Fandom: Generation Kill.
Rating: PG-13 (language).
Disclaimer: based on fictionalised characters as seen on a tv show. All fiction.
A/N: an AU in which Brad is a cop and Nate is a lawyer. This is my brain on procedural dramas. All I know about American law enforcement I've learned from watching CSI.
The worst cases were the ones where they knew who did it, knew beyond the shadow of doubt, but their evidence was flimsy and circumstantial, their witnesses clammed up and refused to pick out the perp from the line-up, and the perp himself fucking lawyered up and didn’t breathe a word.
(Well, actually, the worst cases were the ones when they didn’t have any evidence at all and no reason to even arrest the fucker.
Or the ones that didn’t have any leads, when the parents of a killed teenage girl called every week, asking if Brad had something new, anything new.
Or the ones… well, you got the idea, probably.)
Valenti, predictably, demanded to see his scum of a lawyer and then refused to say anything more. Brad quelled the desire to use his fist to wipe the smug expression off his face and went to get himself some coffee, and once again breathe down Hasser’s neck about the DNA results.
“It’s a complex mix of different donors, Brad,” Hasser said again, his tone as weary as Brad felt.
“Meaning, we don’t have fuck,” Ray translated readily. “There’s the fingerprints, sure, but he could have left them any time, including the party two days ago. And by party, I mean orgy. This is a fun case, Brad.”
Not really. “Let me know if you have something,” he muttered.
“What, like the clap?” Ray asked, shaking his head.
The coffee machine seemed to be broken again, some kid contemplating it thoughtfully. “I think it’s me,” he told Brad mournfully, when Brad stopped for a moment in the general area of the machine. Most people didn’t take that as an invitation to converse with him. Kid was probably new. “Every time I’m here it breaks down.”
“Come here often?” Brad asked dryly, raising his eyebrow in a recognition of the clichedness of the line. Sarcasm would probably be lost on the kid. What were they teaching them today?
“When the strip joint down the street is closed up and my favorite Starbucks barista has a day off,” the kid said, shrugging slightly, his mouth tightening in a smile he was clearly holding back.
Nice mouth, Brad noticed absently.
“Nate Fick,” the kid said, extending his hand. Brad took it, nodding. The handshake was firm and dry, Fick’s green eyes fixed on Brad’s face. Not many people around here at the precinct would look anyone straight in the face, not with such an open gaze.
Call Brad a suspicious fucker, but he found that new and entertaining, in the not really funny way. “Colbert,” he offered.
“I see you subscribe to the belief that the law enforcement officers do not possess first names,” Fick said with bemusement, his hand falling to his side when Brad let go of it, after realizing he had drawn the handshake for a little too long. “I’m here to see Richard Valenti,” he added after a beat.
Well, Brad thought, scum wasn’t what it used to be. This was precisely why they couldn’t have nice things.
Worst thing was, he couldn’t even hate Nate fucking Fick properly. That was a new experience for Brad, who usually nurtured a healthy degree of contempt for pretty much everyone, only granting a modicum of approval for those who consistently proved themselves not to be dickwads.
Fick was worse than a dickwad, he was a lawyer, all Ivy League bullshit, Dartmouth and Harvard Law, working for Mattis and Ferrando, and if you believed the watercooler gossip, on his way to becoming the Fick in Mattis, Ferrando and Fick in a few good years.
Still, that very first case, right after Brad informed Fick that his scumbag of a client was waiting for him in the interrogation room, Fick went in there and told Valenti that he’d get him out of this, provided Valenti doesn’t say another word to him.
Brad was watching from behind the mirror, taking some satisfaction in the way Valenti’s smug smile slowly drained out of his face. He had heard the fucker’s opinion on the victim already, the proclamation that the whore probably got what she deserved, whoever dealt it, and he’d been itching to tell him to shut his piehole the fuck up, but that wasn’t how you got confessions, that was how you lost cases.
