A/N: Yes, yes, I know, I know... I should be writing the finale chapter of The Twin Souls Job and also the next chapter of Conseuences. They are coming, I swear, but I rewatched the very first Leverage ep this weekend and I got this plot bunny that just kept hopping up and down so I had to write this one-shot. Hope you like it enough that you're not mad at me for not updating the other fics yet! ;-)
Disclaimer: All recognisable characters from Leverage belong to John Rogers, Chris Downey, and other important people that aren't me.)
The whole thing was a one time deal, that was established before they ever showed up in Chicago for the job. All knew each other by reputation, none had ever officially met, except for Nathan Ford, of course. The thieves themselves were all known as lone wolves for a reason, they did not play well with others, preferred to work alone. Tonight was always going to be a different experience, but neither Parker nor Eliot were ready for quite how different.
They were all supposed to meet at the hotel across town. Despite coming the shortest distance apparently, Hardison was late. Nathan was on edge and had started drinking before anyone else even showed up. Honestly, given the choice between the good guy and the bad guy at either end of the bar (for the sake of cover), Parker chose Eliot.
She was kind of intrigued by him. Sure some people said he was just a thug, albeit a little smarter than the average muscle. She was pretty sure she knew better. Thieves had reps, and other thieves got to know the competition for all kinds of reasons. She had heard of his skills, she wondered if all the stories were true. When stories about her own antics got back to her, Parker always laughed, whether they were true or not. It amused her that anyone cared what she did, and more so that they thought she was insane.
"So" she said easily as she sat herself down on the stool next to Eliot's own, setting her glass down on the bar, "The stories about you, they're not all true, right?" she asked plainly.
"Nice to meet you too, darlin'" he replied, sarcasm and southern boy drawl both in full evidence as he sipped at his beer bottle and barely looked at her.
Parker rolled her eyes and heaved a sigh.
"Like we need pleasantries and introductions" she huffed, "You're Eliot Spencer, Retrieval Specialist, five feet ten inches tall, approximately thirty five years old" she rattled off as if she were the first paragraph of his resume or something, "And if the rumours are true, you retrieved a lot of booty in your time"
Eliot's eyes were wide as saucers as he looked at her properly then. He wasn't sure where she got her information, but he wasn't about to confirm or deny anything she thought she had on him. Still, talking to her wouldn't be so bad, she did intrigue him after all, and that was before he'd got a look at the lithe body in a black catsuit, the angelic face with bright blue eyes and pretty blonde hair that hid the little devil within.
"Not all rumours are true" he reminded her with a quirk of his lips that he just couldn't help, "If they were, that'd mean you stole the Hope Diamond, the Rock of Gibraltar, and the Rosalynn Diamond" he reeled off things he had heard about her just as easy, "And there ain't no way you lifted and fenced that kind of ice all by your pretty little self" he told her.
The smirk was soon sliding off his face when she just grinned back at him. Damn, she was serious. She really had done it, stolen all those things and a whole load more, by herself. It was a miracle she was sitting here right now since Eliot knew for sure that she should be either dead or in jail after those kind of escapades. It was a testament to how good she was.
"Some rumours are true" she noted, sipping her drink, which somehow prompted Eliot to do the same.
He looked thoughtfully at his beer bottle that was closer to empty than full. There was a question in his mind that he wanted to ask and yet doing so could be suicidal, from what he heard. Still, they were on the topic of rumours and chances were good he wouldn't get a second chance at this.
"What about the ones that say you're crazy?" he asked Parker, who only chuckled in response at first.
"That's all relative" she shrugged when the look on his face pressed for a real answer.
He wasn't entirely sure how to take her words when they were said. Still, Eliot nodded once, took another drag on his beer bottle thinking they were done. They weren't.
"What about the ones that say the only thing you're better at than fighting is sex?"
A stream of beer flew out of Eliot's mouth in a truly impressive spray that covered the surface of the bar in tiny droplets. Hell, that had come out of left field, even to a guy like him. He knew the world, he knew women of the world too, and some could be pretty direct. None, however, were quite like Parker apparently.
"Huh" she said, sipping her own drink as she watched his wipe his chin and mouth on the back of his hand, "So those are true" she decided off his reaction.
How she had come to the conclusion, Eliot honestly wasn't sure and hadn't a mind to ask right now. His brain was still trying to unscramble why she had asked the question and what she might do with the answer to it exactly.
"Where'd you hear that?" he asked, more of a reflex he couldn't control than a conscious act.
Parker seemed to be barely listening, and didn't even bother to turn her head from where she was peering down the bar to see what Nathan was doing. Apparently getting somewhat drunk, which couldn't bode well for their job. Ah well, she had heard rumours about him too, ones that meant he couldn't really be blamed for his being an alcoholic. Besides, if he failed on the plan tonight, she always had one in reserve. Her exit strategies never failed her.
"So, its not true?" she checked with Eliot, finally bringing her attention back to him.
He opened and closed his mouth three times before he answered her.
"It's not that, I just..." he started, getting more and more mad, first at himself because he couldn't form a damn sentence, then at her for the smile on her face, "You don't just say that kinda stuff to people!" he told her crossly, slamming a hand on the bar for good measure.
Parker didn't even flinch, not at his tone or the noise he'd made.
"Why not?" she shrugged, completely unabashed as she downed the last of her drink and abandoned the glass on the bar, "Look, I'm bored, I get all antsy waiting to do a job" she told him, bouncing on her stool as if to prove her state of unrest, "and this is the only night we're gonna see each other, right?" she checked.
"That's the plan" Eliot nodded once, genuinely wondering where she was going with this, but pretty sure he already knew.
"So...?" she prompted as she hopped to her feet.
There was no doubt this was an invitation, a response to which it took just a few moments consideration before it was spoken. Sure, Parker was supposed to be crazy, but she was also supposed to be brilliant. She had a point about them never seeing each other again after tonight, it was a no strings affair, the kind Eliot Spencer liked best. Besides, if she was half the gymnast and contortionist she was rumoured to be...
It took all of three seconds for Eliot to down the remains of his beer and get to his feet.
"Which room?" he asked with a smirk that turned to a smile in a moment as it matched Parker's own.
It was unlikely Nathan Ford even noticed the two thieves leaving the bar together and disappearing upstairs. He would have no clue that they had gotten any better acquainted than a brief conversation, and that was how they preferred it.
A few hours later...
"All right, the money will be in all your accounts later today" Nathan Ford told the team of thieves he had just helped with their latest venture, against his better judgement, he might add in his head.
"Anybody else notice how hard we rocked last night?" Hardison grinned with delight, and nobody could deny he was right.
"Yeah, well" said Eliot, his eyes drifting to Parker more than anyone as he spoke, "One show only, no encores" he reminded all of them.
"I already forgot your names" said Parker haughtily, sparing the hitter a glance then.
Eliot looked sideways at her, a defiance in his eyes that said 'Yeah, right!'.
She saw it, and she knew damn well he was right too, but they still walked away.
The whole thing was a one time deal, that was established before they ever showed up in Chicago for the job... but then things rarely go according to the plan. Right now, they hadn't a clue about that. They just kept on walking, with smiles on their faces that were not entirely job-related.