It was dark.
Sophie wanted tp embrace the welcoming blackness and the escape from pain that it promised, but his voice held her back.
It had started when he gasped. That one, sharp intake of breath held all the anguish and horror that he felt, and she heard him scramble towards her. His hands were on her shoulders, her face, her neck. It would have been nice if it didn't hurt. She could hear him muttering under his breath.
"Oh no... God, please no. Sophie, wake up. Please. Please wake up. Oh god... no. What have I done? Sophie... Sophie answer me please. You're okay. You're okay. I swear you'll get through this Sophie. C'mon Sophie. Wake up. Talk to me, please."
She would have been happy to escape to the blackness if not for the desperation in his voice. She wanted to make that sadness go away, and the only way to do that was to do what he said.
"Talk about what?" She asked, opening her eyes slowly and looking at him through a haze of pain.
"Oh thank God Sophie. Are you okay?" He was kneeling, hovering over her. One knee was resting on the ground to hold him up. His other knee was hovering over her head, and his hands were stroking the hair from her face. She scowled at him.
"You shot me, and you're asking if I'm okay?" She asked, incredulous. "Of course not!"
Nate gently slid his arms under her and stood up, cradling her against his chest. The movement hardly made Sophie wince. "You'll be okay." He told her earnestly, his blue eyes alight with guilt. "I'll make it better."
Sophie just closed her eyes and nodded, her head moving up and down against his chest, before succumbing to the blackness, safe in his arms.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you."Sophie started and turned. Nate was kneeling at her side in the theatre box, and he was watching as her hand slunk towards her companion's pocketbook. She surveyed him. His hair was slicked back, and one knee rested on the ground, the other bent near his chest as he tried to remain low and unnoticed. "It will give me a reason to arrest you."
"You don't already have one?" Sophie asked quietly. Nate smiled.
"I have several, but I was hoping that you might spend the evening with me before I arrest you."
"Why would I come with you if I know that you intend to arrest me?" Sophie asked.
"Because the alternative is me leaving and you not getting to see me for at least another few months. Can you really live through that?"
"I think I probably could." Sophie said, a secretive smile on her face. She glanced at him to see his forlorn look, and a low chuckle escaped her. "But I don't think I will."
He smiled and held out his hand, and she slipped out of her seat and took it, pulling him off his knee and to his feet. "Our second time in Paris." Nate smiled. "I'll be here for a week. Let's make it last."
Sophie noticed something odd. Though he had offered his left hand, there was no glint of his silver wedding ring. He led her out into the Parisian night, and she inspected his hand to find it bare. "Your ring..."
Nate looked to the sky. "Maggie filed for a divorce." He told her quietly. "My marriage is over."
"I'm sorry about that."
"To be honest? I'm not." Nate gave her a sideways smile, then spun her in a circle. "I fell for someone else."
Sophie smiled. "Well. Isn't that unexpected."
"Are you really surprised?" Nate asked, pulling her closer. She took hold of his shirt collar and pulled him closer as well.
"No." Nate grinned.
"Well that's what brings me here."
Sophie grinned and pulled him closer. "Rappelez cette nuit, Monsieur Ford. Rappelez de nous."
The door handle turned and Sophie nodded to herself. She was no Parker, but she was fair at picking locks. The fact that it was eleven am and Nathan's front door was locked confirmed what she had already assumed. He had been up late drinking last night, and was either passed out or hungover right now. Either way, he wasn't in the office and he was supposed to be.
She checked his kitchen, his bathroom, and then went to his bedroom, where she stopped and make a sound of disgust.
He hadn't even made it to his bed. Nate had passed out, kneeling at the edge of his bed. He was still dressed in the same clothes as yesterday, and was kneeling at the foot of his bed with one arm across the sheets, his head resting on his arm. His other arm was dangling to the floor, and an empty bottle of bourbon was lying against his fingertips. Sophie scoffed and went to his side. She placed a hand on his shoulder and shook him awake, more roughly that she should have. He jerked awake and squinted at her, his brow furrowed.
