The Revenge Equation
Disclaimer: I do not own Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt's Angel or John Rogers, Chris Downey, and Dean Devlin's Leverage.
A/N: Even more! This one takes place around "The First David Job." Again, keeping actual episode conversations to a minimum. Enjoy!
"How was your date
?" Hardison asked when Eliot came into the office Monday morning.
"It wasn't a date," Eliot growled as he sat down at the conference table. Sophie laughed. Nate and Parker looked on in confusion.
"Date?" Nate questioned, "You're going on dates?"
"No," Eliot insisted.
"He is," Hardison interrupted, "with the secretary from the offices below ours."
"You mean the squeaky, bubbly, blonde one? Melody or something?" Nate questioned.
"Harmony. Her name is Harmony. And it wasn't a date. She used to be a secretary for the law company I worked for. We were catching up," Eliot explained with a growl. It was mostly true. They hadn't worked there at the same time or anything, but the team didn't need to know that.
"Seemed like a date to me," Sophie put in, "she seemed very happy to see you the other day when you made the dinner plans."
"She's just like that…" Eliot muttered. "It wasn't a date."
"Keep telling yourself that…" Hardison replied with a grin. Eliot glared. Nate started the meeting.
After the meeting Eliot retreated to his office and shut the door so that he didn't have to deal with the crew teasing him about his not-date. Which it wasn't. A date, that is. Because Eliot didn't date. Especially bubbly blonde vampires (but now that he thought about it, dating a vampire might be the way to go for him—they weren't squeamish about blood and they were useful in a fight, although the soulless thing was a downside).
Eliot was about to go out to lunch when he heard Harmony in the lobby. Great. Now he'd never hear the end of it. He stood up and ventured out into the lobby to do damage control.
"Hi Eliot!" Harmony beamed when she caught sight of him.
"Hey, Harmony," Eliot replied (much less enthusiastically) as he walked over to where she was standing with Sophie and Nate.
"I got a call from Willow this morning and she's in town. We're going out to lunch. I was wondering if you wanted to come along?"
Eliot considered the pros and cons for a bit. On the plus side, he would get to meet Willow. On the minus side, she would probably have a lot of questions to ask him. His curiosity over the witch won out. "Sure," he replied, waving a quick goodbye to the team as he led Harmony out the door.
When they got to the café Harmony led them inside to a back table with a redheaded woman he assumed was Willow sitting at it.
"Hi Willow!" Harmony greeted with what Eliot was quickly realizing was her customary hug. "I'm not sure you ever got the chance to meet Eliot?" she introduced as she set her things down in one of the chairs and then excused herself to the bathroom.
"Eliot?" Willow questioned.
"Formerly Lindsey McDonald," Eliot admitted.
"Now him I've heard of," Willow smiled, shaking his hand, "I see you survived the wrath of Angel after all."
"I'm talented like that," Eliot replied (hey, it was true, so he felt he deserved credit).
Willow laughed and they sat down. "Harmony knows all this?"
"I think only vaguely. She didn't remember my name so I just told her the one I'm using now to simplify things for her."
"She is a bit simple," Willow replied, "but she's nice and she's really trying to be normal."
"Yeah, I noticed that part. So what brings you here?"
"Harmony's charm is about to run out, so I'm here to replace it," Willow replied as Harmony came back and the waiter came by to take their orders.
Eliot already knew a lot about Angel's dream team and the so-called "Scoobies" so he didn't actually need to ask many questions to satisfy his curiosity about that aspect of Willow's work.
"So do you still do anything supernatural-y?" Willow asked him halfway through the meal.
Eliot shook his head. "I try to stay away from it. I do spells every once in a while, mostly healing stuff."
"Really?" Willow asked, seeming to perk up.
"Yeah. It's why I wanted to meet you, actually. As an amateur magick user it's great to get a chance to meet a witch as powerful as you."
"Aw, thanks…" Willow blushed, looking down at her plate. Eliot grinned. He obviously still had it. "If you want, I can give you my number and if you ever need any tips I can help you out."
"That'd be great," Eliot replied, exchanging numbers with her.
The rest of the lunch was incredibly friendly and passed by quickly with exchanged stories of Angel's idiocy. Eliot found himself having a really good time yet again. It made him wonder why he hadn't tried harder to get on Angel's good side and join his team (although his general dislike of the guy seemed like a good reason to have not done so). Eliot really liked Willow too. She was incredibly sweet and funny (even if she was a bit of a geek) and reminded him of his little sister.
When he returned to the offices after (a quite excellent) lunch everyone was sitting there waiting for him.
"What?" he asked as he took off his jacket.
