There is no intended copyright infringement in any form on the content and context of Leverage. Any original characters and storyline are the intellectual property of the author.

Fifty Shades of Consequence

Sophie and Nate are at an embassy party at the French Embassy in Washington DC. Hardison, Parker

and Eliot are in the van a number of blocks away monitoring. They are at the party to observe a

suspected arms dealer that has not been able to be touched for a long time.

"There he is with the Senator." Sophie watches a gentleman across the room over Nate's shoulder. She

motions with her glass of champagne. Nate is surveying the other half of the room… and Sophie's gown.

"There are a number of questionable guests here tonight. Some serious players in the arms game."

Hardison speaks to them over the comm.

"Why would they be out in the open like this?" Sophie's eyes trace the room and the bevy of known

arms dealers. "It's the French Embassy. They are not on US soil. Different rules." Eliot over the comm

to the two of them. The team is not the only one watching the activities in the room and Nate and

Sophie do not go unnoticed. Nate and Sophie's faces are being recorded.

Back at the Brew Pub:

"Hardison give me all you have on Patrick Sullivan and Mickey Sullivan." Nate points toward the screen.

"Both are of the Boston Sullivans. Family business is Sullivan Transportation." Hardison is typing away.

"Typical old money Boston Family. Harvard Grads. Transportation company looks to be legit and worth

About 200 million… plus about a half dozen other companies some of which appear to be shell

companies. Transportation company was started by the grandfather and son both named Quinn

Sullivan… off the boat Irish. Typical story of the right idea and a lot of luck. The company is clean on

paper. Light mob connections." Hardison is changing the images on the screens as

the details of the business change.

"Which would fit with the business." Sophie is studying the images intently.

"Lots of assets. Houses, planes, cars. Off shore accounts. Some of them could be hinkey. I'll have to dig

deeper on those." Hardison continues the recon.

"So you think Paddy Sullivan is Paddy the Knife? The arms dealer? This guy is basically bullet proof."

Hardison questions Nate.

"Bulletproof… really…. That's what you are going with…" Eliot rolls his eyes at Hardison.

"Bring up the family of Partrick Sullivan. I know Patrick Sullivan is Paddy the Knife." Nate answers

Hardison's question in his usual off handed, deep in thought manner.

"I am the only one who thinks an arms dealer named Paddy the Knife is kind of weird. Wouldn't Paddy

the surface to air missile be better and a bit more modern?" Parker adds to the conversation.

"Parker…" Eliot snaps back.

"Paddy… was married… with two daughters… wife and daughters have since passed. He hasn't

remarried. He likes them young but doesn't keep them around for long." Hardison brings up additional

pictures. "Passed as in dead?" Sophie gives Hardison a curious look.

"Bring up the wife and daughters." Nate directs since the intel could be useful.

The first picture that appears is of a beautiful woman dressed in an elaborate costume. There is scenery

behind her from a stage production.

"Here's the wife… Maive Sullivan. Debutante, well known opera singer before she married Paddy

Sullivan. Maive Sullivan died in a controversial accident with the youngest daughter, Veronica, who was

11 at the time." (News clips appear on the screen). Hardison keeps typing but is shocked at what

appears on the screen.

"The older daughter, Vivian Sullivan… Vivian died her sophomore year of college while on holiday in

India. So that would make her around 19 at the time of her ddd…death."

They all stop and look at the screen astonished at the image before them.

"Eliot… you messing with my intel? That's cold man." Hardison keeps clicking…

"Well I'll be damned…" Nate kicks his feet up on the desk. Nate looks at Sophie… Eliot is stunned.

Parker is wide-eyed. "You didn't put her pic in here?" Hardison is trying to figure out why the search

keeps putting up the photo that looks remarkably like Aria. Eliot shakes his head. "No, I didn't."

"You still have that pic of A in your phone." Nate questions Eliot. Eliot hands Hardison his phone.

Hardison puts the pics of Vivian and Aria side by side and runs facial recognition.

The match comes back in seconds. "Damn…it's her. It has to be her. Nothing comes back that fast."

"Alec… pull up the dossier on Aria and on Vivian Sullivan… side by side, please." Sophie's grifter senses

are tingling. "Vivian Sullivan – born raised Boston MA, boarding school, French finishing school, Harvard

University, died while on holiday in India during her sophomore year at Harvard. Body was cremated in

India. The ashes are buried in St Patrick's in Boston." Hardison is evaluating the dossiers.

"Aria Quinn – Born Boston MA, raised Kennebunkport ME, boarding school, Harvard University, year

abroad at Oxford University, USMC… and the rest you already know." Hardison is clicking away.

"It's a Dread Pirate Roberts….she attended Harvard as two different people… then killed off Vivian and

became Aria. The name… Aria Quinn...looks like a reference to her mother and her grandfather. Quite

the con.." Sophie is staring at the pictures; mentally comparing to the Aria she has met.

"She got into Harvard twice… without hacking? Damn…" Hardison realizes the work that would entail.

"Bring up the property assets… there… Kennebunkport ME… the grandfather's summer home. Aria's

address growing up… was the house next door. Aria… orphan… raised by elderly "relatives" no heirs….

She knew the history." Nate is putting the original con together.

"She kept the story close enough to so that she knew it inside and out thinking." Sophie is also putting

the con in perspective.

"She put Vivian and Aria on a collision course. Over time people would remember both of them." Nate

is mildly impressed by Aria's ingenuity at a young age. "Or at least think that they remember both of


"Aria was vetted by the CIA… how did she pull that off? Her identity would have had to be damn near

perfect." Hardison questions how hard it would be to get info through a vet by the Central Intelligence


"When she did this Hardison… it wasn't the digital age. Identities were papers and pictures. All you

needed was money to put the right papers in the right files… and she had that… plenty of that." Nate is

pondering Aria's motivations.

