1The others were gone, the team separated without Sophie. They wouldn't stay together, sans one teammate.
"Okay... bye then." Sophie turned around, and the words escaped, unbidden, from Nate's lips.
"Wait." Sophie paused, but didn't turn to face him. "Where are you going?"
"Towards the airport. I'm leaving, Nathan. I'm leaving the team. I'm leaving the country."
"The airport is a long way away. Do you want a ride?" Nate hated himself for even offering, to make it even easier for her to leave him. Still... it was a few precious extra moments with her, and he would give anything to prolong his time with her.
"You'll tail me."
"No. I won't." He promised. She turned and examined him shrewdly, searching with all the skills she knew to detect a lie.
"No, you won't." She agreed eventually, looking satisfied. "Then I'll take a ride."
He opened the car door for her one last time, and, like always, she brushed against him as she got in, her lips just inches from hers. He wanted so badly to take that kiss he had been refusing himself for too long now, but it would do him no good. It was better to keep quiet and let himself wonder than to know. She got into the car, looking slightly disappointed and he closed the door reluctantly before walking around to the driver's side of the car and climbing in.
"So any idea what country you're going to?" Nate asked, after a moment's silence."
"I haven't thought about it." Sophie replied quietly. "I'll probably just go. I haven't done that in so long. I miss the freedom of not having to hold back. It's been a lone time since I've been able to sit and not worry about more than myself."
Nate knew that was directed at him. He wasn't stupid. He got her pointed asides and barely veiled insults. He understood that she had been waiting for him, and that she was done waiting. He also knew that he wouldn't get her back for anything in the world, which was killing him. "That sounds relaxing. Don't get caught, Sophie."
"I might go straight." Sophie mused. "After all, I did it before..."
Nate pulled up to the airport. "Why did you become a citizen?"
Sophie looked at him. "Because you stopped chasing me." She replied honestly. "Good bye Nathan."
The words that Nate really wanted to say caught in his throat. "Good bye Sophie."
Sophie closed the door and headed towards the doors, and Nate rolled down his windows. "Sophie!" She turned, one eyebrow raised. "I-" The words caught again, and Nate looked away for a minute. "I just wanted to say good luck."
"To you too." Sophie replied calmly, wearing one of her personas. Sophie wasn't this apathetic. She turned around and went into the airport. Nate rolled his window up.
"I love you..." The words were so easy to say when she wasn't there to receive them. He drove off to a spot where he could park and watch the airport. He sat on the roof of his car, watching as airplanes took off and vanished, wondering which one was carrying Sophie away from him. He dug in his glove box for a flask of some kind of liquor and resumed his seat, watching until well after sunset. He wanted to believe that she would be back. He wanted to believe that he would see her again, but he wouldn't. She had said she was never coming back, and he didn't doubt it. He had heard her say it, and he knew that she wasn't lying. He knew her voice better than any sound in the world.
No matter the accent she was always the same. It and she had this eternal quality. Her voice brought out something in him. It's quality, warmth. Even during a con. It's a little stronger, a higher energy – making her more attractive. Lord help him, but it did. She was already gorgeous. But this voice, her voice, put him over the top. Drove him wild. And masochist that he was he learned every nuance. "About" came out British no matter what. He could tell she was lying, tell when she meant it. When a Good Bye was really a Good Bye.
She was never coming back.
Sophie was in a window seat, and her sharp eyes caught the glint of sunlight of a red Tulsa Roadster that was parked nearby. There was a figure in dark clothing leaning against the hood, and Sophie touched her fingertips to the window. "Nate..." She blinked back tears, fighting a losing battle and quickly surrendering. Her heart was begging her to do anything to get off this plane. To go to him and never let go, but she had to be stronger than that. She had become too attached to them all, and so she had to go. To get out of there. It wasn't safe for thieves to get that close to each other. Nate was still leaning against his car, but he stood up as her plane took off. She whimpered, pressing her palm flat to the window as though she could reach through the glass and to him. "Nate..." Tears spilled over her cheeks. "I love you."