Noon Recess

Summary: Lindsey and Cordelia encounter each other at the courthouse and discover that there is more to both of them than meets the eye. . .

Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters portrayed here, they remain the property of their respective owners/creators.

Rating: PG-13, for violence and general themes.

Time Frame: Mid-first season "Angel", a couple of weeks after "Expecting."

Archiving: Be my guest, but e-mail me (eilandesq@aol.com) to let me know. . .I like to know where stuff I write ends up and I might want to see what else you've got.

Author's Note: I kidded Victoria P. about doing this, and then decided, why not?

NOON RECESS


Lindsey sat in the third row of the courtroom, watching intently as the young attorney cross-examined the police officer. Occasionally, he would scribble a note on the legal pad he was holding: five pages of observations already trailed off of the front end of the pad. Lou Manners was the newest acquisition of Wolfram & Hart: he had graduated second in his class at Yale, and the brass had tapped Lindsey to see how the new blood would do in a courtroom setting. The defendant, who was the son of a major client, had plowed into a pedestrian with his new Jag, and Lindsey had orders to yank the rug out from under the whiz kid if he began to screw up. . .but there seemed to be little risk of that. Manners was quite capable at direct and cross-examination (though Lindsey had noted a few problems for further discussion later), and displayed a lack of ethical standards that might have appalled even Lindsey at one point. . .but he wanted to make partner someday, and this kid would make him some money.

Manners finished his cross-examination, and the D.A. declined to re-direct. Judge Evans dismissed the visibly sweating police officer, then addressed the courtroom: "It's time for the noon recess, everyone. . .and since it's Friday, and I have some other matters to attend to, we're recessed until Monday morning at 9." She banged her gavel and left the bench, and Manners walked over to Lindsey, who stood up, shook his hand and was about to begin discussing what he had observed when he glanced over at the back row of the courtroom and was surprised into blinking.

A tall, striking brunette was sitting there, quietly looking down at the notepad in front of her as she carefully wrote on it. Lindsey thought for a moment, then turned to his new protégé and apologized, "Lou, I've got some business to take care of here. . .can we do this back at the office. . .say, at three?"

Manners nodded, then departed without another word. The older attorney smiled, then walked slowly over to where the woman was sitting. He paused, then spoke quietly: "Miss Chase, I believe?"

She looked up and saw the man standing there, amusement visible in his blue eyes. Cordelia glanced at him for a moment then replied, "Well. . .Evil Lawyer Guy. . .don't you have some little old lady to evict from her home?"

Lindsey raised his eyebrow and replied, "From what I hear, that's your department." He was impressed with the brief flare of anger in the dark eyes, and decided to stay a moment. He gestured at her notepad and asked, "Decided to take up court watching as a hobby?"

Cordelia smiled coldly and replied, "My employer asked me to keep track of the cases you guys at Shaftem & Screwem are working on. . .Angel likes to know the names of the people whose dastardly plans he spends so much time foiling, you know."

Lindsey frowned: he knew she was lying, but he wasn't sure why she was. He grinned and commented, "So, you saw the debut of our newest associate. . .what did you think?" He anticipated a generic insult or a contemptuous dismissal of the question, and was startled at Cordelia's reply.

"His opening was shaky: you're lucky the D.A. didn't interrupt him half a dozen times for being argumentative. . .and you'd better talk to him about the hearsay rules. The D.A. asked for hearsay three different times during the cop's direct, and Wonder Boy didn't object to one of them." Cordelia's tone was matter-of-fact, and when she finished, she looked back down at her notepad, missing the momentary surprised expression on Lindsey's face. By the time she looked back up, his face was composed again, and Cordelia raised an eyebrow as she concluded snidely, "Or didn't you notice those little problems?"

Lindsey met her scornful gaze, and replied quietly, "He's testing his limits. . .if the D.A. had objected, he would have adjusted his opening. . .and those hearsay instances were minor. . .no use irritating the judge and jury over minor problems." He carefully failed to mention that, while he genuinely believed the problems were minor, each instance noted by Cordelia was carefully documented in his notes for discussion. . .even wonder boys have gaps in their education, and Lindsey wanted to make sure that the decisions had been made tactically rather than from ignorance. He smiled somewhat ruefully at Cordelia and commented, "I didn't know you were a Court TV junkie, Miss Chase."

Cordelia snorted and replied, "As if I would spend my time watching glorified public access cable. . .my grandfather was a prominent trial attorney in New York, and he told me a lot of things about what attorneys do, and how they work." Cordelia locked eyes with Lindsey and commented, "You see, Mr. McDonald, I know the difference between the proper practice of the law and the exploits of a bunch of sleazy bottom feeders."

Lindsey's eyes widened momentarily, and the line from "King Lear" came to his lips unbidden: "So young, and so untender?"

