Scrollwork ~ Vivienne

This site is..

Based on an original story and alternate future by Sonny & Ais called In the Company of Shadows.

The story contains..

Slash (M/M), het (M/F) and graphic language, violence and sexual situations. Not intended for anyone under 18!

Side Stories

The Beginning ~ Emilio, Sin
Minuet ~ Chingón, Gioia
Rainbow ~ Ryan
A Morning in Cedar Hills ~ Kassian, Boyd
Preface: Book 2 ~ Sin
Vanilla ~ Emilio, Carhart
Sideways ~ Emilio, Carhart
Fool ~ Emilio, Carhart
The One Left Behind ~ Blair
-somnia ~ Owen
Scrollwork ~ Vivienne


Around the Compound Stories, a Series of Events:
Incident #1 ~ Rebecca, Sin


Our AFFN profile


Vivienne side story

10/25/2009, written by Ais

Timeline: September 2022, around the time of 3.18: A Matter of Time and 3.19: Executive Decision

The morning was in such early stages that sunlight had yet to filter through the floor-to-ceiling windows dominating the far wall of Vivienne's office. The city lights twinkled in the distance, casting faint shadows across the floor and through the opening in the back corner. It was darker inside the small niche, the shadows thicker and silence stronger, and if it weren't for her pale clothing and hair it was possible Vivienne could have been overlooked.

The niche, barely large enough for the chaise she rested on, was typically hidden from the rest of the office by doors that mimicked the wall around them. At the base of the chaise was a hidden pocket door which led to small, private chambers and a restroom that contained little more than the essentials.

The main door to the office opened abruptly and Aisha walked in, dark brown eyes darting across the room before they settled on the open door. As she flipped on a light she expertly balanced a silver tray that held a pot of steaming water, some coasters, a few tea bags and a mug. She strode across the room and set the tray carefully on the desk. Once that was safely deposited, she approached the niche, a faint frown crossing her features before she hesitantly leaned forward.

"Marshal," she hissed quietly but Vivienne did not stir.

Dark circles lined Vivienne's eyes and even asleep, she looked serious and worn. Her eyebrows were drawn down just slightly, perhaps a result of a nightmare rather than a dream, and she looked uncomfortably sprawled on the small chaise.

She lay on her back, her head lying on its side, her knees together and tilted in the other direction. Her fingers curled loosely against the slow rise and fall of her stomach. The skirt suit she wore, black with faint turquoise pinstripes that were picked up in her slightly ruffled blouse beneath, seemed surprisingly unwrinkled despite the fact that she was lying down. Her lips were closed, her breath even, but her skin was paler than usual and even asleep she looked tired.

Aisha drew her lower lip between her teeth, bracing her hands on her thighs as she leaned forward further. "Marshal."

When Vivienne didn't stir, Aisha hesitantly reached out and shook Vivienne lightly on the shoulder. "Marshal!"

Vivienne jerked her head, blue eyes snapping open even as the rest of her body seemed sluggish to respond. When she saw Aisha she blinked a few times, seeming mildly disoriented, but she was already putting her legs over the side of the chaise and sitting up as Aisha stepped back.

"You have a meeting in one hour that you requested I wake you up for early to prep," Aisha explained, her dark brown gaze flicking along Vivienne briefly with an almost apologetic look.

Vivienne leaned forward, her head tilted toward the floor and hair starting to fall out of the French twist she had it in. She brought a hand up to her temple, a mild headache pulsing behind her eyes, and she nodded. "Very good."

Aisha stepped back and then turned and headed toward the desk. She deftly set a coaster on the desk, then put the mug on top of it. In the same movement, she pulled out a set of three different tea bags and splayed them next to the mug. She picked up the pot and poured hot water into the mug, stopping with space at the top.

Setting the pot to the side, Aisha pushed her thick black hair over her shoulder and stood to attention, turning toward Vivienne attentively.

