A Finger in Every Pie

"It is always the best policy to speak the truth, unless of course you are an exceptionally good liar."

Jerome K. Jerome

Irina Derevko sighed. Another long night. Sometimes she thought she was getting too old for this game, then she came to her senses. A finger in every pie, she was legendary in some circles, Wheels within wheels that never stopped turning. A life with no regrets, well in theory any way. Choices, the ones we make, the ones we don't…It was a pleasant evening, all things considered. From the rooftop she could see out across much of the city. Flashing lights, and cars, couples whispering sweet nothings in each other's ear. A world she had never truly been a part of, could never be a part of. Secrets, lies within lies like Russian dolls eating each other that was where she lived. Among the shadows.

She would have to go soon. Things to do, people to kill. Rumors had reached her that Prophet Five had awoken from its slumber. They were gearing up for their endgame, whatever it may be. That meant Irina would have to make preparations of her own. She'd have to see Sydney again and soon. The thought sent a rush of warmth through her, a feeling she'd never quite gotten used to. A weakness she'd tried to expunge, but to no avail. No time to be sentimental, not in this line of work.

"Irina Derevko," a voice interrupted her musings. "Born March 22nd 1951. Formerly with the KGB. Divorced and daughter of two. My, my you have had an interesting life haven't you?"

Irina spun around quickly. A woman was watching her from the shadows, flanked by two commandos. She was dressed professionally. Her eyes slightly mocking, but that didn't matter. How had she gotten the drop on her? Irina's hand itched for her gun. "Who are you," she asked.

"Lilah Morgan," the woman stepped forward offering her hand to shake, as if they were in an office and not on a roof surrounded by trigger-happy bodyguards. "President of Special Projects, Head of Wolfram & Hart's L.A. Offices."

Irina frowned. Wolfram & Hart had a formidable reputation. They said it was impossible to live (or die) in this business without WR&H getting a piece of you. Well she'd done a damn good job so far. "I knew your predecessor. I was sorry to hear of his loss," Irina smiled.

"I'm sure you were," Lilah agreed. "I understand he offered you a contract during one of your periodic incarcerations."

"I turned him down," Irina said. Her hand inched towards her concealed weapon.

"Yes," Lilah said. "I think you hurt his feelings."

"I doubt the man had any feelings to be hurt."

"Touché," Lilah smiled. "Now before you reach any further for your weapon I suggest you listen to what I have to say."

"And why would I do that Ms. Morgan?"

"Because if you are as good as you think you are, you'll kill me. But if you're not, then my associates will kill you," the commandos cocked their guns. "And while some of my subordinates would swear to you their undying love if you killed me, the Senior Partners would not be amused. And that, Ms. Derevko, is trouble you have never known. Either way someone is very unhappy, perhaps even your daughters."

"Just a tip," Irina said. "try threatening something I care about."

"Oh you care," Lilah said. "Perhaps even more than you think, but I know something you care about more."

"I'm not interested," Irina said.

"Then you're free to go," Lilah said. "We will not stop you." She nodded and the guards parted. Irina smiled insincerely and headed for the exit. She had already wasted enough time. "Oh Ms. Derevko," Lilah called. "before you go. Does the name Milo Rambaldi mean anything to you?"