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04 February 2011 @ 04:22 pm
[leverage fic] it's a cold, cold place in the arms of a thief, r  
it's a cold, cold place in the arms of a thief
- leverage
- sophie, nate/sophie
- 2400
- r
- thanks to tenacious_err for the read-through!
- title and lyrics from arms of a thief by iron & wine.
- for cartography. because you can only have one bffdoppledotganger. ♥


She keeps walking, picking up her pace. His footsteps echo behind her, matching her speed.

"Sophie, wait!"

It's too cold for this, too wet. The sky is grey and the building is grey and her suit is grey and she did it because she had to; it wasn't a matter of choice. If there had been another way - "…away for life. All of them, one by one." - she would have taken it, but by the grip on her arm and the desperation in his eyes, she knows he thinks that's a lie.


i. weight

Two shadows on a king-sized bed.

One is long and languid, and reaches from the head to the foot. It is covered in blankets and hums softly with sleep. The other is lithe, broken, hunched over the side; a crumpled shape that smears the moonlight with its envy.

He is beautiful like this, she admits - jaw slack, eyes closed, cheek turned into the pillow. His hand stretches out in the space between them, reaching for something he can't have; something she'll never allow him.

It's a pity, she thinks, for something so precious to become a casualty.

With a breathless sigh, she rises; her shadow unfolds; the bedding shifts with the loss of her weight; he mummers in his sleep.

Silently (unnecessarilyy--he'll be out for hours--white powder in his drink, laughter, kisses, hands, hands, hands--) she finds her dress in the dark and tugs it over her head. She slips easily through the apartment, finding her way by memory and touch. The files are where he left them, along with the money. The numbers on her cell phone glow harshly, and the voice on the other end is amused. He gives her instructions; she abides.

She will leave before dawn, and tomorrow, she will act her part.


ii. word

Her accent is flawless. Just the right tough of hesitation, of tripping over her tongue that it sounds so natural - excuse me, excuse me, how you say…?; so unlike a disguise.

She blends and shifts and shapes into whoever he tells her to be, this week, that week, next week. Sophie, we need a manager. Sophie, we need a doctor. Sophie, we need a dancer; a gambler; a banker; a lover; a lawyer; a diplomat; a paparazzi; Sophie, we need we need we need (but never, Sophie, I need…and his voice trailing off against her shoulder).

She twines her words around them gently, luring them in like the bright lights of the harbor. Three floors above, Hardison and Parker will be breaking a code. Three floors below, Nate will be dressed in a brightly colored suit, stalling for time. In the center, she will hold the masterpiece together by lapsing into German at inopportune moments.


"What do you want me to say, Nate?"

His fingers curl around her arm; his eyes are pleading. "Tell me you didn't do it."

Sophie shakes her head. "Nate," she sighs.

"Tell me you didn't do it."

To the floor: "I can't."


iii. luck

He takes the hood off, and the lights are too bright. He chuckles, and the sound is too loud. Her skin's on fire and her neck aches and there's a tinkering of metal as her wrists try to escape the chair.

"Now, now," he says. "That'll only make it worse."

The room is dark and his teeth are white and she knows what he wants, but it's not hers to give. Line 'em up, knock 'em down, she thinks, and in her head, Hardison drones on about the law of averages.


iv. name


She rolls her eyes. "No."


A shake of her head; her hair moves over his arm.


"Nate," she huffs, a smile in her tone. She rolls over and looks up at him. "Does it really matter?"

He shrugs one shoulder as his fingers play along her arm, writing out lines of music. "I'm curious."

Her hand rests lightly on his chest. "Why?"

"Gives me a better picture."

She frowns in question, but Nate doesn't answer. Arching up, she kisses him gently, opening her mouth when his fingers tangle in her hair and he presses forward, pushing her back into the pillows. Her arms wind around his neck as he kisses a trail down her throat. With lips pressed against her collarbone: "Debbie?"

"Nate," she moans, exasperated and yet distracted.

"Is it something embarrassing?" he murmurs, slipping a hand between her legs. "Are you named after a fruit?"

She almost laughs, but it dissolves into a moan.

"Hmm, maybe a flower?" he muses. His hands reach out, gathering her wrists and pinning them gently above her head as he kisses between her breasts. "Poppy." Kiss. "Rose." Kiss. "Chrysanthemum."

She raises her head slightly and looks at him. "Chrysanthemum?"

Resting his chin on her breast bone, he stares up at her and shrugs. "Good a guess as any."

Slipping out of his hold, she brushes her knuckles against his cheek.

"I'd tell you if I could," she murmurs, and somehow it means more than an answer.


"Why?" he says. "Why did you--"

"I had to." The words sound hallow, even to her. He releases her arm, and somehow the loss of his touch hurts more than his grip.

Resigned: "I though we were a team."

