The Lawyer Equation
Disclaimer: I do not own Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt's Angel or John Rogers, Chris Downey, and Dean Devlin's Leverage.
A/N: I was watching "The Juror #6 Job" with one of my best friends earlier today and we started to talk about the "what if"s that it brings to mind. I mean, Chris Kane played a (semi-evil) lawyer on Angel, so we totally felt that he could have won that trial. XD So, this came out of it. Complete crack-fic at first, but turned into something pretty good, I think.
The Lawyer Equation
Jury duty. Parker had found a job at jury duty. Which, of course, meant a court. And a court room. And (of course) lawyers. This was a problem for Eliot. Not because he hated the legal system. Not even because he didn't like lawyers. But because it brought him a little too close to his past. A past he had tried very very hard to put behind him (where it really did belong). But court rooms always brought on the danger of being recognized (it had only been around seven years after all since he quit Wolfram & Hart; although he had done that thing in LA four years ago with Angel to try to bring them down). Or being suddenly found by what was left of Wolfram & Hart. Seeing as he had played a large part in their somewhat-demise, that wasn't something he was looking foreword to. At all.
See, Eliot Spencer avoided court rooms like he avoided the supernatural (except for a few healing spells, which were useful to hide how injured he actually got on jobs from the team).
But, Parker had found a case. At jury duty. Which, again, meant a court. Eliot almost wanted to strangle her, but he actually liked the little thief. She reminded him of his little sister. Just a little bit. And also Lilah, which was strangely comforting. And a little bit of Darla, in that serenely sadistic way. So, needless to say, he wouldn't hurt her. Because it was rare for Eliot to find someone he actually liked, much less someone who could remind him of his past in such a way to make him appreciate it a little more.
But that wasn't the point. The point was that Parker had found a case. And it was a trial. A trial that looked really bad for Gloria Vargas. Eliot had been on the other side of that table way too many times. He knew exactly what would happen (minus the demons, of course, since Wolfram & Hart was not representing Live Herbally). But the same thing would happen. Gloria Vargas would get nothing because of dirty dealing from the people running the show for Quint. And now they had to intervene.
The thing was, none of the team knew the insides and outs of the law (or the courtroom) like he did. And he couldn't help. Because he didn't want to give himself away.
But as the meeting went on Eliot felt himself growing agitated. He was the most able of all of these people to turn the defense to mush, but they didn't know it.
"…we have to win this case for Gloria," Sophie finished as Eliot started paying attention again.
"We can't. We got into this way too late. The best we can hope for is to con Quint into a settlement," Nate responded.
Eliot resisted rolling his eyes. He could totally win this trial. You know, if he could step foot in a court room without causing trouble.
"Earnshaw ran a credit check on Alice White."
"Who's Alice White?"
"She's going to buy the jury," Eliot realized. Playing dirty the really easy way. That made things…well, easy.
"We'll just have to steal it first," Nate said.
So, of course, that's what the team tries to do. But (of course) it all goes wrong. Mostly because Eliot isn't running things (but, then again, he hadn't told the team he could help, which he was actually feeling a little guilty about now).
Eliot kinda wants to punch something but he doesn't have time. After the Vargas lawyer disappears, Nate automatically goes to Hardison to play the new lawyer. Eliot barely resisted telling Nate he was actually a lawyer (and honestly Nate probably wouldn't have believed him anyways) and Hardison immediately gets to work creating an identity as Eliot debates the pros and cons of doing it himself since he actually went to law school and therefore could actually win in a trial.
He debates until the last minute. And damn Nate Ford for making him grow a conscience.
He put on a suit he kept in the back of his closet and shoved Hardison into a janitorial closet at the courtroom, stealing the younger man's briefcase. He could hear Hardison yelling at everyone through the comms as he headed into the court room, but ignored it in favor of trying not to hyperventilate. As soon as he said his name, Earnshaw would look him up. It would get pinged by what was left of Wolfram & Hart and they would come after him. Hopefully his name would scare Earnshaw. And hopefully he hadn't gotten too rusty. He needed to win this. For Gloria Vargas (and to prove that he could use his skills as an evil corporate lawyer for good).
"I'm sorry I'm late, Your Honor," he apologized, relaxing as he heard Hardison escape the closet too late to stop him.
"Eliot, you don't have an alias!" Hardison hissed angrily as he came in the back of the court room.
"Lindsey McDonald. I'm the new attorney for the plaintiff," Eliot announced (partly to rub it in Hardison's face), organizing his thoughts. He could win this.
He heard Hardison stuttering quietly in the back of the courtroom. "Who is that? I didn't make that up. How does he—"
"Hardison, shhh. Let Eliot concentrate. Since he went completely off the rails and ignored my plan and is probably going to ruin everything," Nate replied, voice incredibly angry.
Eliot ignored both of them in favor of introducing himself to his new client. He shared a secret smile with himself as he knew Earnshaw's people would be looking him up right now and seeing that he was actually a defense lawyer. For cases like this, but on a bigger scale. That should scare them. He knew all their tricks.
