Summary: The Leverage team sends de-aged Eliot back to school, much to his annoyance. Post-"Sky's Gonna Open." Posted for zippy zany's birthday, since she has been asking for this fic for a very long time. Happy birthday, hun!

This chapter was originally supposed to be a one-shot, but I eventually decided that it would be best used as an intro to a larger fic. But here's the original summary: "A study of Erics, Eriks, and Ericks. Lindsey and the Leverage team have a discussion about the evilness of Erics (and Eriks and Ericks) and the correct spelling of names."

This is how this chapter came about: I was watching the episode where they have the Eric/k discussion and the "evil" bit stuck in my head. Like… "Would Lindsey know that? Yeah, he'd totally know about it…probably…maybe?" And so began this chapter that doesn't make any sense at all if you want to read it out loud, but (probably) makes sense if you only read it.

Also, because zippy said that she wanted this story for her birthday and I promised her the first chapter, this story is not finished. I'm about 8 chapters in out of who knows how many. Pretty please be patient. (So much for that 2012 New Year's resolution which was actually working for me up to a point…)

In the chronology of this verse, this takes place right around the vicinity of after "Bibliophile."

Title: From the song of the same name that Christian Kane sang on Fame L.A.

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School of Hard Knocks

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Evil 101

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"How do you spell that?"

Lindsey's hand pauses over the yellow legal pad, waiting for the correct spelling from Hardison. He glances up. "Is that Eric with a 'C' or 'K'?"

"What?" he asks when all he gets are horrified stares. "Seriously. What?"

"See? I told you!" crows Parker. "Eric with a 'C' is nice, Erik with a 'K' is evil. Lindsey would know. He used to be evil."

"Uh," he says, not knowing whether to be offended or not. She didn't mean to be offensive, he knows that, but being called evil by "family" is different from when it comes from an over-hair-gelled enemy (or you know, thinking it about oneself). Because while he did work for evil, being a screw in the colossal machinations of evil is different from actually being evil, isn't it?

And seriously. What? Evil Erik?

"Actually," he says slowly, "I just wanted to know because I'm taking notes." He taps his pen on his notepad. They stare. "I'm a little anal about spelling names correctly," he says defensively, "People always want to spell mine with an 'A'."

"Landsey?" Parker questions, trying it out. "La-La-La-Landsey. Laaandsey."

"Lindsay," Lindsey growls. "It's bad enough that people laugh when they hear my name. They don't need to spell it wrong into the bargain," he continues, getting into a rant about his pet peeve.

"Who cares?" Eliot says, crossing his arms. "The guy's name 'Eric'! Sounds the same as 'Erik.'"

"That's because you don't give a crap about whether people spell your name with a double 'L' or not!" Lindsey retorts.

Eliot (or Elliot [or Elliott, for that matter]) snorts. "Really? And here I was thinkin' it was because Mama gave me a boy's name," he says smugly.

Lindsey bristles.

"Oh no, he didn't," mutters Hardison.

"Oh yes, he did!" whisper-shouts Parker gleefully. She claps and bounces in her seat with a wide grin.

However, much to their disappointment, Lindsey isn't in the mood to argue with his brother. "How's the guy's name spelled?" he asks Hardison through gritted teeth.

Hardison, seeing that he isn't about to be treated to a show, resignedly opens his mouth to spell the name of the man in question, but is interrupted by Sophie's raised hand.

"What if he spells it with both?" she wants to know.


"E-R-I-C-K," she spells, "That's a kind of Eric. And does it apply to the feminine version of the name? Is Erika with a 'K' evil, too?" she asks, thinking of a certain character on a popular American soap opera for which, by the way, she had once auditioned.

Parker heaves an immense sigh. "Erick with a 'C-K' is evil when he doesn't care about being good. He can be good if he wants to be. Kinda like Landsey," she says, ignoring the narrowing of Lindsey's eyes ("Fake Eliot," he can deal with, but "Landsey"? There's only so much he's willing to put up with.). "That's the difference between Erik with a 'K' and Erick with a 'C-K'. And it's the same with girls," she adds on. "You guys seriously didn't know this?"

"Guys," the long-suffering Nate interrupts, "Can we move on with this?"