She knows instinctively which words will hurt him most, but even now, can't bear to let them fall.

"We were," she returns softly.

Despite all her training, the past tense cracks under her tongue.


v. breeze

She plays both sides. Her performance is flawless, and no one suspects. Hardison can't believe the money just slipped through his fingers; Parker blames herself - "If I'd gotten the lock open faster…" - and Eliot doesn't say a word, just grabs his coat and leaves the office and it's quiet for thirty seconds before they hear him put his fist through the wall.

Nate looks bewildered, standing in a sea of lost thought processes and ruminations, staring blankly at the wall of screens wondering where he went wrong. "A father's death unavenged, a paralyzed boy in foster care…a hundred million dollars just gone." He turns to her, after the others have left and the lights outside have dimmed. He turns to her when it's too quiet and too still and the bar downstairs looks too appealing. He turns to her when there's no one else; she always turns to him first.

"What happened?" he asks.

She steps beside him, shoulders brushing. "We lost," she says simply.

Nate shakes his head, but his hand finds hers and he holds on, like the defeat might blow him away.


vi. love

"I can't do this anymore, Nate."

He frowns, head still foggy with sleep. She's been awake for hours, staring at the shadows on his face.

Groggily: "Soph?"

"I can't."

Nate frowns and sits up and reaches for her, then stops. "What are you talking about?"

"That, Nate." She gestures to his hand, tangled in the sheets. "That's what I'm talking about. You don't trust me."

"Of course I do." It sounds too much like a question. She slips out of the bed and fumbles for her clothes in the dark. "Sophie, it's three in the morning, what are you--"

"You're oblivious, Nate," she says, talking fast to keep her throat from closing and her voice from cracking and her hands from shaking as she pulls a sweater on over her head. "You're always so wrapped up in these…schemes and plots that you don't ever see the big picture."

"Which is?"

She huffs in annoyance and grabs her shoes. Nate throws back the covers and hurries after her.

"I'm serious, Sophie, I'm not - I'm not being…" He waves his hand in front of his face. She hesitates, knowing she should leave and praying he begs her to stay. Something must show on her face, because his eyes grow serious and his voice softens. "What's going on?"

She drops her arms to her sides. "What is this to you, Nate? A relationship? Sex?"

"No, it's it's --"

The silence aches.

"It's what, Nate? If you can't even say it, then…"

"Don't -- don't twist words, just tell me-"

"That's who I am, Nate. That's what I do." She runs a hand through her hair tiredly. "You don't find it the least bit amusing that I'm the world's best actress, and yet the one time I stop pretending--"


"That's not my name."

"Then tell me what it is."

She shakes her head. "I can't. Not until I'm sure."

"Sure of what?"

"That you're ready to hear it." Swallowing tightly, she knows she's given herself away. "I'm sorry," she says, backing through the apartment. "I'm sorry."

She makes it down the hall, into the elevator and out into the cold night before his voice calls her name and his hand grabs her arm and the devastation on his face breaks her heart.


"You gave them the money, the files, our aliases--"

Indignant: "In case you've forgotten, I was tied to a chair at the time."

"You gave it to them after the fact. Because of that con we've had to lay low for months and you-- you--" He stutters in anger. "You thought you could just walk away?"

"I walked before you could send me away! That's all you do, Nate -- you push and you push until it breaks and I'm tired of being broken."

In her face, his breath hot against her skin. "This is not about us! This is about the team, this is about Parker and Hardison and Eliot--"


"You used them!" he shouts; his voice echos.

"I was protecting--"

"You weren't protecting anyone but yourself!"

She steps back, his words hot like a brand. Her voice wavers. "If that's what you really think of me…"

His shoulders slump. He sighs. "I don't know what to think anymore."

Her throat tightens. She nods, and without a word or another backwards glance, walks away.


vii. and holding everything
he made her steal she said
"leave me alone but just
don't leave me here, alright?"

"So there's uh, there's this guy," he starts.


"No, no, Sophie just… just let me..."

She stands in the doorway, arms crossed, waiting. Nate hesitates, hand outstretched to catch the door if she tries to close it. "There's this guy. And he's got uh, a really nice car. Red. Jaguar. His pride and joy. One day he's out for a ride, and uh, he's just, you know… flooring it down the highway. Ninety… a hundred, a hundred and twenty miles an hour."

"Nate, I really don't have time--"

"So he's speeding, right? And he passes these hitchhikers on the side of the road -- zooms right by them. Except, something - something hits his car. So he, you know, he slams on his breaks, gets out of the car, and there's a - a- dent, like someone threw a brick or something. And he looks over, and one of the hitchhikers is coming towards him, and the guy - the guy's just furious. He starts yelling at the kid, 'Hey! You fucked up my car!' and the hitchhiker - he's a teenager, he apologizes; says, 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry I didn't have a choice -- my sister is hurt, she needs a doctor right away.' And the guy looks over - and the other-- the girl, she's all messed up and stuff. Needs help. The boy is begging for help, and the guy, he's just stunned. He manages to get them into the car and to a hospital nearby, and the girl's alright and everything. And he leaves the dent in his car."

