Some people crave the forbidden fruits of the world. Some people want nothing more than to break out of society's mold for them. Some people crave freedom. But what was freedom exactly? To Remus Sedgley, it was nothing more than a delusion that the weak minded or the weak willed used to pacify themselves. Freedom, to most, was nothing like what he knew.
In order to have freedom, one must first have been in captivity. It wasn't about society's standards. Freedom was something that was earned, not inherited or expected. When you are truly a captive, that's when you learn exactly what price you would pay for freedom. Remy had long since learned exactly what he would do, what he had done.
When he was just six years old, he learned exactly what he would pay for his freedom. Memories of fire, ash, burning, and screaming danced behind his eyes for a moment. On the bad days, flashbacks ruled his life. On the other ones, however, he was a perfectly reasonable, sometimes on certain topics, member of society. At twenty- six years old, he worked in a law firm called Whitcomb & Mendell with a focus on criminal defense. He may have been new, but he was already gaining a name for himself. In six months, he had already won four cases. Sure, he had lost one, but a very bad man, Marco Rodriguez, was now locked away from society, so he was alright with it.
Around the firm, he was already starting to gain the reputation of an anti- social bastard who was picky, but won. Most of his coworkers didn't like him, but he didn't care. He was there to make money and win cases, not to make friends and win social points. He was more than alright with that, as it helped keep more annoying people from bothering him when he was in a mood. Most importantly, it kept people from asking questions that he knew he couldn't answer.
If anyone had ever bothered looking into his past, they would have seen several questionable things. Most of them would wonder why he was there in the first place. They may also be able to figure out why he was so distant and anti-social. But, it would also make them ask the same series of questions that everyone always asked.
What happened? Was he really a victim? Why did he want to help people who had hurt others like himself? Why, why, why.
No one at work knew what he had done, not because he was ashamed of it, but because it was no one else's business. He had certain details from his past that he had kept quiet about for two decades. He wasn't about to let anyone else see his weakness.
It was bad enough that his family knew what they did, as little as it was. To them, for two decades, he had been nothing more than a victim. Remy stole his father's car at fifteen, got pulled over by a cop, and let go because he obviously didn't know what he was doing. They tried to treat him as a child, a disabled victim, but he wasn't.
He knew what had happened to him was bad, he didn't make excuses for that man. He didn't think that he was anything other than wounded as a child. But wounds heal, and the less people who knew about his past, the less people that could pick at his scabs.
The biggest thing that always was thrown in his face when he was around those who knew, was why he wanted to have this job in the first place. After all, he had burned down the house of the man that had captured, abused, and left him more dead than alive. Why would he want to help free possible criminals? Why would he subject himself to seeing and talking to horrible, psychotic people?
Well, the answer wasn't easy, per say. It was partly because he was just as guilty as the men he had freed. Besides, jail or no jail, bad people would always find a way to hurt other people. They would always advantage of every person they could.
Remy mentally snorted into his folders, ignoring the strange looks that his coworkers sent him. His eyes scanned the paper as his brain wondered. There were no good people or bad people. They were all simply people. People that made stupid decisions sometimes, admittedly, but stupidity wasn't always a crime.
If every time someone made a bad decision, they were arrested, there would be no one left to try, arrest, judge, or defend anyone. The trick was to know the difference between a stupid person, and stupid decisions. Was humiliation enough of a deterrent to keep his clients from recommitting their alleged crimes?
Usually, yes. Most of them, at least, were humiliated by the arrests and trials, and most didn't hurt anyone physically. That was what made him effective. Remy was their judge, jury, and executioner. If he heard their story, and decided that they wouldn't reoffend, he would fight tooth and nail to win.
Well, he tried, obviously, but in the case of his only conviction, the man was not only guilty, but likely to get more violent sooner or later. Funny enough, he had been right. Within a month of the conviction, the man, Marco Rodriguez, had put a guy in the hospital. The guy had died on the table.
No, Remus didn't regret losing that case. It was for the best. And, he still got paid. A lot. Yes, he rather liked money, he thought with a smirk. He was a bit obsessive with it, but it was in his blood. His father had made his business from the ground up, and while he currently didn't use even a dollar of his father's money, he had learned to be shrewd with it. It was best to save it, and continue to do so, because one day, it might not be there anymore.
