Title: Forty Weeks
Characters: Nate Ford, Sophie Devereaux, Team (plus Tara)
Pairing: Nate/Sophie, peripheral Parker/Hardison
Summary: There are an average of forty weeks in a pregnancy. That means the team has at most thirty to prepare for the hardest job they've ever pulled: raising a baby. Sequel to Happy. N/S, but with heavy presence of the team.
Spoilers/Time Period: Set at the end of a hypothetical fifth season, does not dispute canon up through The Morning After Job. Set six weeks after Nate and Sophie tell the team in Happy, but all you have to know is that Nate and Sophie are married and expecting.
Disclaimer: None of the characters are mine.
Author's Note: Thanks for sticking with this one. Two more parts after this. I'm glad you're still enjoying!
They finally settle on faint minty green linens and paint the walls a pale lavender with bright Gerbera daisies painted by Sophie's expert hand. The nursery is coming along well. Painting becomes a team-wide activity, with the others doing the rolling and Sophie directing while she pencils in the daisies.
They haven't taken a job since the day of Sophie's hospital visit. (The younger team members had finished that one that night, quickly and ruthlessly, not wanting to leave a job unfinished but having little time or patience for subtlety.)
There's an unspoken agreement that they'll only take the jobs that are time sensitive, afraid of putting too much stress on their grifter-turned-mastermind, who always worried when their mastermind-turned-grifter was doing her job.
One such job does pop up in early November., and it is both pressing and beyond the pay grade of their two substitute grifters. Apart from their fears about stress, at seven months along, Sophie is showing far too much to pull off the job herself. That leaves them two options: turn down the job or call in back-up.
"Hardison didn't mention why you need me on this one," Tara says amiably into the webcam, trying to figure out just what exactly is different about Sophie. "Mark know your face? Planning another soul-searching globetrot?"
"Nothing like that," Sophie grins, leaning over and back to grab something behind her.
"Or because you're like a million months pregnant!" Tara exclaims.
"Only seven months," Sophie corrects with a laugh.
"Holy shit, Soph. Why didn't you tell me?"
"Because this moment is far more entertaining."
"Of course, your flair for the dramatic."
"Hopefully she'll inherit it."
Sophie rests her hand on her stomach.
"It's a girl?"
Sophie nods with a beaming smile.
"Hi, Tara," Parker suddenly interrupts, passing through the frame. She stops just long enough to rub Sophie's belly and continues on her way.
"She's an odd one."
"Tell me about it," Sophie sighs affectionately, "She's barely left my side since we told them! She's fairly obsessed with the whole matter."
"So you're retired?"
"Maternity leave," Sophie demurs. "I had a bit of a health scare a while back, plus we're not as young as we used to be."
"Bit of a health scare," Tara hears Nate grumble in the background.
"So you want me to pinch hit?"
"If you have a few days to come help. You'll get a cut."
"Yeah, sure, I can move some stuff around. It's been awhile. It'll be nice to see you."
"Oh great, thank you. Hardison will send you a plane ticket. Is Thursday too soon?"
"That'll be great. See you then."
The town car drops her off in front of McRory's, which hasn't changed a bit. Sophie texted her earlier to tell her they would all be in the back room of the bar and to come on through. They all greet her warmly, even Parker, who had once dangled her off a building. Tara immediately notices two things: first, that neither Nate or Parker is ever more than five feet away from Sophie, and second, that Sophie Devereaux is the single most beautiful pregnant woman she has ever seen.
She sits under the arm Nate has slung over the back of her chair, her eyes bright, her face beaming. She's adopted the unconscious habit of resting her hand on her expanded stomach (only seven months?).
Tara has never seen Sophie so at peace, with full trust in her team, in her family.
The younger team members order a round of drinks from the bar. Tara regales them with anecdotes from her recent jobs, the others groaning when she and Sophie get too caught up in shoptalk. The team then tells all about their misadventures in nursery decorating, highlighting the inability of their five great minds combined to put together the crib and changing table.
"I put the dresser together," Parker defends her greatness.
"Ya just had to put the drawers in, Parker," Eliot deflates her ego.
Park shrugs and moves on to showing Tara the baby's latest ultrasound picture on her phone, pointing out every barely identifiable feature.
"Alright, well, unfortunately I have to call it a night," Sophie says as the evening gets later, stifling her fourth yawn in ten minutes.
"Want company?" Nate asks as she stands.
"No, stay, have fun," Sophie assures him with a squeeze on the shoulder and a kiss on the cheek. "Goodnight."
"'Night." Nate drops his hand to her belly. "Goodnight."
That earns a round of mocking "Aw"s from all involved, which Tara gladly joins in.
"I'm coming too," Parker announces, popping up and gluing herself to Sophie's side, disappearing into the bar with her.
"I'm clingy, but Parker is just endearing," Nate complains with a wry smile.
"Hey, man, I've lost my girlfriend to a fetus," Hardison commiserates.
