Word Count: 1,096
Summary: What made Leek decide to team up with Helen?
SPOILERS: Some for series 2, but only vague ones.
Oliver Leek flinched as the door slammed before his face, kicked shut by Professor Cutter as he followed the team into Lester’s office. Every time, he thought miserably. He was supposed to be Lester’s assistant, but they all kept shutting him out. And then- and he just knew it would happen- Lester would make him look like a fool later on for not knowing what was going on. How could he, when they’d slammed the door on him? Again. With a sigh, he went back to his own office, receiving a sympathetic look from Lester’s secretary as he passed her desk.
He’d been to Oxford, for goodness sake. He had come out in the top five percent of his year and had since worked his way up through the food chain in the Home office until being assigned to this project. He was good at his job- when they let him do it- keeping Lester informed, being at his beck and call, and for what? The man still treated him like an idiot.
And that was just Lester. The rest of them, with the possible exception of Abby, barely even knew he existed. Abby would at least nod ‘good morning’ to him as he passed by. Stephen ignored him completely but he expected no less; it was just like school and University all over again, where the beautiful people would never deem him important enough to acknowledge in public. There he had been little more than background to them, and the butt of an occasional joke, but that was it. Stephen was just like them, he thought as he watched the man swanning about, smiling and batting his eyelashes whenever he wanted something, and wearing those stupid tight jeans that he just knew showed off his arse. Not that Leek had been looking. Well, not much, but then who could blame him? Stephen was gorgeous and, unfortunately, all too aware of it. He’d never give Leek a second look, even if he wasn’t still pining for Nick Cutter. They may be fighting or, in Cutter’s case, hating, but it was clear to everyone around them that Stephen loved the man.
As for Connor, he had tried to befriend the young man a few times, sensing a fellow outcast and potential ally, but Connor was always busy with his latest contraption. Leek was quickly dismissed as soon as something more interesting came along, whether that was Abby or Cutter or some new gadget. While he would at least try and explain it to the others, he rarely seemed to notice that Leek was still standing there.
Cutter was the worst, ever since the Forest of Dean. Before that Cutter had just been like the others, ignoring him, but since he returned it was different. He kept going on about someone called Claudia Brown, someone who was meant to be doing his job. And of course, because he was there instead, Cutter seemed to be taking it out on him, watching him with undisguised hatred over the fact that he had apparently taken some imaginary woman’s job. No one else had even heard of her!
He waited until he saw the team leave Lester’s office and picked up the files once again.
“Sir? These are the expense reports you asked for.”
Lester waved vaguely toward the end of his desk. “Yes, just leave them there.”
Leek frowned. Lester had said they were urgent. He’d come in early this morning just to finish getting them ready.
“Something else, Leek?”
Putting the reports down, he sighed. “No, Sir.”
When Helen approached him, he had said no. Despite everything, his first instinct had been to turn her down and go and report seeing her. When he’d tried to tell Lester, however, the man had merely sighed and asked him if it could possibly wait until tomorrow as he was rather busy, and would he mind shutting the door on the way out?
That was it. He’d tried, hadn’t he? That afternoon, he called the number Helen had left him.
“What would I need to do?”
To begin with, it had just been small things such as keeping Helen apprised of the team’s activities. She seemed rather gleeful when he told her about the growing distance between Nick and Stephen, and the tension that their rift was causing among the others.
She’d had him send in the girl, Caroline, to ‘accidentally’ meet Connor. It was all harmless, she assured him. Just a little distraction to keep Connor busy and out of her business, she said. That sounded okay, Leek thought. After all, the kid was never going to get a date on his own, was he? He’d seen Connor’s pitiful attempts to get Abby’s attention, mostly consisting of vast amounts of staring and blushing, and it wasn’t getting him very far.
Then there were the creatures. A few minor adjustments to the documentation and a creature could vanish; the paperwork showing that it had suddenly contracted a virus or had a heart attack when in reality the vehicle carrying it had been re-directed to the facility that Helen was using. It wasn’t difficult.
He liked it at the compound they were moving the creatures into, being able to study them up close, just like the ARC team did every day. Back at the ARC, they wouldn’t even let him get close. It wasn’t just the creatures, though. People actually knew his name here. Helen’s clones weren’t exactly conversational intellectuals but at least they respected him, listened when he spoke to them and followed his instructions. It was nice to feel valued for once.
Even Helen was friendly, offering a warm smile when she saw him. Of course, it was usually because she wanted him to do something else, but the fact that she asked rather than ordered him made him happy to oblige. And if a few of those tasks were starting to hold more of a risk toward his colleagues at the ARC… Well, he could live with that.
During all of this time, Leek sat at his desk in the ARC and played along. He endured Lester’s sarcasm and Cutter’s glares, still made an occasional effort to say good morning to Abby, Stephen or Connor but, as usual, only Abby ever bothered to acknowledge him. Soon, he thought, soon they would all see just how much they had underestimated him. Helen’s timetable had moved up and it wouldn’t be long now before they made their move.
Maybe then he’d get a bit of respect around here.