"I am impressed. This was simple, elegant in both conception and execution… It explains a lot. There

was something about her that I couldn't place. Finishing school would explain it. Some of her

mannerisms were too refined and too European… too polished for a Marine even a Marine raised with

money. Glad to know I haven't lost my touch." Sophie is sitting with her fingers against her lips.

"Hardison, remember when we met Aria and you asked why the hell a silver-spooned deb would join the

Marine Corp." Nate rises from his seat and faces the others. "There's your answer." He motions at the


"Is she hiding from him?" Hardison jumps back into the conversation.

"I don't think so… think about it… the life she lives now that is not exactly hiding considering the people

she deals with." Parker is staring at the screens. They all look at Parker for making a connection on that

deep of a level.

"Her life isn't about hiding from an arms dealer…her life is about…" Sophie is also standing engaged by

the thought that went into the con.

"Atonement…" Nate turns towards Sophie. "More like penance… for the sins of the father. Ring

familiar?" Sophie counters. "It's redemption." Eliot stares at Aria's face.

"Eliot, do you know where Aria is?" Nate figures if anyone would know where Aria is… it would be him.

"She has been on a business trip for a while; she should be getting back in country today. She was

coming to her place in Portland." Eliot is still distracted and staring at Aria's photo.

"Boys go steal us an arms dealer's daughter."

Outside Airport:

Aria is putting her luggage into her vintage jeep. She can hear footsteps behind her.

"Hello Eliot… Alec..." Aria is actually dressed in normal traveling clothes. Haridson is used to seeing the

paramilitary wardrobe. "How do the two of you do that?" Hardison is obviously annoyed.

"Hardison… you have a very distinctive gait." Eliot is positioning himself next to Aria.

"What's up boys… thought we were having a drink later? You miss me that much?" Aria is fiddling with

her luggage on the backseat. Eliot leans on the door. "Oh of course we did, get in the jeep, A."

Aria… turns around and leans against the frame. "You're in a mood."

"Eliot… not now… just get Aria over here." Nate speaks over the comm.

"Come on, let's get a drink." Hardison is leaning against the other side of the door.

"Boys… its 2 in the afternoon and I just spent 20 hours on a plane."

"It is 5 o'clock somewhere. Let's go baby girl." Hardison puts his hand on her shoulder.

"I'll drive. Get in A." Eliot puts his hand out for the keys as he gets in the driver's seat.

"Okie dokie." Aria pulls out the keys and tosses them at Eliot. Hardison drives the other car back.


Eliot is walking with purpose and acting with a bit of hostility toward Aria which is unusual.

"This is starting to feel an awful lot like a retrieval; Eliot." She is speaking to Eliot's back since he will

not look at her. Eliot doesn't answer her. She looks at Hardison. "What did Parker do to him now?"

Hardison smiles since Parker is the usual suspect.

She walks into the back room… the screens are blank. Nate is at the counter. "Have a seat Aria."

He tosses her a beer. Aria is surveying the scene knowing that something is up and they are all acting

really weird. "I don't know how you drink that German crap. " (The beer is a Heineken) Eliot

comments as he goes to get his own while Hardison gets a soda. Aria mouths the word "German" to

Nate. "Yeah… like when they bombed Pearl Harbor." Aria takes a sip from the bottle. At this point Aria

knows this is a set up. She is just not sure for what. Parker and Sophie enter. "Aria… you're back."

Parker gives her a hug.

"Just arrived. Oh Parker, there is a package coming for you from… well you know." Aria focus is back on

the others. Parker smiles and claps her hands together. "Yay!" Aria leans on the counter surveying all of

them. "So… what is up?" Eliot sits next to her. "I don't know Vivian. What's up?"

She takes a sip of her beer and turns towards Eliot. "Huh… I haven't heard that name in a while."

Mocking her. "Huh… I haven't heard that name… ever."

She puts the bottle on the counter. "That is what you are so pissy about." Aria's tone conveys how

annoyed she is with Eliot. "You should have said something." Eliot is glaring at her.

"Oh yeah… like what, Oh Eliot…by the way I killed myself off years before I met you and took a new

identity because my father is ruthless sob arms dealer. Yeah… that would have gone over swimmingly

especially with the Marines and CIA. I hate to be the one to have to inform you of this but by the time I

had met you, it was irrelevant."

"Ah kids… focus. Focus." Sophie scolds.

"Okay Hardison light it up." Nate points towards the screens. Hardison restores her dossiers to the

screen. Aria leans forward on the desk and sips her beer. She looks at the picture of her mom for a

minute. "I'm impressed. It's been almost 17 years and the CIA didn't even figure it out. You figured it

out by chance."

"Question is… Why?" Sophie sits on the other side of her.

"Why? Because, Sophie, when I was six I could field strip an assault rifle and I thought every kid had

armed guards at the playground."

"When did you find out about your father?" Nate stands in her view of the screen.

"When I was in boarding school and my roommate's security detail tried to stuff me into the trunk of a

Lincoln, needless to say it wasn't for a field trip. So instead of hanging my hair my hair out of the tower,

I decided to save myself."

"I have to admit, the con was brilliantly executed but how did you end up doing what you do… was that

part of the plan?" Sophie tries to engage her gaze.

"No… the fore thought ended at the Marines." Aria stares through Nate.

Parker notices that Aria has been staring at the picture of her mom for the last few minutes.

