the bed.

She digs in her purse, finds a bottle of nail polish and an emery board, and gives Cordelia a proper manicure. All the while, she talks, about the office, about the latest from Milan, about their old friends, post-Sunnydale.

When she's done, she nudges her chair back into place, and draws back while Angel clasps Cordy's hand.

Sometimes the others join them, but usually not.

After Cordy dies, Harmony reshuffles the schedule so she and Angel can visit the grave after sunset. Instead of nail polish, she brings the latest Vogue, and Angel presses his hand against the tombstone.


Wednesday

"Harmony."

"Yes?"

"Could you come in here, please?"

It's the please that tips her off. Something is obviously wrong with Angel, and she grabs a stake before she steps into his office, hides it behind her back.

"Hey, boss," she says as cheerily as possible. "What's going on?"

Angel looks her up and down, then sighs. "Put the stake away, Harmony."

"Oh, this?" She holds it out, smiles. "Just wanted to be prepared."

Angel pushes back from his desk, folds his arms. "I need your help."

"Sure." She tosses the stake onto a chair, folds her hands. "Do you need something for your 4 o'clock?"

"Yes. I mean, I don't. I mean," Angel twiddles his thumbs. "How do I--"

"Teleconference?" Harmony makes her way around the desk. "Like so." She arches her arm so that Angel can see the phone as she points to the correct buttons. "See? Easy!"

"Right." Angel stares at the phone.

"Want me to stick around until it starts?"

"I'd appreciate that."

"Not a problem." Harmony nods. "Want some coffee?"

"Yeah."

She checks the clock, makes sure she has time. "Be right back."

"And Harmony?"

She stops, her hand on the doorknob.

"Thanks."


Thursday

Harmony doesn't like dealing with numbers. She barely scraped through geometry, and didn't even bother to take calculus.

Luckily, she doesn't have to worry about taxes, what with being undead, but it's a little harder for her to steer clear of accounting when she has to sort through the reports at work.

If there was a pool, Harmony would have bet on Lorne's department for having the most expenses. After all, he's always whisking in and out of expensive restaurants and parties, sealing contracts with a weekend at Cabo, courtesy of the firm.

Or maybe Wesley's department, running up the bill by shopping for moldy scrolls written in gibberish, and it's not like they ever sell the stupid things when they're done with them.

Once in a while, Harmony finds herself proven right, but usually she's wrong.

Usually, she looks at the expense summary and sees Fred's department up at the top. The sum is printed in red, highlighted in yellow, and circled in black.

Accounting, it seems, is not happy.

And after Harmony drops the reports on his desk, neither is Angel.

So, on the last Thursday of the month, Fred gets called into the office, solo. Since the budget's especially impacted, Angel makes her wait outside for ten minutes.

Fred stops by Harmony's desk, then. "Hey, Harmony."

Harmony pushes a cup of coffee across the counter. "You'll need this."

"Pretty bad, huh?" Fred bites her lip.

"Three exclamation marks next to your numbers."

"Oh. Golly." Fred sips her coffee. "Hey, can I have an extra--"

Harmony holds up two packets of sugar.

Angel opens the doors to his office. Scowls at Fred.

"Good luck," Harmony whispers.

"Thanks," Fred replies, and then she's into the lion's den.


Friday

When Harmony gets back from her lunch break, she finds Angel at her desk, punching at her keyboard as if the return key had personally offended him.

"Need something?" She tucks her purse into a drawer, hangs her jacket up.

"Yes." He flattens his hand against the keyboard, releasing a random string of letters across an empty Microsoft Word document. "I need to see the notes from last week's meeting." The animated paperclip blinks at him, and he jabs at its eyes.

"You couldn't wait for me to get back?" She shoos him out of her chair, settles and closes the document. Clicks on the open icon, then through three sub-folders. The sought document appears on the monitor. "Here you go."

Angel frowns. Squints a little.

"I could print it out for you, if you want." Harmony discreetly moves the mouse, hits the print icon.

"Could you?" Angel straightens up. "I have a meeting in a couple of minutes with--"

"With Seer Management." Harmony reaches over as her printer hums, snaps the document up. "Here you go."

Angel takes the paper, scans over it once. "Perfect." He strides toward his office, shuts the door behind him.

Harmony opens her file cabinet, pulls out a manila folder just as her intercom beeps.

"Harmony?" Angel's voice is fuzzy through the speaker. "Could you bring me the--"

"Bringing it in now."

"And the--"

"Got that, too. Want some coffee?"

"Yeah, thanks."

"My pleasure, boss."


Saturday

Harmony drives out to Santa Monica for a day of indoor shopping, carefully noting her mileage so she doesn't get in trouble with the motor pool on Monday.

When she gets home that evening, she tosses her shopping bags on her bed, then draws herself a bubble bath. She pours herself a glass of wine, puts on a Sarah McLachlan CD, and eases into the water with a sigh. She may have supernatural endurance, but that doesn't mean her feet don't hurt after mall-walking for five and a half hours.

Then, her phone rings. She groans, leans over the ledge of the tub to grab the cordless she left by the sink. "Hello?"

"Harmony?" It's Angel, of course.

"Yup." She leans back into the bubbles.

"Did you send my coat to the dry cleaners?"

"The black one?" She thinks. "Yeah. I brought it over yesterday."

"Okay." Something clangs. "There was a thing this morning, and I kind of got another jacket slimed."

Harmony rolls her eyes. "You know, we have people you could send to do those sorts of things."

"Yeah, but I--" He breaks off. "Could you stop by the office tomorrow morning and pick up the jacket?"

"I guess. I'll ask the cleaners to rush it, if you want."

