Title: Sins of the Past
Author: Sapphire Smoke
Beta(s): Supershineygirl & Rikki Sixx
Fandom: Leverage
Rating: M
Pairing: Sophie/Tara
Timeline: Right after "The Maltese Falcon Job"
Summary: Seeing your ex again after five years isn't easy.


"No, I can't. I'm sorry, I just… can't."

Tara blinks in surprise at the sudden shift in mood as Sophie climbs off her lap a little flustered and hastily begins buttoning her shirt back up. Thirty seconds ago the brunette was on top of her; legs spread on either side of her, her skirt riding up as she panted heavily into Tara's mouth between passionate kisses. Sophie was practically begging for it, except no words were spoken from the moment she stepped into Tara's apartment until now. Sophie practically launched herself at her and now… what the fuck was this?

Tara clicks her tongue in annoyance as she leans back on the bed on her elbows, looking up at Sophie. "That time of the month?" she asks dryly. She really doesn't like being screwed with.

"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have come here," Sophie tells her, breathless from being in such a rush. She grabs her heels that she kicked off not five minutes ago and slips one of them back on, stumbling a bit because she's trying to do it too quickly. Tara just raises an irritated eyebrow.

"What the hell is your problem?" Tara asks bluntly, because she's never been one to keep her annoyance bottled up inside of her.

Sophie looks up as she balances on one foot, trying to slide on her other heel, but she keeps missing her foot because she's not looking. Probably because she's a bit drunk as well – Tara could taste the wine on her lips. "My problem?" she asks, halfway between surprise and irritation at Tara's reluctance to just let her forget about this stupid mistake and walk out the door.

"Did I stutter?"

"No need to be a prat about it, Tara," Sophie replies in a huff. She tries to slip the heel on again but misses and her annoyance reaches a new level as she tosses her shoe across the room. "Bloody pumps! Damnit." She looks over at where her shoe landed and sighs in frustration as she runs her fingers through her hair. She feels like she's falling apart, and now even her damn shoes won't cooperate!

Tara's definitely not helping either; sitting there looking all pissed off at her. Sophie can't entirely blame her, but at least her shoes could cooperate in helping with a speedy getaway. She sighs again, almost defeated, as if letting the shoes know that they've won that round as she walks over to retrieve the one she threw. "I don't have a problem," Sophie avoids, purposely not looking at her.

"No? Then what the hell do you call showing up at my apartment in the middle of the night, practically begging for me to screw your brains out, and then doing a complete one-fucking-eighty?"

Yes, Tara was plenty pissed off.

"I apologized; I said I was sorry," Sophie answers as she finally gets her other shoe on. She pushes the hair out of her face as she stands to full height and looks at Tara on the bed.

"Well good for you, but what I'm wondering is why the hell you came here in the first place."

"Got lost."

Well that was complete rubbish, but it was the first thing that came to mind.

Tara snorts, "Right. So what, you got so lost that you thought this was five years ago then?" She raises a challenging eyebrow at Sophie, who narrows her eyes and grabs her coat off the chair angrily.

"No, of course I didn't! I just… had a bit too much wine at dinner, is all."

"Like two bottles? You can barely fucking stand, Fi."

"Oh sod off, will you? I didn't come here to get bloody interrogated," Sophie replies, infuriated. She throws her coat back on and snaps, "And don't call me that anymore."

"Oh, I'm sorry, Sophie," Tara snaps. "My mistake, the way you practically launched yourself at me made me momentarily forget that we aren't dating anymore." Sarcasm was good; sarcasm was easier. Tara never admits that she's hurt and confused because that gives people the upper hand, and she knows how Sophie is when she's the one in charge of a situation.

"I don't… I don't want to talk about that," Sophie says, stuttering from becoming suddenly flustered again. She grabs her handbag off of the chair, pulling it over her shoulder as she attempts to make herself look a little more presentable and put together. "I have to go."

"Of course you do," Tara says, the annoyance filtering through each word. She shakes her head as she sits up, muttering as she grabs her hair tie off the bedside table and pulls her hair back, "Go ahead and run; it's what you do best anyway."

Sophie was halfway to the door before she heard that.

She rounds on her heel in fury. "Pardon me?"

Tara just cocks an eyebrow at her and says nothing. She knew she shouldn't have opened that door, but she couldn't help it; she was pissed off.

"Do you really want to do this now?" Sophie asks, crossing back to stand in front of Tara again. She throws her purse back in the chair, followed by her coat. "Run? Run? Really Tara, you of all people have the nerve to pull that card?"

"I didn't fucking run out on you!" Tara defends, because she didn't. Not really.

Alright, she kind of did.

"What the bloody hell do you call it then?" Sophie screams, the alcohol in her system not leaving much room for decibel control. It didn't leave much room for knowing better than to rehash old wounds either; but alcohol has never been known to make people smart. They were doing well; Tara and her, sort of, anyway. She called in a favor and Tara took on the job. They talked off and on, but nothing too extensive; and definitely nothing too personal. But now she's back, Nate's just gotten hauled off to jail not more than twelve hours ago, and Tara was supposed to be leaving for Europe in the morning.

Though it's obviously not working now, their unspoken truce, because this is the first time they've actually been face to face privately since, well…

"I was working!" Tara yells back, throwing up her hands. Sophie of all people should get that.

"Bollocks! You snuck out in the middle of the night and left a note that said, and I quote," she holds up her fingers and mockingly air quotes, "'Sorry babe, gotta take off. It was fun; I'll call you.'" Tara winces; she does know how that sounds, but she wasn't about to tell Sophie where she actually had to run off to – she had a job to do and it was dangerous and she didn't need Sophie to get involved and get hurt.

"It was a job, I told you—"

"And then I didn't hear from you for two years!" Sophie screams, her hands connecting with Tara's chest as she pushes her back in a fit of rage. It's not hard, so Tara lets her. She knows she deserves that much at least. "So tell me, what the hell was so bloody fucking important that you had to run off without a word of goodbye or explanation for two years, Tara?"