"You miss your mom and your sister… don't you."

"Yes, I miss them everyday." Aria' eyes are still transfixed on the screen. Aria gets up and stands facing

all of them with her picture behind her on the screen.

"So when are you going to get to the part where you tell me why you are rolling Vivian over in her

grave." She looks at all of them when the light bulb goes off in her head. "That was why you

were at the Embassy party."

"How did you know we were there?" Sophie walks towards her.

Aria gives Sophie a raised eyebrow look. "Sophie, CIA… remember?"

"Any issue with us going after the old man?" Nate leans down in front of her.

"On one condition… leave the transportation company and my Uncle alone… he is clean… otherwise

take it all… it's blood money." Aria looks him right in the eyes.

"I would but I can't figure out what is what… the records have gaps." Hardison pulls himself into the


"You can't find it Hardison because it is not all on the grid. My father is not a man of the digital age.

What do you need to crack?" Aria gets up and stands next to him.

"Account Security… We need to know what you father would have done to shield his money." Nate

moves out of the view of the screens.

"Go with the classics… Southie. I was born lace curtain Irish." Aria looks over Hardison's shoulders.

"Mob?" Eliot eyes Aria.

"Not as a resource… as a tactic. Hardison… pull up the assets."

"Girl, your family has a lot of assets. What kind?" Hardison looks up at Aria.

"Anything without the name Sullivan attached to it."

The screen changes listing all of the companies without the Sullivan name.

Aria smirks at the screens. "My father, if he is anything, it's sentimental."

Aria starts pointing at the screen. "That one… that one… that one… there and there … and there… and if

you need a password. It's "La Boheme". Anything official is in the vault. My father doesn't trust digital

records… most of the info is at the house in his library. "

"Wouldn't the records be at the mansion in Beacon Hill?" Nate stands next to her checking the

companies and accounts that she is going through with Hardison.

"He moved most of the stuff to the hunting cabin when Callahan was getting antsy."

"But we still need a way in." Eliot joins them.

"That's easy…" Aria points at the last known pic of Vivian Sullivan and her sister that is still up on the

screen. "There is your in." Aria seems lost in the photo of her and her sister. Nate looks confused.

"The annual Halloween Ball. It's held at the family mansion. That's where this picture was taken. The

ball is the day after tomorrow. This year you are in luck. It would be left coast mansion this year."

"Portland?" Nate looks at her. "The "hunting camp"?" "A Ball?" Sophie's eyes light up.

"At a hunting camp?" Parker is confused by the term. "Pull it up Hardison." Nate motions towards the

screen. "That is a "hunting camp"… what the heck does your house look like." Hardison stares in

amazement. He pulls that up too. "It's like I don't even know you." Eliot looks at Aria.

"The only thing I changed was my monogram. Seriously Eliot… I spent most of my twenties getting shot

at, shot with and shot by you." Aria challenges him back.

"You didn't get shot that often." Eliot gets ready for the in pending verbal tennis match.

"Do you want them chronologically or alphabetically?"

Eliot makes a face at her whom she answers by making a face back at him.

"Nate, is it me or are the kids having an issue?" Sophie stands next to Nate folding her arms like a

mother ready to scold her children. "I am not quite sure what the deal with this is."

"Damascus 02, Belgravia 04, Moscow 03 and 05." Aria is wiggling her finger at Eliot.

"Everyone got shot in 05." Eliot faces her. "Singapore 06, Paris 04" Aria goes toe to toe with Eliot.

"Paris wasn't even an op."

"Exactly… and then there was Raleigh 02." Aria is exasperated with Eliot.

"Raleigh… Raleigh… really you still bringing that up… that was paintball… Aria." Eliot is standing inches

from her face. "You still cheated… it cut me El… cut me deep." She makes a hand gesture at him.

"You cheated at paint ball?" Hardison interjects trying to lighten the building argument between Aria

and Eliot. The two of them are staring each other down.

"Focus!" Nate claps his hands.

"That is where you lived?" Parker has been staring at the pictures on the screen.

"Parker… those are where my father lives… I never really lived in any of them."

"To answer your question… Yes right up your alley Sophie… Over the top everything."

She looks back at the screen. Probably the only thing I truly miss. You will love it."

The Ball:

Eliot, Hardison and Nate are dressed in tuxedoes. Sophie hands them each mask. Parker and Sophie are

dressed in gowns. Aria does not go with them. She arrives separately and makes a grand entrance.

Eliot is shocked by Aria's appearance. He is used to seeing Aria dressed in ops clothes or uniforms. This

evening, she is dressed in a beautiful ball gown with an elegant mask. Her hair and makeup are

flawlessly done. Sophie also notices Aria's appearance. "This is definitely her world." Nate circles

around Sophie's shoulder. " She is of the manor born, Sophie."

Nate and Sophie are mingling among the party guests. Hardison and Parker are tackling the

library. Eliot and Aria are also inside the ball. Eliot conducting surveillance while Aria wanders among

the guests.

A gentleman comes up to Aria and kisses her hand before leading her to the dance floor. A warm smile

crosses her face in instant recognition of the man in the mask. He offers his hand for a dance as Aria

takes it. Eliot is caught off guard. The gentleman waits until he is out of ear shot to speak. "Hello

Kitten, Don't you look beautiful."

"Hello darling." Aria's face is warm and expressive. The tone of their voices is a giveaway of the

affectionate familiarity that Aria's shares with the masked man. "Surprised to see Cinderelli at the ball."

