So after that time when that bitch framed me and nearly got me killed, because she, like, totally wanted my job, I thought I had found a new calling. Because I, like, solved that case. I so did! Angel is supposed to have been that big detective, and he's got the leather coat and all, but he was totally clueless. As in, he didn't even know I was a suspect! Which was lucky for me, I guess, because it meant I could find out who did it first, but still. I also was the one who found the most important clue. Like, I told Fred I'm a right biter and the guy she made me go to was killed by a left biter, but she still was all "we have to tell Angel", because Fred just isn't Initiative Girl. I know, because when I did that Pyramid scheme thing for a while, they taught us how to come into our own and take initiative. Anyway, so I had solved the case, and I thought: hey! This felt good! Yay me! I totally should do it again! Only next time I should be paid.
It's not like Wolfram & Hart pays badly for me being Angel's assistant. But, like, he's not grooming me or anything, no matter what I tell the grunts at the office. If he's not growling at me he doesn't even remember I'm there. He's the boss from hell, I mean, seriously. He spent, like, a century there after that time Buffy sent him there, which is probably why Wolfram and Hart made him boss here, because they became hell buddies or something back then. So anyway, I figured maybe I should get a second job, so the next time Angel is mean to me I can say "I quit" and mean it, and he's got to buy me some extra special unicorns for my desk to make me stay. The thing is, I can't mean it unless I know I can pay for my apartment and my wardrobe and that cute massage therapist whom I'm going to once a week another way.
Things used to be so much simpler when I ruled Sunnydale High. Well, when Cordy and I did. Okay, fine, Cordy did, but I was totally her second in command, until stupid Xander Harris brainwashed her. He was , like, the Angelus to her Droodzilla. (Yes, I know all about that. Blondie Bear didn't shut up about Dru that and Angel this after we first hooked up. He's SO sensitive, I swear!) Everyone was afraid of us then. Which is why I thought I'd be great as a master vampire after I got sired, because of all the practice. Except my minions were all whiny backstabbers and it didn't work out. Still, I was Buffy's arch nemesis for a while, and I'll have you know I'm the only one she never managed to kill. There are hell gods who can't claim that. Back when I did the pyramid scheme I had this idea of wearing a t-shirt saying Harmony Kendall: Slayer Proof, but I'm not the t-shirt type, I look way better in a dress, so I didn't.
Anyway, going independent as a master vampire was out. Been there, done that, and DON'T have the t-shirt. I didn't want do do pyramid lectures again, either. But being a detective, that suddenly seemed, like, the best idea ever. I totally knew what to do, I'd just proved that. And it wasn't like it could be that difficult to make money that way. I mean, Angel did, and Angel can't even remember his three o'clock if I don't remind him all the time.
So I was sitting at a bar again with Spike because Spike had decided he'd stay in Los Angeles, which he said was because showing up at Buffy's after dying to save the world would be an "anticlimax", which is Spike talk for chickening out. But he was actually talking to me when we were not having sex, so I didn't say how that was a totally lame explanation. Besides, I had my great brainwave. I couldn't become a full time detective while also being Angel's P.A., so I needed someone as a sidekick. Also for the boring stuff like finding clients and following suspects. And Spike so owed me. I had to wear Buffy's clothes for that man. Do you have any idea how humiliating that was? Her taste is, like, horrible, and her pants and skirts were always at least two sizes too small.
I tried to stand up for myself back in Sunnydale. I did! I said: "Spike, fair's fair. If you want me to wear her panties for you, you can dress up as Mr. Giles for me. At least do the glasses. " Because Mr. Giles is, like, really hot. I first noticed on my graduation when we all fought the Mayor and he suddenly wasn't stuffy and boring at all but, like, action man with a great accent. Except then I got sired and so I couldn't do anything about it, and anyway, he's a Watcher, so he's kind of my arch nemesis. I figured Blondie Bear would understand, what with his Slayer fetish which I was totally tolerant about, but no. He absolutely wouldn't do the glasses and the accent and the stutter. So he still owed me.
"It'll be like old times," I said when pitching the idea to him, "you and me, only with paying clients instead of sucky minions. Harmony Investigations! Or do you think 'Unicorns United' sounds better?"
He looked at me. The corners of his mouth quirked. He looks cute when he does that, but then, he also looked like that when he said he loved syphilis more than me, so I wasn't sure it was a good sign.
"Only you, Harm," Spike said. "Only you..."
"Well, duh. I know it's a good idea. And it's not like you're doing anything useful now," I said, "or like anyone needs you. I'm not going to be a hardass about working hours the way Angel is with me, I swear."
