by kbk

Oz sits at the first small table he comes to, in the chair facing the door, pulling it slightly away from the table so he won't trip over if he has to leave quickly. He only has to wait a couple of minutes before he is joined by a man only a little taller than he is, with graying hair and an impeccable suit. Oz mentally labels the man as, "avuncular," though he isn't entirely sure he's using the word correctly.

"Mr Osbourne, I assume?" the man says, not waiting for a reply before he shifts the other chair to face out over the room and sits, sighing with appreciation as he sinks into the plush leather.

Oz nods.

"Let's get straight to business, shall we? You could be a very valuable asset to Wolfram and Hart," the man tells him, "and you'd find plenty of opportunities in our little family." His smile is kindly, blue-green eyes twinkling slightly in a friendly fashion.

"Would I have to call you Daddy?" Oz asks, barely arching his left eyebrow. The man blinks at him for a few moments, then smiles again, discomfort hovering in the lines around his eyes. He seems remarkably easy to read, given how far he has apparently risen in Wolfram and Hart.

"Please, call me Holland. I understand you prefer Oz?" Holland says, leaning forward slightly, body language just a little too open for honesty, even if Oz couldn't scent the lies all over and through him.

Oz nods, and doesn't say anything.

A waitress walks over to them, remnants of sex and vanilla perfume from the night before wafting before her, and asks if she can get them anything. Oz asks for black coffee, refusing all her suggestions for flavorings and such, and Holland follows suit, favoring the girl with a smile she probably thinks is charming.

Holland waits until the girl has reached the counter before he leans back in towards Oz. "Pretty girl," he says, "don't you agree?"

"If you like that sort of thing," Oz replies, carefully moving neither towards nor away from Holland.

"Oz, if I... that is a very distinctive name, I must say, though perhaps a little too unconventional to be of use to you in business," Holland says, with the air of one imparting important advice.

"I don't plan to go into business," Oz tells him. Holland sits back in his seat with an openly appraising look on his face.

"Then why did you agree to this meeting?" he asks.

"I wanted to meet you," Oz says. Holland nods slightly, inviting more explanation, and Oz quickly discards the most honest reasons - his instant, odd fascination with the head of Special Projects, for one. "You seem like an intelligent man, Mr Manners," Oz states, "and I won't insult you by pretending I expect you to have a conscience, but there are certain advantages to be had by... well, defecting."

Holland's eyes light with what looks like honest amusement, which transmutes into a vicious glee as he draws breath to speak. "Advantages like yours?" he asks. "Aimlessly wandering the country in a battered old van, friendless, no-one to protect you from the things that go bump in the night and howl at the moon..." He trails off significantly.

"I am one of those things, Mr Manners," Oz says.

"Precisely, Mr Osbourne."

Neither of them are willing to be the first to resume the conversation, but the silence has barely stretched to uncomfortable length when the waitress returns with their coffees. She blushes prettily when Holland thanks her with an extravagant compliment, and doesn't appear to notice the thread of insincerity in his voice. Oz does, and rolls his eyes slightly. The girl doesn't notice that either, turning away to see to another customer, but Holland does.

"Why, Mr Osbourne," he drawls, "what are you implying?"

"Depends what you're inferring," Oz replies, feeling a small smile twitch at the corners of his lips.

Holland smirks, and takes a sip of his coffee. Oz reaches for the sugar bowl set to the side of the table, and adds three spoonfuls to his cup, raising an amused eyebrow at Holland's faintly aghast look.

"I'm inferring that... no, I can't, I have to ask. Why take coffee black if you're going to sweeten it beyond all recognition?" Holland seems honestly confused.

Oz almost smiles again. "I like it this way," he says. "Try." He offers the cup to Holland, who raises an eyebrow in reply, before leaning forward. He covers Oz's hand with his own and brings the cup to his mouth, sipping gingerly at the contents.

Distantly, Oz hears a gasp from their waitress, but he's much more interested in the warmth surrounding his hand. Holland sits back, his fingers lingering slightly in letting go, and Oz sets the cup down on the table before he shakes enough to spill.

"I was implying," he says slowly, sounding as calm as ever, "that it's not the waitress you want to fuck."

"You wouldn't be wrong in that," Holland says, smiling genteelly.

Oz smiles back, letting the wolf show. "Then what are we still doing here?"

Holland lays a fifty-dollar bill on the table, and gestures for Oz to precede him. Oz hears the delighted exclamation of the waitress as the door swings closed behind them.


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