Aria laughs at the joke. The man in the mask pulls her closer as they dance. "I have missed you… when

did you get back?" She gazes into his eyes as they dance. "Yesterday…" Eliot is trying to figure out

who Aria is dancing with. He can tell that she knows this person but he cannot figure out who it is. Eliot

crosses the dance floor to cut in. The gentleman does not speak but kisses her hand as they part. Eliot

dances with her for a moment. "Who was that?" Eliot is stern with her.

"No one of consequence." They dance for a moment longer and then exit at the end of the song. Eliot

offers his arm as they exit the dance floor. Aria makes eye contact with the gentlemen who she was

dancing with. He motions to her as she passes. The greeting is sweet and subtle.

As they enter the hall, Aria's father approaches. Eliot grabs Aria and kisses her to hide her face

from view even though she is wearing a mask. The others can hear the kiss over the comm. During the

kiss, Eliot touches the necklace that Aria always wears. He attaches a lo-jack chip to the back of it.

It is a long sweet kiss that gets both of their hearts racing. As it ends, Eliot looks up to see that Aria's

eyes are wide. He even surprised himself with the kiss. It has been a very long time.

"What the hell was that?" Eliot has just delivered a bit of shock and awe which caught Aria off guard.

Eliot pulls her in and gently kisses her lips again. "A disguise." Eliot gives her his cocky wink.

Under her breath, Aria comments: "Damn, you are getting better at that." Sophie laughs hearing the

comment over the comm. "Come on, we have got to go." He grabs her hand and pulls her down the

hall. Parker is in library giggling. "Finally." She comments at hearing the kiss over the comm.

"Come on Parker get out of there, girl." Hardison warns that time is growing short.

Nate speaks over all of the comms. "Cinderella time." They all exit the party as planned.

Brew Pub:

Hardison is watching a blip on the screen with Eliot. "Aria is at the Roosevelt Hotel downtown. Looks

like she is in the bar." Hardison has begun tracking Aria. He accesses the cameras that are available

and displays them up on the screen. Aria walks into the bar. She is greeted by a gentleman who gently

kisses her on the cheek. He pulls out a chair as she sits down. He orders her a drink as they start to

chat. Aria picks up her phone and sends a text. "Is that Quinn?" Hardison notices the gentleman's face.

"I believe it is." Nate is a bit shocked. "Why would Aria be meeting with Quinn?" Eliot is more than a

little curious. "Ah… that is not a business meeting darling. That is a date." Sophie notices the screen.

"Aria is dating Quinn?" Eliot is dumbfounded at Sophie's summation. Sophie looks at them.

"Really? You can't tell." Sophie looks at them again like they are crazy for not grasping the obvious.

"Look at them… the body language. They are very familiar with each other. He greeted her with a kiss."

Next Morning at Aria's place:

Aria is still lying in bed as Quinn comes back into the room. He places a Red Bull on the

bedside table before leaning down and placing his hands on each side of Aria. He leans down and kisses

her. Quinn is dressed in his usual business suit. Aria smiles as she runs her fingers through his

hair. He kisses her again as a first attempt at goodbye.

"Be safe… Alexander." She plays with this face and hair. "Always, Kitten" He kisses her again in the

second attempt at goodbye. "Mmmm, I have to go or I won't." He purrs and taps her on the nose.

"London, when this business is done." He takes her hand and runs it through his as he walks away. He

looks back from the door; smiles and blows a final kiss with a wink back at Aria. Aria rolls over and grabs

her drink before starting what will be a very long day.

Brew Pub:

"She's leaving her place. It looks like she is heading here." Hardison continues to monitor the screens

and announces to the room.

Outside Brew Pub:

Sophie sees Aria walking toward the building. "Hey there… time for a coffee." Aria smiles since she

knew this was coming. She had been waiting for Sophie to profile her. "Sure." They walk into a café

down the street. Aria gets a coffee and a tea and joins Sophie at a table in the sun. "So girl talk?" Aria

sets the tea in front of Sophie.

"How long have you been seeing Quinn." And so it begins, Aria thinks to herself. She had noticed

Sophie watching her at the ball.

"A while… I have known him for a long time." Aria is purposely keeping the details vague.

"I have to ask… what is his first name?" Sophie has been wondering this for a while especially since they

have worked with Quinn before.

"Alexander." Aria smiles as the name rolls off of her tongue. "That is very sexy. Where did you meet?"

"I have known Quinn for a long time, but we accidently bumped into each other in Venice."

"I love Venice."

"Me too… It was Carnivale. Now, London, Paris, St Bart's, Moscow… those were on purpose." She

winks at Sophie. "Carnivale… how romantic. Why does he call you Kitten?" Sophie had heard the

greeting at the ball and made the connection. Aria laughs at the question but is surprised that Sophie

had picked up on such a subtle detail.

"The alias that I was using when we came upon each other in Venice, Katherine Montgomery..."

"Kitty Montgomery… Kitten… sweet." Sophie is always a sucker for romance.

"After Venice, it stuck … A drink turned into a week… and what a week it was."

"The necklace you wear, a love token… it makes sense now but why was he at the ball? Back up?"

"Very observant, but no his father worked for my father back in Boston." She smiles. The necklace was

a gift from Quinn on one of their adventures. "That's it…. You have known Quinn since childhood."

Aria nods affirming Sophie's suspicion. "Can I ask you a personal question?" Sophie is searching for the

right words to phrase the next question. "Sure…" Aria is curious about what it could be since most of

her secrets somehow are no longer secrets to Eliot's team. "Why did you do it? Change who you

are?" Aria thinks for a few moments before she speaks. "I never changed who I am. I just changed

the label on the package. You of all people should be able to relate to that."