Cordelia smirked, and the sardonic tone with which she spoke did not match that of her namesake's reply: "So young, my lord, and true."

Lindsey smiled briefly and nodded, acknowledging the shot across his bow before commenting, "I should have expected that you would have known that one. . .after all, you are an actress." He noted her increased interest, and decided to shake her up a little. He sat across from her and began: "Cordelia Chase. . .no middle name. Born March 12, 1981 in Sunnydale, California, where you lived until graduating from Sunnydale High School in June of 1999. . .the last graduating class at that institution. Socially active there, including three years as a cheerleader. Graduated in the top ten percent of your class, and received acceptance letters from several prominent universities. . .but was unable to attend when your father suffered a major financial setback. . .Cordelia, even we don't screw with the IRS. . .that was unfortunate. Suffered a nearly fatal abdominal injury under circumstances that we were unable to discover, but which apparently resulted in your breaking up with your last boyfriend, one Alexander Harris. You moved to L.A. in August, and are currently pursuing a career as an actress in between your efforts to help the one and only ensouled vampire known to be in existence. There's a recent entry about a two day pregnancy inflicted on you by the forces of darkness, but I haven't had time to check that out yet. . .sounds unpleasant."

Cordelia had paled for a moment when Lindsey brought up her accident, but as he concluded, a predatory smile appeared on her face as she recited, "Lindsey Alan McDonald, born August 17, 1972 in Boca Raton, Florida. Grew up in poverty. . .became a scholarship student at the University of Florida, where you graduated near the top of your class. Your time at Hastings College of Law in San Francisco was funded by an "unknown benefactor". . .except that we both know that it was Wolfram & Hart. Law Review. . .student body president. . .quite a resume. You graduated second in your class in 1996 and promptly became an associate at Wolfram & Hart after the formality of passing the California Bar. . .since that time, over seventy complaints have been filed in the State Bar against you. . .most were dismissed or dropped under. . .suspicious. . .circumstances, and none of which have been reported in the mainstream media, which no doubt led to your nomination for 'Young California Lawyer of the Year'. . .better luck next time." She smirked at him and commented, "There are no secrets in the age of the Information Superhighway, Mr. McDonald. . .now, as the joke goes, do you want to screw around, or do you want to play golf?"

"I don't play golf." Lindsey commented, mentally making a note to update Cordelia's file. "It's not big with us. . .too much daylight." He was genuinely pleased that his comment drew a faint smile from Cordelia as she rose from her seat, and continued, "You're not leaving, are you? I was just beginning to enjoy this conversation."

Cordelia sighed and responded, "How nice that one of us was. . .but I have somewhere to be. . .good-bye." She went through the swinging doors, and Lindsey followed after a moment. Cordelia was about fifty feet away, and Lindsey had closed the distance to about fifteen feet when he heard a sound that froze him to the marrow.

A nondescript man in a grey suit had dropped to the ground, emitting a keening noise that suggested that his soul was slowly being burned to ashes. As Lindsey watched, the man's body swelled and burst like a bubble, releasing a nine-foot tall monstrosity. Its skin was red and warty, and huge fangs protruded from the massive mouth in an equally large skull. It looked around for a moment, then fixed its eyes on Cordelia, who was calmly watching the demon as she reached down into her purse.

In later days, Lindsey would be utterly unable to remember forming the intent to do what he did next: he ran up to the behemoth and delivered a powerful kick to its chest. Lindsey had trained extensively in the martial arts and knew something about making his blows count, and the force of the attack caused the creature to stagger. . .for a moment. Unfortunately, it recovered, and the creature lashed out with a long arm, sending the attorney hurtling into a wall and stunning him.

Lindsey shook his head, desperately trying to clear it. He could faintly hear everyone else running and screaming, clearing the corridor. . .and the creature was bearing down on him, apparently coming to finish him off. He struggled to get to his feet. . .then froze as he heard a voice. . .he was not alone with his killer.

"Uh, excuse me, Mr. Oh so Unattractive? Could you please not splatter the evil lawyer. . .they stain the marble. . .and I know that once a blood stain sets in marble it's a bitch to clean up. . .and could we get this over with?. . .I have a hair appointment at two."

* She's lost it * thought Lindsey as he made it to his feet and looked blearily at the scene. The massive demon stood only a few feet from him, but its attention was completely on Cordelia, who calmly stared at it as it moved towards her. When it got to within five feet of her, Cordelia pulled her hand out of her purse and threw the contents of a small vial in the demon's face.

Lindsey watched in shock as the demon fell to the ground and went into convulsions. Cordelia quickly pulled out a silver dagger and began reading an incantation from the note pad she had been holding in the courtroom. When she finished, she efficiently stabbed the demon in the chest just as it seemed to be recovering from whatever the liquid had done to it. The monster shrieked, causing echoes to reverberate through the halls of justice, then as Cordelia moved back to a safe distance, it burst wetly, spraying green ichor in a wide area, including a bit on Lindsey.

