Title: Bought
Author: Vesper (Regina)
Warnings: None
Category: General
Keywords: Henry/Betty
Summary: Wilhelmina has spies everywhere. A 'what if.' (Despite that summary, this has more to do with Henry and Betty than you think.)
Disclaimer: Ugly Betty is the property of Silent H Productions, Reveille and Ventanarosa, and Touchstone Television. The story is mine.
Archival: If you wish to archive, please link to my website. Please keep all my headers intact.
Notes: Based on some speculation floating around. I just put a positive spin on it.

He never wanted to lie to her. He hasn't, not where it's counted. She just doesn't know everything about him, and he doesn't want her to know, because it would cost him everything. He's made every attempt to get close to her, to get to know her better and all the while he knows if she knew what he'd done....

Wilhelmina Slater is a ruthless woman. He's ever constantly reminded of Loxosceles sabina in her presence, and like the Tucson Recluse, she is a fascinatingly beautiful creature, but with a vicious bite.

She doesn't come right out and say it, what she wants. She insinuates and lets him fill in the blanks--and he's awfully good at that.

She says, "You like her, don't you? Betty?"

He tries not to give it away. He won't give it away, but she nods and smiles.

"I have nothing against inter-office romances. They're sweet. You'd make a good couple. Daniel might have something to say, though."

He doesn't believe a word she says, but he does start to understand. He swallows and it's as dry as dust.

"Of course, I'm sure he wouldn't object, not if he could be reassured that he'd still have his assistant when all is said and done. He dotes on her so much."

If that was meant to get a response from him, he ignores it, seeing it for what it is--a cheap attempt at calling up jealousy. It almost works, but he just grits his teeth and waits. She has a point she's about to make. He doesn't want to hear it, but he can't just leave. There's no telling what lies she might concoct for Bradford Meade and in Manhattan, job security just may be the most valuable commodity available.

She continues, "One would almost say she's his only confidant, wouldn't you, Henry?"

There it is. Wilhelmina just wants herself another spy. He knows exactly what the price is, what she's demanding, and though everything in him just wants to say no, God, no, there's no easy way out of this, no conceivable escape.

So he says, "It does seem so."

She says, "I know I don't have to stress to you how valuable you can be to this company, or how valuable Betty is to Daniel. He would be at a loss without her."

He answers, sick at heart, "Of course not."

Wilhelmina smiles. She turns away, saying, "Yes, you and Betty. Such a cute couple."

And just like that he's sold his soul.

Wilhelmina's right. He does like Betty. Too much.

He may have been trapped in a web of Wilhelmina's weaving, but there's no way that he's not going to struggle. He'll find a way out of this. He just hopes it's before Betty discovers what he's done. Because, bought or not, there's no way he's going to be what Wilhelmina's forced him to be and nothing, nothing, is worth the price of breaking Betty's heart.


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