The fact that they knew she was with Sophie – were watching her to try to get to her. But Tara doesn't tell her that.

"There were… extenuating circumstances," Tara avoids, trying not to let her mind flash back to that time period – it's not the happiest for her. She got away clean eventually; let someone else take the heat for that damn monkey. She did, however; find out later that it was—

"Extenuating circumstances," Sophie mocks. "God, you sound just like Eliot."

Eliot. Right. He was the one that got blamed for that whole mishap, but he seemed to get out of it relatively okay; he's standing at least. Tara has no plans on telling him or anyone else that it was her though.

Tara sighs, knowing she isn't going to win this one unless she tells her everything, which is completely out of the question. "Look Sophie, I'm sorry. But what happened, I mean… shit, what the hell do you want me to say? It didn't mean that I suddenly stopped loving you or something. I just had to—"

The slap comes out of nowhere and leaves her cheek stinging. Tara's eyes flash as Sophie yells, "No! Don't you dare. Don't you even pretend you ever loved me. That's insulting."

"Okay, now you can seriously fuck the hell off out of my apartment," Tara snaps, rubbing her stinging cheek. She won't hit her back; she's not like that, but that damn well doesn't mean she's going to take her abuse either. "Besides, what does it even matter? You've moved on; you're in love with Nate now. So really Fi, whether I tell you that I love you or hate you it really doesn't matter in the end, does it?"

"Nate's in jail! And that's… complicated and none of your business!" Sophie shrieks. "But that doesn't change anything between us, you know that right? I mean, you can't just waltz back into my life and expect me to fawn all over you or something!"

"How hammered are you right now? What the hell are you talking about?" Tara asks, looking at her like she's got three heads. "Did I once say that I wanted you back? No!"

"You were taking off my clothes!"

"Yeah, after you practically threw yourself at me and pushed me onto the bed, what the hell else was I supposed to do?" Tara yells. Damn, see, this is why she hates dating women. Or maybe this is why she hated dating Sophie; she never made sense.

"I was drunk – I am drunk!" Sophie defends. "And… and Nate's locked up, the team's a bloody mess because of it and I'm stressed out and… I don't know! It sounded like a good idea at the time!" She's pacing, waving her hands about in a fit of annoyance and a moment of honesty. "You're… familiar, or something. Comforting— Look! I don't know, alright? I'm a mess, obviously and I just… those are my reasons so what the hell is your excuse?" Sophie snaps.

"That you're a hot mess?" Tara responds, trying to make a joke but Sophie doesn't find it very funny.

"I'm serious, Tara! You should have stopped me!"

"Why the hell would I do that?" Tara asks flatly, because it's a stupid question. She still… damnit, she's not even going to think about it, it won't lead to anywhere good.

"Because we shouldn't complicate things, because we were over five years ago, because you're leaving in the morning, because I'm drunk… do you need more reasons or have I made my point?" Sophie snaps.

"I don't know, how many more reasons you got?"

"You really are a massive prick, you know that?" Sophie replies angrily, tears stinging her eyes and threatening to fall. She doesn't know why she's about to cry, not really. Maybe it's just everything going on; she can't handle it, it's too hard. "Fuck," she swears softly, running her fingers through her hair. She needs to leave, she can't handle this anymore; it's all too much.

But as she turns to walk away, Tara catches her hand and pulls her back. "Don't," she tells her as she pulls her down to sit next to her on the bed. "You're a fucking mess," she tells her softly, watching one stray tear fall down the brunette's cheek. She cups her cheek with her palm and wipes it away with her thumb. She hates seeing Sophie cry. "I'm not gonna just let you wander off to get yourself killed or something," she tells her. "Just sleep here tonight."

"I… I can't," Sophie stutters, her eyes shifting away from Tara's as another frustrated tear falls down her cheek. "I should just go…"

But Tara won't let her get up, even though she tries. "Look, we'll stop with the fighting, okay? Shit happened; what's done is done. But you're drunk and you're not leaving. Now just lay down… I'll get something for you to wear to bed, okay?"

"No, really, you don't have to take care of me. I'm sure I can manage—" on my own, but as she tries to stand up again she's pushed back down to a sitting position on the bed, Tara's hands on her shoulders and a challenging look on her face.

"Don't make me tie you up."

Sophie cracks a small smile and wipes away the last of her tears with the back of her hand, "You'd probably enjoy that a bit too much."

Tara smirks, pushing herself off the bed. "Probably," she says with a grin as she walks over to her closet and starts rifling through it. Sophie sits on the bed and watches her, not sure about how smart staying over is after everything that happened, but wandering around drunk probably wouldn't be any better; it's hard as hell to get a taxi at this time of night and she left her car at the restaurant.

"Here," Tara says, turning around and throwing an oversized t-shirt at her exgirlfriend, who catches it easily. "Should fit."

Sophie looks at it and then back up at her. "Thanks…"

Tara shrugs as she turns around and grabs one for herself before stripping off her shirt. Sophie's eyes go a bit wide as she sees her lacy bra and immediately averts her gaze, feeling a bit like a pervert for staring. Tara changes in front of her like she doesn't have a care in the world about stripping in front of an ex. When she turns back around she looks at Sophie who's playing with the shirt in her hands a bit awkwardly as she stares at it.

"You gonna change?" Tara asks, wondering why she's just sitting there, unmoving.

"What? Yeah. I just…" Sophie stands up, pulling on her clothes a little self consciously. "I'm… going to use your loo." Tara points across the way and Sophie gives her a shy smile before walking past her and into the bathroom.

When she comes back out she's finally changed, she walks over to the chair and lays her clothes on it before looking at Tara who's sitting cross-legged on the bed. She takes a breath, trying not to notice her long, bare, slender legs. This is going to be hell.

"You gonna come to bed or just stand there all night?" Tara asks her.

