author: victoria p. [musesfool]
summary: "You think that Sally's a mandroid." "I don't think it, I know it."
fandom: Sports Night/Supernatural
characters: Jeremy Goodwin, Dean Winchester, Sam Winchester, ensemble
original story: Attack of the Five Foot Ten Woman by soundslikej
notes: Thanks to laurificus for making this even more awesome than even I expected. *waves hands* Just pretend the timelines match up.
word count: 4,395 words
Attack of the Five Foot Ten Woman (The Slip Your Skin Remix)
This week has been even more interesting than usual around here, and not just because it's finally baseball season, and both the NBA and NHL playoffs have begun. We have a new staff member, and while she's nice enough, I guess, if you overlook the way she got the job, she's not like anyone I've ever met before, and I mean that in many different ways. If I hadn't been here to see it all myself, I wouldn't believe it. You probably won't believe it either, but I swear everything I'm about to tell you is true.
It all started with a conversation between Dan and Dana about Sally's odd behavior--Sally is the producer of the west coast update and the two am version of Sports Night. Dana considers Sally her archnemesis, and Dan, well, Dan is convinced she's not even human.
We were sitting in the conference room, waiting for the ten o'clock rundown to start, and Dan and Dana were having their usual conversation about how evil Sally is.
"I'm telling you, Dan, there's something...off about her, don't you think? I mean, don't you think there's something..."
"...off?" he finished, not looking up from his copy of the script.
"That's what I'm saying."
"Yeah. She's a mandroid."
"Dan. I'm serious."
"Look at my face, Dana. You think I'm kidding?"
She blinked. "You think that Sally's a mandroid."
"I don't think it, I know it." He paused, cocked his head as if he were thinking. "Okay, maybe I don't know it, in the sense that I have any sort of proof that she is, or that such a thing as a mandroid even exists, but if they did, I believe Sally would be one. Their leader, perhaps. Their queen."
"You believe Sally is a cyborg queen?" Casey said, coming into the conference room and slipping into the chair beside Dan.
"And she's trying to assimilate us!" Dana said.
"I didn't know you were a Star Trek fan, Dana," Dan said, surprised.
"I might have seen an episode or two," she answered, playing with her hair and keeping her eyes focused on the table in front of her with an expression that on anyone else might have been shame, except we all know what shame looks like on Dana, having seen it fairly frequently in the past week alone. "Patrick Stewart is a very attractive man."
"What makes you think Sally is a mandroid?" Casey asked.
"She's been really nice lately," Natalie offered.
"And she hasn't tried to steal my job once this week."
"Maybe she's possessed," I said, right as Isaac walked in.
"Sally," Dan, Dana and Natalie answered immediately.
"No one," I said. I mean, ghosts are one thing--I'm willing to believe there are paranormal phenomena that we have no real explanation for--but demons? That seems pretty far out there. "I was joking. It was a joke."
Isaac didn't seem to think so, though. He got this really intent look on his face. "What makes you say that?"
"I was joking. Really." For a group of fairly funny people, they'd apparently lost their ability to recognize a joke when they heard one.
"She's been really nice lately," Natalie repeated. It would have been nice if my own girlfriend had backed me up. Possibly I sighed loudly in resignation. Natalie says I did, but she also says I'm cute when I'm exasperated, so possibly she's not a reliable witness.
"Maybe she just has a new boyfriend," I said. At least that was in the realm of possibility. Sally is a very attractive woman, especially if you're into being dominated.
Natalie shook her head. "We'd know if Sally had a new boyfriend." She looked at Kim, who nodded in agreement.
"So that brings us back to demonic possession," Dana said.
"I still say she's a mandroid."
"There's no such thing as mandroids, Danny," Isaac said, pulling out a chair and sitting down. "Don't we have a show to produce?"
And that should have been the end of it.
Three days later, though, Isaac came out of his office with these two guys who were dressed in jeans and flannels. One was really tall, with ridiculously floppy hair, like he was in a rock band on the side, and the other was good-looking enough that I have to mention how good-looking he was, because I am secure in my masculinity.
You can stop laughing now, Louise. And yes, I've included some pictures.
