"Snatch." one-shot by Eccentric Banshee
© 2007 Sara Parker everything but what you recognize. The rest goes to Guy Ritchie.
A/N – Just a warning—nothing in this story is of substance. It's pure fluff, but I thought the idea was cute and couldn't resist. I'm not even a Brad Pitt fan! Mickey, however, was irresistible. I had considered a full-length story, but figured that there wouldn't be much of an audience, so I just produced this. I hope you enjoy! Don't be afraid to leave feedback!
"And you know not to talk to them?"
"For goodness' sakes, Duncan, they're only a bunch of pikeys."
"Only?" Duncan Carmichael coughed in disbelief, looking away from the roughly-shaped road to his sister Juliet, who was staring out the window. "Sod that! Pikeys are a bloody scourge on this planet! We'd all be better off if they were all dead."
"Hey!" Juliet turned her head sharply. "Watch your mouth." Duncan snorted.
"You'll hear worse at the pikey camp," he told her.
"That's no reason for you to forget what Mum taught us," said Juliet, turning her head to stare out the window again. "Anyway, I don't see what all the fuss is about them. Met a group of gypsies 'bout a year ago—friendly people, and they didn't rob me blind."
"Well, you've never met this group," Duncan grumbled. "It's at least three men I know have been…" He glanced sideways at her. "…screwed over by them."
"Then why are you dealing with them?" Juliet asked, turning her head to look at him with expressive blue-green eyes. Duncan immediately turned a bit shifty.
"Cause they're the only ones I can get the car from for two-fifty," he replied, rather reluctantly, then hurried to change the subject. "Look, enough about me! I'm giving you the rules, little sis. You didn't bring any money, did you?"
"No reason to," she said with a sigh, deciding to let it go for the time being.
"Good, 'cause those little pikey kids'll have it outta your pocket 'fore you can say 'Father Ted.' And for heaven's sake, don't wander off!"
"What, afraid they'll snatch me up and spook me away?" she asked sardonically. "Please. I'm sure they're more civilized than you make them out to be." Duncan snorted again.
"Yeah, whatever makes you happy, princess. Just remember what I told you," he ordered.
Juliet sighed and turned to look out the window again. Aside from being hopelessly pessimistic, Duncan had a fairly strong hatred towards any disorganized miscreant—ironic, since Juliet had a strong suspicion that Duncan was a disorganized miscreant himself.
She knew she wasn't supposed to know that, so she wisely kept her mouth shut but her eyes open. She hadn't even lived with Duncan but for two months—he wasn't necessarily happy with the arrangement, but after their mum died at the end of her last semester at college, she decided to take a few months off. As much as Duncan disliked the idea of her living with him, he liked the idea of her living alone in Glasgow with no school to keep her out of trouble even less.
So she came, and it wasn't a week before she first smelled shady dealings. Duncan was shifty when it came to talking about his work, and pretty much all she could get out of him was that he worked for a man named Eddie—the same man they were buying the car for today. Whenever his 'co-workers' came to discuss business, he shifted immediately into protective older-brother mode, glaring at them fiercely until he could herd his sister from the room.
She went along with most of his protective impulses, for, though she could be incredibly stubborn if she wanted to, he was stubborn too, and it usually wasn't worth the trouble. Their arguments, though, when they occurred, were legendary.
Her fingers tightened on the hair tie around her wrist, and rather absently she reached up and gathered her mess of golden-red curls, fastening them back into a messy ponytail that still saw a good many curls falling into her face. She didn't mind, though—she was one out of the two that had inherited their mother's red Scotch-Irish hair. Duncan had taken on their English father's blonde.
The day was overcast, but she didn't mind that either, accustomed to the British weather. They were breaking out from the trees now, into a clearing littered with caravans, bikes, cars, dogs, and people. As Duncan let the car coast to a stop, Juliet was vaguely aware that they happened to be an object of some interest among the pikers. As soon as the car had stopped completely, gypsy children surrounded them.
"I don't like this," Duncan muttered, looking around. "Stay here; don't come out till I say you can."
"What was the point of giving me all those 'rules,' then?" she asked irritably.