The answer stops Sophie dead in her tracks realizing the truth in what Aria has just said. Sophie's phone

buzzes indicating a text. "Seems that we are missed."

Aria smiles… "Duty calls." They walk into the brew pub together and head straight into the back room.

Eliot is standing with his arms folded near the door. Aria and Sophie look at him with a smirk.

Sophie whispers. "Here we go."

"Quinn?" Aria can't tell if Eliot is acting like a jealous boyfriend or a protective father.

"Really… Eliot." Aria has decided that neither is acceptable from Eliot after their history together.

"Quinn… you are seeing Quinn?" Eliot has opted for the jealous boyfriend approach.

"Eliot… the C in CIA does not stand for convent, Sweetie. Since when do you care who I see?" Aria's

tone indicates that she is rapidly becoming annoyed with the interrogation regarding her love life.

Nate, Sophie, Parker and Hardison are lined up for the show.

"How the hell did you end up with Quinn?" Eliot paces with his arms still folded.

"You are seriously going here… Listen up, Sparky, not that is any of your business… we go to nice

places… do fun things … and he wasn't exactly beaten with an ugly stick."

"You can't date Quinn." Eliot pulls out the finger…and is waving it at Aria. Now, girlfriend is releasing

the full throttle assault back. Aria is matching his pacing back and forth.

"Really you are going all pot and kettle… don't say you didn't ask for this…. Ok, Pot… what about all

of your poke pals, the cocktail waitress, model, stewardess, and retail sales girl… and that is only this

week and you are going to lecture me on relationships." She is now poking Eliot in the chest.

"Oh this is going to get good." Hardison. "Twenty… if she hits him." (to Parker)

"Aria, he is a hired gun." Aria looks at him absolutely astonished.

"Eliot… I hate to point out the obvious… but I'm a freaking assassin…. So, it kind of works. He is one of

the few guys I have dated that doesn't think I'm a serial killer."

"Isn't that the same thing?" Parker can't help herself it just comes out every time the word assassin

enters a conversation.

"Parker for the last time I'm an assassin not a serial killer…there is a big difference."

"Why didn't you tell me?" Eliot is beginning to figure out that he may have crossed a line in this

conversation. "Because you didn't ask… Eliot… when have you ever asked me about my love life?" Aria

is exasperated by Eliot's behavior.

"Aria… nothing I say is going to change it… so fine." From full frontal assault to the famous Eliot pout,

Aria is now battle ready and thoroughly annoyed.

"Oh, happy day, I thought I was gonna have to spend my dowry on booze and pills to numb the

loneliness. I am allowed a gentleman caller, hurray!" Aria's Boston accent is now drowning in mock

southern belle. "Made your point… Easy A." Eliot has the full on pout. Aria has paced her way back to

Sophie. Suddenly, Aria stops dead. Thoughts are obviously running through her head. Sophie is

watching the wheels turn realizing Aria has figured something out and it is not a good thing.

"Son of a bitch." Aria mouths to herself. She thinks back to the reason that Sophie knew she was with

Quinn. The reason Eliot knew she was with Quinn. Sophie is trying to decipher what Aria is mumbling to

herself. In Aria's mind, she is running through the events of the day before, the kiss. Eliot touches her

neck and necklace. The images flash through her head. She pulls on her necklace and finds the lo-jack

chip on the back of it.

"Eliot." Aria is furious. Eliot, who had exited the room, walks back in annoyed but quickly

realizes why Aria is yelling. "Oh no, you didn't." Aria is waving her finger as she walks up to Eliot. The

full frontal assault is now coming from Aria at Eliot. Aria throws the tracker on the ground at his feet.

"You lo-jacked me? You did that so you could lo jack me?" Aria is poking him in his chest again.

"She is pissed." Hardison mumbles to Sophie. "You think?" Sophie's words drip with intended

sarcasm. "Aria… wait." She is still poking him. She hauls off a right hook and catches Eliot square.

Eliot flies back onto the ground.

"Damn girl." Hardison is impressed that Aria could level Eliot with a single shot. Aria looks down at Eliot

before she turns away to storm out the door. "Lo -jack me, next time, you can kiss my black ops ass. At

this moment you are mostly dead to me Eliot." She walks out of the backdoor still bitching

"That is just so wrong on so many levels."

"Mostly dead?" Hardison is curious about the statement. It sounds familiar but he doesn't know why.

Both of them are staring at Parker since she finds it most amusing.

"Let me 'Splain… no wait there is too much… let me sum up. Princess Bride… mostly dead isn't all dead.

It's a little alive… there is hope… you are still a little alive, Eliot. I love that movie!" Parker helps Eliot to

his feet. "Damn baby girl is bad ass." Hardison is still impressed with Aria. Not many people can level

Eliot let alone with one hit.

"Baby girl isn't that much of a bad ass. I taught her how to do that." Eliot rubs his jaw.

"And she schooled you." Hardison cannot resist pushing Eliot's buttons about Aria.

"Shut Up. Hardison." Eliot is very annoyed.

"Oh wait… I got one better about ringing your bell…" Hardison delivers yet another poke to the bear.

"Hardison!" Eliot walks into where Nate and Sophie are now looking over plans.

"Nate, she thinks that I betrayed her. She's mad and she will be off her game. Why was that necessary?

Why did you set me up to hurt her?" Eliot is thoroughly confused with the situation.

"She needs to be invested." Nate has his business face on as he answers.

"No, Nate, all you would have ever had to do was ask her… she didn't need motivation. When are you

going to realize. She is not like me… she is like you. You just pulled the pin on the grenade. I know what

she is capable of… do you?" Eliot storms out of the room to think.

