Epilogue: Innocence is Overrated
Rating: PG-13 to be safe.
Spoilers: Very slight ones up to about episode twelve of Desperate Houswives (season 1) or so, then it goes AU. Takes place mid season 5 of Angel.
Inspiration: Goes to Imzadi for planting all kinds of plot bunnies.
INNOCENCE IS OVERRATED by Kiara
“Did you do it?”
There was a pause. “I can pay you; there’ll be no problem there.”
“I never doubted it for a second, Mr. Solis, but did you do it? It’s a simple enough question.” He was beginning to loose patience with this man, well he always lost patience with the clients directed his way really.
The client had yet to say anything, which said it all really.
Charles Gunn leant back in his desk chair and eyed his latest client. Wolfram and Hart had very few human customers so to speak, and only a handful of these were individuals as opposed to big corporate companies. Whenever one of these cases was taken on, it usually got passed to Gunn straight away as humans were the only client that they could be sure he wouldn’t slay.
He wistfully thought back to his last innocent client, before his employment by Wolfram and Hart; back when they could kill the evil, not negotiate with it. Ah, those were the days.
He took his red pen and scrawled ‘guilty’ at the bottom of the page. “You’ll probably have to agree to a settlement, compensation to the wronged party.” Gunn looked down to the sheet before him and let out a low whistle. “Make that wronged parties.”
Carlos Solis nodded. “I expected as much. But no jail time?”
Mentally Gunn was saying ‘yes, you deserve it’, but outwardly he schooled his features into an unreadable look. “I doubt that very much. Wolfram and Hart are excellent at covering up its clients…mistakes.”
Carlos shot a sharp look at his lawyer, but he kept his face suspiciously blank. “Are you insulting me, Mr. Gunn?” He asked in what was supposed to be a threatening manner.
“Not at all. After all, guilt is very in this season- it’s the new black you might say. And innocence is extremely overrated when it comes to breaking the law.” Gunn kept his poker face, mentally wondering where his last comments had come from. He eventually decided it was probably some of Cordelia’s influence rubbed off on him from beyond the grave.
Carlos opened his mouth to speak, but he was cut off by someone knocking on a door and then entering the room before the invitation was announced.
“Gunn, Buffy’s wait- oh sorry, I didn’t realise you were with a client.”
“Don’t worry about it. Mr. Solis, this is Mr. Angel, the CEO of these offices. Angel, Carlos Solis. My…client.” Gunn locked eyes with Angel, silently communicating.
Carlos stood and offered his hand to Angel which he politely accepted. “It’s a pleasure, Mr. Angel.”
Angel just smiled. “I’m sure it is.”
Before Carlos could feel offence a familiar blond bounced into the room.
“What’s taking so long?” She said, but then froze when she saw Carlos.
It was then he remembered what Angel had said when he first entered the office: Buffy’s waiting.
“Err, I’ll wait outside.” Buffy said, hoping to all the Gods in heaven and a few in other dimensions a lot more fiery, that he hadn’t recognised her. But he had.
“Wait a second, it is you isn’t it? Buffy…?”
“Summers.” She reluctantly revealed.
“That’s it. You caused quite a stir on Wisteria Lane when you left so suddenly.” He looked the young woman over, wondering what had caused the gossip queens on the Lane to devote so much of their time talking about her.
Angel lowered his head and spoke quietly. “You know this guy?”
She nodded. “He was one of my neighbours in Wisteria Lane.”
“Don’t think so.” She whispered back.
Carlos looked at the duo curiously. He’d overheard snatches of what they’d said, but nothing that particularly interested him. As far as he’d heard, she was just explaining where they knew each other from. “If you don’t mind me asking, Miss Summers-“
She’d folded her arms across her chest defensively when Carlos had started speaking. “Buffy, please.”
“Buffy, why did you leave so suddenly, and arrive so suddenly come to that?”
“No, I don’t mind you asking.”
He waited for her answer. “Well?”