"Sorry. Yeah," Sophie says, shaking herself out of it. She gives her a little smile, trying to let her know everything is fine before she crosses the room and climbs in bed, pulling the covers up around her chin. Tara looks at her for a moment before leaning over and switching off the light and sliding under the covers with her.

"Oh, shit," Tara says, thinking of something. She turns to look at Sophie. "Do you need like a bucket or something in case you're gonna hurl?"

"I'm not that drunk," Sophie responds in a huff, pulling the covers around her tighter and looking at Tara who lays across from her. She can see the faint outline of her in the dark, but not much else is visible to her slowly adjusting eyes.

"Just checking."

There's a thick silence that falls between the two women as they try to fall asleep. Neither of them can manage to though; each having too much on their mind from the past twenty four hours. Tara sighs and turns her back towards Sophie, hoping that'll help her forget that she's lying in bed with her, but she can still hear her breathing, feel the weight next to her on the bed and it doesn't help one bit; she still knows she's there.

That's she's still there and not hers anymore.

Tara's never been one to get hung up on a lover; people get together and shit changes and they drift apart. She's never had any real connections outside of Sophie though; she's the only one who's ever known what she really does for a living. She's the only one she never had to really lie to. She's avoided topics of conversation, sure, but she never straight out lied. As dramatic and complicated and fucked up as things were with Sophie, she still misses them.

She kind of hates that she misses them too, it's been five years; she should be over that by now.

"You broke my heart, you know."

It's said so quietly that Tara isn't even sure she heard it in the first place. But she turns around slowly, coming face to face with Sophie who's lying there, looking at her sadly. Tara sighs quietly and searches under the blankets until she finds one of Sophie's hands. She holds it, dusting her thumb lightly over the back of it as she looks at her. "I know," she whispers. She chews on her bottom lip a little, feeling guilty. "I'm sorry."

Sophie looks at her for a long time. She squeezes her hand lightly before letting go and sighs, rolling over onto her back to look at the ceiling. "Nate broke my heart too," she whispers, though isn't exactly sure why she's telling Tara any of this. She'll blame all the wine. "Figures though, right? He's an honest man and I'm a thief… not exactly a match made in heaven."

Tara just looks at her silently.

Sophie lets out another breath before chewing on her bottom lip a little. "But you… we're the same, you and I. So it wasn't supposed to be like that. You weren't supposed to just… bloody run out on me like that."

"I've said I was sorry, what else do you want from me?" Tara asks her quietly.

"I don't know," Sophie says, still staring the ceiling. "Nothing, I guess. It was a long time ago. I guess it doesn't matter."

Tara looks at her for a moment before sighing herself and rolling onto her back as well. "It matters to me," she tells her honestly, though wishes that didn't just come out of her mouth.

Sophie turns her head to look at her curiously, "Why?"

Tara laughs a little in disbelief, then shakes her head. "Why do you think? You're not the only one fucked in the head because we're around each other again, you know." She's defensive, getting angry again.

Sophie blinks a little in surprise and rolls over onto her side, propping her head up with her hand to look down at the blonde. "Do you still have feelings for me, Tara?" she asks, surprised.

"Don't flatter yourself."

"Stop being a defensive prat. It was just a question."

"Fuck off."

"Tara!"

Tara turns around, facing her back towards the other woman, not wanting to talk about this. She doesn't even know why she brought it up. "Just go to sleep, Sophie. I have a plane to catch in the morning."

Sophie looks at her, understanding so much but at the same time nothing at all. Tara knows it too; knows Sophie knows how to read her, or anyone for that matter. But it doesn't make a difference; she'll be gone in the morning either way. That's why Sophie doesn't say anything either; doesn't tell her that she still feels for her too, somewhere in that confusing mess that's her heart and head at the moment. She does tentatively touch the blonde's shoulder though before leaning in and kissing her arm lightly.

Tara doesn't move, nor does she say anything. She just stares at the far wall and waits for Sophie to roll over and finally go to sleep, hoping that in the morning she can slip out unnoticed.


"She just left."

Parker looks at Sophie from across Nate's living room couch, popping popcorn into her mouth. She chews it rather obnoxiously before asking, "Wasn't she going to anyway?"

"That's not the point."

"Yes it is; you're back so now we don't need her. We can't have two yous because then we'd need two mes, two Eliots—"

"She's not another me, Parker. She's another Grifter, but she's not another me."

"—two Hardisons… we need another Nate though, since he's all locked up," Parker finishes, popping another piece of popcorn in her mouth idly. Sophie looks at her disapprovingly.

"We're going to get him out."

"I know, but I was just saying; for now we should have a replacement. We got a replacement for you. "

"Only because you all are complete rubbish at grifting," Sophie mutters.

"I did the diamond thing, sort of," Parker defends.

"How did that go, by the way?" Sophie asks.

Parker shrugs, kicking her feet up on the coffee table. "I wore a tight dress and everyone stared at me; even Eliot and Hardison, like I was some kind of alien."

"I take it you looked rather sexy then?" Sophie asks, smiling a little at Parker's womanly accomplishment, which in turn is almost her accomplishment since she's been the one trying to teach Parker about, well, life… and fashion. Though looking at the girl now in her jeans and sneakers, you wouldn't be able to tell that anything had really changed all that much.

Parker makes a face though, clearly disliking that. "I don't want to be sexy, it's impractical."

Sophie sighs, leaning her head back against the chair and looking up at the stairs. "Hardison?" she yells.

"What?" he yells back.

"You get anything yet?"

"Woman, don't you think that if I had I would've told you? These things take time. I don't have a magical fairy up here, you know. You wanna bug someone; call Eliot."

Sophie rolls her eyes, understanding why he was testy; they were all on edge as they tried to figure out a way to get Nate out of jail. She looks over at her purse, where her cell phone is and thinks about calling Eliot to see if he's gotten any information, but she really doesn't wanna deal with his bout of anger just yet.

"Can I steal something yet?" Parker asks, looking up at the stairs as she yells for Hardison.