"I brought you tea and have coffee brewing at my desk if you would prefer that instead, Marshal."

Vivienne stood, her feet bare as she padded across the office. Her high heels had been kicked off and set to the side hours ago and she didn't bother to put them on again immediately. She pushed long strands of blond hair back from her face and looked at Aisha.

"The tea will do."

Aisha nodded, clasping her hands in front of her and watching Vivienne almost curiously. "Would you like a mirror, Marshal?"

"No," Vivienne replied, a faint frown pulling at her lips as she sat down in her chair. She leaned back, stretching subtly and rolling her neck. A cramp had started to form in her shoulder during the night and she rubbed at it absently with one hand. Her unreadable blue eyes slid up to meet Aisha's calmly. "I will ready myself in my chambers soon."

Aisha nodded again, watching as Vivienne moved her finger across the mouse pad quickly on her laptop to move it out of sleep mode.

Without looking at anything for reference, Aisha dutifully said, "Your two o'clock appointment has been postponed and I took the liberty of moving up the meeting scheduled at three. The inspection of the new guards' division is still set for five, but Lt. Gerant requested feedback on when he will be receiving the new batch of rookies he's waiting for and how many he is cleared for."

Vivienne didn't nod or look at Aisha, her cool blue gaze focused instead on the screen as it slowly brightened. However, the way her head was tilted slightly in Aisha's direction showed she was listening.

Aisha continued, "There are five pending calls regarding Agent Mallory's recent mission and the Director called wanting to know why he has not yet been debriefed on the incidents in Belize and Berlin. There was a possible attempted breach on the gates an hour ago and the perpetrator has been brought to the Detainment Center for questioning; so far, Joseph has determined that she's an activist civilian protesting the drug companies. Shane is still waiting for a reply as to whether he should terminate Detainee 359 or if he should continue his attempts to extract further information."

Vivienne nodded absently, her eyes flicking across the screen and the links that covered it. As Aisha spoke, Vivienne started to deftly respond to emails, her fingers flying across the keyboard. She used keyboard shortcuts more than the mousepad in order to increase her efficiency.

"I have skimmed all the media releases today and did not see anything that requires immediate attention," Aisha said, undeterred, "but I believe Genna from Convergence still plans to run the story on the rumors surrounding the failed mission in Syracuse." There was a slight pause and Aisha said, less matter-of-fact and more tentatively, "And... you received a call from Vienna."

Ice blue eyes snapped to Aisha immediately, her fingers stilling on the keyboard. The composed, if tired, look on Vivienne's face closed off further. "Jae-Hwa?"

"Yes," Aisha replied, her eyebrows furrowing and her fingers tightening as they were clasped in front of her. "She requested a return call as soon as you were able."

Vivienne stared at Aisha before she nodded curtly and looked down at the mug in front of her. She skimmed the tea selections and then chose English Breakfast, ripping open the packet and calmly dunking the bag into the hot water. She did not look up as she asked, "Anything else?"

"Nothing immediate, Marshal," Aisha said with a shake of her head.

"Very well." Vivienne watched the clear water darken slowly as the tea bled into it. "Inform Lt. Gerant that I will have the information at the time of the inspection; if we have issues with the activist then inform Joseph that he is cleared for termination and to make it consistent with the cover story of an accident. Contact General McAvoy for a conference; we may need to tail Genna. I will personally visit the Detainment Center later this evening to be apprised of the progress of all projects and I will answer Shane at that point. If he asks again earlier than that, alert him to my plans."

Vivienne continued to stir the tea without pausing in her orders. "There are additional meetings I will need to schedule for today. I have forwarded you an email from Chancellor Farley; a video conference must be scheduled for no later than seven this evening. I will also need to speak with Adrienne Balfour tonight or tomorrow; I expect you to get in contact with her secretary."

"Yes, Marshal," Aisha replied smartly. "And the phone calls?"

"Transfer them to my phone," Vivienne said, looking up finally. "I will deal with them later."