"Sophie. What...?" He groaned, hung over. Sophie sighed.
"Come on. You're going to go to bed and sleep this off."
"What time is it?"
"Oh no. I'm supposed to be at the office."
"Now he remembers." She leaned down and took his arm, wrapping it around her shoulders and using that as Leverage to pull him to his feet. He leaned heavily against her and stumbled as she led him to his bed. She pulled the jacket off his shoulders and he stumbled out of his shoes. She undid the buttons on his shirt, leaving him only in last night's trousers and an undershirt.
"Thanks Soph." Nate mumbled groggily. Sophie rolled her eyes.
"Honestly Nate, this is ridiculous. You're getting worse." She pushed him onto his bed, and he, off balance, stumbled backwards onto the mattress.
"I'm a 'functioning alcoholic'." Nate said, a sly grin on his face as he squinted at her. She resisted the urge to slap him.
"Just shut up and go to sleep." She retorted. She pulled the blankets around him and tucked him in. He had already fallen asleep. Disgusted, she left him in his bedroom and called Hardison.
"He's hungover. I put him to bed. We'll work out the finer details tomorrow, same time. He'll be there." She said. "You can all go home. Sorry about the false alarm."
"A'ight." Hardison agreed amiably. Sophie doubted that the others would be so willing to accept the rules. She left Nate to his blatant alcoholism, unwilling to deal with him anymore.
Sophie was slammed into the chair in Nate's office, but she wasn't complaining. She pulled him closer, moaning quietly against his lips. He was on his feet, leaning over her. One hand was at the back of her neck, holding her head back. The other was resting on her thigh, and steadily moving upward, making her skirt ride up, more and more.
"Nate..." She moaned his name, and he kissed her with more desperation than ever, along her jaw and neck.. "We're in the middle of a con. We have to be presentable in an hour. We shouldn't."
"No. You're right. We shouldn't." Nate agreed. He didn't stop, however, and Sophie didn't object again.
She undid the buttons on his shirt, sliding it off his shoulders so that she could explore the hard muscles of his arms. Her jacket had long since been removed, and she made short work of his undershirt as well, exposing his hard chest. He left a trail of kisses down her jaw, her neck, her collarbone, and Sophie realized just how much her skirt had ridden up. It was gathered around her waist, and from the mischievous grin Nate was giving her, he knew it.
"Nate, I-" She broke off as he dropped down to one knee...
They walked together along the street, the Eiffel Tower to their side. Sophie's hand was in his, their fingers intertwined. He smiled at her, and she tilted her head to the side. "What's this about Nate? You asked me to come with you to Paris. We've been here for a week, and you haven't given me a reason yet."
"Do you know what day it is, Sophie?"
"Wednesday?" Sophie tried, guessing that wasn't the answer Nate wasn't looking for.
"No. Well, yes, but that's not what I meant. It was eleven years ago today that I saw you in Prague. And, oddly enough, nine years ago today that I met you in Damascus."
"So you brought me to Paris, because...?"
"Because it was in Paris that I was single with you, and I think that's significant." Nate stopped walking, slipping his hands into his pockets, and Sophie paused as well, curious. "I brought you here for a reason." He pulled a little velvet lined box out of his pocket and dropped down on one knee. He opened the box to reveal a silver ring, with a large diamond set amongst smaller diamonds.
"Nate..." Sophie gasped, her eyes huge and round. Nate looked up at her and smiled.
"You were easy for me to fall for. Too easy, even though I was married at the time. I'm not afraid to try again, because I know that I have found the one woman I can't live without, so I have to ask you, Sophie Devereaux..." He pulled the ring from it's case and took her left hand in both of his. "If I promise to never stop loving you, and if I never let you down, will you be mine forever? Will you marry me?"
Sophie had tears in her eyes, and a few spilled over, but her response had no hesitation in it. "Nate... of course." She whispered. Nate grinned, slipped the ring on her finger, and kissed her hand.