“I said I didn’t mind you asking, not that I’d tell you the answer.” The blond slayer smirked, even though she knew that she’d have to send him back to his nosy wife with some kind of titbit of information or else one of her former neighbours would be constantly on the phone bugging her. “We moved back so that Dawn could start the new school term on time.”
“Why move to Wisteria Lane in the first place?”
Had no one ever told this guy that curiosity killed the cat?
“To check out the area. To see if it was somewhere that we might want to live. It wasn’t. We left, end of story. I’ll wait for you guys outside.” Buffy left, effectively stopping Carlos’ questioning.
Gunn and Angel smiled sweetly as Carlos turned back to them, his mind full of unanswered questions.
“Ah Buffy; you gotta love her.” Angel murmured, still smiling falsely.
Carlos returned a smile, just as fake. “Indeed.”
They all stood for a moment as if in a freeze frame until Angel finally cleared his throat.
“So, Gunn; do you think we’ll be able to help Mr. Solis with his case?”
“He was using slave labour.” Gunn said as he gestured to the open file on his desk.
“Allegedly.” Carlos spoke up. “It’s your job to prove that I didn’t.”
“But you did.” Gunn retorted with his usual amount of tact.
Carlos glared at the lawyer. “But it’s your job to prove that I didn’t.” He repeated slowly and firmly.
“Yet there’s still that tiny problem that you’re guilty.”
“Whatever gives to that idea?” Carlos said breezily.
Gunn just gave him a look.
Carlos stared him straight in the eye. “Let’s say, hypothetically speaking, of course-“
“Oh of course.”
“Let’s say I was guilty. I know your company’s reputation; ninety-nine percent of your clientele are guilty and ninety-nine percent go free. That’s why your firm is the best and I always have the best.”
Gunn held his gaze for a long moment before locking eyes with Angel who shrugged as if to say ‘it’s up to you’.
Gunn flipped the file closed. “I’m sorry, Mr. Solis, but I don’t feel that I can represent you.”
“What? But you said all I’d have to do is pay compensation!”
“And you would… if I were to accept your case, which I won’t.”
“I’ve already told you I can pay.”
Gunn let out a humourless laugh. “For once in this damned building it’s not about the money. At the end of the day, you’re guilty, you should go to jail. I prefer my clients innocent or at least evil undead so I can stake their sorry asses, and you don’t qualify for either. Now get the hell outta my office.”
Carlos picked up his brief case with as much dignity as he could muster. “I feel I should inform you, Mr. Gunn; nobody innocent ever needs a lawyer. Even if they did, they wouldn’t be able to afford your prices.”
Gunn shrugged. “Whatever.”
“You’re making a big mistake. Your other clients won’t be happy to know you’re turning down cases over such trivial matters.”
Gunn cocked one eyebrow at him but refused to rise to the bait. “Again, whatever.”
With one last glare, Carlos stormed out of the office and past his former neighbour who was sitting on a desk, loading a crossbow. That stopped him in his tracks and he turned around.
He saw her pathetically attempt to hide the crossbow behind her back and waved innocently at him. “Leaving so soon?”
He opened and closed his mouth a few times before answering. “I know there’s something not right here. And you know what, I don’t care! You and your little friends in there can keep your little delusions, just stay away from Wisteria Lane!”
Buffy shrugged. It wasn’t as if she was planning to go back anytime soon. “Okay.”
He hadn’t expected her to give in so easily. “Right…that’s settled them.” He said before leaving the offices once and for all.
Buffy shook her head at the retreating figure. “Poor, poor, stupid little man.”
Angel and Gunn came out then, each holding their chosen weapons.
“Finally, I thought you’d got lost or something. Can we go slay now?”
“Sure; I feel strangely in the mood for killing evil.” Gunn said with a wicked smirk.
Angel looked alarmed. “Stay away from the clients!”
Gunn rolled his eyes. He slung an arm around Buffy’s shoulders and they walked away, leaving the panicking vampire to chase after them.
“I mean it Gunn; you can’t kill all our customers!”
He rolled his eyes again, pushing the image of his decapitating his ten ‘o clock appointment to the back of his mind, mostly. “Sure boss, whatever you say.”
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