"Stay here," he said firmly, getting out of the car.
Annoyed, Juliet turned, and seeing a bunch of kids ogling the car, she rolled down the window. "Hullo, lads."
"Cor, that's a nice car!" one of them said. She sank back in her seat.
"Apparently not nice enough," she grumbled.
"What d'ye mean?"
"We're here to buy a car—from one of your dads, I imagine."
"Which Da?" asked a different, bespectacled boy, a slightly greedy gleam in his eyes.
"I have no clue," she said, unlocking the door and stepping out, not minding that the flared edges of her jeans were dragging slightly in the mud—the black trainers were a hopeless cause. "That's what my brother's here for, isn't it?" She crossed her arms tightly over her fitted hunter-green t-shirt, warding off a slight chill as she turned to look at said brother, who had just noticed that she'd disobeyed him and was glaring at her.
"I told you to stay in the car," he snapped. She lifted an eyebrow—he'd been talking to a group of about five men, all of whom were staring at her now (most with some variation of a grin on their faces), but she took it in stride.
"There's no harm in getting out," she said reasonably. "You worry too much, big brother." He grunted but apparently decided not to make a scene, turning back to the gypsy men, who after staring at her for another second or two returned their attention to him.
"Bit o'a protective bast'd, isn' he?" asked one of the kids.
"Tell me about it," she remarked dryly.
"Dy'like dags?" another questioned.
"Huh?" she queried.
"Dags. Dy'like em?"
"Oh," she said, correctly interpreting the question the second time around and nodding, "Yeah, I love them."
"Y'lookin' for one, then?"
"Well, I would have one, but the 'protective bast'd,'" she said, thumbing over her shoulder at her brother, "doesn't like them near as much as I do. So, since I'm living with him, dogs aren't allowed anywhere near us."
One of the boys said something to another, and they all started grinning madly at her. "W'll 'ave te talk t'im about that, then, won't we?" asked the bespectacled boy.
She grinned and opened her mouth to respond, but a noise behind her made her turn to see that her brother was arguing with the group of men, quite vehemently. The pikeys looked amused more than anything as Duncan yelled himself red. She turned back to the boys, but they'd scattered like roaches at the flick of a switch.
Sighing, she decided she'd better go interfere before Duncan made the wrong people angry. The gypsies looked cheerful now, but that could change at any second. As she trekked up to his side, she tuned in to what he was shouting: "You said two-fifty! Two-fifty pound and that was all!"
"I said i'was subject te change," said their leader, a tall man with scruffy facial hair, an odd-looking hat over boyish-trimmed, dirty blonde hair and big blue eyes. "Shore an' ye heard me."
"Of course I heard you, but I DIDN'T BLOODY UNDERSTAND YOUR GABBLE!" shouted Duncan. Juliet was fairly sure that a vein was poking out from his forehead, and she decided that it was time to intervene, even though it looked as if two or three of the men were actually giggling to themselves.
"Excuse me," she said, putting her arm almost as a shield between the gypsy men and Duncan and grabbing her brother's shoulder, "we'll be just a moment." She steered him away forcibly, and the pikeys gathered around in their own little group, allowing the siblings their privacy.
"I'm going to murder him," Duncan was muttering.
"What," hissed Juliet, "is going on?" Her brother glared, though she was fairly sure he wasn't angry at her.
"That bastard!" he scowled. "Raised the price from two-fifty to three-fifty! That's another hundred pounds! If I wanted to pay an arm and a leg for a broken-down car, I'd go to the junkyard!"
Juliet craned her neck to look at the pikeys. They were muttering to each other in their own dialect and she couldn't understand a word of it, though they would laugh occasionally and glance over at them. She looked back at her brother, who seemed to be calming down a bit, and spoke quietly. "Well, can you just back away now? Tell them that you're not interested anymore?"
"They're not the Mob," Duncan said grudgingly. "They're not going to kill me for walking away from a deal. But it pisses me off that I'm going to have to go back to Eddie and tell him—"
"I'll tell ye what, bai!" called the blue-eyed pikey, glancing in their direction. Disconcerted, Juliet and Duncan looked at him. "I'll make ye a deal. Ef t'wee pix o'er there consents t'a kass, I bring t'price down t' two-seventy."