As they moved through the bullpen, all of the women--and a few of the men--on the floor started to congregate behind them, which I guess was what Isaac wanted, because he led them out into the middle of the floor and said, "Okay, everybody, listen up. This is Sam and Dean Winchester. They're here to look into the odd incidents that have been happening recently here in the office. Please let them know if you've seen, heard or experienced anything out of the ordinary. And no, Dan, before you ask, Mavis from Audit's wig doesn't count."
"I swear that thing's got a life of its own," Dan said, shaking his head. "An evil life. With evil plans."
"She's an auditor, Danny," Casey said. "It makes sense that she'd have an evil wig."
There was some scattered laughter, and Isaac went back to his office, leaving the Winchesters to talk to the staff.
The thing is, neither of these two guys--I guess they're brothers--looked crazy, or like con artists. They looked more like Abercrombie and Fitch models, though when I observed them more closely, I could see they were both armed--they didn't seem too worried about letting us know it, either, though they didn't flaunt the guns or anything--and they exuded a wariness not unlike that of a ninja. If ninjas exude wariness. I'm just guessing they do. Because ninjas are stealthy and I'd think that would require wariness.
You should thank me, Louise, because I've just deleted a whole paragraph on ninjas, because I'm pretty sure you don't care. After writing it all out like that, I'm not even sure I care.
What I mean is, these guys did look like they knew how to work the guns they had so casually tucked into their waistbands, and they appeared to be in really good shape, so the guns probably wouldn't be necessary to take care of anybody who actually worked here.
Anyway, I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt--I've never seen Isaac be truly wrong about anything--but I was still skeptical about this whole demonic possession thing. Even if Sally is kind of scary. It's not like Dana and Natalie aren't terrifying in their own ways, and neither of them is possessed by anything more than the conviction that they're always right. And occasionally, by too many giant blue margaritas.
So I followed Isaac back to his office, determined to figure out if this was some kind of joke, or if he'd finally lost it and had a psychotic break. The sale of the network, the pressure of the job--it was stressful, and he's not young anymore. Since the stroke, we all worry about him a little more.
"I'm not crazy," Isaac said before I could say anything. "We take the threat of demonic possession very seriously here at CSC."
"But there's no such thing as demons, Isaac." I should have learned by now to leave well enough alone, but I just couldn't let it go.
"Just because you've never seen one doesn't mean they don't exist, son." Isaac sat behind his desk and steepled his fingers. "Weren't you the one who had the whole control booth in a tizzy a few years ago over a mischievous Greek ghost named Thespis?"
"And didn't a twenty pound frozen turkey fall out of the light grid while we were in commercial that very night?"
"It was twenty-four pounds and yes."
"Then you should know that there are more things in heaven and earth than you and I can possibly dream of. Now get out of my office and let the Winchesters do their job. If there's a possibility we can prevent someone from getting hurt, you can put up with an old man's odd notions."
There was really nothing else to say, and I did have work to do, so I left.
I went back to my desk and tried to work. It wasn't easy to forget that there were two J. Crew models walking around asking people if they'd noticed any flickering lights or crazy weather patterns. It's April in New York--of course the weather is crazy. One day it'll be seventy degrees and all the women in the office will wear short skirts, showing off their pale, bare legs, and the next day it'll be thirty-five degrees and threatening to snow, so I don't know what they were expecting to prove.
They did a cursory walkthrough of the office, the studio, and the control booth, using an EMF meter that looked like it was built out of an old walkman. After that, they interviewed most of the support staff throughout the morning, and the rest of us tried to get on with our jobs.
They were talking to Natalie when I finally gave up trying to compile statistics from Tuesday night's NHL playoff games; I could see her leaning against her desk, hip cocked, blouse open one extra button, twirling a lock of hair around her finger.
Dean was flirting with her and she was flirting right back.
Dan stopped by my desk and followed my gaze. "Wow, man, they are putting on a clinic."
"A flirting clinic." He leaned his hip against my desk. "You could probably pick up a trick or two."
"Or maybe you should go over there and make sure he knows Natalie is your woman."
"That's disgustingly chauvinistic."
"Not to mention ridiculously primitive."
"True again." Dan tapped his pen against his thigh. "But I bet it'd feel really good."
"Yeah. Except that that guy could probably kill me with his thumb."
"There is that."
"Natalie might dig it, though."
"Maybe, but I wouldn't be here to appreciate her enthusiasm."
"True." Dan nodded. "Not a smart move, then."