With another nod, Aisha turned and strode out of the office, shutting the door behind her. As usual, she hadn't taken a single note but there was no question that she would remember everything she'd been requested to do and that she would follow through without any problems.

Vivienne was already returning her attention to her computer, her eyes narrowing. She scrolled through her emails briefly, checking for anything that she needed to take care of right away. Barely a minute passed before she looked over at the phone with the little red light indicating that she had messages.

Vivienne minimized everything on her laptop screen and activated the encrypted video conferencing feature. From the preset phone numbers, she chose the administrative office of the European Division. She tilted the laptop toward her and positioned it so she would be more easily visible to the small webcam.

There was a moment before a brightly lit, white-walled room solidified on the screen, a dark brown chair sitting behind the edge of the desk the other computer was resting on. At first there was no one there but then a hand jerked the chair back and a woman dropped into it, moving a plate filled with salad and grilled chicken breast in front of her.

The woman was Korean, in her late forties to early fifties, with long, somewhat wispy black bangs and hair that was somewhere between spiky and messy. Her eyes were dark brown and her lips were a little thin. She had a jagged scar that crossed her cheek and cut through her lips on her left side, along with another scar that cut through her left eyebrow and went across her upper eyelid. The angle was such that she probably would have lost her eye if it had been even a few centimeters lower.

Her expression overall was not particularly friendly and yet more than anything, she seemed largely unimpressed with the world.

She wore a black jacket with military patches sewn onto it, with a crisp white button-down shirt beneath that had the top two buttons open. Something silver flashed beneath her shirt but it was unclear what exactly it was other than likely some sort of necklace.

When she saw Vivienne staring back at her through the screen, she raised her eyebrows as her eyes seemed to burn into Vivienne.

"You look like shit," Jae-Hwa said bluntly.

"I recently awoke," Vivienne replied calmly, keeping her eyes on Jae-Hwa's face even as Jae-Hwa looked down and grabbed a fork to spear into the lettuce.

"Not very appetizing to look at when I'm trying to eat lunch," Jae-Hwa muttered with a frown, not bothering to look up as she took a large bite of salad.

"Perhaps you should take into account the time difference," Vivienne returned a hint coolly. "It is hardly 0500 hours here and I was under the impression that you required an immediate return call."

Jae-Hwa shrugged unconcernedly as she chewed. There was silence between the two of them as Jae-Hwa ate and Vivienne waited for her to speak. When it became apparent that Jae-Hwa was in no particular hurry, Vivienne's eyes narrowed and she leaned back in her chair.

"What was the nature of your call?"

Jae-Hwa finished chewing a bite of chicken and then looked up, her eyes dark with more than the color as she speared Vivienne with a look. "I want an update on Bridget's murder."

Vivienne's expression remained remote and unreadable. "As I told the Administrator, the identity of the individual is under investigation and all appropriate parties will be advised the moment we have determined who is responsible."

"Don't give me that bullshit, canned response, Vivienne," Jae-Hwa said lowly, her eyes sharpening. "You let my investigator die on your watch and you can't even tell me who did it? You have a locked compound; you should only have so many options. I can't believe--"

"I appreciate the distress you must be feeling," Vivienne cut in coldly, gaze intense on Jae-Hwa's pixelated face, "but I will not tolerate pointless insults regarding the operation of this agency. You are well aware of the circumstances of the situation. Furthermore, as I have been personally updating you, I know you have been advised of all we have been doing in the aftermath."

"They aren't 'pointless insults,'" Jae-Hwa responded, her tone mildly mocking when she repeated Vivienne's words. "Your division has been run sloppily for too long and it's gotten so bad it's become an issue for us as well. Monaghan was an adept investigator that now we have to take the time, energy and manpower to replace."