When Nate and Sophie walked in to sit next to Hardison in the back of the room, he could feel Nate glaring. So fine. Nate didn't like it when Eliot didn't follow the plan. But he'd totally thank him later.
Besides, at this point Eliot really didn't care about Nate's poor hurt feelings. He didn't work for Nate right now. He worked for Gloria Vargas (for free, and god did that kill him on the inside part of him that was still a slightly evil lawyer).
"Okay, Eliot. You want to be the lawyer, fine. But you need to stall the trial so Quint has time to take Sophie's offer and settle the case," Nate instructed. Eliot almost laughed.
Instead, he turned back to Gloria and took her hand. "Gloria, I promise I will win this trial for you and your family," he said, smiling at her and she nodded with a small worried smile.
"Eliot! You can't win this trial by going full steam ahead! I need you to stall!" Nate insisted quietly.
Eliot had had enough, so he turned slightly to the side to hiss quietly into the comms, "Settlement doesn't get Gloria nearly as much as winning the case in court will. And stop talking. I haven't done this in a while; I need to concentrate."
"What are you talking about, Eliot?" Nate demanded, but Eliot simply shushed him and went back to the trial. He had a witness to put on the stand and a trial to win.
The witness that he had up first was from the previous lawyer's case. Eliot was going to find his own medical expert. Because come on, he needed someone who looked trustworthy and was able to make everything he said sound factual and medical and be easy to understand. He had a guy in mind. But this first witness was just a friend of the family, talking about how nice Ernesto was and how perfect the family was and how hard it was for everyone without him. Personally, Eliot thought it was all bullshit (never would he have ever put a witness like her on the stand at any other trial, but then again, he was used to being on the other side), but the jury seemed touched by her testimony so Eliot counted it as a win.
Except when she broke down in tears during cross-examination when she got offended by the callousness of the defense (Eliot had made many of these types of witnesses cry on stand in his life, or cower because they knew that he had found something that would sound bad for them). Eliot objected on the grounds of badgering the witness just because he felt slightly bad for her (and he never would have before he had joined up with stupid Nate Ford and his stupid Robin Hood team) and was surprisingly sustained.
So that actually wound up okay. The jury kind of hated the defense now. Which was more points in his favor. When the witness left the stand, the defense lawyer got a funny look on his face. Eliot smiled a little. That was probably Earnshaw telling him to get over to the warehouse to discuss, well, Eliot. Or Lindsey McDonald, as it were. That would be confusing. He had worked a few cases in the past seven years, whenever it related to a job, but for the most part it would be very confusing for them to wonder why he was there.
Defense called for lunch.
Eliot held back a real grin.
He told Gloria he'd see her after lunch (he had to go get his new medical expert, after all; luckily he knew a guy who would do it on short notice as a favor to him who was perfect for this kind of thing) and left the courtroom, only to get grabbed by Hardison on the way out.
"What the Hell, man? I created an identity for myself and everything and you just stuff me in a closet and take over? And who the Hell's Lindsey McDonald?" he yammered as he walked next to Eliot.
Eliot glared. "Lindsey McDonald is a lawyer. You'd know that if you checked on that computer of yours."
"You can't just steal someone's identity! It falls apart when someone…oh…" Hardison stopped, looking at the screen of the small laptop he had pulled out to check Eliot's identity. "It's you. You're Lindsey McDonald."
"Yeah. Otherwise what happened today never would have worked," Eliot supplied, still marching towards his medical friend's office.
"But—Eliot Spencer isn't an alias. I checked it out. He's a real person…" Hardison stammered.
"You think you're the only person I know who's able to make CIA level fake identities?" Eliot responded shortly as they finally reached the office. "Hold on." Eliot went inside to explain his case quickly and let the guy look over the documents to prepare for court after lunch was over.
When he came back out Hardison was standing quietly and waiting. "So…?"
Eliot sighed. "Look, I used to be a lawyer. Criminal Defense. I quit…seven years ago, I think. I was tired of defending these guys in court. All of the making up lies and stories and silencing witnesses and doing anything to win…it was getting to be a bit much. But I know how this stuff works. So, I decided I should step in."
"Why didn't you tell us this earlier?" Nate questioned from wherever he was.
Eliot shrugged, "Look, the firm I used to work for? They're bad people. They're probably sending someone over this way right now to try to kill me after my name showed up in court today. They don't like it when somebody tries to leave, much less succeeds like I did."
Hardison blinked rapidly. "You serious? Are you serious?"
"I can handle it," Eliot responded. On second thought, he was probably a bit rusty on the supernatural end of things. "Probably."
Hardison's eyes widened.
Eliot got a little bit more worried.
In court that afternoon Eliot and his medical guy breezed through all the evidence. Cross examination went well and everything looked in their favor (except for Nate mumbling in the back about his plan and how they should really listen to him). The jury believed his expert and they looked comforted by his demeanor and his easy way of explaining things. Cross examination couldn't get anywhere they wanted with him and he was sent off the stand. Eliot grinned and thanked his guy. This was going well (he would be worried, but he'd always been just that good).
