TinySprite: Okay, he's suffered enough. Let's wrap this up! Beta-d by rainsoakedreams, who is also a writer. Go check her out!
Hardison: Finally...relief...(proceeds to give disclaimer)
Disclaimer: TinySprite doesn't own anything of Leverage aside from this plot and a few plot bunnies. If that changes, I'll be sure to fix it!
As Hardison was trying to calm down from Eliot's visit, (surely that had been a prank...right?) the door swung open to admit Nate, a disturbingly pleasant smile on his face. The mastermind entered the apartment, a package in his hands, "Hello Hardison, I've got something for you."
The hacker eyed him warily, wondering just what was going to happen now, "Oh really? Can I ask what it is?"
Nate nodded agreeably, setting it down on the coffee table in front of the couch, "I was going to surprise you, but I figured you'd want this new laptop as soon as possible."
Despite his better judgment, the young man felt himself perk up, "New laptop? Really?"
The other nodded again, stepping back and motioning to the package, "Go on, it's all yours!"
Hardison smiled and moved over to it, "Thanks man!"
Maybe today was looking up. Could always count on good ol' Nate to come through! Hardison happily opened the package, not noticing the wicked gleam in his boss's eye. He did, however, notice the...thing inside...
Staring at the clunky, old piece of technology, Hardison hesitantly asked, "Nate...what is this?"
Nate motioned to it with one hand, "Your new laptop, what else?"
Hardison carefully lifted it up out of the box and packaging, trying to figure out if something this ancient would even work, "You sure? It's...uh..."
The other man waved his hand, explaining, "It wasn't easy getting you know! I had to track down a couple people, pulled a string or two, all to get that beauty for you!"
Of course, Nate was lying through his teeth. He'd simply gone to a nearby computer store and bought their oldest, crappiest laptop, at a fair price of about three hundred dollars. Hardison didn't need to know that though.
Speaking of which, the young man seemed to be in a bit of shock at the moment, which prompted Nate to ask, "You okay Hardison? I followed exactly what the bill required of me."
Which was just a laptop, around six hundred dollars. It had never said he had to pay exactly that much or couldn't simply get a cheaper one. The hacker just nodded, squeaking out, "I'm fine...I, uh, just wasn't expecting...this..."
The mastermind faked a sigh worthy of a grifter, fishing out a folded up advertisement, "I was originally going to get you this, but then you gave me that bill and I figured I shouldn't."
Hardison felt his eyes bug at the beautiful laptop displayed in the ad. So sleek of a design, so powerful it practically put his old laptop (and the back-ups) to shame, along with a handy carrier case with various attachments included.
Nate let him take the ad, adding on to his previous statement, "Well that and I didn't want to seem like I was trying to gain favors with the landlord by doing that."
Hardison didn't respond, eyes glued to the ad's laptop, clearly wanting it. Nate smiled wickedly to himself as he left his apartment, intent on telling the others (well...Eliot really, and Parker too if she was around) about this success.
Later that night, Hardison personally apologized to each and every one of them, treating the team out to a nice restaurant. The subject of bills and rent never came up again, unless it absolutely had to.