A/N - Written for the leverage500 community over at LJ. The challenge was "lies", and for whatever reason it compelled me to write this. So, anyways, hope you like it, and please REVIEW, because I can't get better if you don't tell me what's good or bad. Thanks! =)
Disclaimer: Not mine. But you knew that already.
Sophie found Nate standing in a doorway of their new offices, a full glass of scotch in his hand, the ice nearly melted, just staring, a small, almost happy smile on his face. She approached slowly, scared to do something to break whatever spell had been cast that caused Nate to look almost… At peace. Something of a rarity nowadays.
When she came to stand next to him, and he still showed no signs of noticing her, she asked quietly, "Nate?"
"Hmm?" He murmured, turning to look at her, that tentative smile still in place.
She noted delightedly that his eyes were clear, and the only smell of liquor was wafting from the glass. "It's very late," she told him. "What are you still doing here?"
It was very late. Or, more accurately, extremely early. It was sometimes hard to tell, after a job, where night ended and morning began. Parker had told them once, when they were headed back to the offices and the sun had just begun to peek over the horizon, that she hated staying up through one day and into the next - that it felt like she was watching the sunrise from the wrong side. Sophie had to agree with her.
"I can't sleep yet," he confessed, and she saw a shadow flutter behind his eyes, before he turned back, looking once more through the doorway, and his smile flickered to life once more.
She understood. Their last job had been a hard one. Not the objective of the job itself, but pulling it off…
Neither Parker nor Hardison had walked away unscathed.
Eliot barely walked away at all.
Nate brushed silently past her shoulder, setting his still full glass on a nearby table, and continuing into the center of the room.
Sophie took his place, leaning against the doorway, and peered into the room that had so raptly captured his attention.
She watched as Nate took the throw from the back of a chair, and gently settled it over the three young thieves who laid sprawled across the couch, a tangle of dark and gold and white limbs, like a litter of kittens snuggled together for warmth.
She wondered if they even realized how far they'd come - from solitary, standoffish strangers, to teammates, friends, family. She wondered if Nate could see it, blooming before his eyes, as it was hers, or if he was still too shattered by the loss of his last family.
That question was answered for her when she saw the gentle sweep of his hand pass over each of their sleep-softened faces.
Nate stood at her side once more, and pressed a kiss to her cheek so soft and quick that she would have half though she'd imagined it, if not for the tender brush of his hand down her arm, and the whispered "Goodnight, Sophie," as he left the room.
She stood there for a long while after, pressing a hand against her tingling cheek, staring in at the others, sleeping peacefully on the couch.
And thinking that for the first time in two years, Nate's smile hadn't been a lie.