It wasn’t difficult for Fick to win that case, it was probably below his paygrade to deal with a cakewalk like this one, but Valenti was old money, and his Daddy went to prep school with Mattis, or whatever, so it was to be taken seriously. McGraw pushed too fast, took the case to court promptly for once – he never did that when they happened to have solid evidence.
Fick made McGraw look like an idiot in front of the jury. Granted, it wasn’t that difficult, McGraw had a real natural talent for moronic spiels and losing his shit, but Fick did that with sweetness and unstudied politeness, and even Hasser as their expert witness couldn’t sway the jury their way. Brad kind of wanted to stand up and applaud as Fick methodically destroyed every piece of good evidence they had, but mostly he just wanted to punch Fick.
But there was one thing Fick never did, a line of defense any other lawyer worth his salt and his Hugo Boss suit would have taken – he never mentioned Charlotte Barry’s wild lifestyle, never said a word about her parties and her sex life and her recreational drug use, never made her to be anything else than a young girl who didn’t deserve this.
Brad told Mr. and Mrs. Barry, who flew in from Buttfuck Montana just for the trial, that he was sorry, that they had done everything they could. They thanked him, still numb but polite and quiet, and it felt just like being sucker-punched.
“Congratulations,” he told Fick as he passed him on the way out.
Fick looked at him then, wide-eyed and tired, and he nodded in acknowledgment, the line of his mouth tightening.
Brad had been shot a few times in his life, and that felt remarkably similar, quick and surprising and almost knocking him right out.
“Here’s hoping I don’t have such luck next time,” Fick said, obviously trying for a light tone, but the look in his eyes belying it completely. “Maybe you’ll build up a better case, detective,” he added, and it sounded a lot as if he was really hoping for that.
“You’re a motherfucking piece of work, Fick,” Brad told him. In hindsight, it came out more like a compliment than it was intended.
Fick nodded. “Says so on my diploma,” he agreed. “And it’s Nate,” he added, after a beat, only a quick flicker of his eyes betraying the nervousness.
Yeah, Brad really hoped it wouldn’t be.
It was quite obvious what Fick’s endgame was, building his reputation and his winning streak so that one day he got his name on the firm’s letterhead not because of the prestige or the money, but because then he’d get to pick all his cases.
Provided he made it up the shit creek without a paddle, of course.
Brad realized this wasn’t a constructive use of his time and efforts, but watching Fick in court was a bit like a spectator sport, except no one else seemed to notice.
Well, maybe Person.
“I just don’t get this shit,” Ray said one night at the pub, shaking his head. Brad would normally point out that the number of things Ray didn’t get was vast and amazing, but at the time he was pleasantly warmed up by his fourth or fifth beer, so he didn’t say anything. “It’s like Fick is pulling some motherfucking magic matrix bullshit, and the jury has no idea what the fuck is going on, but they’ll follow him wherever he wishes to take them, like he’s some fucking Pied Piper or like he’s promising them a land of milk, honey and pussy. It’s ninja lawyering, homes, that’s what that is.”
Brad nodded at him magnanimously. “I’ll be happy to pass him a love note when I see him next time. You can meet behind the bleachers after class.”
Ray gave him a strange look, all too serious for Ray Person’s drunken rant hour. “Fuck you, Brad,” he said pleasantly. “All I mean is, we brought Walt. Walt can charm the control-top pants off every housewife and granny and whiskey-tango wild child Woodstock reject whose life is so uninteresting that they don’t find a way to get out of the jury duty.”
“You’re just jealous because you want to be the only one whose pants Walt’s interested in,” Brad told him.
“Fuck you, Brad,” Ray repeated, as some responses were just that classic. “And yeah, so?”
Brad didn’t answer, just shook his head and went back to nursing his beer as he half-listened to Kocher bitch about his latest case that seemed to consist of dead ends and nothing more.
His thoughts soon drifted, predictably, back to Fick, because apparently Brad was getting in touch with his inner idiot. It wasn’t completely out of the realm of possibility that all of his injuries over the years finally added to some brain damage and that was why Brad was finding himself idly fantasizing about Fick’s mouth more often than it was healthy for him.
