Title: Worlds Collide
Summary: One server room, two hackers and a building full of guards. Leverage/Losers crossover.
Disclaimer: I don't own Leverage or Losers, they are toys I borrow and play with.
Author's Notes: While re-watching my Losers blu-ray immediately after watching Leverage I noticed something about Jensen that I had to explore further, with Hardison's help and admiration. Hope you enjoy.
"Uh, Eliot, are you close by cause I think someone's …"
Before Hardison could finish his distress call the door to the server room he was hunkered down in was opened by a blond tipped man in glasses and a dress shirt. He was whistling as he opened the door with a swipe card and stopped when he saw the hacker on the floor of the server room amongst a tangle of wires and laptops.
"Hmm," the man said thoughtfully, biting his lip. "Did I come at a bad time?"
"Nah, nah, you know, I was just … just trying to figure out which of these wires was fritzing. We … we're losing a connection somewhere. I'm almost done," Hardison promised, making a show of inspecting the wires strewn across the floor.
For his part the man looked amused as he stepped forward and inspected Hardison's set up. The hacker looked up to read his ID badge – Skippy, from Goliath Tech Support. Oh hell.
He was surprisingly tall and muscular for a computer guy. Though Hardison liked to think people said the same thing about him.
"That's interesting, because it looks like all these wires have all been attached externally to these servers, very recently. As in, I'd say, ten minutes ago, kind of recently," Skippy pointed out with an amused smile.
"Um, nope. I don't think so …" Hardison continued to stall.
"And it looks like your laptop is running Back Key Logger 2000 to get a binary trace on the executive passwords. So … what are you stealing?"
Hardison, feeling royally screwed, eyed the man skeptically and started to gauge how far the door was to make a run for it when Skippy laughed and leaned forward as though to share a secret.
"I'm here for the client records, guy named Max."
Hardison felt a ridiculous grin start to split his face, "You're kidding me."
Skippy held up his hands, "No lie. And I personally recommend Sub7 Launch Strike for a linex system like this, but if you don't know what you're looking for Key Logger does do the faster search."
"No, I hear you," Hardison agreed, still unable to believe he had run into another hacker on a job. "Uh, we're after the international banking records actually, trying to pin the company to some drug running."
"Oh yeah? Sounds like something they'd do." Skippy looked interested but then flinched and touched his ear. "No, no, I'm good. Just give me a few minutes."
"Oh hell, right," Hardison swore, touching his own earbud. "Eliot, yeah, no need to rush. It's good. He's a … colleague."
"Thanks man," Skippy said, returning his attention to the hacker, then clearing his throat. "So, awkward question, since you're already set up here, if I gave you a flash drive could you get me the information I needed and I can just, watch the door for you or something?"
"Yeah, no problem. Let me finish up what I got on the go here and then I'll grab that for you," Hardison offered, sitting down and getting back to work.
"Cool," Skippy agreed, tossing Hardison a flash drive and going back over to the door.
Hardison had only just started typing when Eliot's angry voice started echoing in his ear.
"What the hell Hardison? Some guy walks in on you, spouts some nerd talk and now you're best friends? You don't even know who the hell he's working for."
"Hey, honor among thieves, man. Besides, he's legit, I can tell. Us hackers have a code, a system of honor and recognition if you will," Hardison explained in a whisper.
"Dammit Hardison. If I could get up to that floor without setting off the alarms I would come up there and beat some paranoia into you. Just get the hell down here, and if he causes any trouble your code word is Mexico."
"What am I supposed to do, just slip that casually into conversation?"
"Fine, fine, I got it, just, let me work," he requested in a huff and Eliot remained thankfully silent.
Across the room he saw his new partner with his own hand against his ear, clearly having a heated conversation of his own.
"This is much easier and beneficial to everyone," Skippy said into his earpiece. "… I don't see how that's possible. He's hacking into the big bad corporation … well enemy of my enemy is my friend. So just be happy for me, okay, I made a friend! Now stop distracting me!"