His newest case was going to be fairly straight forward. He got to choose out of four cases, one alleged rape, false obviously because the guy accused wasn't even in the state at the time of the crime, one vandalism, a 16 year old that probably did do it, a robbery that was already lost as the victim not only saw the criminals face, but he was caught on camera, and an alleged murderer. The first and last were the most interesting to him.
Robberies were only interesting if they were something he could debate. Sure, he could probably argue that the witness was a drunk, and the camera's didn't show any kind of weapon, but he didn't really feel like it. The other case with the kid, well, it would be a good lesson for the boy to learn. Either don't break the law, or don't get caught with the spray paint in your backpack when the police just so happened to make stops by the building often. Really, the kid deserved the telling off that the judge would probably give him.
No, he had a different set of interests. Why would the case not have been dropped against the rapist when it was proven that he wasn't anywhere near the victim? Why had the police believed the so called rape victim when she obviously had a grudge against her ex boyfriend, Trace Miller, seeing as they apparently had been dating, but had a bad break up.
And, more interestingly, the murder was something that was gruesome, and scary, with a total of six dead, thus why Remy wasn't exactly sure if the man had actually committed the crime or if the prosecution was simply looking for a scapegoat and Casey Campton was it.
He nodded to himself. Remy was going to try and take both of them. It was more than he had ever tried to do, but if there was one thing Remy was good at, it was compartmentalizing. He would assign himself hours for each case, making sure both got the best of his time. If his bosses would let him, he would happily spend the next month or so learning the cases and trying to succeed in figuring out exactly what made Casey Campton and Trace Miller such good targets for whoever was trying to pin this on them.
He stood easily, slipping his suit jacket back on once he was up, and pushed his chair back under his desk. Once that was done, he buttoned the bottom two on his pure black suit jacket, and straightened his tie. Remy grabbed the two folders off his desk that had caught his attention, and headed towards the main office of Samuel Whitcomb, the one he worked under. Whitcomb had scouted him personally in college, and he had worked in the office as an intern before his final year with a promise of a job as soon as he graduated.
The man was older, almost sixty if he remembered right, with a full head of short white hair, and a determined set of steely blue eyes. He was very similar to the older man, in personality anyway. Whitcomb was more likely to tear into his opponents and destroy their arguments with a few, specific, pointed facts than to lose. Whitcomb never lost. Where his partner, James Mendell was the more soft spoken of the two and preferred to subtly destroy his opponents, Whitcomb would latch onto a stupid point and tear the cases open. The two had opened the firm almost thirty years previous, and had a reputation of only taking the best of the best.
It was a small firm, with only twelve workers and two new interns, but they were all effective and deadly when challenged. He knocked on the glass door, and waited for Whitcomb to call for him to enter.
The moment he did, the older man's eyes lit up. "Ah, Mr. Sedgley, good timing. My partner and I were just betting which case you would be most interested in. Care to win a bet for an old man?"
Remy gave the other man a slightly annoyed look. "I'm sure you are correct in your choice, Mr. Whitcomb, as always."
"The Campton and Miller cases, I'm assuming?" Whitcomb laughed. "I knew you wouldn't be able to resist asking for a heavier load. I did the same thing when I started off. Seeing as you just wrapped up the Rodriguez case, I'm guessing you want something more interesting this time?"
Remy tilted his head slightly, his golden brown hair slipping into his face as he did so. He mentally made a note to get his bangs trimmed, as they were getting to the point where they were more likely to stab him in the eye than anything else. His eyes were a vibrant green, identical to his grandmothers, and yet, instead of seeming calming, like hers were, his were more likely to scare someone. If the eyes were a window to his soul, then his soul was very dark, very tired, and very much ready for something to focus on.
"I would like to take the lead on both cases. I understand I don't have a lot of experience, and if you decide that I need a partner for either or both of the cases to keep an eye on my progress, I understand. I would really appreciate the chance to prove myself useful to you, and to this firm." He started calmly, "I want to start taking on more of a load. I know that most of the people you have working here take on five to seven cases at a time, and I would like the chance to prove that I can manage the workload as well."
And he could. Both cases were interesting, and he couldn't wait to talk to either of the people involved with them already. He was curious as to whether either man was actually innocent, and why, if they were, the police had arrested them as the people responsible.