But occasional masturbatory fantasies aside, he wasn’t riveted to Fick’s courtroom performance because of his pretty mouth and exquisite ass. What fascinated him the most was seeing Nate’s soul die a little every time he defended men he knew were guilty. It was a sick kind of motherfucking entertainment, but there you were.
Brad couldn’t believe no one seemed to see through it. The dawning suspicion in the interrogation room, when Fick could tell that his client was damn well guilty of something, the cold feeling in the courtroom when he was winning a case he’d rather lose.
It was the same feeling Brad got when all the evidence pointed to someone, and yet his gut was telling him they had the wrong person. Most of the time, you did your job and hoped that this time you were on the right side.
Because nothing really compared to the cases where Fick was certain his client was innocent, when all of his conviction showed in his eyes. Those times, Brad wondered why the hell did the DA even bother, and why it was taking the jury more than three seconds to decide. If he didn’t think he’d sound as fruity as Rudy’s entire Neutrogena collection, he’d say it was beautiful to see.
Fine, maybe he was well aboard the gay train now, but who fucking cared? (Except for Person, who never missed a mocking opportunity.)
“Ever thought of working for the good guys?” Brad asked Fick once, late night and an almost empty precinct, after Fick put his client in her car and told her driver to just keep her out of the bars for once. “I think the DA’s office might be hiring.”
Not that he had any vested interest in this. Just making conversation.
Fick looked at him strangely, biting his lip in concentration. “Burned all the bridges there,” he muttered, a trace of regret in his voice.
The watercooler gossip had reported the epic feud with Shwetje, it was just that no one really knew what it was about. Not that Brad expected any other answer, but he had to ask, he wasn’t a trained investigator for nothing; it amounted to being suspicious as fuck.
It could be the reason for his bet with himself, how long until Nate cracked, until the bad cases outweighed the good ones. He was a morbid fucker, this wasn’t even the worse bet he ever made, but what surprised him, was the intense need to be there for Nate once that happened.
He run into Nate on one slow Tuesday morning, in the only decent coffee shop in the area, one where the baristas stayed for more than two weeks and where no one gave him strange looks just because Brad wanted an actual coffee, not some pussy vanilla concoction.
“I have a case for you,” Brad said, sprawling over the chair across from Nate, who didn’t even look up from his crossword. Brad knew he lost a case this morning, one of Kocher’s, but it didn’t seem to bother him in the slightest.
“I don’t think you can afford my rates, detective.”
Brad smirked. “Maybe not for the night, but I’m pretty sure I could afford a blowjob. You people still call them consults?”
Nate laughed then, throwing his head back, and Brad tried to hold back a smug smile at that. “I still don’t think you could afford me,” he muttered, shaking his head before he grew serious. “Are you in some kind of trouble?”
There was some concern in his voice, beneath the casual tone. He sounded like he didn’t think it was likely, but he leaned in towards Brad, the crossword now forgotten, the folded paper sliding to the side and off his knee.
“I’m in deep shit with my lieutenant for owing him some paperwork, but that’s about it. No, it’s the case Poke has been working on.”
“You’d have to be more specific. Contrary to what you might think, not all the cases make my desk, and besides, Detective Espera is probably as much of a workaholic as you are.”
“Keeping tabs on me?” Brad asked, then went on, not waiting for an answer. “Veronica Herrera. Killed her stepfather, after he’s been abusing her for fifteen years. He switched to her younger sister and she snapped.”
Nate nodded a few times, his fingers absently tapping the armrest of his chair. “I’ve heard. Her own mother’s saying she made the whole thing up, that there was no rape or abuse at all.”
“Griego is working it from the persecution side,” Brad added.
“Fantastic.” Nate fell silent for a moment, reaching to pick up his newspaper and folding it once more, then placing it on the table, shifting the coffee cup out of its way. “I’ll take it.”
