Alone in the loft with Mr. and Mrs. Ford, Eliot proves he is far more perceptive than the team gives him credit for. Nate/Sophie, Eliot-Sophie friendship-centric. Set post Season 5, slightly AU.

I don't own the characters, just like to play with them.

Eliot Spencer had been eyeing Sophie Devereaux-Ford all day. She had caught his eye on the morning of this lazy Thursday at Leverage HQ as she descended the spiral staircase to the main floor with an unusual air of caution. His gaze had followed her from the couch to the kitchen to the dinner table and back again. She had made 6 trips to the bathroom, drank a lot of water and eaten almost nothing. She had made it a point to stay far from her husband, the mastermind, who had not moved from his seat by the window; his only companion a bottle of scotch. Finally, Eliot heard Nate mutter something and watched as he disappeared upstairs. Not knowing how long his window alone with her would last, Eliot jumped up from his chair and placed himself on the coffee table next to Sophie's reclining feet. He faced her on the couch.

"Can I help you?" She asked, an eyebrow raised.

Eliot looked her over, noting the tension in her jaw and the snake like way her arms encircled her stomach. There had been some obvious changes to their lives since Sophie had announced she was expecting, but Eliot had been surprised to find how the news had made him more keenly aware of her safety. Sure, he had also noticed the new fullness in her body, particularly her breasts (I mean he was still a man, for crying out loud,) but mostly he took unintended mental notes of whether or not she had eaten enough that day, how securely her feet were planted on the ground, and how close by Nate was. Now, with her due date less than two weeks away, Eliot had found himself ardently aware of her discomfort, particularly the discomfort she lied about to Nate. Sophie watched as his eyes lingered, locked on hers.

"Eliot, what is the matter with you?" She hissed, not in the mood to be tested. "I have already expressed my disdain for you all staring at me like I'm going to explode."

"Well, you might," came Eliot's reply. Sophie rolled her eyes and adjusted herself in her seat. "Actually, I came to offer you a foot rub."

"Excuse me?"

"It's a nice gesture." He argued, gruffly.

"Fine," she conceded in surprise, "that would be nice. Lord knows I'm not getting one from Mr. Moody any time soon." She shot a glance at the stairs, referencing Nate. Her expression was notably softer than her tone.

Eliot picked up her feet and placed them in his lap. His thumbs found their way to the sole of her left foot. He seemed to win her over instantly, her eyes drifting shut and a small hum escaping her lips.

"Mmmm, Eliot that's wonderful…thank you." Her arms loosened their grip and gently coasted over her belly; she was letting her guard down.

"My pleasure," Eliot murmured earnestly. "Now why don't you tell me when the contractions started?"

Sophie's neck snapped to attention, her eyes now open wide at her friend before her.

"What?" Was all that fell out of her mouth.

"They're 13 minutes apart now but I want to know when they started."

Sophie noticed with absolute horror the smirk that played about Eliot's face as he turned his attention to her right heel. For a moment she thought about pushing that heel into his groin, and then she remembered to whom she was speaking.

"I don't know what you're talking about."

Unphased, Eliot looked at his watch. His smirk widened and he continued to massage the grifter's feet in silence, counting down from thirty in his head. Sophie fixed her eyes on him like a hawk, knowing better than to assume this to be the end of the discussion.

"3…2…1" Eliot ended his counting aloud. Nothing happened. A few second passed, still nothing. As Sophie opened her mouth to pronounce him wrong, Eliot got a very special taste of victory: her toes slowly curling in his hand. "You are so busted, darlin'!"

"Eliot, you don't understand – it's not – " Sophie's ability to string together a sentence was seriously jeopardized by the low, aching pain in her abdomen.

"It's alright." Eliot soothed as he offered his hand.

Her face felt hot, her eyes suddenly swimming in new tears. She ignored his hand and forced a series of short exhales from her mouth. Once she could think again, she threw her feet to the floor and pushed herself forward on the couch, her voice low and sharp as nails:

"I am not in labor, do you understand me? I cannot be in labor. Not today." The tears she felt no control over threatened to betray her force.

"I do understand." Eliot's face remained calm as he leaned towards her, keeping their conversation contained.

"You do?" Her tone called bullshit.

"In all the years I've worked with Nate, there is only one day a year we never take a job. One day where, whether or not he's drinking that week, he downs a whole bottle of scotch. One day he doesn't talk to anyone or do anything, he just stares out that window and thinks. I had Hardison look it up once, but it wasn't that hard to figure out."

By this point, those dreaded tears that had begun building hours before had finally unleashed themselves on her cheeks. She stopped her mouth with a hand, hoping to contain the sobs that followed. Her inability to speak forced Eliot to say the words, though never having seen Sophie cry so candidly, he too had trouble pushing the sounds past his lips:

"It woulda been Sam's birthday."