"But it's an interesting theory," Sophie protests. "I mean, I can definitely apply it to some people I've known."

"Mm-hm," agrees Hardison, "There was this guy from high school. Definitely evil. I see it now. Evil."

"What about you, Landsey?" Parker asks innocently.

"Lindsey!" explodes Lindsey. "It's 'Lindsey,' Parker. With an 'I'."

"Oh, for Pete's sake," groans Eliot, flopping back on the couch (before Parker can try out "Landsie"), "We get it! Everyone an' their mother knows how ta spell your name, Linny. L-I-N- " He breaks off with a strange expression and starts again.

"L-I...L-I-N-D-S-E-Y!" he finishes determinedly, his face red. Then he runs out of the room, Bandit following him out, dog tags jangling.

Parker purses her lips. "Ummm. That was bad, right?"

"Yeah," Hardison agrees grimly. "That was bad."

Nate sighs softly. "He's forgetting."

"Lindsey?" Sophie calls to the hitter, who's sitting next to her, numbly staring in the direction in which his brother has just fled. "Are you alright?"

He gathers his thoughts with a shake and stands up, "Yeah. Yeah, fine."

Then he heads out the door after Eliot, mouth set in a grim line.

"Is he mad?" asks Parker worriedly. "He's mad because Eliot messed up his name."

"He's not angry," Sophie assures the thief, "He's concerned. That's different."

Parker scrunches her nose. "How is that different? He yells both ways. They both do."

"Cain't argue with that logic," nods Hardison sagely from his corner. "They get kinda loud. Disrupts my zen, y'know? Gotta have my zen to keep the genius flowin'."

Parker agrees. "Yeah, and then Eliot starts hitting Landsey, and Landsey starts hitting Eliot. And then Bandit barks a lot."

Sophie huffs. "Alright. That's enough from the peanut gallery, thank you very much. Nate," she says, turning to the mastermind, "We've got to do something about- " she glances towards the door, and says softly, "about Eliot."

Nate steeples his fingers in front of him. "What do you mean, 'do something'?"

"You saw him," she hisses, "He's forgetting. Sooner or later, he'll be a complete- "

"Child?" Nate finishes. "Yes, probably. There's nothing we can do, if that's how the- " Here, he fishes for the word, still slightly unwilling to accept the very real existence of magic. "How the spell works. We'll adapt our plans as he...degenerates."

"'Degenerates,'" Sophie scoffs. "You say it as if it's a disease! He's not sick." She realizes what she has just said the moment she says it. "I-"

Nate's mouth hardens, "I'm well aware of that fact, Sophie." He studiously ignores the cautious edging away of Parker and Hardison out of the room and continues, "It's something we need to discuss with Lindsey."

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Special AN: Happy birthday, zippy! Hope this wasn't too cliffy!

Regular, boring, explain-y AN: Okay, okay, I admit it. It really bugs me when people spell Lindsey with an "A-Y" instead of "E-Y". And the same goes for "Elliot" and "Elliott." Like seriously. Look up how to spell the characters' names before posting the darn story, people! Typos, fine. That's once or twice. That's okay, but consistently spelling your "favorite" character's name wrong? Unacceptable. So Lindsey's pet peeve here is actually mine.

The soap opera character whom Sophie references is Erica Kane of All My Children. I just had to stick that in there because *giggles* Kane. Hehe.

Anon review replies – I keep forgetting! *sadness* Sorry and thank you!:

Drjones: (for "Coffee Break") Yes, exactly right. Something is going to happen, and the story is going to get action-y and dramatic-like really fast. *nods* (for "Hey Man Nice Shot") More? Umm…no? Because it's a one-shot! *snorts at pun* Thanks!

Kaitibell: ("Hey Man Nice Shot") Thank you! Glad you liked!

Kyla: ("Glasses") Sorry you snorted your coffee. I hope nothing short-circuited. ;D

Tempus Rose: ("Misunderstanding") Yes, Parker is like that…So am I, for that matter… ;D ("Terminal") Spot-on, actually. Yes, Eliot's pan was ruined, and he was very upset at all of them for that. But then again, they're his family, so he forgives them in the end, and he does go down fighting, just like he wanted. Thanks!