I walked over there anyway--you've always said I have a masochistic streak--and Dan was right there with me.
"I'm your wingman," he said.
"My wingman? I thought you were Casey's wingman."
"I am usually Casey's wingman--or, to be accurate, Casey is my wingman. But Casey is not in need of my wingman services right now. You are. It's the least I can do."
We arrived just in time to hear Kim say, "Why don't we skip the poker game and go straight to the bar?" She was eyeing the Winchesters hungrily. She had to tip her head back a little to eye Sam flirtatiously--he was ridiculously tall for a guy who didn't play pro basketball.
"Because I like watching Jeremy play poker," Natalie said.
"You're Jeremy?" Dean asked.
"I wasn't sneezing."
"I was checking to see if you were possessed."
"You don't believe in demons, huh?"
"I really don't."
Sam said, "But you were the one who identified Thespis when he was haunting the studio."
"Isaac told you about that?"
"Everybody told us about that," Dean said, and then got distracted. "Hey, you're Dan Rydell." He stuck his hand out and Dan shook it.
"Yes, yes, I am."
"We're big fans of the show."
"Thank you." Dan beamed. The surest way to his heart is to praise the show. "So Isaac says you're the best there is at what you do."
Sam looked embarrassed, but Dean grinned. "But what we do isn't very nice." Dan clapped him on the shoulder and laughed. It doesn't surprise me that Dan is a comics reader, but I hadn't expected it from Dean. Not Marvel-verse, anyway. "You got a few minutes to tell us about what's going on?"
"Sally's a mandroid."
Sam half-turned away, but I could see him roll his eyes. Dean laughed. "Dude, there's no such thing as mandroids. Vampires, werewolves, and demons--"
"Oh, my," Natalie said.
Dean turned his bright grin on her, and continued, "Ghosts and zombies are all real, but so far, I can honestly say there's no such thing as mandroids."
"That's because the government doesn't want you to know they exist," Dan said.
Sam and Dean exchanged a look and even though they were probably con artists bilking the network and Isaac out of a lot of money--or possibly, they actually believed in all that stuff Dean was spouting--for that moment, they weren't the craziest people in the room.
"What? I surf the internet. I read things."
It looks like Dan and I are going to have to have another conversation about believing everything you read on the internet.
While we were talking, Dana and Casey had drifted over to listen.
"Okay," Dean said. "Maybe mandroids exist, and maybe they don't."
"They don't," Sam muttered.
"Whatever. But why are you so convinced that Sally is a mandroid?"
"Have you seen her?"
"Not yet, no."
"She's five feet ten inches of pure evil."
Dean smirked. "Sounds like my kinda girl."
Sam nudged him and said, "Dean," like a warning.
"Right, right." Dean waved a dismissive hand at Sam. "So far we've found no real evidence of demonic activity, and there's too much electricity and stuff for the EMF to give an accurate reading about ghostly activity. But if there is something odd going on with Sally, we could maybe figure it out by looking at video. Is she on tape anywhere?"
"She's a producer," I said. "They generally don't appear on camera."
"There was the March Madness party last weekend," Dan said.
"Wasn't it already April last weekend?" Sam asked.
"It was originally supposed to happen in March," Natalie said, "but some people's schedules got in the way." She shot Casey a scolding look and he shrugged apologetically.
I'll have to tell you that story sometime--it's a good one--but this letter is long enough as it is.
"I thought we'd all agreed to destroy that footage and never speak of it again," Dana said.
"I have a copy," Dan and Casey mumbled at the same time.
"Me, too," said Natalie. Dana glared, and Natalie said, "Jeremy emailed it to me." I'm sure she'll make it up to me later.
"Okay then," Sam said, clapping his overly large hands together. "Can we see this footage?"
I'm not sure what Dana was more embarrassed by--asking Dan and Casey to make out in front of everyone, or challenging Sally to a duel.
"A duel?" Sam asked. "Seriously?"
"Put 'em in bikinis and a vat of hot oil and I'd pay a dollar to watch it."
"Man's got a point," Dan said.
Dana crossed her arms over her chest and glared so hard that even Dean looked a little sheepish.
Sally turned towards the camera then, and her eyes did this thing--I've watched a lot of tape in my time, Louise, it's a large part of my job, and I've never seen anything like it. I mean, I suppose it could have been a weird camera flare, but her eyes went silver like mirrors, reflecting back the light.
