Ugh I'm so sorry I am horrible at updating. Take this as a belated Christmas gift;)

-the night before incident-a few hours after meeting Balagula-

"Nicolas Obrovic! How did you miss that, Hardison?" Sophie whispered as she stared at the wall in front of her and tried not to think about the rope that bit into her wrists painfully. Listening to Eliot curse the hacker while he struggled against his own bonds was only slightly helping her mood. The hitter had been ruffed up a bit before they were settled in this room-where they've been for the past three hours.

"Hey, now how was I supposed to know our dear Vlad was the-and may I remind you again- step-cousin twice removed of the mark Parker shish-kabobed a few years back? I mean, a step-cou..."

A low growl cut off Hardison's rant as Eliot tried to break the ropes around his wrists with pure force. Success was not forthcoming it seemed as the hitter quit the idea with a huff.

"Did you really think that would work?" A disembodied voice asked with pure curiosity. Parker dropped down from the ceiling vent, head tilted as she studied them.

Eliot huffed as she approached with a pocket knife, "Brazil, 1996," and leaned forward so the thief could cut their bonds. Hardison scoffed.

A sudden sound from the hallway made the blonde savior disappear from sight, just in time for the door to open and Vladimir to waltz through with his two typical henchmen. The Russian stared at them as if they were merely mice to play with.

"So where are they? Your associates? Nicolas could only tell me about the blonde, but Irina, now she told me everything."

Sophie blinked, a mask of unamused indifference schooling her features into giving away nothing.

Balagula smiled, tisking as he knelt in front of the grifter.

"Now now, don't be that way, my kitten," the Russian spoke, his hand finding its way onto Sophie's leg and eyes locking on hers with a false sincerity, "You tell me what I need to know and I'll make your stay here...more comfortable."

Eliot stiffened when he heard this, catching the handsy move Vlad was doing out of the corner of his eye. Hardison made a gagging noise at the mobster's implication which was soon quieted by Nate. The mastermind was deathly silent, barely speaking since the two were discovered. Nate listened to every word to catch any detail he could.

"Touch her and you deal with me." The mastermind smirked at Eliot's response.

"Oh really? Is that so? What was it again? Fasano?" Balagula leered at the hitter as he monologued. "Or would you prefer Aaron? I'm flexible. I like to make things personal between clients and myself."

Vlad stood and moved in front of the hitter, eyes burning with a curious ferocity.

"But let's not dance around this much longer. You are conmen, so Aaron Fasano is not likely to come up in my circles. Now Annie Croy is a name I've heard, and it has some merit too, but so is a Ms. Devereaux." Vladimir smirk as he tilted his head, eyes boring into the back of the grifter's head.

Simultaneous curses came through the earbuds. Nate immediately started barking out orders and relaying a plan.

Eliot blinked, keeping a calm exterior as the Russian monologued. Really he was lucky the man was arrogant enough to boast his success, otherwise Eliot would have a hard time covering the sounds of a pocketknife against rope. A flash of blonde from the hallway-and he wasn't sure how the thief even got there-was enough signal he needed and with a mighty tug, the hitter finished breaking his bonds and lunged at the Russian. He socked him in the face, angry that the man was unconscious in one blow. The two henchmen immediately aimed their guns to fire but was down with a jab to the neck from Parker's taser.

Sophie let out a relieved sigh, dropping a little of her fearless fa├žade. She then lifted her head upwards in confusion, sniffing the air.

"Is that...smoke?"

Eliot got up with a grimace, touching ribs that he was sure were broken. He shot an accusatory glare in Parker's direction and tried to ignore the suspicious sight of a bulge in her jacket pocket...for now.

"What?" The thief asked with an innocent face.

"Parker, what did you do?" Sophie asked softly as Eliot cut her ropes.

"Nate said we needed a distraction," was the straight-faced response the grifter got.

"We're gonna talk about this later." Eliot grumbled to the thief as he moved around her to check the doorway.

"Hardison?"

"There's five guards between you and the southeast exit. Should take you out by the garage-" Gunshots drowned out the voice of the hacker and Eliot tensed.

"Hardison?" Parker and Eliot chorused as Sophie said, "Nate?"

Heavy breathing came through the three thieves earbuds before the mastermind finally spoke up.

"Plan G. Lucille is compromised. We will meet you at the garage. Parker?"

"Yeah?"

"How fast can you hotwire a car?

The thief smirked.