"Parker! Seriously, both of ya'll need to chill. I'm sorry I can't do this to the speed of your liking, damn," Hardison huffs in annoyance. "Ain't no haste rating in real life."

A haste… what?

Sophie looks up again as she hears him coming down the stairs, laptop in hand. She furrows her eyebrows. "Where are you going?"

"Home, so I can have some peace and quiet while I try to work," Hardison tells her, annoyed.

"You'll call if you—?"

"Obviously."

"But I want to—" Parker starts to complain.

"Parker, relax. Hardison will call you if he needs you to go break in to God knows where," Sophie says, sighing. She watches Hardison leave and Parker pout in boredom and Sophie finds herself rubbing her temples, feeling a bit overwhelmed.

"Do you like her?" Parker asks suddenly, like it wasn't a complete change in topic.

"What?" Sophie asks, looking up at Parker surprised.

"Tara."

"Of course; she's my friend. Sent her here didn't I?"

"No, I mean like how you like Nate," Parker explains. Sophie's eyes go a bit wide.

"What makes you say that?"

"You're all upset because she's gone; more than the rest of us. You look like someone ran over your puppy." Parker's eyes go a bit wide as she thinks about that, "You don't have a puppy that got hit, do you?"

"No, I don't have a…" she sighs. "I don't have a puppy. And Nate's in jail, Parker. Of course I'm going to look like this. It's nothing to do with Tara."

"But you came in here all sad because she left."

"I just… I don't know, maybe wanted some time to reconnect, is all. It's not like we see each other very often," Sophie explains, not really wanting to tell Parker the truth about her relationship with the other grifter.

"Oh," Parker says, seemingly satisfied with that answer, at least for the moment. She munches on some more popcorn before she says with her mouth full, "I think she's a lesbian." She says it so conversationally, like everything else that comes out of her mouth, normal or not.

"A what?" Sophie asks, shocked that Parker came to that conclusion.

"A lesbian. She looked at my boobs a lot," Parker says with a shrug. Sophie's eyes go wide as her brain jumps to an irrational conclusion.

"You didn't sleep with her, did you?"

"Um, no," Parker says, looking confused. "Was I supposed to?"

"NO!"

"Why are you yelling?"

"I'm… not yelling, Parker. Just…" she sighs again, feeling like she's going a bit mad all of a sudden. She was yelling at her. "Sorry, I'm a little stressed out," she apologizes. Parker just shrugs, popping another kernel in her mouth.

Then Sophie's phone rings.

She grabs her purse and shuffles through it, trying to find her phone. She really needs a smaller handbag. Finally she finds it and looks at the caller ID. Her heart starts beating in her chest a little heavier and she looks at Parker. "Sorry I… have to get this," she tells her as she stands up. Parker just grabs the remote off of the coffee table and flips on the television as Sophie presses the talk button as she walks into the other room.

"Hello?"

"…Hey."

Sophie closes the door behind her and leans against it, looking out the far window. "How's Europe?" she asks a little spitefully, not being able to keep the hurt out of her voice that Tara didn't even bother to say goodbye… again.

"You know; loud, obnoxious, all the buildings look like the Great Depression."

Sophie cocks an eyebrow, "That doesn't sound like Europe."

"That's probably because I'm still in Boston."

Sophie blinks, surprised. "What?"

Tara looks up at Nate's window from her place on the street as she leans up against the lamppost. "Missed my flight," she tells her, seeing Sophie cross over the room and look out the window. She doesn't see her though, not yet.

"You left four hours before."

Tara smirks a little. "I guess I got lost. You and I are more alike than you think."

Sophie laughs softly, her forehead resting against the window glass as she bites her lower lip, smiling. "What about Sterling?"

"What about him?"

"Thought you were leaving on account of needing to lie low for awhile," Sophie answers.

Tara shrugs, looking up at Sophie in the window. "Guess I can lie low here, at least until you get Nate back. Kinda felt bad, leaving a job so screwed up; it's not my style."

Sophie smiles a little as she watches the people down on the street. But her eye catches something and then they widen, surprised. She realizes what it is she's looking at and she laughs; she has to.

"What?" Tara asks, confused.

"You look a bit like a stalker standing out there, do you know that?"

Tara smirks, looking back up at her in the window. "Every woman's fantasy," she teases.

"I worry about your taste sometimes," Sophie tells her, but she's grinning. She watches Tara shrug.

"What does that say about you then?"

"That there's an exception to every rule."

Tara laughs. They just look at each other for a moment through the window before she says, "Come have a drink with me, Fi."

"Thought you didn't want me anymore."

"Who said anything about that? It's just a drink," Tara defends with a raised eyebrow.

"You think I don't know your seduction techniques by now? You're wearing your 'fuck me pumps' and are planning to get me utterly smashed."

Tara looks down at her feet and then smirks before looking back up at Sophie through the window. "Old habits," she explains. "Besides, I don't think I ever had to get your drunk first." She smiles, then shrugs a little. "Come on, one friendly drink. Unless you're working on getting Nate out of the big house, in which case throw me something to do because this city is boring unless you're pissing off the cops."

Sophie sighs. "No, that's all Hardison and Eliot's doing right now. Parker and I have been sitting here bored out of our skulls too, waiting for something to do."

"So bring her along."

"Parker?"

"No, the tooth fairy. Of course Parker."

"You wear the 'fuck me pumps' for her benefit then?" Sophie asks with a teasing smile. She sees Tara roll her eyes.

"Just get down here; I'll be in McRory's."


Parker seemed to have either a really high tolerance for alcohol. Either that or it just didn't affect her in any way. While Tara and Sophie were giggling and slightly intoxicated after three hours, Parker was oddly very much that same person that she was when she walked into the bar.

"This is boring, I'm going to go steal something," she announces, standing up.

"Parker, tact," Sophie reminds her.

"I mean, this was…" she cocks her head to the side as she struggles to find the word, "fun, but I need to go steal something now."

Sophie sighs, that was a little better at least.