Ultimately, he didn't say yes and he didn't say no. He said that if I wanted to do my own thing, I should maybe really try to go solo. I tried to subtly remind him how he owed me and hadn't even once done the Giles thing when I was doing the Buffy thing all the time for him, and wasn't a soul supposed to make him, like, atone or something. But he totally missed the point! It was all "look, Harm, if you want to know the bloody truth, Giles is everything I tried to leave behind", and not one offer to have sex and do the Giles thing now, if he didn't want to be my detective sidekick. Men are so clueless, I swear.
Fine, I thought. I am a modern woman. I can be my own detective. And I can find my own clients! So I was super attentive when organizing Angel's schedule for the next few weeks. I needed someone who a) could actually pay, because no way was I going to be a loser do-gooder who'd do that stuff for free, b) wasn't, like, the gross type of demon who'd get impatient and tear your head off if you don't deliver the solution immediately, because if I wanted that kind of behaviour, I could stay with Angel, and c) was hot. The last was because I had googled on all the famous private detectives, and, like, sexual tension between the detective and the client is essential. But you don't want someone to slober all over you who hasn't made it beyond porn from the internet in years, right?
It was really hard work to find someone who'd fit all my criteria, but finally there was this supercute guy who had wanted to hire Wolfram & Hart for his divorce case in a custody battle. His wife had totally kidnapped the prize poodle they both owned, but he couldn't prove it, and he wanted the poodle, full stop. Angel, of course, had his "Are you kidding me?" look, which isn't too different from his "I will turn you into dust for asking" look, or, come to think of it, a lot of Angel's looks, at least when he's working. He's more facially flexible on his off hours. I know that's hard to believe, but I've seen it! The last time Barry Manilow had a concert in Los Angeles, he made me buy a ticket for him. Now I know Barry Manilow is so ancient that he probably was around when Angel got sired, but still, I was majorly surprised and thought it had to be a trick, but no, he went to that concert. And he, like, enjoyed it. I saw him smile when he came back! And heard him hum! It was totally scary.
But back to my future client. I fully intended to tell him he didn't need Wolfram & Hart, he needed Unicorns United, but then I thought maybe that would give the wrong impression, as if I was, like, stealing a client. Which they told me is an offense punishable by removal of entrails when I first got hired here. So what I did instead was tell him I was Angel's personal assistant, which was totally true, and his go-to-girl for delicate cases. He looked at me and I could sense the smouldering sexual tension already. He looked like Leo when Leo was still cute, or Brad Pitt before Angelina. At the very least, I could sense his pulse, and that was a bit awkward, because when my wannabe rival had spiked my drink with human blood the previous week in order to frame me, she had totally put me off my diet. It was like that time when Cordy and I were doing the Hollywood Pineapple diet, and my mom completely sabotaged me by putting a peanut butter sandwich in front of me in the morning.
"I will find your poodle and bring her to you!" I vowed, and when he said he'd pay extra if the poodle got a shower before I delivered her, because he didn't want to smell his soon-to-be-ex-wife's perfume on her. I promised, and made him give me all the relevant facts.
The soon to be ex-wife who didn't want to keep the hunk but did want to keep the poodle lived in Malibu, because of course she did, unlike hard working P.A.s and P.I.s and any kind of Ps, but according to my client that wasn't where she kept the poodle, which he knew because he had already tried to bribe her cleaning woman there to hand it over to him. I thought this would be simple. I'm a creature of the night, hello! So I followed her around a bit and even went to the same beauty parlor she visited, where she talked about how she'd make her ex bleed for cheating on her with some tramp. This was sort of distracting, but it wasn't like I wasn't open to non-exclusive relationships, I mean, ask Spike. Except then she mentioned the tramp was literally a tramp. As in, a professional Charlie Chaplin impersonator. Well, I thought, that's pushing it, but the main thing was that her husband could pay my fee and would tell everyone later what an awesome private detective I was.
When she went from the beauty parlor to a place that definitely wasn't her home, I thought, hooray! Case almost solved. Sure, I'd need an invite from her before I could enter to rescue the poodle, but I could always pretend she'd forgotten a ring in the beauty parlor and I was bringing it to her. There isn't a woman alive or undead who wouldn't at least check out the ring, and for that she'd have to ask me inside. All proceeded according to plan, she did ask me in, I could smell a dog in that place even if I didn't see it yet, she then said something about how she didn't recall owning a ring with a mini unicorn on it, and I was trying to hone into the smell of the dog and figuring out where she kept it, which was when I got my big shock. Because she suddenly stopped speaking.
