Summary: Michael Kuzak gets a call from his old mentor, Leland MacKensie. It seems there is a young woman in Sunnydale in need of legal counsel. . .Yes, dear reader, this is a BTVS/ L.A. Law crossover story.

Disclaimer: All series characters are the copyrighted property of their
owners/creators--I just had this weird idea while driving to a meeting.

Rating: PG-13, for occasional stakings, erotic references to gorilla suits, and a gratuitous mention of bull semen.

Time Frame: After GD2, during the summer (this is your spoiler warning, folks).




COUNSEL FOR THE SLAYER

Part I

Michael Kuzak sat at his desk, utterly relaxed. Business had been good for himself and Victor Sifuentes, his law partner. A jury had just come back with a multi-million dollar award in favor of his client, who had been injured badly when a defective window washing platform had failed, causing the hapless painter to fall five stories to the street. There would be an appeal, of course, but Kuzak was confident of winning. Another major case was coming up, but for the next few days, his load would be light. He checked the wall clock:

2:00. The Dodgers were playing the Diamondbacks at the Stadium at five--he could make a call or two, get some good tickets. Maybe Victor or Grace would feel like going. He was leafing through his Rolodex to find the ticket agent's number when the phone rang: he picked it up. "Kuzak."

"I'm not interrupting anything, am I Michael?" asked the familiar voice. Kuzak smiled and replied, "Not at all, Leland. How are you?" It had been two months since he had spoken to Leland MacKensie, his former mentor and partner. Leland had recently celebrated his seventy third birthday and was semi-retired, but he was still the biggest rainmaker at MacKensie Brackman, et al: he brought in clients through sheer reputation. Not that the old man couldn't still come through in the clutch. . .Kuzak had come up against him in a case two years before, when Leland was representing the defendant in a personal injury case. The facts strongly favored Kuzak's client, but the award in the end was far less than he expected--the old man had put on quite a show in closing argument. He listened to Leland as he brought Kuzak up to date on what had been going on at the firm, then commented, "It's good to hear from you, but I have a feeling that you haven't called me just to catch up."

Kuzak heard the older man sigh, then reply, "You still don't miss much, Michael. Okay, I need a favor."

Kuzak smiled, then asked, "What do you need?"

"I have a client who has asked me to assist a friend of his who recently lost her counsel of record in a case coming to trial tomorrow," MacKensie replied, his voice calm. "The city attorney is trying to get a public nuisance injunction against her; apparently, there is a lot of evidence against her."

Kuzak frowned, then asked, "An injunction? Can't she just cease and desist whatever she's doing to annoy the city?"

Kuzak heard a chuckle at the other end of the line, before MacKensie replied, "I'm reliably informed that that would not be a good thing, either for the young woman or for her. . .dependents. Can you take the case, Michael?"

Kuzak thought for a moment, then commented, "I'm not terribly busy right now, " thinking as he did that Leland probably knew that before even calling him, "and you've got me wondering what kind of mess this client has gotten herself into. Okay. . .give me the information. . .all right. . .the usual rate. . .fine. . .I can get there in a few hours. No problem, Leland. Bye." He put the receiver down and packed his briefcase, the Dodger game forgotten as the siren call of a new case engaged his thoughts.

Leland MacKensie sat at his desk for a moment without moving, a smile on his face, before picking up the phone and punching in a number. After a moment he spoke: "Hello, this is MacKensie. I've found counsel for your friend. . .yes, he's among the best--I'd trust him with my life. He'll be there by late afternoon." He listened for a moment, then continued, "No, this one is on me. . .I owe you one, and we both know it. . .It's good to have you back in town. ..why don't you come over for drinks next Friday, let me know what you've been up to?. . .great. Okay, I've got a meeting in five minutes. Take care." He replaced the receiver, smiled again, then quickly began signing the pile of
documents on his desk. Funny, semi-retirement still felt like work to him.

-----

Kuzak was a city boy from way back--the idea of being removed from the conveniences of the metropolis that was Los Angeles had never appealed to him. Still, the small-town atmosphere, when taken in small doses, was relaxing, if nothing else. * Sunnydale *, he thought as he drove down one of the larger streets, * now where have I heard that name before? * He turned down another street and gasped. What had obviously been the local high school was a burned out shell that work crews were busily pulling to pieces. * I remember now! Sunnydale High School went up like a nuke on their graduation day. . .something about snakes and sewer gas. * Kuzak shook his head in amusement * Leland, you sure can pick them. *

He found the correct address without trouble: it was a comfortable looking two story house with a large tree in front. As he approached the front door, he was mildly surprised to notice that various parts of the house did not seem to match the others--it was as if various parts of the house had been demolished, only to be repaired. He shrugged and rang the bell.

An attractive woman answered the door and asked, "Yes, may I help you?" Kuzak offered his card, and explained "I'm here to see Buffy Summers, ma'am." The woman smiled and replied, "Ah yes, she's expecting you, Mr. Kuzak. I'm Buffy's mother, Joyce." She offered her hand and Kuzak shook it, giving her the once over. She seemed to be about Grace's age, though not as thin. Kuzak found himself wondering what she thought about gorilla suits, then dismissed the thought as Joyce called upstairs, "Buffy!"

There was the sound of feet coming down the stairs, and Kuzak's client appeared in the living room. She appeared to be about eighteen, and looked as if she had just stepped out of a cheerleaders' locker room, or perhaps a Rose Parade float. "Nice to meet you," she greeted him politely, leading him into the kitchen, where she offered him a seat and some water, both of which he accepted. Buffy sat down and looked intently at him. "So, " she asked, "do you know what this case is all about?"

"I have the case file," replied Kuzak: Leland had faxed it to him before he left. "Quite honestly, Miss Su- , may I call you Buffy?" She nodded, and he continued, "Buffy, I'm not sure why you're fighting this. Given this list of incidents, the city or some of the involved people could have come after you for damages. All an injunction will do is prevent you from doing things of the same nature in the future. Is there something more here than meets the eye?"

The young woman looked uncomfortable: Kuzak could see her shifting in her seat. After a moment, she met his mildly puzzled gaze and replied, "I know this has to seem strange to you--may I call you Michael?" He nodded and she continued, "It may seem strange to you, Michael, but I have to do these things; in fact, it is urgent that I continue to do so." She looked still more uncomfortable, then she whispered, "If I told you why, you'd probably laugh, or think I was crazy!" Kuzak assumed his most reassuring smile, looked around the room to make sure they were alone, then replied, "Buffy, I'm here to represent you. As your attorney, anything you say to me is absolutely protected by privilege and my ethical duty to protect client secrets." He leaned towards her, realizing that trust probably did not come easily to this young woman. "I've been a practicing attorney for over twenty years, Buffy. I've seen all kinds of things: good, bad, ridiculous, sublime. I sincerely doubt that there is anything that you could say to shock me, or to make me laugh at you." * Unless it involves bull semen *, he thought, remembering Grace's account of her case involving that esoteric substance and the five minutes before either of them could speak again due to their hysterics.

Buffy looked at Kuzak for another moment, then seemed to come to a decision. "Okay, I guess I'll have to trust you--I hope I don't regret it." Her face grew grim for a moment, then she spoke in a soft and clear tone: "The reason that I do these things, Michael, is that it is my sacred duty to do so. My job is to hunt the demons, the vampires, the things that go bump in the night. I am the Slayer."

to be continued. . .

All right, if you have any comments, praise, or references to a good mental health program, feel free to send them along.