"How are you not even remotely tipsy right now?" Tara asks, looking at the thief strangely. Parker shrugs and just turns and walks right out the front door without another word. Tara looks at Sophie disbelievingly. "There's something really screwed up about her, isn't there?"

"She's just different," Sophie defends, a little bit of irritation slipping out between her words. Parker is like a little sister to her and sometimes she can get a bit overprotective.

"Sorry, I was just saying."

"It's fine," Sophie says, giving her a little smile and grabbing her purse. "I better be getting off."

Tara raises an amused eyebrow.

"Going. I better be going," Sophie reiterates, feigning annoyance but she's smirking a little. "Figured your mind might have clawed its way out of the gutter after five years, but I guess that was too much to hope for."

"Hey, I'm not the one with weird British terms that sounds like sex propositions," Tara says, holding her hands up in surrender.

"Everything is always about sex with you, isn't it?"

No, it's also about money and having nice things; probably also about staying away from the FBI, preferably. But Tara still doesn't like the way she just said that; like it's an accusation. "What do you mean?"

Sophie looks at her for a minute, debating on whether to say anything. She decides not to though and shakes her head as she stands up, "Nothing."

"Fi, if you have something to say then say it."

"I don't have anything to say. I have to go," Sophie tells her, turning and walking away. Tara's up and following after her shortly and when she sticks her head out the door and sees Sophie walking down the street she calls out:

"Why the hell do you always have to make me do this? Can't you just tell me when you have a problem for once instead of making me drag it out of you? It's really fucking annoying."

Sophie stops, biting her tongue. She turns on her heel and stares at the blonde who finally walks out the door to stand across from her. "Fine. What I meant was that when we were dating all you bloody cared about was getting my knickers off!"

"How many times have you been hit in the head in the last five years?"

"None! You know it's true. You never once took me out somewhere nice."

"And that still bothers you after five years? Seriously?"

"A little, yes. I mean you told me you loved me when I was going down on you, for Christ's sake!" Sophie retorts. Just because it was five years ago doesn't mean it still doesn't hurt. While Tara could be romantic at times during their relationship, she never was at the right moments.

"Is this your way of asking me to ask you on a date?" Tara asks her, folding her arms across her chest as she leans against the side of the bar.

"What? No!"

"Sounds like it."

"I don't need you to make it up to me; I don't care anymore."

"Sounds like you do."

"Tara, you asked and I told you, alright? You're the one who keeps turning everything around to sound like you want a second chance," Sophie retorts. Tara scoffs.

"I'm dating someone," she replies, because she is. Sort of.

"Bollocks."

"Well not dating dating. There's this guy I have back in Paris. Decently muscled, waxes his chest; it could be worse. He smells like that Axe body spray, which I got to say is a lot better than guys that douse themselves with cologne. I don't have as much of an urge to spontaneously vomit when I'm screwing him."

Sophie raises her eyebrows, "Wait… guy?"

"What, you didn't think I was strictly women, did you?" Tara asks, surprised herself. She could have sworn she told Sophie that she did like men. Maybe she doesn't like them as much as women, but they had their uses sometimes.

Even if sometimes isn't nearly that often.

"Yeah, you sound like you're really into him. I mean, he sometimes doesn't make you nauseous, that's got to be an improvement," Sophie says dryly.

"Hey, I don't get on your ass about your sex life, do I?"

"I'd have to have one for you to harp on about, actually; which I don't."

"No wonder you threw yourself at me last night."

Sophie raises her eyebrows, getting more irritated with each passing moment. "Did you seriously just say that to me?"

"No, actually Jack Daniels did that. I'm having a word with him right now," Tara says, attempting to make a joke to cover the fact that she just stuck her foot in her mouth; which really, is actually the alcohol's fault, so it wasn't so much a joke rather than a fact.

Sophie stares at her for a moment before saying, "Goodbye, Tara," and turning on her heel to leave.

Shit.

Tara watches her walk a couple steps before she bursts out with: "I'll take you out!" She wants to slap herself in the face for shouting that out, but Sophie stops, turning around slowly to look at her. At least it made her stop walking away. "If that's what you want… I'll take you out," Tara finishes a little awkwardly.

"I never said that's what I wanted."

Tara rolls her eyes, "Please, you've always wanted to be treated like a princess. I heard you even pretended to be one once. What was it, the Princess of Serbia?"

"Slovenia, I was just in Serbia at the time."

"Right."

"How did you know about that?" Sophie asks, surprised. Tara just shrugs noncommittally and Sophie bites her cheek a little as she smirks.

"Checking up?"

"So sue me if I get worried."

"I would never do that," Sophie says with a smirk. "You've always made a better lawyer than I have."

"So yes or no?" Tara asks.

"To what?"

"To the date, Fi."

"Oh." Sophie looks at her for a moment, pulling on the purse strung over her shoulder a little awkwardly. "Um, no. No, I don't think so," she says finally, quietly.

Tara tries to keep her face neutral, but that was pretty difficult. She shrugs. "It's fine, I was just—"

"I mean there's Nate," Sophie says quickly, trying to explain. "Not that I'm… with him, it's not like that. Not really. I don't know what it's like, actually. It's all so bloody confusing. And he's in jail, the whole team is stressed and I don't think now is really the right time to—"

"No, it's cool. I get it."

"No, you don't," Sophie tells her. She shakes her head, looking a little confused. "I mean you just… come here, and yes I know that I asked you to but I wasn't really expecting to see much of you after I came back as well; so you're here and it's… confusing. I never actually thought that I'd…"

"That'd you what?" Tara asks softly.

"Forget it."

"Fi."

"Look, we just… it's been a long time, yeah? And maybe we should talk more before we take any kind of step like that. I still don't know what I want. One minute I do want you and the next I'm wishing Nate was here. That's not fair to you."

"I was just trying to make it up to you," Tara tells her. "I wasn't trying to—"

"You were," Sophie tells her. "You are. Tara, you might be a brilliant grifter but you're a shit liar when it comes to your own feelings." It's said so bluntly that it takes the blonde aback for a second.

