Disclaimer: The usual. The characters, plot, and everything apart from the idea to mix'n'match them are not mine. Shocking, I know.
Notes: Princess Bride. Leverage. What more needs to be said?
Concrit: go for it.
Around the city, three cells buzzed, beeped, and jingled with an incoming text.
"Got job. Meet Intl terminal asap."
Around the city, three criminals dropped what they were doing, picked up their nearest stashed go bag, and sped to the airport.
"~On coms. ETA ten minutes.~" Eliot's voice was the first to check in, quickly followed by Parker.
"~I'm up. Be there in eight.~"
"Sophie?" Nate asked.
"~I'm here. Fifteen.~"
"Okay. Good. Take off in two hours."
"~What's the fire?~"
"The word is, a planned K&R of a royal family member."
The silence over coms was pointed, finally broken by Sophie. "~I beg your pardon?~"
"~Yeah, don't bother, guys,~" Hardison said. "~I tried. It's a done deal. He's being Nate.~"
The smile was audible in Sophie's voice. "~Unreasonable, you mean?~"
"Hey, I can hear you."
Eliot's voice did not sound like he was smiling. "~Nate, there are people for this. Alert their security.~"
"Can't. It sounds like there might be someone on the inside, but we don't know who."
"The client. Intel's still patchy at the moment."
Eliot grunted. "~Great. Our favorite thing.~"
"Hardison's working on it."
"~Yeah, and cannibalizing the van, and setting up the travel plans, and forging everything we're gonna need, and organizing equipment and funds. If you want half our equipment to function, we're gonna need to pick up a lot of stuff on the way, Nate.~"
"The thing right now is to get there. It's going to take a while, at least two flights, and the last leg by boat. There's no airport anywhere close."
That reminded Hardison. "~Right, and FYI, there's barely any coverage to speak of in the whole backward-assed country. You do this to me just for kicks, am I right? I'm going to end up running command on a toaster, I bet a billion dollars.~"
"I'll be glad if we even have electricity," Nate said, smiling slightly. "You probably should pick up a generator somewhere."
For few moments, the only sound on coms was Hardison's spluttering.
Then Parker piped up. "~So where are we going?~"
Nate sighed. "Florin."
Five hours out from Zurich, and Nate could feel on coms that rest of the team were getting seriously edgy about the lack of information. Sophie, next to him in first class, kept giving him sidelong looks from behind her magazine. It was getting on his nerves.
"Hardison? What have you got?"
"~Uh, a news-flash? That nagging me won't make this go any faster.~"
"~Anything you got, man, can we just do this?~" It sounded like Eliot was feeling about as patient as Sophie. Being stuck in coach probably had something to do with that. Hardison had managed to get two seats next to one another in business as well, which he'd assigned to himself and Parker. It made sense, he'd said.
"~I got enough for a basic brief. Very basic.~"
"~You wanna kick off? I need to sequence a couple of things.~"
"Alright, but we don't have much in the way of specifics yet. The client received information about an attempt to abduct the crown prince's fiancée. She's very popular, apparently. Worth a lot, done right. Florin's monarchy still governs."
"~Sounds high-risk to me,~" said Parker. "~I mean, stealing crown jewels is one thing, and even those are guarded closely. Stealing royalty is another.~"
Sophie smiled a little. "Depends on the country. Florin's a bit ... useless, in the grand scheme of things."
"~You're telling me. I didn't even know it existed before today,~" said Hardison.
"Well, hate to stereotype, you know, but there are a lot of countries you Americans are fuzzy on. Unless you're invading them. And even then...."
"~Hey, look, just because me n'Parker hadn't heard of it – ~"
"~Alright,~" Eliot interrupted, putting a stop to that sidetrack before it began. "~Time frame?~"
Nate shrugged. "Within the week, our guy said, but he can't narrow it down past that. He wants us to stop it from happening. Maybe he'll have more intel by the time we get there."
"~Yeah. On that subject, Nate – who is this guy?~"
"Ah ... what do you mean?"
"~I mean, what kind of client has us on a plane to the backside of Europe with half an hour's notice and no idea what we're dropping into?~"
"He's a ... he's someone I know. He asked for my help, and believe me, he wouldn't if he didn't need it." Sophie raised her eyebrows at him, and he decided they didn't need to get sidetracked with that right now, either. "Yeah. Okay. Hardison?
"~Yeah. The visuals should be coming up on your phones. And let me just tell you, any intel we got before hitting the ground and checking it out ourselves is gonna be extremely sketchy. It's like the whole region fell in love with the seventeenth century and decided to just stay there. I can barely get anything remotely. I mean, these guys are still on the gold standard.~"
"~As in...?~" Parker asked.
"~As in, funds are gonna be a bitch unless one o' y'all's got a talent for crapping gold coins I don't know about.~"
There was a pause, and then Parker asked, "~Wouldn't you have to swallow them first?~"
It was late in the afternoon, at the end of a day's worth of travelling, when they made rendezvous with their client's ship. The man who welcomed them aboard seemed young, although the mask he wore made it harder to peg his age. And there was something stern in his bearing which suggested that, however youthful his appearance, his age in competence and will was far higher than his mere years would suggest.
"Nathan!" he greeted him as they boarded, hobbling surprisingly gracefully on crutches toward them. "Am I glad to see you. Thank you for coming."
"Of course," Nate replied, shaking his hand. "This is my team. Sophie, Eliot, Parker, Hardison, this is Westley, our client."
"Yes, unfortunately," Westley said wryly, shaking their hands. "I was intending to take care of this myself, but unexpected broken legs being what they are, I'm not up to it, I'm afraid. Welcome to the Revenge."
Parker looked up. "Hey – that's a Jolly Roger. You're a pirate!"
"Succinctly put." Westley continued to sound coolly amused, although that could have been because of his Florinese accent, very similar to an educated English one. "The captain, in fact." If he was surprised that this made the team turn to stare at Nate instead of at himself, he didn't show it. "My men can show you where to stow your belongings, and then I can brief you on our situation."
The team were stowing their equipment, and everything Hardison had managed to scrounge at the last port, when a sudden shout arrested all activity on deck.
"Just got word, sir, from your man in Florin. The lady's been snatched. You was right."
"Only this afternoon. He says the rumors are all over the place, already."
The ship seemed to explode into action, a chaos of men choreographed by Westley's rapid-fire orders. Within a few minutes the Revenge was underway, heading for the coast of Florin. Then he turned his attention back to the team, who'd mostly been trying to stay out of the way, and politely ushered them below.
Westley waited for them to pass, then shared a quiet look with Nate. "Again, Nate, thank you for this. You and Dad are the only two people in the world I'd trust to handle this.... And of those two, you're the only one I actually trust."
"Ahm, yeah. Don't mention it," said Nate casually, although it was already too late. He knew by the tilt of Eliot's head that he'd overheard. It was much too much to hope that the hitter couldn't come up with four when someone handed him two and two.
He just knew this was going to get complicated.