Sophie sighs and shakes her head. "What are you saying?"

Nate almost cracks a smile. "I was going too fast. I wasn't paying attention and you…" He shakes his head. "It didn't make sense. It never made sense, but I didn't want to see it."


"I did a little digging." Reaching into his pocket, he pulls out a small recorder and hits play.

'…Parker, Alec Hardison, Eliot Spencer, Nathan Ford… There all here, Miss Devereaux. Names, dates, crimes. Unless you give me what I want, I'll put them away for life. All of them, one by one. Starting with Fo--'

He clicks the tape off.

Nate stares at her and she stares at the floor and tries not to sag in relief at the exasperated affection in his tone. "You should have just told me."

She shakes her head and meets his gaze. "You would have tried to con your way out of it."

"Isn't that what we're good at?"

Involuntary admission: "It was a chance I couldn't take. Not this time."

"Sophie," he murmurs. His index finger crooks under her chin and he moves just that much closer, into her doorway, into her apartment, back into her life with only a few words, with only a name that isn't really hers lingering in the air between them.


He closes his eyes and drops his forehead to hers, noses brushing; his palm cups her jaw and his other hand finds hers, tangling their fingers together.

"I'm sorry," he says softly. "That you had to throw a brick to get my attention."

She almost laughs. "Not so much a brick as the whole--"

He kisses her suddenly, silencing her words and her thoughts and she can't help but wrap her arms around his neck and pull him closer, back to her. Nate walks them forward slightly, his hands on her hips and his mouth over hers; he kicks the door closed behind them and she smirks, the display slightly marred by her heavy breathing and the relief in her eyes. "Pretty sure of yourself, are you?"

Nate smiles - "No, not really." - and it's honest enough to make her breathing stall for an entirely different reason. Reaching up, she gently brushes her fingers through his hair; her other hand resting on his chest, the thrum of his heartbeat comforting and strong.

"it's a cold place in the arms of a thief, Nate."

One more chance. She barely breathes.

"That's okay," he murmurs. "I'll keep you warm."
Halima: ♣ nate hasn't earned it yetcartography on February 4th, 2011 09:25 pm (UTC)
Halima: ♣ is sophie a princess?cartography on February 4th, 2011 11:20 pm (UTC)
........... YEAH. THERE WILL BE NO COHERENCY. EVERRRR. This is just... And you... I... And then... UH HUH.

OKAY, so at first I looked at your tags and was all "yaaaay, happy ending!" and then there was aaaaaangst, and it was perfect.

Despite all her training, the past tense cracks under her tongue.
THIS MAY BE MY FAVOURITE. You know, of all the favourite lines in this. WHICH ARE ALL.

She steps beside him, shoulders brushing. "We lost," she says simply.
Nate shakes his head, but his hand finds hers and he holds on, like the defeat might blow him away.


Okay, so I really wish I could be coherent about this. And maybe some day, I will be. But for now?

How can you write them so well without even having SEEN the whole thing? YOU BE SCARY.
And and and... THIS STYLE. I love your style so much. YOU HAVE NO IDEA. (lol watch me try to imitate it in my own fic, and fail miserably. YOU ARE THE QUEEN OF NON-LINEAR-NESS. LOOK. A MADE-UP WORD, JUST FOR YOU. WHO DA MAN? YOU DA MAN!)

Thank you so much, darling. I love you I love you Iloveyou!
☮ + ♡ + ☺: leverage - cast; five by fivehihoplastic on February 7th, 2011 04:40 am (UTC)

Hehee. Thank youuuuu! I'm so happy you like it! \o/!

LAWLS. I do love me some non-linearness, ngl, lol.

LOVE!!! <33333
Halima: ♣ age of the geek; babycartography on February 7th, 2011 02:21 pm (UTC)
foreverwriting9: Won't Leaveforeverwriting9 on February 5th, 2011 03:49 am (UTC)

I'm really not sure what else to say. Let's start with this: that was absolutely wonderful!
☮ + ♡ + ☺: leverage - s; do epic shithihoplastic on February 7th, 2011 04:39 am (UTC)
Thank you! It's my first Leverage fic, so I was definitely panicking a little, hee. I'm really glad you liked it! :D
(Deleted comment)
☮ + ♡ + ☺: leverage - ns; tuscany?hihoplastic on February 9th, 2011 01:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm really glad you liked it! :D
Halima: ♣ don't cry for me san lorenzocartography on October 31st, 2011 06:08 pm (UTC)