"Do you know what you are doing?" Sophie is concerned that Nate is pushing this con in the wrong


"Yes. I do. It is the only way to get this done." Nate pushes back. "Do you think Quinn is going to be an

issue?" Sophie is intrigued. "No… I think your assessment is accurate." Nate reassures Sophie.

Parker disappears out of the brew pub a short time later.

Park in Portland:

Aria meets Parker in the park a short time later. Aria is sitting on a bench in the park. Parker comes up

and sits next to her. "Parker can you do me a favor?" Parker is happy to see that Aria is in a lighter

mood. Aria hands Parker a slip of paper. "Can you get this stuff for me this afternoon? Everything you

need is right here. Keep them hidden until this is over, understand?"

Parker is all smiles as she looks over the contents of the paper with a huge smile across her face.

"Now, I need you to keep this as a secret just between you and me. It's a surprise and don't open

them." Parker is all smiles. "Absolutely." Parker loves secrets and surprises.

"Thanks Parker. I owe you one." They separate and head in opposite directions.

Next Day:

Aria is back at her place, an industrial warehouse that has been converted to apartments. She gathers a

couple of weapons. She is wearing a double shoulder holster. She is dressing as if she is getting ready

for an op on the cover of Vogue. She is dressed in black pants and a black sweater. She looks

polished and elegant. She even has heels on. She sends a couple of texts as she muddles about. She

gets a backpack ready and pulls it over one of her shoulders as she exits.

She goes to her garage and pulls out a vintage Mustang. As she pulls out, she is instantly tailed by Eliot.

Nate and Sophie are in Nate's car. Hardison and Parker are in the van a distance away. Aria drives to

the graveyard and walks through it to a secluded spot with a gorgeous view.

"What is she doing?" Parker is watching through binoculars. "I think she is visiting someone."

Aria leans against her grandfather's grave for a moment. She sits with her knees up with her arms

resting on them. Her head is down lost in thought.

"She looks like she is praying." Parker is trying to figure out what is going on with Aria.

"She might be." Hardison realizes the impact that this op could have.

"Nate, I don't think this was the right play." Sophie is listening to the others talk about Aria's

movements. "It is trust me." Nate is fairly sure of himself on this one.

Aria stands up and runs her hand across the top of the grave stone as she walks away.

She pulls out her phone and sends more texts. Hardison's phone beeps with the incoming text.

"What does it say?" Parker knows it is from Aria. "Aria sent me a time to move the funds."

"Good." Nate loves it when a plan is coming together.

Aria gets into her car and drives to her father's mansion. Eliot is still tailing her route. Aria is aware of

their presence. She pulls the car into the middle of the circle in front of the doors behind 4 limos. There are

bodyguards all over the place since her father is entertaining. She gets out; leaving her pack on the backseat. She is making no

attempt to conceal any of the weapons as she pushes the doors open and walks in. Upon entering she is

greeted by eight body guards pulling their weapons. Two of them instantly recognize her.

"Howdy boys. Where's the old man." One of them points to the other door dumbfounded.

"That is Vivian." One guard looks at the other with an expression of complete shock.

"As in Vivian. Dead Vivian." The other guard is equally freaked out by her presence.

She turns with a smile. "Gentlemen, you look like you have seen a ghost."

She makes eye contact with Quinn who is in the background. He smiles and winks back.

She pushes the doors open to the west wing ballroom. The room is filled with guards, guns and dealers.

The crowd in the room parts like the red sea when Vivian walks in. Eliot is quietly watching from the

outside of the house. She stops short of her father. She stands in the middle of the parted crowd facing her father

as if there is an impending dual. "I don't like this Nate." Eliot speaks over the comm

"Hello father." Aria remains relaxed and her hands are at her at her sides as Eliot monitors her every movement.

"If you would excuse me for a moment gentlemen, my lovely daughter has come for an unexpected

visit." Eliot is watching from the outside. He is monitoring her body language for distress. Her father

escorts her from the ballroom and opens the door to the library further down the hall. He motions for

her to follow. Aria crosses the room and follows her father. She closes the library door behind them.

Paddy walks to a bar and pours two glasses of whiskey. He hands one to Aria. They sit in leather chairs

opposite each other. "Vivian. You do look like your mother. It has been a long time." He raises his

glass to her "May the devil chase you every day of your life and never catch you." Paddy offers a toast.

"Slainte." She tips her glass in her father's direction. "I never believed you were dead." Paddy is

scrutinizing his long lost prodigal child.

"You never looked with much vigor to see if I was alive either." Aria counters.

"I had heard tales of a certain Marine turned CIA agent that bore a striking resemblance to my late wife.

"Seems you have done well for yourself Aria. Nice choice. Very sentimental."

"Guess I get that from my old man."

"So are you here for retribution? You seem to be heavily armed." Her father motions to the guns.

"And you seem to be lacking your usual detail." Aria retorts.

"Touche, darling." Paddy takes a long sip from his glass. "I'm not here to kill you." Aria assures him.

"You know I can't let you just come back from the dead Vivian. My flesh and blood or not, you have

caused me a lot of trouble in the last few years." Paddy throws a veiled threat in Aria's direction.

"It was by design." Aria offers with a degree of sarcasm.

"Why did you come alone." Paddy leans forward in his chair closer to Aria.

"What makes you think I did." Aria remains relaxed in the chair. She has been at this game too long to

be intimidated by her father.

"You know your friend, Mr. Ford told me you were going to be in town." Paddy stands and paces.