Someone murmurs on the other end. It sounds like Fred.

"Actually," Angel says, sounding reluctant, "it can probably wait until Monday."

"Are you sure?"

More murmuring, insistent now.

"Boss?"

"Yes, I'm sure." A pause. "I appreciate it, though."

"Just doing my job."

"See you Monday."

"See you!" Harmony clicks the phone off, places it carefully back in its place.

Then she sinks back into the bubbles, and smiles.


###

Linked here and here.

Comments

( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
spicedrum
May. 16th, 2005 05:39 am (UTC)
She digs in her purse, finds a bottle of nail polish and an emery board, and gives Cordelia a proper manicure. All the while, she talks, about the office, about the latest from Milan, about their old friends, post-Sunnydale.

When she's done, she nudges her chair back into place, and draws back while Angel clasps Cordy's hand.

Sometimes the others join them, but usually not.

After Cordy dies, Harmony reshuffles the schedule so she and Angel can visit the grave after sunset. Instead of nail polish, she brings the latest Vogue, and Angel presses his hand against the tombstone.



GAH!

*wipes tear from eye*

That was sweet and sad and perfect. Then I got to this part:

The animated paperclip blinks at him, and he jabs at its eyes.

-and I giggled. I can see him doing that. heeeeeeeeeee!

this was very good. yay
voleuse
May. 17th, 2005 07:15 pm (UTC)
*beams* Thank you!

And I don't blame Angel for jabbing at the paperclip. I certainly do.
viciouswishes
May. 16th, 2005 07:26 am (UTC)
Great look at Harmony's weekly schedule. I enjoyed how you included some monthly and one-time-happenings to really bring it together.
voleuse
May. 17th, 2005 07:15 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad you liked it!
chelseagirl
May. 16th, 2005 11:43 am (UTC)
Nice look into Harmony's point of view -- you capture her without condescending.
voleuse
May. 17th, 2005 07:15 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
chicken_cem
May. 16th, 2005 11:51 am (UTC)
I just adore Angel's technical ineptitude, but Harmony's proficiency is even more wonderful, especially since she seemed to have such trouble during S1 of BtVS.
voleuse
May. 17th, 2005 07:16 pm (UTC)
Thanks! And Harmony was a pretty kick-ass secretary, in hindsight. They should have appreciated her more.
falzalot
May. 16th, 2005 04:34 pm (UTC)
Oh, what a lovely way to start off a Monday morning. :->
voleuse
May. 17th, 2005 07:16 pm (UTC)
*g* Thank you!
spikendru
May. 16th, 2005 07:03 pm (UTC)
Squeee! This was wonderful! Right off the bat, it was perfect with Angel calling Harmony at home on Sunday because he pushed the button marked "Harmony"! Hee! Loved the day-to-day look at what an asset Harmony actually is to Angel; it was visually brought out on the show, but Angel never seemed to notice--or, at least Harmony never felt appreciated. And I absolutely adored the moments when Angel and Harm visited Cordy. *sniff, sniff* Beautifully done.

The animated paperclip blinks at him, and he jabs at its eyes.
. Still giggling.

Thank you so much for writing this--especially as a back-up fic without a lot of lead time. It's wonderful, and very much appreciated. (((hugs)))
voleuse
May. 17th, 2005 07:16 pm (UTC)
Yay! I'm glad you liked it! I had a fun time dipping back into the Ats episodes.
alixtii
May. 16th, 2005 10:48 pm (UTC)
Competent!Harm, in a way that makes sense in terms of her character. It's nice to see her succeeding...even i only temporarily.
voleuse
May. 17th, 2005 07:16 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
cofax7
May. 17th, 2005 04:30 am (UTC)
Heee. That was great.
voleuse
May. 17th, 2005 07:17 pm (UTC)
*g* Thank you!
(Deleted comment)
voleuse
May. 17th, 2005 07:17 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
mona1347
May. 19th, 2005 12:50 am (UTC)
Oh...*melts* This is wonderful. I'm not a huge Harmony fan, in fic or in canon, but OMG I loved this. Beautiful little character piece. The bit with Angel and Harmony visiting Cordelia was so perfect and so sad and so *right*. I loved the day-by-day structure and...*flails* Total love. :)
voleuse
May. 23rd, 2005 05:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm always curious about the day-to-day functions of W&H, so this was a fun fic to write.
wackinessensues
Jun. 1st, 2005 12:24 am (UTC)
Administrative Learning
Hey Voleuse, I really enjoyed this! It's always nice to see that part of Harmony that has no idea she's evil, lol.

Any objections to me archiving this at Deep In?
voleuse
Jun. 21st, 2005 05:34 pm (UTC)
Re: Administrative Learning
Thanks! I'm glad you liked it!

Any objections to me archiving this at Deep In?

As long as my contact info is attached, no objection at all. *g* Do you need anything from me?
wackinessensues
Jun. 21st, 2005 05:49 pm (UTC)
Re: Administrative Learning
Nope I'm good, I think I have your email at home and all that, so I'll be sure to attach it all.

Kisses!
callmesandy
Jun. 2nd, 2005 07:15 pm (UTC)
So adorable! Oh, Harmony!
voleuse
Jun. 21st, 2005 05:38 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
nikitangel
Jun. 2nd, 2005 08:04 pm (UTC)
(here via viciouswishes) Oh, as a former exec assistant, I feel her pain and I'm impressed at her competence. It really lends additional depth to the character. Great fic!
voleuse
Jun. 21st, 2005 05:39 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
speakr2customrs
Jun. 2nd, 2006 06:42 am (UTC)
Absolutely delectable. Perfect Harmony.
moodfic
Jun. 2nd, 2006 06:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )

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