Lindsey stared blankly for a moment, then collapsed back against the wall, sliding to the ground. The world greyed out for a moment, and when he could see clearly again Cordelia was leaning over him. Her closeness was, to put it mildly, intoxicating: Lindsey was in sufficient proximity to appreciate the subtle scent that she had chosen to wear that day. He took a deep, if ragged, breath, as Cordelia pulled back and commented, "There. . .never let it be said that I sent you back to Evil Lawyer Central with Anarl demon guts all over you. . .are you all right?"

Lindsey was still not thinking clearly, and his reply was disjointed: "Anarl demon. . .how. . .what?"

Cordelia smirked and replied, "Oh, that. Well, you see, I had this vision last night." Lindsey flinched, and Cordelia nodded and commented, "Yeah. . .that little 'gift' of mine that your bosses decided was worth ripping my eyes out over. . .by the way, when you see that little bitch that they sent to bring them back to you, tell her that I'd love to return the favor some time." Lindsey shuddered, then listened as Cordelia continued, "Anyway, apparently this Anarl demon was set to cut loose in the courthouse. . .kill a whole lot of people in ways that I will not go into because they are just gross. . .it was too late to save the poor guy it was using as a host, but we could stop it from hurting anyone else. . .which is why I'm here."

Lindsey took several deep breaths, and looked at the spot where the demon had been: most of the body was gone, and the slime was rapidly disappearing. He turned to Cordelia and asked incredulously, "They sent you alone to face THAT! Why didn't your boss deal with it?"

Cordelia shrugged and replied, "The stuff I used to make it go all twitchy. . .the oh so pretentious Latin crap that I had to read before stabbing it. . .only works for a woman. . .kind of let Angel out; besides, it might have gone out into daylight. . .that would have been a problem." She smiled warmly, and Lindsey was feeling pleasantly surprised before realizing that she was not smiling at him but at someone she was looking at down the hallway as she concluded, "Besides. . .I'm not here alone."

Lindsey turned and saw a slender, dark-haired man of medium height who was watching Cordelia with ill-disguised concern. * Ah, yes. . .this would be the former Watcher. . .Wesley Wyndham-Pryce * Lindsey knew from the man's file that he was inept in hand to hand, but rumor had it that he was a crack shot, and the murderous look that he was getting from behind the wire-rimmed glasses made it clear to Lindsey that anyone who wished to harm Cordelia would have to go through the Englishman to do it. Lindsey gave an acknowledging nod to Wesley, then turned to Cordelia and stated simply, "Thanks for not letting me get killed."

Cordelia snorted and replied, "We all make mistakes," as she walked away from him towards Wesley. Lindsey was turning to go when Cordelia stopped abruptly and asked, "Hey. . .do you know why you tried to save me just now?"

Lindsey met the dark gaze of his rescuer and found that nothing less than the absolute truth would suffice. He sighed and responded, "No, I don't."

Cordelia blinked, and Lindsey saw the implacable hardness of her eyes soften subliminally as she suggested, "Might want to think about it, then." She turned and joined Wesley, and the two of them were soon out of sight.

Lindsey sighed, then turned to find himself face to face with his own mentor, Holland. The older man smiled tightly and explained, "I was coming to meet you for a progress report. . .and I saw what happened. That wasn't the brightest thing you've ever done, Lindsey."

Lindsey forced down the uneasiness he suddenly felt and managed to reply flippantly, "The impulses of youth, sir. . .I'll be over them soon enough."

Holland laughed, then replied, "I suppose so. . .besides, there's always the temptation to show off in front of a pretty face." He frowned and commented, "Too bad that's not all she is. . .it took a lot of nerve to stand up to that demon, even if she was prepared. We could use someone like that working for us. . .shame that working for Angel is probably going to lead to her untimely demise." Something nearly invisible flickered over Lindsey's face, but Holland noticed it and asked, "You don't have a problem with that, do you, son?"

Lindsey smiled slowly and replied, "A problem with something happening to a second-rate actress working for one of our enemies? Not likely, sir, not likely."

Holland smiled and commented, "I didn't think so. . .but we can't be too careful now, can we? The stakes are too high to let trivial personal feelings get in the way. . .all right, then. . .let's have lunch and you can tell me how our new arrival did."

Lindsey nodded, and the two lawyers headed for the main exit. As they walked down the courthouse steps, Lindsey caught sight of Cordelia and Wesley as they drove by in Angel's convertible, and framed in his memory the image of her sitting there, eyes hidden by wraparound sunglasses and hair gently tousled by the breeze, before sighing and returning to his world.



As always, comments are welcomed and desired