"I am well aware of the consequences of her death but do not insult my intelligence by attempting to imply that you cared about her specifically," Vivienne said pointedly. "Had she died on your compound, you would not have cared and she would have been replaced flawlessly and without complaint. You are simply exaggerating the effect of her death as further reason to malign this division."

Jae-Hwa stared intently at Vivienne before she shrugged. "I look forward to cleaning up all the loose ends you've allowed to compromise the safety of the entire division."

Vivienne watched Jae-Hwa but didn't respond, her expression unmoving.

After a pointed pause, Jae-Hwa returned her attention to her plate and started eating again. "My arrival date has been pushed back but I'll still be sending some personal effects ahead of time. See to it they're taken care of and placed in my office prior to my arrival."

"Of course," Vivienne said evenly.

"I expect full access to the files of all personnel at the division prior to my arrival as well," Jae-Hwa said curtly around a mouthful of greens. "And don't forget the disciplinary and probationary records. I'll peruse them before I arrive so I can make all necessary decisions ahead of time."

"You will receive the files within the week."

Jae-Hwa was silent at first as she finished her salad. She speared a piece of chicken but paused with it tilted into the air as she eyed Vivienne. "I received the full report on Bridget's death," she said, her tone almost idle even though it was clear she was leading to something.

"Then I trust you are satisfied with our continued dedication to locate her killer," Vivienne said with little inflection.

"You didn't terminate Hsin Liu Vega," Jae-Hwa observed.

"There was no need," Vivienne replied, her gaze steady on Jae-Hwa. "It was proven that he was not involved."

"Yes," Jae-Hwa replied, her gaze intense on Vivienne. She seemed idle and yet alert; as if she were scrutinizing Vivienne for any moment of weakness. "So the report states. It was a mystery assailant instead."

"That is the conclusion we drew," Vivienne agreed without inflection.

Jae-Hwa's eyes narrowed and she leaned forward, her forearms resting on the edge of the desk while the fork lowered, forgotten and nearly resting against the plate. "Curious how you discovered that. Mind telling me again? I found the report to be a little confusing."

Vivienne stared evenly at Jae-Hwa as she replied by rote, "Hsin Liu Vega was discovered at the murder scene with his fingerprints on the murder weapon. There were no witnesses or surveillance. Naturally, he was assumed to be the perpetrator. He was taken into custody. However, discrepancies arose that resulted in a more thorough examination of the crime scene. At that point, the audio evidence was discovered that exonerated Hsin Liu Vega."

"Your boy was the one who pointed out the discrepancies and examined the scene, yes?" Jae-Hwa asked, her tone seemingly offhanded.

There was a second of cold silence before Vivienne said with a non-expression, "Yes."

"Yet that information wasn't in the report," Jae-Hwa said astutely. She dropped her fork to the plate and leaned back in her chair, watching Vivienne with a hard look in her eyes. "I had to find out through the grapevine."

"That information was unimportant in the context of the report," Vivienne replied unconcernedly, although she wondered immediately who had told Jae-Hwa.

"Oh, I don't know about that." Jae-Hwa's chair made a faint squeaking noise when she leaned back in it fully. She didn't look away from Vivienne, her dark eyes seeming to bore a hole through her. "The preliminary reports I've heard of him show he's been involved with Hsin Liu Vega for years. Jacob Connors even had notes about it in his files."

"If the implication is that he somehow forged the evidence due to a connection with Hsin Liu Vega, I assure you that such an assumption is ludicrous," Vivienne said coolly, her back straight. "You are well aware of Bridget Monaghan's tendencies and that she was likely to be recording such sessions. In addition, we did a thorough examination of the audio files, as is detailed in the report, and we were able to determine that it was authentic. Furthermore, their relationship for the past several months has been strictly professional."

"I don't give a rat's ass what their relationship is like," Jae-Hwa said with a hard tone, her expression shifting and becoming foreboding. "I care about my shift running smoothly. And I care that you appear to be covering something up when it comes to that boy."