"What?!" Duncan roared, enraged once more. If Juliet hadn't comprehended the gypsy when first he spoke, she understood the look of hilarity in his eye, and wondered for a fleeting moment if he was just going to these lengths to see her brother get so angry. The pikey began to repeat himself, but Duncan snapped, "I heard you! What makes you think that—"
Juliet, her challenging nature awakened, put a hand on his arm. "Duncan, just a minute." It was as if someone cut off his voice—he kept mouthing words, but the volume completely disappeared as she eyed the gypsy. "What's your name?"
"I'been called many t'ings, but me Ma called me Mickey," he said nonchalantly.
She sized him up, eyeing him from head to toe before she said, "You'll have to bring it down to two-hundred before we consider it."
Mickey's eyes twinkled willfully. She decided then that it had gone beyond the matter of a car; that the gypsies didn't trade out of need, but out of the entertainment that provoking outsiders provided. "Two-fifty but tha's as low as it'll get."
Juliet considered him for a moment, looked him over again, and then nodded. "All right."
"Juliet!" bellowed Duncan, recovering his voice as he grabbed her shoulder and turned her back to him. "What are you doing?"
"Saving you a hundred pounds, big brother," she said, blinking innocently in a way that she knew he hated. He glared at her.
"Mum's rolling in her grave."
"Of course she is."
"Are you bloody serious?"
"As always." Duncan stared at her, and then released her, throwing up his hands in pure frustration.
"Fine. Do what you want, then!" he hissed, scowling fiercely, but Juliet knew that if they got out of this without paying a hundred extra pounds, this would turn into quite the interesting story to tell at the bar.
She turned, seeing that Mickey was waiting patiently, a slight smirk on his face as he clasped his hands behind him. Feeling the first pang of misgiving now that her competitive spirit had abruptly abandoned her, she approached him, ignoring the giggles and snickers coming from the onlookers.
"I have your word on this?" she questioned, stalling as she told herself firmly you've made your bed, now you have to lie in it.
Mickey grinned. "Wha, ye think wur liars? Course ye do!"
"All right," she said, and then took a breath, stepped forward to close the distance between them, and stood on tiptoe, taking his scruffy face in her hands. She felt the prick of stubble against her palms as she leaned up to kiss him.
To his credit, he didn't touch her. No, he let his mouth do the work. His lips were a tad bit rougher than they looked, but it was actually rather agreeable. She tasted something pleasantly spicy, scored with an undercurrent of alcohol—not overpoweringly strong, as it would be on a drunk's breath, but a serene reminder.
Thousands of nerve endings tingled as he went to work, and Juliet struggled to comprehend that she was kissing an Irish gypsy—and actually enjoying it. As a matter of fact, she was snogging him back, quite thoroughly. Heaven only knew what they looked like to the rest of the pikey camp.
The pikey camp. Catcalls and whistles brought her back to reality with a rather hard bump, but she didn't pull away in case he called it a foul and insisted on another. Or did she want that? No, this was still a business deal. She had no way of predicting the outcome if she did pull back.
Perhaps sensing that she was more distracted by their surroundings than before, Mickey broke it off. He grinned slightly at her, and then lifted his hat, running a ringed hand through his hair before replacing it. One of the other gypsies shouted something, a bawdy suggestion Juliet guessed, and his eyes snapped towards them before he glanced back at her. "Well, a deal's a deal," he said with a smile.
"Yes, it is," she remarked. His good mood was infectious; she couldn't help but grin in response.
"Good," came Duncan's rather unwelcome voice as he stepped between her and Mickey, "so maybe you can stop violating my sister and we can get this over with."
Mickey glanced over her brother's shoulder at her once before glancing at Duncan. "Right, let's hammer ou' the spec'fics," he said swiftly and cheerfully, and turned, trudging through the mud towards what would apparently be the car they were buying. Duncan glared at Juliet and then stalked after him.
She stood there for a moment in the middle of the camp, trainers covered in mud, and then grinned and trailed after the two of them.
Let it never be said that gypsies are bad kissers.