"I heard." Aria remains seated.

"You told her father that she was in town?" Sophie is shocked that Nate would betray Aria so readily.

"At the ball." Nate keeps his tone cool.

"You changed the con?" Sophie is growing concerned that Nate is off the reservation with this one.

Nate puts his finger to his lips.

"His team is very talented." Paddy continues to pace near the books in the room.

"Yes they are quite good."

"So you were going to use them to take me down." Paddy thinks he knows Aria's endgame.

"Actually wasn't on my agenda or in my jurisdiction." Aria isn't ready to reveal anything.

"It was a pity to have to run them out. I could have used them once they got over the whole Robin Hood

complex. You know that this is your legacy Vivian. Your destiny. You spent so much time planning your

escape from this life and you ended up worse than me. I have never actually killed anyone."

"You don't have to pull the trigger to have blood on your hands. What I have done was for my country.

I may be an assassin but a least I'm an assassin with a sanction." Aria keeps her cool as her father tries

to draw out an emotional reaction.

"You are just a pawn. Just a pawn, darling. In my game, you could have been the Princess but you were

so stubborn… just like your mother."

"I'd like to think that I have least moved up to rook besides I don't think Tiaras come in digital desert."

Aria takes another sip from the glass. It would be senseless to waste good whiskey.

"So why are you here? It is not like the CIA has any business here?" There is the unmistakable sound of

helios approaching in the background. She pauses for a moment. "I'm just here to watch Rome burn.

Ashes to ashes."

Eliot can hear the whomp of helios approaching fast. Suddenly there is lots of activity in and out of the

house. Hardison is watching the time and makes all of the transfers per the papers that Aria had given

Parker. The mansion is overrun with agents from multiple agencies. ATF, FBI, Homeland Security.

Her father looks around and then goes to his desk. He watches the army approach from the window.

Aria approaches the desk; she downs the last of her whiskey, places the glass on the desk and pulls one

of the Sigs from her holster. With a gloved hand she places the Sig in the middle of the desk.

She turns to walk out the door. As the door closes behind her, there is the sound of a gunshot.

As Aria walks further down the hall there is an explosion behind her. "Damn the room was thermite

triggered." Hardison remembers from the security sweep at the ball.

"Let's get back before she gets there." Nate starts the car and instructs the rest of the team most of

them are unaware of exactly what is going on at the mansion at this point in time.

Eliot is making his way through the chaos back to his car.

"Are you sure this was the right way to do this?" Sophie asks as they drive through the city.

"Yes Sophie, I am sure." Nate still has his game face on.


The team is sitting at a large table in the pub waiting for Aria to arrive.

"Where is she? It is two in the morning, Nate something happened." Eliot is worried.

"She will be here." Nate relaxes in the chair.

Aria walks into the pub. She still looks elegantly polished. She pulls the remaining Sig from her holster

and removes the clip then pulls a detonator from her pocket. She throws them onto the middle of the

table. She walks around to the back of the bar and looks for a bottle of good Irish whiskey. She pulls

out two glasses and pours placing one across the bar from where she is standing. Hardison is sitting

one of the tables with Eliot, Parker and Sophie. Nate walks over to the bar. He picks up one of the

glasses that Aria has poured and leans against the bar. He swirls the whiskey in the glass before taking a

sip. Aria also takes a sip of the whiskey before speaking. Her expression is hard to read. There are

mixed emotions emanating from her. "Well played Nate. I have to hand it to you. Well played."

"So when did you figure it out." Nate has been expecting a confrontation with Aria.

Aria knocks back the whiskey. She knows all their eyes are on her. The others remain at the table

waiting to see her reaction. She pours more whiskey into her the glass. "They say a true friend is the

one that stabs you from the front." Aria's tone is cool. She pauses and takes another sip.

"You went for what would hurt me. What would yield the most profound reaction. I knew the con. I

knew the outcome. The end game was always bringing down my father's operation. But he wasn't

actually the mark." She pauses for effect. "I was."

"You played me and I walked right into it. I have been tortured, shot, beaten… but never

manipulated. You figured out a way to exploit my singular point of weakness." She downs the

glass of whiskey. "You could have just asked. A little tip for you… I never needed motivation. Those

images you had up on the screens that first day… the accident… well here is the rest of that story that

didn't make the papers, my mother's car accident was end result of her being shot by a sniper. My

sister was collateral damage and you thought I needed motivation outside of that? You hurt me, Nate.

Don't do it again."

Nate looks into Aria's eyes and sees something odd. The veiled threat was real but there is more there.

She heads from behind the bar towards Parker. "My bag please, Parker."

Parker smiles and tosses her a backpack. "Parker you can get the others a bit later."

"Others?" Sophie is intrigued by the reference and cannot get a read on Aria at the moment.

The mood has turned and Nate cannot figure out why. Eliot is watching Aria very closely.

"You made this mission about me." Aria is back at the bar. She casts a glance directly at Nate.

"I sent Parker on a little op of my own."

All are watching Aria with the exception of Eliot. Eliot is staring straight ahead. He picks up the

magazine and pulls out a couple of the bullets off of the table. "These are blanks. You went in there

with only blanks?" Eliot. "But you… and he…" Aria fills her glass again before taking another sip.

"The Sig I put on the desk was loaded with blanks, Eliot. I wanted him to go to prison not the morgue.

For heaven's sake, I am an assassin not a psychopath…do still have a moral compass and he is still my

father." Aria swirls the whiskey in her glass. If there was a day to get drunk… this was the day.

"I watched the room blow up." Eliot is trying to figure her out.