Tara just stares at her; she doesn't like being so exposed like this.

"Maybe you should just… come up," Sophie offers lightly.

"Come up where?"

"To my flat, we can talk."

"What if I don't want to talk?" Tara asks, annoyed a bit at the sudden exposure of her feelings. She's defensive and that makes her a little angry.

"Then we can sit there and stare at each other all night," Sophie tells her. She walks over to her, her heels clicking on the pavement with each step. She takes Tara's hand in hers and starts walking away, pulling her a little to follow. "Come on."


"I wasn't trying to get you back."

"Tara…" Sophie starts, sighing a little as she closes the door behind them. She hates when Tara gets all defensive about things, especially when Sophie knows she's lying.

"You've always been so damn full of yourself. I was just trying to make up for being a horrible girlfriend before. You don't have to read into everything and dissect it, you know."

"I never said you were a horrible girlfriend," Sophie tells her, crossing the room past her to put her things down in the living room. She shrugs off her coat and says, "And I don't understand why you've always done this; we're both grifters, Tara. We both read people for a living. You really think I'm off about this?" She turns to look at her. "Can you just be honest with me like an adult?"

"I am being the adult here; I've been polite enough not to point out every damn thing I've read on your face all day," Tara retorts pointedly.

Sophie scoffs, "Like what?"

Tara laughs a little. Fine, if she wants to play this way then that's fine by her; she can play this game better than Sophie. She looks her dead in the eye and tells her, "You've been putting extra effort into controlling your gaze; you're staring at my face because you don't want to be obvious about where your mind wanders off to when there's a break in conversation. Every time I move away from you, you've been subconsciously moving towards me so we stay at your controlled length; not too close but not too far away, which means you're conflicted about me. However whenever I swear, your pupils dilate just a little, which means—"

"I do not get turned on when you swear!" Sophie defends loudly.

"Fuck."

Sophie can tell by the look of triumph on Tara's face that her pupils did just dilate a little and okay, fine, maybe in some odd way it does turn her on. But that's not the point. "Well you know I'm conflicted, which I was honest about already, wasn't I?"

"And you're obsession with staring at my face?"

"You… have a very beautiful face," Sophie avoids.

"Fi."

"Well I didn't want to give you the wrong impression by checking you out!" Sophie says, frustrated.

"How is it the wrong impression when all it tells me is that you want to fuck me?" Tara asks, walking closer to her. But she gets too close and Sophie backs up a couple steps, running her fingers through her hair, getting a little nervous.

"Maybe you don't have morals, but I don't go around and shag everyone I think is attractive," Sophie tells her. "And besides, you have more feelings for me besides just sex, don't you?"

Tara looks at her for a moment, chewing on the inside of her cheek before she sighs and averts her eyes, "Yeah fine, I'll give you that." Her eyes find hers again though and she stares at her, "But so do you."

"Yes but I don't just feel for you! That's my point. It'd be like using you, and I don't want to do that. You deserve better than that."

"Maybe I don't care about being used, did you ever think of that?" Tara counters.

"You say that now."

"Fi, I'm not asking you to fucking run off and get married, okay? You're making this into too big of a deal. You've always been like this; weighing the pros and cons, ticking off each goddamn box that by the time you're finished with your assessment the whole world's already blown you by." Sophie looks like she's about to retort but Tara continues, "I'm shitty for doing what I did to you back then, okay? And yeah it bothers me because I don't know; I thought we were actually kind of good together. So now I'm stuck wondering what would have happened if I wasn't a selfish asshole and ran off for a payday. Okay? How's that for honesty?"

Sophie blinks a little, not really expecting Tara to just lay it out there like that. She sits down on the couch slowly, looking at the floor for a moment. Tara just stands there, staring at her, and finally Sophie looks up at her. "I wonder that sometimes too," she admits quietly.

Tara crosses the room and sits down next to Sophie on the couch. Sophie turns her head to look at her, trying to gage her reaction but is surprised when she's only met by Tara's lips pressing against hers softly. Sophie closes her eyes, feeling so many things resurface again. The kiss is over too quickly though and when she opens her eyes Tara's looking at her, trying to read her as well.

"Tara, maybe we shouldn't—" but she's cut off by another kiss and the rest of her sentence is mumbled against the blonde's lips.

"Just stop analyzing everything," Tara whispers when they break; her lips mere centimeters away from Sophie's.

"I'm not. It's just Nate—"

"Isn't here right now. Besides, he's drinking again."

"I know that, but I—"

"Do you really think I haven't heard all about the heartbreak that you dealt with when he was drunk?" Tara asks seriously. "I know you love him, Fi, but he doesn't deserve you until he can function like a normal person."

"That's none of your business."

"No? You left because of him, didn't you? And what happened when you left? I had to come fill your place," Tara answers her own question. Sophie sighs, looking away from her.

"So I have to choose between the fear of him getting drunk again or the fear of you running off again?" she asks, without looking at her.

"I'm not going to run off again."

Sophie turns to look at her, "And how do I know that?"

"You don't. You'll just have to trust me," Tara tells her. She slides her hand over Sophie's thigh, squeezing it gently. Sophie looks into her eyes for a moment before looking down at the hand that's resting on her thigh. She takes a breath and puts her hand on top of Tara's gently. She doesn't say anything.

"You are the most beautiful, amazing, strongest woman I've ever known," Tara tells her softly. "I've never seen you run from anything before… except from him." And that pisses her off a little.

"It wasn't just about him," Sophie whispers, looking at her hand on top of Tara's.

"Then what?"

Sophie shakes her head, biting on her lower lip softly. "I was having a…" she laughs a little, shrugging, "identity crisis, of sorts."

"What do you mean?"

Sophie looks at her, a little sadly. "Sophie isn't my real name."

Tara shrugs, "So? You're Sophie now, aren't you? Fi, people like us go by a thousand different names. Each character we play is more real than the last and sometimes the lines blur. You don't want to be Sophie anymore? Then don't. Just let me know what to call you."

