In the wee small hours of the morning… that's the time you miss her most of all.
Nate sighed, Frank Sinatra playing a song that was far too true for comfort playing softly in the background. It was one fifteen in the morning, and all he could do was think about Sophie.
The grifter was in London. Nate had seen her there, but the fact that she was a seven hour flight away didn't make him feel much better. He missed her, and he knew that it would be killing him for a very long time. Tara was a good grifter, but she wasn't Sophie. That bothered him, that when he was giving orders, it wasn't Sophie's clear British accent that he heard, but Tara's casual American. It threw him off, made him give pause every time, which was a bad thing for someone who needed so badly to be working flawlessly in the moment. It was bad.
A drink sat in his hand, a small glass of gin, and a half-full bottle that had been completely full when he started at midnight. She would have killed him if she knew, but she was seven hours away. The thought burned, and Nate threw back his drink. It burned going down, and it felt right with the burn of her absence, so slow and powerful that it had put a bottle in his hands when he was sure that nothing could.
Once upon a time, he had been sure that he would never see her again, never have the chance to have her back, and he had been able to accept the loss of Sophie that time. He had been able to accept the loss of them all. This time had been different. He'd had no warning that he was about to lose her. No time to prepare himself. Sophie had been worrying for so long about if Nate would break again, and he wondered if she had gone to try not to break him. She hadn't succeeded. Her disappearance had the opposite of the desired effect: he was broken. Not shattered, the way Sam had left him, but broken enough to go near a drink again. Maybe she thought he was strong enough, or maybe she just didn't give a damn if he started drinking again.
He was starting to suspect that hearing from him only made her angrier, but he was a bit drunk, and his judgment was more than a little clouded. He picked up the phone. It rang once… twice…
"Nate, is something wrong?" Her voice was like a balm to him, soothing British and calm demeanor.
"No, no… I just…. wanted to check up on you." Nate replied, smiling at her voice.
"Are you drunk, Nate?"
He heard the slight slur to her words. "Are you?"
"I might have had a few martinis. I'm not drunk though." Sophie said, her voice defensive. Nate smiled.
"You're drunk. You only get defensive when you're drunk."
"Bugger off." Sophie snapped. Nate chuckled. It was so good to hear her voice, even when she was telling him off.
"I might be a little drunk." Nate admitted. "I don't make a habit of it, but it's a bad night."
"Nate… if I find out you've been running cons drunk again…."
"Sophie, I'm fine. Don't worry about me." Nate replied. "Just be thankful that I am drunk. I wouldn't have called if I wasn't."
"So you wouldn't call me unless you're drunk." Sophie repeated it flatly, and Nate winced, knowing that he had said the right thing and phrased it the exactly wrong way.
"No, I mean…. It wouldn't have been long before I came and begged you to come back. My being drunk just gave me a little push in the right direction."
"So you want me back. Why?"
"We miss you." Nate told her quietly. "I miss you."
"I…. I have to go Nate." She hung up on him swiftly. Nate sighed and downed half of the bottle of gin quickly. It burned, but there was a residual pain of Sophie saying goodbye so abruptly. It was cruel, that he would be so in love with someone who didn't feel the same. That he had gotten so close. Maybe he just wasn't meant to be happy. Maybe he had been so happy with Maggie and Sam that he had used up all the allotted happiness for himself. Maybe he couldn't have Sophie because she made him happy, and he wasn't allowed to be happy anymore.
He passed out on the couch that night, and woke up, miserably hungover, to the sound of someone rapping on his door loudly. "'Go away!"
Whoever it was, one of the team obviously, picked the lock, and Nate sighed and sat up as it opened. "Nate? I'm… I'm home."
Nate looked at the British grifter, impossibly more lovely than when she left, standing in the doorway and watching him. "S….. Sophie."
"I'm back Nate. If you'll still have me, that is." Nate was across the room in a moment, pulling her into his arms and kissing her soundly before she could flinch away. She leaned into it, wrapping her arms around his neck and pulling him closer to her.
Nate pulled away for a breath and found Sophie staring at him. "I'll do more than that. I'll love you."
It's a quarter after one, I'm all alone and I need you now.
I know I said I wouldn't call, but I'm a little drunk and I need you now.
And I don't know how I can do without. I just need you now.