"Oh my God," she said. "You're a vampire."
"Am not," I said, and would have knocked her out to search for the poodle in earnest, except her ex had neglected to mention one crucial thing: she was a witch. She started to mumble the stuff I had last heard in Sunnydale from Willow "Softer Side of Sears" Rosenberg and something, like, pushed me through the room. So unfair! She raised her hand and I saw some wooden stake flying through the air while I still couldn't move. My unlife was at stake, so I had to think really fast.
"I'm, like, the granddaughter-in-law of the meanest vampire ever!" I yelled. "Former! But he'd still totally avenge me if you stake me! And then your ex would get the poodle! Do you really want that?"
"What on earth are you talking about?" she asked, and the stake remained in the air for a moment longer, then returned to her hand.
Self, I thought, you matter. You don't need A MAN to back you up. Not that any ever did, anyway. Did I mention my minions back in Sunnydale totally sucked and let themselves be staked by Buffy on our first try out as a gang?
"Look," I said, "whatever your deal is, I get it. I mean, hello? I'm, like the hardcore veteran of breakups and what that feels like. And how those bastards always want their presents back. I have this ex, see, and he's really hot and all, but the first time we broke up, he, like, staked me and I would have been dust except I was wearing that ring which makes you invulnerable, the Ring of Clara or something. Wait! The Ring of Amara. And then he wanted it back! Ripped it from my finger, I swear. "
She looked at me, and I could see I was getting to her. We were totally bonding. It was like that time when Spike had Buffy chained up in our crypt and wanted to stake Drusilla for her or feed her to Drusilla or something, and then I came and Buffy and me had this moment of total connection over how I was the actual girlfriend and he never offered to feed anyone to me.
"You don't want to keep that poodle, though," I said. "I mean, a ring is cool, and pretty, and when I found out Spike ended up giving it to ANGEL of all the people I cried because Angel is so not the ring type and he didn't even keep it anyway. But a poodle needs dog food and trips to the vet and someone to clean up his poop, and why would you want to do that if you can just shove it on your ex?"
This faultless logic was greeted with her asking me whether by "Angel" I meant the new head of Wolfram and Hart. Talk about not getting the point! She was, like, still a brainwashed victim of the patriarchy. So I went to her level and pointed out that I sure did and that I was his indispensible right hand, which I couldn't remain if she used her witch fu to change me into a frog or boring old dust. She said she didn't intend to, because she needed a lawyer. And that was when the other shoe dropped. She couldn't give the poodle to her husband in the divorce settlement , even if she wanted to. Because she was the poodle. She was totally a shapeshifting werepoodle, which meant she was like Willow and Oz put together, only with better fashion sense. And the reason why her husband wanted me to wash the poodle was because water would trap her in that form for at least a month, and he was a big jerk who wanted to use that situation to have her declared dead as long as he still was her husband and inherit all her stuff. You can see why he'd come to Wolfram and Hart in the first place. He was like 90% of our clients! Except that Angel hadn't taken him as a client, only I had, which meant Wolfram and Hart could represent the wife instead.
I'll have you know I made a huge financial sacrifice for the firm here. There was no way the husband would pay me now. On the other hand, Angel would owe me a bonus for bringing him a werepoodle witch as a client. Two creatures of the night for the price of one, and he could do his protecting-the-pretty-and-well-manicured-damsel thing to boot. So I thought, what the hell, and put her on Angel's schedule the next day instead of that lame staff meeting with Wesley and Gunn and Fred which he had. I mean, who wouldn't rather meet a were witch poodle than listen to Wesley anyway?
I haven't given up on the idea of Unicorns United completely, though. Like, just a few weeks later Spike DID do a stint as a detective and said it was because a guy called Doyle told him he should. He just didn't want to admit it had been my idea first. Spike is such a sexist pig. In a hot platinum blond kind of way. It's just that I'd put that idea on the backburner for now.
"And you know why?" I asked Angel when I told him how I had secured our new client through great personal sacrifice so he'd finally realize it was time to raise my salary and give me a bonus.
"Why?" he asked, because Angel is monosyllabic like that unless he visits Barry Manilow concerts.
"Because I realized what a detective really needs to make it in this town. A great secretary, I mean, personal assistant! You had Cordy, and now you have me. That's why you actually made money as a detective. But I wouldn't have me. I would have to do your thing and my thing at the same time. Which is way too much. So until I find someone who's as good as me at being an assistant and will work for me, I'm all yours!"
"Harmony", Angel said, "I can't tell you how glad I am."
If he's not growly and with the hack and slash, he's almost okay as a boss, I thought.