Sophie blinks, surprised. "That's it? You're just… fine with that, then? So if I told you to call me Marie from now on, you would?"

Tara chuckles a little. "Babe, being in our line of work is like having MPD. We're liars and manipulators to other people because they can't see the truth in each of our characters. They're real to us; important to us and yeah, completely part of us. While other people see a liar because we're not really French or Russian, we see the time we spent learning those languages and customs and adapting them into our everyday lives. There's pride in that, Marie. Pride that we can answer on the drop of a hat their birthdays, their first crush, most embarrassing moment. We're obsessive and thorough and for all intents and purposes we do become them. Who the hell up and decided that we're all only allowed to be one person in our lives? Cause that's really fucking narrow minded if you ask me. People preach on about change and how it's good for you, but completely change who you are and it's looked down on and you're called a liar. Fuck that. If you don't like who you are and have the ability to become someone new, someone you like, then why the hell wouldn't you?"

"It's not that I don't like Sophie anymore," Sophie tells her, lacing their fingers together finally so that they're holding hands. "And I don't really want to be Marie; she's actually a bit of a self involved twat, she's always gotten what she wanted and it's made her inflate her own self importance." Sophie laughs a little and Tara smirks.

"Rich parents?"

"Loaded."

"Mm," Tara murmurs in agreement. Her Christina is somewhat like that.

"Plus her accent is horrid."

"Then don't be her. Who do you want to be?" Tara asks her seriously.

Sophie looks away from her, staring at the far wall for a moment. She shrugs, trying to figure it out. "I don't… I don't think I'm done with Sophie yet," she admits finally.

"So then what was with the whole identity crisis?"

"Nate…"

Tara groans and leans back against the back of the couch. "Fi, seriously. Who you want to be is who you are; it doesn't matter what your birth name is or where you're really from. If Nate doesn't see that…"

"I know. It's just harder, you know? Dealing with people who don't understand what it's like," Sophie tells her softly.

That's when she really gets it though; that that's really what it's all about: someone getting her. That's all she's ever really wanted and here Tara is, sitting next to her and preaching the same ideals that she herself lives by. Tara lives in her world, understands what it's like to change who you are completely time and time again. She isn't judging her, isn't pushing her for information about her "true" personality. She just accepts her for whatever character Sophie puts out there for everyone to see.

Sophie raises Tara's hand that she's holding to her lips and kisses it softly. "Thank you," she whispers, looking her in the eyes.

Tara smiles softly, "For?"

"Understanding."

"I just live the same life as you do, Sophie."

Sophie nods, pursing her lips tightly together as she looks at the floor. She can feel Tara's eyes on her and the gently squeeze of her hand in hers. "Did you really mean what you said earlier?" Sophie asks without looking at her. "About... me being the most beautiful woman, the strongest, all of that?" She chews on her bottom lip harder.

Tara smirks. "You would have been able to tell if I was lying. Do you want me to say it again?"

Sophie blushes a little, knowing she's been caught fishing. She shrugs self consciously and looks at her out of the corner of her eye. "It was just nice to hear, is all."

"Hey," Tara says softly, smiling as she uses her finger to tip Sophie's chin up to look at her. She looks her in the eyes and tells her, "You are the most beautiful woman I've ever seen in my entire life… and you know I've seen most of the world." Sophie flushes a little again and Tara's smile widens as she leans in to kiss her softly. "And you are amazing," she whispers against her lips. Sophie's eyes flutter closed at the soft caress of the blonde's breath and she leans in a little to kiss her again.

"Promise me you won't run," Sophie breathes, her hand coming to rest on Tara's cheek, stroking her skin with her thumb. She opens her eyes to look at her and Tara smiles softly.

"I won't run."

Tara kisses her again lightly and when they break Sophie asks, "Ever?"

"Ever."

Sophie swallows a little before nodding slowly, still caressing Tara's cheek lightly. She runs her thumb over her jaw and then around to trace her bottom lip. "I still thought about you… all the time," Sophie admits in a whisper.

Tara kisses the thumb that's resting on her lips before Sophie moves it so she can kiss her softly again. Tara closes her eyes and wraps her arms around Sophie's neck, sliding her fingers through her long, dark hair. Sophie parts her lips, allowing the blonde access and when Tara's tongue slips against hers she moans quietly, allowing herself to let go and just feel. She gently pushes Tara back against the couch so she's lying flat, kissing her the entire agonizingly slow way down to the surface beneath them.

Sophie doesn't usually top, but she wants to make sure Tara understands that she knows what she's doing. Her kissing becomes more insistent; more wanting, more demanding as she becomes rather breathless as Tara's hands start exploring every inch of her body, needing to re-familiarize herself with the woman on top of her. Sophie feels Tara grab the hem of her shirt, but she only pushes it up instead of pulling it off. Sophie continues her assault on the blonde's lips as she grabs one of Tara's hands and guides her to pull her shirt off over her head. She wants this; she needs this.

Sophie grinds her hips into Tara as she grasps at her clothes, trying to get them off of her. Tara sits up to allow her to pull her shirt off and once it's discarded to the floor Sophie starts kissing her neck, making Tara bite her lip and close her eyes as one hand digs its fingers into the brunette's back and the other works on getting her skirt off. Sophie lifts her hips, allowing Tara some room for her to slide it down about mid thigh before she grabs her lacy underwear, tearing off one side with one smooth motion.

Sophie bites Tara's neck in response, making the blonde groan beneath her as she cups Sophie's ass and pulls her closer. "I liked those, you know," Sophie breathes into her ear.

"I'll buy you new ones," Tara replies breathlessly before turning her head to capture Sophie's lips again. The rest of their clothes are shed with only a minimal amount of damage and when Sophie finally collapses on top of her with nothing in between them anymore Tara groans out, "Fuck…" She slides her hands up Sophie's bare back as she kisses her shoulder, her neck, her jaw, her ear. "I've missed touching you," she tells her softly.