Lunch had been early, so they still had a lot of time left in court today (Nate was still mumbling about stalling). Eliot rested his case and the defense called their first witness. A guy that worked for the company or something. His testimony was along the lines of how he was an assistant to the guy who made the FastLife formula and he would never help make something that would kill people (if that was their strategy, it sucked and they really should have gotten the actual chemist up there).
The jury actually liked the witness, which Eliot hadn't counted on. So he absolutely destroyed him in cross. Eliot wasn't used to not having the spells as backup and he hadn't thought much about this guy (he'd been more worried about the defense's medical expert). But a couple of questions revealed that he was there because the actual chemist was busy. When Eliot pushed he realized the guy had never actually handled the formula, but just ran things around. So then he humiliated the guy by calling him lazy and proclaiming that he couldn't know if FastLife was dangerous if he never handled the formula and just ran stupid errands all day. The guy stuttered and broke down, insisting he didn't know it would kill anyone and that he was sorry, effectively turning himself into a pro-plaintiff witness. Score for Eliot. The jury still liked the guy, but now his testimony helped Eliot instead of the defense.
The defense looked incredibly upset as they called their medical expert. A guy who actually made Eliot feel uncomfortable, so the jury couldn't have liked him much either. He could hear Hardison humming as he tapped away on his computer back in the office.
"Dude, Eliot! This guy's on the US No Fly list," Hardison announced.
Eliot grinned. It was kind of like having a mini-Wolfram & Hart in his ear, except Hardison wasn't evil (that Eliot knew of). He could totally use this.
So he did. The jury's just a bunch of people after all, and they won't trust someone the government won't trust. So he humiliates another witness (happily) with Hardison whispering the things he's reading on the No Fly list into his ear. They actually work really well together, Eliot realizes, and maybe that's why he's stuck around this long. Even though he might get caught in the crossfire when Wolfram & Hart shows up when this trial is over.
He's pretty proud of himself, actually (and Hardison, he did help after all—Eliot had another plan for this particular witness but Hardison's was much easier).
So closing argument rolls around and it's much of the same. Eliot proclaims how devastated the family is and talks about how absurd it is to think that Live Herbally could not have known how dangerous FastLife was (which is funny, because he's used the opposite form of this argument so many times). Eliot tells the jury that nothing can bring Ernesto Vargas back but that they can at least make sure that his family has the peace of mind that comes with knowing that the people responsible have been punished.
The defense's argument isn't nearly as good. He could have come up with a better one in his sleep, in fact (but, hey, he worked for an evil law firm).
When the verdict comes back and they've won? Best feeling Eliot's had in a long time (tempered by the fact he's probably going to get attacked by a demon shortly).
Nate bitches at him a bit for going "off-book" and not disclosing certain things ahead of time, so Eliot doesn't invite him to the celebratory dinner him and Hardison are having (since they did pretty much all the work, after all—and Eliot needs to make up that whole "stuffing him in a closet" thing). They go out to eat at a pretty nice restaurant (Hardison jokes that it's pretty much a date and Eliot ignores him).
After dinner Eliot and Hardison were walking back to the offices when they got jumped. By vampires. That seemed, to Eliot, to be a stupid thing to send after him, but hey, easy to kill so very good for him. Especially since there were five of them.
"Uh…Eliot? What's wrong with their faces?" Hardison stammered nervously.
Eliot didn't answer, but looked around for something wooden to kill them with. There was an old wooden bench he could rip apart by Hardison, so he circled in front of him and moved towards it.
"Eliot? You can…uh, protect me, right?" Hardison asked from behind him.
"Quiet, Hardison," Eliot replied, breaking off a piece of the old wood from the bench and flipping it in his hands. It was pointy enough to work. "Stay out of the way," he warned as the first vampire moved to attack.
Eliot made fairly quick work of them (he had very good aim) and turned back to Hardison just as the last one dusted.
"Wha? How? …What was that? What's going on? Eliot?" Hardison stammered, looking frightened. "Did they just…turn to dust?"
Eliot took a breath to try to explain.
Hardison put his hands up. "Wait! I don't think I want to know. Just—don't tell me and maybe I can forget this happened…or chalk it up to a very bad dream."
Eliot shrugged. "Sure," he could understand. He didn't really want to know either, after all.
"Thanks for protecting me," Hardison said.
"'S my job."
Hardison grinned. "Best. Date. Ever."
Eliot growled. "Shut up."
And just like that things were back to normal. If five easily dispensable vampires were all Wolfram & Hart could muster up this time (Eliot had noticed the monsters getting progressively easier to kill every time he used his real name and they sent another one after him, but he had thought maybe he was just getting better at this) then maybe they were done trying to kill him. Maybe they'd given up at this point. That would be nice.
Eliot grinned as he listened to Hardison ramble on about him being some kind of warrior or something from that game he played. Eliot never really listened to the actual words Hardison said at times like this, but the sound of chatter was actually pleasant, he had discovered. Maybe Wolfram & Hart would give up now. All Eliot knew was that if they didn't, he would protect his team. Because he actually maybe kinda-sorta liked them. A little.
So things were back to normal (although Eliot would have to get Hardison to stop calling this a date).
And that lawyer thing? Eliot totally rocked it.