"Eliot, you watched the door blow up so he couldn't lock down the library. I just blew it with…

"authority". Remember, the supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting. Besides, your

focus was on me… not what I was actually doing."

"But what about the Thermite triggers?" Hardison distinctly remembers them from the first sweep.

Aria points at Parker. "I took care of those at the ball." Parker is rather proud.

(Flashback to Aria and Parker speaking before they went into the party. Then to Parker cutting all the

detonator wires in the Library and Aria placing C4 on the door as she follows her father into the library.)

"I wasn't going to let him burn first editions." Nate is now a bit surprised and is really surveying Aria.

"So ok…when did you actually figure out the end game."

"Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn." Aria swirls the whiskey

between each sip. Aria holds her glass up toward Nate. "CS Eliot …nice" Nate taps her glass with his.

"You weren't the only one who grew up Irish in Boston. I know a con when I spin one."

"Rule one…Don't try to con a con artist." Sophie smiles as she looks down.

"Isn't it illegal for the CIA to operate domestically? How is this going to stick?" Hardison makes a valid

point. Aria tips her glass towards Nate.

"Which is why, she brought in the AFT and FBI and Homeland on a tip from a Senior CIA operative."

Nate answers the question. A sparkle crosses Nate's eyes. "So when did he CIA figure out who you


"Nate, you have made the blind assumption that I chose to work for the CIA. There is a great divide

between being chosen and having a choice. Only one involves the application of free will."

"You didn't choose to work for the CIA." Nate eyes her back.

"I didn't choose the CIA." She prefers to leave this vague. Parker is practically jumping up and

down at this point. Aria glances over. "You peeked didn't you?"

"No just excited. I love surprises." Parker is passed the point of containment. "Ok go ahead… they are

labeled." Aria gets comfortable at the bar.

Parker hands each of them a black box. " Gifts?" Sophie still hasn't figured Aria out. Her mood is

swinging on a pendulum which could be the result of a hell of a night or the alcohol. "More like the

reading of Vivian's will."

Hardison opens his box. Inside the black box is a Stradivarius Violin.

Oh my my my…. Is this…? He looks up at Aria. "Yes." She is quietly observing them all.

Eliot's is an ancient Samurai artifact. Eliot is stunned that Aria remembered this item. Aria and Eliot

meet glances. Aria winks at him. He watches her interaction with the others.

Nate opens his to find a dusty bottle. He pulls out a bottle of The Macallan "Fine and Rare Collection,"

1926 along with a box of hand rolled Havanas. Sophie looks at Nate's bottle. "What is that?"

"That my dear Sophie is a rare jewel of the libation world." Nate holds the bottle up.

Sophie opens hers to find a delicate scroll. She unrolls it to see a rare da Vinci sketch of one of her

favorite pieces. She looks up at Aria. "Oh… a da Vinci. Is this the one from?"

"It was destined for the Louvre but they will never miss it." Parker screeches breaking the quiet of the

room. "Do you know what this is?" "Yes Parker… I know what it is."

"No… do you know what this is…this is the Kilarney Emerald."

"Yes.. it is … it belonged to my mother." Parker holds up a large Emerald necklace. She runs to hug Aria.

"I can't take this." Aria stops Parker. She looks Parker in the eye. "It was always meant to be

Veronica's. You remind me of her. I want you to have it." Aria takes a few minutes to look back at

them before she readies to leave.

Outside the bar:

Aria is walking towards a Lincoln Town car. Eliot comes up from behind and leans on the door so she

cannot open it. "Hey." Aria turns to face him.

"Aria, the gift that was amazing. All the gifts were amazing. I cannot believe you

remembered something like that from all of those years ago."

"I do listen when you speak, Darlin'. Even the stuff that usually follows "Damn it A."" He laughs.

Eliot is looking down searching for his words. He moves in closer to her. Aria allows him with caution.

He touches her face.

"I'm sorry. You know about… the" She raises her fingers to his lips to hush him. Eliot. "Don't be sorry."

She gives him a wicked grin. "It was nice."

He kisses her fingers as he pulls her hand down. He leans his forehead onto the top of her head.

Aria smiles as she reaches up to touch the side of his face. She pulls his face toward hers and kisses him

on the cheek and whispers. "Always got your six." He laughs. "Can I ask you something?" Aria stops

and leans against the door of the car. "Sure. There has been a lot of that lately."

"Why, Quinn?" Aria realizes that Eliot is serious.

"Eliot…" She sort of half looks at him while she forms her answer. "When Quinn looks at me, he doesn't

see an assassin, an operative or even a Marine. He sees…" Eliot interrupts her. "He sees Vivian."

She modifies his words. "He sees me for who I am… who I have always been… I never changed who I

was, Eliot. I only changed what I was called. Plus I kind of dig how his mouth fits around my name."

She leans into him for a moment. "You are a precious to me… and you know that."

She kisses his cheek and nuzzles him for a moment before pulling away.

He opens the door for her. Before she sits down she tosses a set of keys at Eliot. "I'll see you soon…

Take care of my baby." She winks as he closes the car door.

Eliot shuts the door. "I love you too A…" He tells the roof of the car instead of Aria. He looks down at

the keys with a smile. She knows how much he loves that Mustang. He thinks for a moment about all

that they have been through together and he can't figure out why those words elude him when she is

around. Sophie walks up behind him as he is watching her drive away.

"You know sometimes it just takes one kiss to breach the distance between friendship and love. That

sounded like one hell of a kiss the other night, deary. It got to you."

She leans into his shoulder with a little push. Eliot looks down at her and with a smile. "You don't know

the half of it Sophie."