“I don’t think she can afford your high rates,” Brad pointed out, just because he apparently was a contrary bastard. He wasn’t sure Nate would take it, even though on some level Brad knew he would.
Nate gave him a long look. “Be that as it may, she’s not the one hiring me, you are. I’m sure we can work something out,” he added softly.
“I can’t afford you either.” Brad wasn’t quite sure why he was still running his mouth off, but maybe it was just to draw another smile out of Nate. He was well and truly fucked, wasn’t he? “I could probably buy you a coffee if you won.”
“I don’t think I’ve had a better offer in months,” Nate muttered, and the strangest thing, he seemed to mean it.
Brad wasn’t quite sure what to say to that.
“You did what?” Espera asked him, almost choking on his glazed donut. Brad had chosen his moment wisely, both for safety and the comical effect.
“Got Fick to represent Veronica Herrera. Are you spending too much time at the shooting range? They have those earplugs you can wear, so that you don’t go deaf.”
“You got Nathaniel fucking Fick to tear down every piece of evidence I’ve gathered during the last few weeks?” Poke asked slowly, shaking his head as he wiped the icing off his fingers.
“I believe I did. So, what do you say?”
Poke rolled his eyes. “Thank you, Brad,” he parroted.
“What are you thanking Brad for? He blew you?” Ray asked, coming in to toss a manila folder with results onto Brad’s desk. “Don’t need to thank him, he enjoys it.”
“Fuck off, Ray,” Brad told him cheerfully.
In the following week it turned out that Brad did a bit more than get Nate Fick to tear down weeks of Poke’s hard work. He also apparently managed to irreparably break Nate Fick so he was incapable of working for Dewey, Screwem and Howe anymore.
And he did that without even trying, so you could see how incredibly fantastic Brad Colbert was.
“You just don’t have middle gears, do you?” Brad muttered after stalking down to the courthouse and tracking down Nate. It was only his luck it was in the men’s bathroom, but you dealt with what you had.
Nate gave him a long look and only then bothered to zip up his pants. “Can I help you?” he asked politely, only the corner of his mouth twitching, indicating he was holding back a smile.
Brad rolled his eyes and leaned against the wall, his arms crossed. “I run into Mike Wynn this morning, and he tells me you signed up to help the helpless and the disenfranchised and other pussy liberal bullshit.”
Someone flushed the toilet and left the stall, giving them a strange look as he crossed the space to wash his hands in the sink. “Fick,” the guy muttered in acknowledgment.
“Stafford,” Nate nodded, biting his lower lip, looking as if he wanted to laugh as Stafford gave Brad one more suspicious glance and left. “What exactly is your problem with this situation, detective Colbert?” he asked slowly.
“I was thinking a pro bono case here and there, not for you to quit your job and probably starve to death soon.”
“Mike promised to buy me a sandwich every day,” Nate deadpanned at him, finishing to wash his hands and reaching for a paper towel. “And don’t worry, detective, it’s not all on your account. Working on Veronica’s case simply reminded me why I wanted to become a lawyer in the first place.”
Well, of course he did. Probably also wanted to fight imaginary dragons and find the cure for cancer. Brad really hated idealists, especially when he also wanted to push them against the wall and get his hand into their pants.
Nate was looking at him quizzically, his head tilted, and then, before Brad could blink or move, he was in Brad’s space, stealing Brad’s idea and pressing him against the wall, his mouth on Brad’s.
Brad instinctively relaxed into the kiss, his lips parting under Nate’s tongue. Nate made a sound deep in his throat, his hand fisting Brad’s shirt.
Moments later he was moving away, breathing harshly, and Brad followed into the touch, swaying one step forward. Nate reluctantly let go of his shirt, smiling widely, his tongue tracing his lips, red and puffy.
“What…” Brad started and never finished.
Nate shrugged. “I’m having an impulsive week,” he said, eyes shining as he looked at Brad, promise etched into his smile. “And you still owe me coffee,” he added, turning to leave.
Brad didn’t think he had much choice, he followed.