"You know," Whitcomb started, folding his hands under his chin and meeting Remy's green eyes with his steely grey, "Jamie and I have a bit of a rivalry going on right now. He has an intern, and I have one. He got a new hire, and so did I. I admire your will to jump into this firm and this job, but you need to understand something. We expect each and every case to be handled by the best person for the job. Most vandalisms go to Zachary Martins, most gang related cases go to Lauren Summit, and so on and so forth. We don't usually handle violent crimes like the Campton case. It's very difficult to be able to fight your hardest for someone you know is guilty, and still somehow, try and prove that they aren't. It takes a certain kind of person to be able to look at a jury in the end of a case, and say that you believe without a shadow of a doubt that the person you are defending is innocent, while you can't help but wonder who they are going to kill next and if, somehow, it's your fault. Mister Sedgley, this isn't a business for the faint of heart." The older man paused for a moment, glancing at the picture of his grandchild, twelve year old Stephanie, if he remembered right, who currently thought her grandfather was the most awesome person ever, and wanted to go into law like he did.
Remy had met the girl before, all golden locks and steely eyes. He was impressed that someone so young could be so dedicated to already wanting a career like her grandfather. He wondered if some of the man's age was brought on by the stresses of the job, and the other part caused by worry. Remy knew exactly how dangerous this job could be. He remembered lecture after lecture of horror stories told to his classmates about a criminal getting off, and killing their lawyer because they didn't want anyone to know what they had told their defenders.
"Sometimes," He started again, "our job requires us to go against our morals, and fight for the bad people of the world. Sometimes, we have to go home to our families and know that if something happens to them because we failed to get someone free, or worse, because we did manage to get a guilty man free, it isn't our fault. I know you don't have a family right now, and I know that you just want to be able to find a challenge in life, but you should know that if you do well with these cases, we may very well assign them to you more often than not, which means, you are going to have to spend the rest of your career looking over your shoulder, not only for your ex clients, but for their victims, should they or their families seek revenge."
Remy glanced away. "I understand sir." He did, more so than the man would ever truly know. He knew what it was like to want revenge, hell, he had killed a man to get free at only six years of age. He remembered the white hot anger at the elderly mother of the man who had tortured him for months. He remembered wanting nothing more than to make her hear the screams of her son, his tormenter, as he burned to death.
He knew and fully understood what he was getting himself into, even if the man didn't believe it.
Whitcomb shook his head, and laughed darkly, "No, you don't, yet. But you will, I don't doubt that this job will take almost everything you care about, and somehow, someway, I have a feeling you might manage to take it all back."
He blinked, unsure how to take the complement. "So, may I take the cases?" He brought the conversation back to the original topic, rather unsteady, honestly, and not so subtly, but he managed it. The last thing he wanted was someone, especially his boss, to realize who he had been and what he had done.
Whitcomb bit his lip, and glanced away, clearly debating something in his head. "Very well," His boss said slowly, "But, I have a third assignment for you as well. One that's more low key. I'll brief you on it after you go and introduce yourself to your clients tomorrow. Your appointment with Campton is at ten, and your appointment with Miller is set for four- thirty. Go home, now, and get some sleep."
That was a bit of a surprise. That meant that Whitcomb had already given him the cases, he just had to ask. He had never heard of his boss making appointments for anyone before. "I'll be there." He managed to say, tilting his head slightly in thanks. "Was there anything else, sir?"
"Indeed, there was one other matter, one that I am sure you will find out soon enough without this old man's interference. However, I am sticking my nose in places it doesn't belong, and well, a woman claiming to be your ex is waiting for you in the cafeteria." Whitcomb told him, glancing away uncomfortably, "It doesn't appear that she is doing very well, if I may be so bold to say. You have beautiful children, by the way."
Remy froze, eyes wide. "I don't-" He stuttered slightly, before catching himself with narrow eyes. He had broken up with his last girl friend almost a year and a half ago, and hadn't exactly had time to be sleeping around. He forced himself to stand up. "I do not have any children yet, sir, but I will take care of this. I apologize if she has caused any problems." And he did, he really did. If it was who he thought it was, he knew that he was in for a headache, if nothing else.
He ducked out of the room, thanking the man again for the chance to prove himself, before forcing his shoulders back, and narrowing his eyes while he went looking for whoever had come for him.
This, he knew, was going to be more of a headache than it was worth. She always had been.