"What was that all about?" Nate questioned (much like a father, actually; it was a little disturbing).
"Lunch. With a former colleague that happened to be in town today. I don't see how it's any of your business. It's not going to affect y'all in any way." Eliot replied as he turned to his office. Their questions were getting old fast.
Nate's intervention was a bust (except for the fact that he accepted the premise of stealing the David). Sophie had come to him really late one night with the idea of giving Nate an intervention to get him to stop drinking and Eliot had agreed purely to get her out of his apartment (but the more he thought about it, the more he knew it needed to be done).
But it didn't go well. In fact, tonight Nate seemed even more drunk than usual. Eliot knew that he was supposed to seem drunk for the con, but that didn't explain the alcohol on his breath. Eliot really hoped this didn't go south anytime soon because he wasn't sure that he could protect everyone if it did. Eliot decided it was in his best interest to ignore Nate as much as possible and focus on his character (he didn't get to grift often, so he wanted to prove that he was good at it).
There wasn't much that he could do besides his part in the con anyways.
Eliot had known this job was going to go south as soon as Maggie entered the equation (she would have even if he hadn't brought her over to the group, he was sure, so it wasn't his fault). They should have quit when they were ahead, but Nate was drunk and bent on revenge, so they kept going. And now the offices were blown up and here he was standing in a circle looking at the faces of people who he actually liked and was this close
to calling family, ready to say goodbye. They had agreed, after all, that it would be better for everyone if they dropped off the map and didn't see each other for at least six months.
So here he was. Ready to leave behind the people that he trusted most (even if he wouldn't admit it to himself most of the time). They were professionals, after all; they knew that they were blown. They couldn't operate like this. So they would scatter.
But Eliot was surprisingly uneasy with the decision. He took a deep breath and looked at his teammates for what would be the last time for at least six months. Then he turned around and walked away.
To be honest, he didn't go far. He couldn't bring himself to do so yet. So he went to Harmony's apartment. "Hey," he greeted quietly when she opened the door.
"Eliot! When your offices blew up earlier I was worried you hadn't made it out!" she replied, hugging him tightly before letting him inside.
"I did. We all did."
"Do you need anything?" Harmony offered. Eliot had learned in the time he had spent with Harmony that she was actually incredibly pleasant most of the time, and also a lot smarter than she seemed (although she still wasn't a brain).
"Some water would be nice," Eliot replied, sitting down on her (disturbingly pink) couch. Harmony's living room was a total eyesore between the pink and the unicorns, but he'd take anything over the cell he was sure to wind up in if Sterling caught up to him.
Harmony came back over and handed him a glass of water, taking a seat herself. "What happened?"
Eliot sighed, gulping down the glass of water before looking over at Harmony. They had had plenty of conversations about what he did (Harmony found the stories hilarious), so he didn't feel that he should lie to her at this juncture. "A job went south. Way south. I need to get out of town for a few months."
"Well then what are you still doing here?" Harmony exclaimed as she jumped up from the couch.
Eliot winced and held out a hand to calm her down. "I have broken ribs and a concussion, Harm, I can't travel very far yet. It would be better if I lay low for a while."
"I'll hide you, then," Harmony replied determinedly.
Eliot grinned back up at her. "I was hoping you'd say that."
To tell the truth, Eliot really did need to lay low. He wasn't moving well enough to be able to get away from anyone that caught sight of him and if he hung out long enough they'd stop being so vigilant in looking for him nearby.
It took a week for Eliot to heal enough that he felt he could fight his way out of most anything he might encounter. He said his goodbyes to Harmony and set out to Cleveland. He had some things he wanted to straighten out, after all, and he had already called and asked Willow to run interference for him. There were a little less than three months until the David Gallery opened, and even though they had promised to scatter for six months, there was no way he was leaving that job unfinished. He wanted to spend the time before the gallery opening setting a few things straight with Angel and company (especially now that he had the "Hey, I help people" ammo to throw at them).
So he hugged Harmony goodbye and headed out. It took him a couple days to make it to Cleveland, and then he followed Willow's directions to their home base, a magic shop informatively called The Magic Box. It was a Sunday, which Willow had informed him was "update meeting day," which basically meant that anyone who could be there would be there. She had also confirmed that Angel was indeed in town, meaning that Eliot should probably watch his back.
Eliot took a breath and headed into the shop. The bell rang as he entered, but he didn't see anyone in the immediate vicinity. He resituated his duffel bag on his shoulder and walked towards the checkout counter. As he approached, Willow came running into the store from what seemed to be a back room. "Eliot! Glad you made it in one piece," She greeted, standing in front of him with a grin.