"You got people nagging at you while you're trying to work too huh?" Hardison surmised, almost finished with his own hack and moving onto Skippy's search for Max's records.
"Only when I go off book. They get testy when I improvise," Skippy replied.
"I hear you," Hardison agreed, then his eyes widened as he read the data scrolling across his screen. "Whoa, this Max dude has all kinds of nasty firewalls around his information. Who the hell are you trying to take down, man?"
Skippy huffed, pushing up his glasses, "Picture Saddam and Hitler's love child, if he was born in America. All the crazy with an extra dose of patriotism."
"That's some serious stuff."
"Yeah. Can you get through it?" Skippy asked, leaving the door to peer over Hardison's shoulder.
"I should be able to, but I might need a few minutes on this one," Hardison said, pointing at a particularly hard encryption. But Skippy smiled when he saw it.
"No, that one's easy. May I?" he asked. Hardison held up his hands to say 'go right ahead' and let Skippy take his laptop from him. The blond's fingers flew across the keyboard and in fifteen seconds he had destroyed the firewall that would have taken Hardison at least five minutes.
"Whoa. How …?"
"It's based on a CIA algorithm," Skippy answered, then smiled knowingly and added. "That I wrote."
Hardison's eyes narrowed, "I am background checking the hell out of you when I get out of here. FYI."
"Ditto," Skippy concurred and gave him back his computer, pulling out his flash drive with Max's information. "You got an exit plan out of here?"
"Yeah, I gotta get to the 20th floor," Hardison answered automatically and tensed in preparation for Eliot to yell at him for revealing his escape plan.
"Hey, me too!" Skippy said excitedly. "I mean, no cameras in the stairwell, what were they thinking?"
"We noticed that too. So … uh, I guess we can just … go." Hardison suddenly felt awkward walking around the building with this guy, but they were heading to the same place after all.
Skippy nodded enthusiastically and got the door, "After you."
"Thanks," Hardison said, packing up his laptop and walking out first. "Eliot, we're headed to the stairwell."
"We?" Eliot shouted indignantly. "We ain't running a dog pound Hardison, you can't take home strays."
"We're both going the same way, besides, two tech guys talking in the hall is an excellent cover story. Much better than daytime janitor," Hardison pointed out, not able to keep the smile out of his voice. He could have come up with a much more suave cover for Eliot, but this had just been too tempting.
However, he could also hear Eliot's teeth grinding.
"Say one more thing Hardison. Anything. Just say it … I will leave your ass here to get out on your own," the hitter threatened. "See if your new buddy can get you past security."
Hardison looked at Skippy apologetically as they walked down the hall, rolled his eyes and pointed to his earpiece mouthing 'sorry'. Skippy nodded in understanding as they turned down the stairwell marked 35th floor.
"Not even gonna need you man, we are getting out of here smooth as … uh oh."
"Two worst words in the human language," Skippy pointed out as they both looked up when an alarm started sounding. "Well, more like sounds I guess. Do they qualify as words? Maybe I'll check my dictionary."
Skippy looked to actually be reaching down to check the internet on his phone when Hardison grabbed his arm and pulled.
"Seriously? Come on, the guards in this place are nasty and my backup's 15 floors down."
Skippy followed him down the stairwell but also shrugged, "We're not going to need back up, we can just …"
"We are getting all kinds of interrupted today," Skippy sighed dramatically as he placed his hands on his head. Hardison followed suit, moving slowly so as not to agitate the two armed guards that had just burst through the doorway in front of them.
"Hey guys, you know, we just thought we'd get some exercise, don't need to take the elevator all the time, right? Is that a crime these days? I mean, what is this place, Mexico!" Hardison stalled as Eliot yelled in his ear.
"Keep talking." Which was code for 'I'm not close yet'. Oh hell, these guys looked pissed too.