"Whoa," said Dan, and we all echoed him, except for Dean, who muttered, "Hello, you shapeshifting freak."
"Now we just have to find her and kill her." Sam was already rifling through the duffel bag he'd been carrying around. I caught a quick glimpse of various types of guns and knives and then looked away, a little queasy. It reminded me of that hunting trip I'd gone on when I first started working here, and you know how that ended.
"Whoa," Dan said again.
"What? Wait, what?" Casey said.
"And find the real Sally, who is hopefully still alive," Dean added.
"Are you sure that this hasn't been Sally all along?" Dana asked.
"Shapeshifters don't usually spend that much time in one skin," Sam explained. "And several people mentioned that she's been acting different the past couple of weeks, so probably not."
"If you see her--it--don't engage," Dean said. "Just come and get us, and we'll take care of it."
"You can't just kill Sally," Casey said.
"I don't see why not," Dana muttered.
"That thing isn't Sally. Not the Sally you know, anyway. It's--well, it was human once, but not anymore. We don't know who else it's hurt, or even killed," Sam explained. "The police can't handle things like this--hell, half of you don't believe it right now, and you saw the tape--which is why Isaac called us. So you should just let us do our job."
"Do you have to?" Dana asked.
The Winchesters looked startled. "What?"
"Kill the new Sally and rescue the old one. The new Sally is much nicer than the old one," she said. "She hasn't tried to steal my job or sabotage me at all." The Winchesters continued to stare at her in surprise. She brushed her hair off her forehead and refused to meet their gazes. "I'm just saying, I think the new Sally has been a marked improvement on the original one." We all just stared at her. "Fine, but you're the ones who'll be working for her when she finally succeeds in driving me insane and stealing my job."
"I think maybe she won't have to work real hard on that first part," Dean murmured. Sam cuffed the back of his head, and Dean snorted but shut up.
"Isaac called us to take care of the problem, and we will," Sam repeated, in a tone that brooked no argument. Even Dana subsided.
Since Sally works the overnights, she generally doesn't come in until early evening, so we had a few nerve-wracking hours to kill.
We played poker.
I don't know if they really meant to do it, but together, Sam and Dean were hustling the rest of us out of all our spending money. Even me, and you know I'm a pretty decent poker player. I think I'm the only one who could tell what was going on, though. Natalie and Dana dropped out pretty quickly, and even Casey did the sensible thing and bailed once things started getting serious. Dan stayed in because he always thinks he's going to win the next hand, and I stayed in because I was curious about how they were doing it.
I didn't get a chance to find out.
I had a full house, jacks over kings, and a rare chance to actually win a hand, when Dean's cell phone rang.
"Time to get this party started," he said when he hung up. "You all stay here, okay? We'll be back in a little while."
"You say this thing is a shapeshifter, right?" Casey asked. "How will we know it's you?"
"It can't be both of us at the same time," Sam said. "So we'll know. Please, just trust us." And we all did, even though he and his brother had just fleeced us out of about a hundred bucks at cards.
They left the conference room before any of us could ask any more questions.
That didn't mean we didn't have them, though.
"If it could be anybody, maybe it already is," Natalie said, looking at me intently. "What color underwear am I wearing?"
Everyone else looked at us, as well.
I pushed my glasses up the bridge of my nose and tried to remember if I'd watched her get dressed that morning. "Blue?" It came out as a question, so I said it again, more confidently. "Blue."
She nodded. "Blue, like the giant margaritas we are going to drink when all this is over."
We were all looking forward to those margaritas.
I'd say we sat in tense silence until the Winchesters came back, but that would be a lie. Can you imagine Dan, Dana and Natalie sitting in silence for more than thirty seconds? And okay, me, too. I've mostly outgrown my tendency to babble when I'm nervous, but this wasn't just regular nervousness, this was Sally Sasser is a shapeshifter nervousness, and I still wasn't sure I believed it, even having seen her eyes do that weird flashy thing on the video.
Dan and Casey were arguing about whether Sean Avery should be suspended for what he did to Martin Brodeur, and Dana and Natalie were pooling the information they'd gathered about the Winchesters and clearly plotting something I wanted no part of. The Winchesters, if they really were the best demon-hunters in the business, could surely look out for themselves, though I wouldn't bet against Dana and Natalie when the chips are down.