Eliot held out a hand for her to shake (they had only met once before and Eliot wasn't sure what the protocol was for greetings here), which she took with a smile. "Me too," he admitted with a small return smile.
"Right now it's just me, Giles, and Buffy here, but everyone else should start trickling in soon. You can come on back, if you want," she offered.
"Sure," Eliot agreed, following her back into what was actually a conference room (bigger than the one at Leverage HQ, but less technological). There were two people inside, sitting at the far end of the table: an older man with glasses he assumed to be Giles and a petite blonde that he knew was Buffy. They both looked up when Willow led him in. Willow took his bag and set it down in the corner nearest the door before leading him over to the other two.
"Who's this?" Buffy questioned, crossing her arms and raising an eyebrow skeptically.
"This is Eliot Spencer," Willow introduced, "He's an old acquaintance of Angel's L.A. crew."
"Never heard of him," Buffy replied shortly.
"That's because I went by Lindsey McDonald back then," Eliot offered.
"The lawyer? Angel said he killed you."
Buffy looked him over before offering her hand with a small grin, "In that case, good to meet you. Why are you here?"
"I decided it was time to set a couple things straight and I had a break in my…normal job," Eliot replied with a small grin.
"And what is your normal job?" the man Eliot had assumed was Giles (and who was apparently British) asked as he stood up.
"Retrieval," Eliot replied, "I didn't catch your name?"
"Rupert Giles," he introduced, shaking Eliot's hand himself.
"Well, Mr. Giles, it's good to meet you. Watcher, right?" Buffy and Giles glared at him. "Hey, I remember some of the things I read in Angel's file back in my lawyer days. Most of them, actually."
"How nice," Buffy replied sarcastically.
Eliot held his hands up in a sign of surrender. "I'm not planning on working against y'all in any way. Those days are behind me. Like I said, I'm looking to set a few things straight. Mainly that I'm not evil."
"And what exactly does one do in the job of 'Retrieval'?" Buffy questioned.
"Exactly what it sounds like. I retrieve things."
"You're a thief," Buffy guessed.
"Yes," Eliot admitted, "mainly I'm a thief."
Buffy and Giles glanced at each other. Buffy shrugged. "Maybe I should call you sometime to retrieve a priceless artifact."
"I wouldn't turn you down if you did. Whatever I can do to help y'all, I will," Eliot replied. He had grown enough in the years since L.A. to realize (and admit) he had been on the wrong side of that business. If he could do something to make up for that, like helping them get their hands on something they needed, he would.
"Good to know," Buffy smiled, "Welcome to our lair."
"Thanks," Eliot replied, watching as the three of them got settled into their chairs. He stayed back a little, not wanting to make himself vulnerable to attack by getting too comfortable.
"Do you always lurk?" Willow questioned, turning towards him.
"When in an unfamiliar place? Yes," Eliot replied simply.
Willow shrugged and turned back to the other two right as someone came in through The Magic Box.
"Anyone here?" a voice called from the shop that Eliot was sure he recognized from that last year in L.A. Spike. This could go really well or really terribly. He slammed into the room with quite the dramatic strut and continued over to collapse into the chair next to Buffy. "What's the deal here?"
"Spike," Buffy greeted with an eye roll, "get your feet off the table."
To his credit, Spike obeyed. Then he caught sight of Eliot, standing suddenly in order to make his way over. "Lindsey McDonald. Thought you were dead. Why are you here?"
"One, it's Eliot Spencer now. Two, obviously not. Three, don't come any closer," Eliot replied, preparing himself to be attacked by the guy.
"Answer me and maybe I won't," Spike replied, stepping closer.
"He's here as an ally, Spike," Buffy interjected, "sit down."
Spike turned to look at Buffy before turning back to Eliot. Eliot had a split second to prepare before Spike lunged. He sidestepped and yanked Spike's arm back, slamming him against the wall and twisting it harshly. Everyone else in the room jumped up in surprise. "Hey! Let go!" Spike protested.
"You gonna attack me again?"
"No! Let go!"
Eliot acquiesced, letting go of Spike and stepping back to allow him to get away. The vampire glared as he went back to his seat.
"Impressive," Buffy commented as she settled back down as well.
Eliot shrugged. "I train." It was a vast understatement, but still true. He didn't know these people well enough to open up to them. Besides, if they really wanted to learn more about him, they had the means to find it out (especially if Willow was the computer whiz he'd been led to believe). Any further comments were put on hold by the arrival of Angel through the back door; the one Eliot was standing next to.
All it took was one glance around the room for Angel to catch sight of Eliot. He growled. "McDonald. You're supposed to be dead."
Eliot shrugged, "Obviously I'm not."