"This baby is making us weirder," Eliot sighs, and Tara must agree.
"No whiskey, Nate?" Tara questions.
"No whiskey in twenty weeks, no more for six to ten more," Nate answers matter-of-factly, swirling around his seltzer.
"They made a deal," Hardison elaborates, "If Sophie can't drink, Nate can't drink. Nate's been surprisingly nice about it."
When later that night their substitute grifter sees him staring at a bottle of Jameson, she asks:
"Long five months?"
Nate shakes off his malaise and answers, "Worth it," and takes his leave for the night.
"It's not that big of a deal," Eliot tells her after Nate's gone. "With Nate, drinking was always a symptom, and he's had it under control for the past couple years. More social, less medicinal. I think it's just to prove to both of them that he can."
"He's a totally different person."
Hardison laughs. "Yeah, he's more whipped than ever."
"He's good to her, though. Right?" Tara asks, ever doubtful of Nate's ability to step up and be a man who deserves Sophie.
"Yeah, they're pretty disgusting," Hardison assures her. "More schmoopy than ever."
"They still fight, a lot, but it's mostly bickering, and they actually talk about shit," Eliot clarifies.
"Do you really think you'll be able to keep pulling jobs once the baby's here? That's a hell of a complication."
"Sure," ever-optimistic Hardison shrugs.
Just then, Parker reappears in the doorway, and Hardison takes his leave for the night. "See y'all at the briefing."
"To answer your earlier question, no. I don't think we can. But, what can we do? Can't begrudge them their happiness. They'll figure it out soon; both too stubborn to admit it yet," Eliot admits, finishing off his drink.
"And the rest of you? You're all pretty domesticated yourselves. All that talk about cribs and ultrasound pictures."
Eliot smiles a little. "We'll do it as long as we can."
In a lull in the con, Tara finds Sophie working on some of the detail work on the daisies in the nursery. Three of the walls are done, dark mahogany furniture contrasting with the light paint. The dresser and changing table each cover one wall, and in one corner is a beautifully crafted rocking chair. Pushed away from the wall and covered in a dust cloth is what must be the crib.
"Hello," Sophie greets her warmly, setting aside her paintbrushes. She's dressed in her painting clothes: a pair of leggings, one of Nate's undershirts and one of his button-ups donated to the cause, her hair pulled into a loose ponytail.
"Hey," Tara returns, slipping out and flipping off her ear bud.
Knitting her brow, Sophie does the same.
"Is everything alright?"
"Fine. Just wanted to talk to you without Hardison's running commentary."
Sophie smiles. "Ah, yes. One does get used to it."
"If you say so."
"Do you mind if I sit?" Sophie asks, stretching out her back.
"God, of course not."
Sophie settles into the rocking chair. Tara leans against the changing table.
"Nursery looks good," Tara starts.
"Thanks," Sophie draws out, obviously trying to read her fellow grifter. "Out with it, then."
"Can't you afford a nicer place? I know you're doing the whole Robin Hood thing now, but you had a very successful career before."
"Of course I can," Sophie says slowly.
"Then why are you putting a nursery above the team headquarters? This is a bachelor pad, at best."
"We like it here. Nate grew up nearby." She crosses her arms over her stomach. "Is this about the location of the nursery or the existence of the nursery?"
"Sophie, is this really the life you want? Eliot told me you haven't acted in years. Is that because of Nate?"
"Nate loves my acting," Sophie defends, "It's just not who I am anymore."
"So, now you're the barefoot and pregnant type."
Tara rises an eyebrow and gestures easily to her feet, earning a Sophie glare.
"Regardless of whether or not I'm wearing shoes, Tara, I'm not the same person I was when we were running around the world conning ridiculously wealthy men. And yes, this is the life I want. Alright?"
"Yeah, alright. I'm sorry. It's just…"
Sophie relaxes her guard and nods sympathetically. "I know, I've had the same arguments in my head a few times, and this is always the conclusion I come to. Though, I do suddenly feel the need to put on some shoes."
"And you love him?"
"More than anything. Well," she drops a hand to her belly. "Almost anything."
"Sophie?" Parker's voice reaches them, soon followed by the thief herself. "Oh, here she is. She's just talking to Tara." Parker directs herself to the two grifters. "Nate wanted to ask Sophie about something for the job, but when he couldn't get you on coms, he was… Nate about it."
Sophie rolls her eyes and shakes her head, pushing herself out of the chair to retrieve her ear piece.
"Clingy, Nate, very clingy," Sophie complains, but she does it with a smile on her face. "Yes, we're coming down now, but you really have to stop. I'm in the apartment, No, Parker wasn't worried, you were worried."
"I was worried, too," Parker pipes up.
And with the way the younger woman has been hovering, Tara isn't surprised.
"Well then, you need to stop, too," Sophie says more gently, shooing Parker out of the door. "Two more months and then they can put all this nervous energy into the baby. I'll be wonderfully irrelevant."
As Tara puts her own earpiece in she hears Nate say:
to be continued