"Are you kidding, this is America," Skippy answered, oddly unphased by the presence of the guards. "Exercise is practically illegal. Luckily, I break the law all the time."
Before Hardison could register what was happening Skippy was moving, pulling the gun out of the closest guard's hand, kicking the other in the stomach and then pistol whipping the first with his own gun. The second guy was bent over from the kick and Skippy proceeded to knee him hard in the face, sending him crashing to the ground unconscious with his co-worker.
"Well, they can tell their boss that they tried," Skippy said with a shrug. Hardison was standing in shock with his hands still on his head until Skippy tapped him on the shoulder. "You okay? Come on, let's go."
"Yeah, yeah I'm good. Eliot, you can take your time. We're uh … we're good," Hardison reported.
Skippy scoffed, "Are you kidding? I'm awesome!"
Hardison looked down at the unconscious guards again before following – he had never heard of a hacker/hitter combo. Hardison could hit a guy if he had to, but this Skippy fellow had mad skills. That had been a tactical take down worthy of Eliot.
"So wait," Hardison requested, not actually stopping but still confused. "You hack and you hit?"
"I also sing and dance," Skippy answered happily, jumping down three steps at a time.
Hardison huffed, "Next you're gonna tell me you're a grifter too."
His companion turned and raised an eyebrow, "Well yeah. You don't think my real name's Skippy do you?"
Hardison didn't know how to respond to that so instead touched his earpiece.
"Eliot, we'll be at the 20th floor soon."
From the grunting sounds coming over the comm line Hardison knew that Eliot had run into guards of his own, but the hitter still took the time to answer, "Meet you there."
As he and Skippy continued down ten more flights of stairs, with Skippy humming (was that Journey?) all the way down, Hardison was oddly reluctant to believe his new friend was capable of everything he said. After all, Hardison was the Super-Skrull of thievery, he stole, hacked, grifted and planned to an extent. But he did not fight. This hacker/grifter/hitter seemed to also have planned his own escape as well, but Hardison held on to the hope that Skippy couldn't possibly be able to …
"You rappel too?"
When they got to the 20th floor Skippy had opened up a fire extinguisher display and pulled out a harness rig and rope he had obviously hidden inside earlier.
"Well yeah," Skippy shrugged like it wasn't a big deal as he stepped into the harness with practiced ease. "How else are you going to get down twenty flights of stairs without an elevator?"
"We … we were just going to walk," Hardison answered in awe of this impossible thief he had run into.
"Oh, well I guess this is where we part ways then," Skippy realized and held out his hand with a sincere smile. "It was nice meeting you. Maybe I'll catch you online sometime."
"No doubt," Hardison assured him, shaking his hand with an honest smile of his own. He could be jealous at the same time as he genuinely liked someone, after all.
"Cool. Thanks for the help," Skippy said as he climbed over the railing and prepared to jump.
"You too, nice thing you did with the guards."
The way Skippy laughed Hardison realized that that small display of violence hadn't even registered on Skippy's radar of a note-worthy story to tell the next day.
"Yeah, no problem," Skippy assured him, then took a deep breath, looked down and muttered something Hardison was pretty sure sounded like, "Go Petunias."
And then he jumped.
Hardison stood at the railing looking down, wondering if that had all really just happened, until Eliot burst in angrily, insisting they go.
"What the hell are you looking at?" Eliot asked when Hardison didn't immediately move from the railing. "Where'd the guy go?"
"He jumped. He had a harness rig set up," Hardison answered, finally turning around.
Eliot arched an eyebrow, "That would have been a good idea. Who the hell was he, anyway?"
Hardison shook his head, unable to believe it himself.
Eliot shook his head and didn't ask as they jogged down twenty flights of stairs.
To anyone who doesn't know Leverage and The Losers, I apologize if there was any confusion.
Skippy = Jensen.
Hope you all enjoyed either way. Later days, Robin.