Angel growled and came closer (Eliot cursed internally when he found that he was still incredibly intimidated by the man). "Why are you here?"
"To prove a point. I'm not the bad guy, Angel. I haven't been for a while now."
"It's true," Willow interjected, "He's not the same guy."
"Oh really?" Angel questioned, stepping even closer. Eliot tried not to back away (and succeeded quite well, he might add). "Then who exactly are you now? What do you do?"
"Eliot Spencer," Eliot introduced, "Retrieval Specialist."
"If you'd like."
"That's not that much change."
"I believe it is."
"But I help people."
"By stealing from them?"
"You used to help people by undermining the law."
"Evil lawyers. I undermined evil lawyers. Like you."
"And I undermine evil rich people. By conning them. See? Change."
Angel growled and stepped closer, grabbing Eliot's arm and trying to force him against the wall. Eliot stood his ground, twisting out of Angel's grip.
"He has a point Angel. If that's really what he does now, it's pretty much the same thing we do except through conning and thieving rather than the killing of evil demon-y things," Buffy pointed out.
Eliot grinned at Angel, which on second thought was a terrible idea because it made Angel angry enough to attack him. Angel's fist flew right at his face. He dodged to the right and grabbed his arm, pulling him off balance and shoving him into the wall. Angel turned back towards him right as a group of people came into the room to take their seats at the conference table. They stared in shock as Angel lunged towards Eliot again. Eliot jumped out of the way quickly, cursing the confined spaces in which this fight was happening.
"Angel! Stop it!" he heard Buffy order as Angel threw another punch at him. He grabbed Angel's fist and twisted, using his other hand to break Angel's nose before shifting his weight to knock Angel's legs out from under him and force the guy onto his back. He took a second to congratulate himself on finally being able to beat the guy as he stepped back.
He grinned as Angel reached up to his nose to put it back in place. "When did you get so good at fighting?" he grumbled as he started to get up.
"Sometime between you trying to kill me, and failing, might I add, and now," Eliot replied smugly.
"All right!" Eliot heard from one of the newcomers, "I like you. Anyone who can put Deadboy there in his place is okay in my book." Eliot turned towards the speaker to find a young, dark-haired man with an eyepatch over his left eye. "Xander Harris," he introduced himself with a goofy grin, holding out a hand.
"Eliot Spencer," Eliot replied, shaking the hand as he kept an eye on Angel.
"He's Lindsey McDonald. That lawyer that was giving me trouble all the time back in L.A." Angel interrupted.
"That was you?" Xander asked, "You still evil?"
"No," Eliot replied simply.
"Okay then. Cool. Nice to meet you, then," Xander said, sitting down at the table. Everyone else except Angel followed his example and got settled down.
"So why are you here, Lindsey?" Angel asked, staying away from him this time. Buffy motioned for him to go ahead and explain, so he did.
"First of all, the name's Eliot Spencer now, so use it. As to the reason I'm here, it's pretty simple. I ran into Harmony while I was working in L.A. and—"
"She's still there?" Angel questioned.
"Yes, and she's doing great, actually, trying to be good, so leave her alone. Anyways, I saw her and it reminded me of the way things were left between me and all of you guys. I decided to set things straight."
"By beating me up?"
"That was your fault. Besides, aren't you supposed to be a champion or something?" Eliot replied, catching sight of a few of the people around the table hiding smiles.
"I wasn't expecting it…" Angel grumbled.
"I also wanted to offer my services to your cause. I'm out of a job for the next ten weeks, so I figured I might as well find something useful to do," Eliot finished, looking at Buffy as he did so.
"Why are you out of a job?" Xander asked, "If you're a thief, don't you pick your jobs?"
Eliot considered for a second not explaining, but decided that if he wanted to be on good terms with these people, he should start with honesty. Besides, if they started working together he'd wind up explaining all of it anyways. "My team and I had to scatter after an incident with a job back in L.A. I'm going back to finish the job in ten weeks."
"With your team?" Giles asked.
"No. We agreed to scatter for six months, but I just can't leave it unfinished," Eliot admitted, "And until then, I'd like to offer my specific set of skills to you. If you don't have anything, I can be on my way. There's always plenty of work to find. Some of it more unsavory than others, but I can find something good to do."
Buffy looked to a couple other people at the table before turning back to Eliot. "If you don't mind sticking around for a bit, there's a few things we might be able to use your help on."
Eliot grinned. This should be lots of fun.
A/N: Sorry this took so long. I was majorly distracted. But here it is! I felt that Eliot needed some sort of purpose for the time between "The First David Job" and "The Second David Job" so I sent him to bug Angel. Tell me what you think.