"That is simply not the case," Vivienne said dismissively, her tone almost condescending. "You are reading into the situation and reaching illogical conclusions. Why should I care about protecting him? Have you not read my file?"

"I have," Jae-Hwa said keenly, her gaze sharpening on Vivienne uncomfortably. "And I've read Connors' and many others'. So I know it wouldn't be the first time. Jacob Connors wanted to terminate him after the Monterrey debacle. It was due to your protest that he was simply suspended."

"Jacob Connors lacked finesse," Vivienne said in clear disgust, her eyes turning ice cold and drilling into Jae-Hwa's. "He reached rash conclusions and unnecessarily wasted resources. Truly, there was reason to punish Boyd at that point. He clearly deserved it for his failings. Yet he remained a resource that could still be exploited. There was little reason to terminate him until he had nothing left to provide to the Agency."

"So to save your one precious resource, we wasted other resources watching him," Jae-Hwa answered mockingly. She raised her eyebrows challengingly. "You think I'm going to be fooled by that bullshit, Vivienne? If that had been anyone other than the boy you popped out, you would have had no compunctions with him being killed right then and there."

Vivienne's jaw set and she leaned toward the laptop with a stony expression. "You truly believe this is about nepotism?"

"Yes," Jae-Hwa said flatly. "I do."

"Then allow me to assure you that it is not," Vivienne replied in cold anger. "I have spent my professional career reaching this point and I have no reason to interfere with that hard work for a simple child."

Jae-Hwa watched her skeptically, so Vivienne continued.

"At the time that Hsin Liu Vega needed a partner, I nominated my son in part to be rid of him." Vivienne's tone was matter-of-fact. "I tired of his existence and felt that the talents he possessed should be exploited for the Agency so he was of some measure of use in the end of his life. I fully intended to send him to the incinerator had he refused the assignment. I also fully expected that he would not last long even once he was accepted. Since then, I have dealt with him as I would any other agent in his position. He has talents which are of use to the Agency and he has failings which are vastly problematic. There is a balance to be found between the two and at the point he shifts irrevocably in one direction, he will be dealt with accordingly."

"That's a touching story, Vivienne, truly," Jae-Hwa said sardonically. "But I'm unconvinced."

"There is little left to say, then," Vivienne replied shortly. "You will see the truth of this when you arrive."

"I will," Jae-Hwa agreed and raised her eyebrows. "And when the time comes that I mark him for termination, I'll see by your reaction exactly how forthright you've been."

Vivienne watched Jae-Hwa with a non-expression, although her fingers twitched beneath the table where the soon-to-be Marshal would not see. There was a long moment of silence between them until Vivienne spoke curtly.

"If that is all, I have important matters to attend to."

Jae-Hwa made a thoughtful noise deep in her throat. She picked up the fork and speared a piece of chicken, giving Vivienne a flat look. "I'll be looking into a lot of things when I arrive. I find many of your decisions to be questionable."

"I assure you, every decision I make is for the most efficient outcome in the long run for the Agency," Vivienne informed her coolly.

A dubious look overcame Jae-Hwa's features. "That remains to be seen." She didn't wait for Vivienne to react before she leaned forward, one hand disappearing at the bottom of the screen as she speared Vivienne with hard, dark eyes.

"Get me the files by tomorrow," she ordered and the screen abruptly turned black.

Vivienne's eyes narrowed until the ice blue was shadowed by her blond eyelashes and she closed the program, revealing the plain black background on her laptop. She pressed her intercom almost immediately and when Aisha answered, she said curtly, "Ready the personnel and disciplinary files for Jae-Hwa's perusal. She will receive them by no later than noon tomorrow."

"Yes, Marshal," Aisha's voice came across immediately.

Vivienne released the button and leaned back in her chair. Her gaze rested almost absently on the laptop screen while her jaw was set. Her fingers tapped briefly against the desk before she abruptly stood.

With a cold, unreadable expression, she headed toward the niche to ready herself for the day.