"Is it the same as it was five years ago?" Sophie asks with a smirk before kissing Tara lightly on the lips before letting her lay back as she kisses her jaw and down her neck.

"You're sexier now; softer."

"Mmm…" Sophie purrs, dragging her lips across Tara's throat. She nips at her collarbone lightly before looking down with an amused smirk on her face. "Those are different," she observes.

"Yeah well, some people buy cars; I bought breasts," Tara says with a smirk, then bites her lip, arching her back as Sophie's lips wrap around one of her nipples, sucking softly. "Shit, Fi…" she breathes.

Sophie kisses her nipple once before looking up at her with a smile, "I like them." She rakes her nails up Tara's stomach, watching the muscles jump and twitch under her touch before cupping one of her full breasts in her hand. Tara sucks in a breath of air quickly; lifting one of her legs up to lay over the back of the couch before pushing her hips into Sophie's in response. The brunette moans as she feel's Tara wet heat connect with her stomach and she bites the underside of her breast lightly, trying to control herself from just diving right into the deep end. Sophie takes a shaky breath before kissing across Tara's ribs as the younger woman tangles her fingers in her hair, each kiss making her breathing shallower.

"Why do you always do this?" Tara asks breathlessly, her eyes closed as she feels Sophie kissing every inch of her slowly and softly. It's nice, more than nice, but… "Why do you always tease?"

Sophie's eyes flick up to look at Tara's face before she trails her tongue around her bellybutton. "I like to savor the moment," she murmurs against her skin.

"But I'm—"

But Tara's cut off by Sophie suddenly leaning over her, pressing her thigh against her center as she grinds into her. Tara's eyes pop open in surprise and a moan passes through her lips as the unexpected roughness behind that. "You're what?" Sophie asks with a little smirk. "Wet? I can feel that."

Tara slides her arms around Sophie's neck, leaning up to kiss her passionately. Sophie kisses her back for a moment before pushing Tara down to lie on her back, a hungry look in her eyes. The eye contact only lasts for a moment as she holds her down by her ribcage, then she starts looking at every piece of exposed flesh below her, licking her bottom lip a little in anticipation. "You'd rather I fuck you like I didn't want to remember?" she asks.

"No, I want you to fuck me, remember, but just do it quickly," Tara corrects, the lustful fire in the pit of her abdomen seeming to expand from each passing moment they lay there. She wants to lean forward and kiss her again, hell, maybe roll them onto the floor so she can be on top, but Sophie's holding her down. Tara likes the control; she finds it sexy, but Sophie's still not—

Tara's thoughts are cut off by both of them moaning as Sophie rolls her hips into hers. She lets Tara go, leaning back down to kiss her like the world was going to end tomorrow; lips, tongue, teeth, as her hands wander over every inch of her skin. Tara cries out against her lips as Sophie's fingers find their destination; slipping over her clit with just enough pressure to make her eyes roll into the back of her head. She has to touch her, needs to feel her, taste her, devour her, own her too. One hand is still cupped around the back of the brunette's neck but the other makes its way between their bodies, both of them hissing in pleasure as she dives into Sophie's own slick heat.

"Fuck me, Tara, please…" Sophie breathes against her lips, sparks igniting through every fiber of her being from being touched again by the other grifter. Reality is so much better than memories; more satisfying, more intense. She shudders a little as Tara starts rubbing soft, slow circles against her clit and she closes her eyes, leaning her forehead against hers.

Sophie's fingers slide over the wetness that coats every inch of Tara, cupping her fully for a moment before slipping one solitary finger deep inside of her. She groans at the feeling and listens to Tara's breathing pick up, her breasts rising and falling quickly against her own. She rolls her hips into Tara's touch and cries out, biting her lower lip to stifle the sound. She kisses her again; slow and deep as she slides another finger into the woman beneath her.

Tara's muscles clench and pull her deeper, a low moan passing her lips at the feel of Sophie inside of her. "Fuck, Fi…" she breathes before she resumes kissing her, rocking her hips against Sophie's hand to speed up the pace, her own fingers quickening the pleasure she's applying to Sophie's clit. Sophie's hips twitch and she gasps into Tara's mouth before another moan, this time louder is released so quickly that she barely had time to take another breath of air. Tara always knew how to touch her just right; to be able to get her to that edge quickly with barely any effort.

"Oh god," Sophie moans, one of her hands grabbing onto the base of the couch and digging her nails in as her face contorts in pleasure. She rests her head against Tara's shoulder, her breathing just as shallow as the blonde's who's grabbing onto her back and pushing her hips against her hand in desperation.

Sophie slides a third finger into Tara, knowing that's what she needs and Tara cries out, arching her back and spreading her legs further before she swears loudly, "Shit! Oh god yes!" She buries her head in Sophie's neck and bites down on her shoulder, making the brunette gasp and then moan hard as Tara applies more pressure to her clit fast.

"Oh fuck, oh god, Tara, you… bloody hell," Sophie moans breathlessly, feeling her orgasm start to build rapidly. She picks up her hand that was grasping onto the couch before she slams it down again hard, lurching forward. She curls her fingers inside of Tara, pressing against her g-spot, needing her to cum with her. Tara's screams are muffled into her neck as Sophie feels her tighten around her fingers and with one last perfect stroke of Tara's fingers, Sophie is falling over the edge too; screaming the whole way down.

Sophie collapses on top of Tara, panting, every inch of her body feeling alive. She closes her eyes as she rides out the last of her orgasm with a smile on her face. Tara really does feel perfect underneath her, each of their bodies seeming to fit together like pieces of a puzzle. Maybe it is stupid to pick something back up that ended five years prior and that could possibly become complicated when they finally do get Nate out of jail. But maybe it isn't and maybe it won't. Maybe it really will finally become what they both hoped it would so long ago.

Either way, Sophie's glad that Tara plans to stick around long enough to find out.

THE END