I'd heard the words "tequila" and "karaoke" and was slowly edging towards Dan and Casey's less dangerous conversation when the door to the conference room was thrown open and Sally came storming in. Except it wasn't Sally, because her skin was in the process of peeling off.
"Oh my God, that's the most disgusting thing I've ever seen," Dana said, recoiling in horror and voicing what the rest of us were thinking.
"I don't understand," not-Sally said. "I just wanted to be famous!"
"You do realize that, as a producer, Sally is never on-camera," Casey said.
"I was working my way up!" the shapeshifter replied. "And I wanted you all to like me. Sally was a huge bitch and I was nice. I didn't even exploit Dana's ridiculous neuroses or fear of fish."
"Dana's afraid of fish?" That was Dean, in the doorway. He had a split lip and a bruise turning purple on his jaw, but he was holding a wicked looking knife and seemed steady on his feet. Sam was behind him, carrying an unconscious, but fully in possession of her skin (at least as far as I could see), Sally.
"She was stashed in an armoire in the wardrobe department," he explained, as if it were the most normal thing in the world. I don't know. Maybe for him it is.
Faced with the empirical evidence of two Sallies, I really couldn't maintain my skepticism.
"All we need now is the lion," Dan said, and we all froze for a second, waiting.
No lions appeared, though Sally--the real Sally--started waking up. She looked confused for a few seconds, but when she caught a glimpse of Sam, a predatory smile worked its way across her face.
"What happened?" she asked breathlessly as Sam set her down in one of the empty chairs. "One minute, I was in the ladies room, and the next, I was tied up in a closet full of Dan's old blazers."
"I could have killed you," the shapeshifter said. "But I didn't."
The two Sallies faced each other, the shapeshifter looking defiant, the real one bemused. "Instead, you just stole my life and my job?"
"I really wanted to be in television. I would have moved onto bigger and better things soon enough."
Sally nodded. "I admire that kind of ruthless determination to get what you want." She brushed her stringy hair off her face. "I'd especially like it in my associate producer. Do you want the job?"
"You can't be serious," said Sam.
"What the hell?" said Dean.
"Oh, God, not two of them," said Dana.
"Are you sure she's not a mandroid?" Dan asked.
The two Sallies ignored the rest of us. "Can you look...not like me?"
"I can try," the shapeshifter said shyly.
"I don't believe this," Dean said. He turned to Sally. "This freak kept you locked up in a closet for a week and pretended to be you."
"Except she was much nicer than you are, so it was kind of a win all around," Dan said.
Sally ignored him and kept her eyes on Dean. "I understand what it's like to go after what I want, and to be willing to go to extreme measures to get it."
Dean shook his head in disbelief. "Lady, you are a few fries short of a happy meal." He threw up his hands in disgust. "But it's your funeral. Come on, Sam, let's go tell Isaac about the crazy people he has working for him."
"But you'll meet us at El Perro Fumando, right?" Dana said.
"If you wear something blue, it's two dollars off the frozen blue margaritas," Natalie added. "It's worth it, because they're the size of your head."
"And Dana might get up on a table and sing if she has more than one," Casey said.
Dean shook his head again, and this time, he laughed. "Don't want to miss that. We'll meet you there in a little bit. We need to talk to Isaac and get cleaned up." He got serious then, and glared at the shapeshifter. He pointed to his eyes, and then hers, and said, "I'm watching you." But he put his knife away.
"What should we call you?" Casey asked the shapeshifter. "Since having two Sallies around would be--"
"Like living in the ninth circle of hell," Dana said.
"I was gonna say confusing, but okay."
The shapeshifter took a deep breath and tried to pull her skin back together. "Jane, I guess. You can call me Jane."
Dana took her to the ladies room and helped her clean herself up, and when they came back, she looked less like Sally and more like her own person. They still resemble each other to a certain degree, which freaks Dana out (to be honest, it kind of freaks all of us out, but Jane is much nicer than Sally, even if she is a little insane).
And that's how we ended up adding a shapeshifter named Jane Doe to the staff.
We also learned that if you get a couple of giant blue margaritas in him, Dean Winchester will totally get up on the bar and sing "Boogie Shoes" with Dana, though he doesn't know the words. I took some pictures with my phone, which are attached to this email.
I have to go now, but I'm sure I'll be writing again soon.