Title: The James Dean Job
Genre: Crossover, SPN/Leverage
Summary: Campbell's Garage gets an order from the Leverage crew.
The interior of the garage was dark and cool compared to the bright July day outside, and Eliot appreciated the change. He might be able to handle just about any kind of weather, but that didn't mean he always liked it.
There was a radio playing classic rock in the background, the sound level much softer than what he would expect around power tools. Hardison had managed to dig up a picture of the man they were looking for, and he was bent over a car engine, changing out a carburetor with the efficiency of someone who knows exactly what he's doing. Despite his apparent absorption in the task, there was something very distinctive about the mechanic's posture.
Eliot deliberately scuffed his foot across a metal grate when he was about ten feet away. Sure enough, the sound created a recognizable change in the way the man stood, and he'd lay even odds that that movement just freed up access to a weapon. He stopped where he was and called out a greeting. "I'm looking for Dean Campbell."
The man straightened and wiped his hands on a rag. "You found him," he said, and Eliot got a good look at the man's eyes and bumped up his danger rating a couple of notches.
"I'm Eliot. Bobby Singer sent me in your direction," he said. Singer had stressed the importance of name-dropping early in the conversation, and Eliot could see the benefit of taking that advice as the man relaxed fractionally.
Campbell nodded and tossed the rag onto a work bench. "Ben?"
A kid who was probably barely a teenager looked up from a battered textbook. Eliot had noticed him when he first walked in, but the boy had stayed quiet and in his line of sight so he hadn't worried about it.
"Watch the shop for a couple of minutes?" The tone Campbell used was somewhere between request and command, the sort of thing you used with your team. Or your family, Eliot supposed, though he didn't have a lot of experience with that last one. When the boy nodded and stood up from his seat, the mechanic led Eliot out the back, past a truly impressive bit of graffiti and into a narrow alley. "I'm not in the life anymore," he said. "Bobby knows that."
"Strictly citizen work," Eliot explained. "We need to get hold of a specific kind of car. One of the people I work with had a contact that suggested Singer. Singer suggested you, and since we were already in Indiana it seemed like a good place to start."
"And who suggested Bobby?"
"Name I got was Tamara." Eliot watched as Campbell processed this information and apparently decided to at least temporarily accept it. Sophie had been specifically instructed by Singer not to mention the original source and given the name Tamara as a safety. She'd gotten Singer's name from a list of "useful people" that she'd originally purchased from a woman named Bela a few years ago.
"What do you need?"
Eliot outlined the details of the car that the mark wanted, along with the specific things they needed to add to make the job work. Campbell nodded thoughtfully when he was done.
"I can do it, but it'll take maybe a week to get it all together. Can you wait that long?"
"Yeah, that should work. Give us time to pull the rest of the job together."
"Want to sit down with me, hammer out the details?"
At Eliot's nod, Campbell led them back into the show and into a surprisingly well-organized office. He noticed that the chairs and desk were set so that no one would have a back to either the door or the two windows that looked out into the garage, even though that made for an awkward use of space.
It took maybe a half hour to go over the details while the mechanic (what else had the man been?) took notes in blocky handwriting. They came to an easy agreement about price and Eliot went on his way. He waited until he was on the road in his own beat-up truck before contacting Hardison and asking him to dig a little deeper on Dean Campbell. The guy was much more than just a mechanic and Eliot hated surprises.
Six days later, Campbell called to tell them that their car was ready and they were no closer to figuring out who the guy was. Nate eventually put his foot down and told Hardison to focus on the job, though he's just as curious as the rest of them. His background came back so clean you could eat off of it, the kind of spotless record that exists when the records are fake. Nate thought the man's face looked familiar, but he couldn't place it, and that just didn't happen to Nate Ford.
So it came as no surprise to Eliot when Nate invited himself along to pick up the bait for their latest mark. It's more shocking that the rest of his crew didn't end up trailing along behind them, but they had their own pieces to pull together and Eliot knew they all had their earbuds on and were listening intently. The crew trusted Nate to put it all together. That was what the mastermind did, after all.
The garage hadn't really changed over the past week. The teenage boy was standing next to Campbell as the older man pointed out some part of the engine of the gorgeous Chevy Impala Eliot had seen last week, and Eliot could see their ordered car gleaming in the dim light. Singer had been right; Campbell had definitely been the man for this particular task. The car was a dead ringer for Little Bastard.
He made sure that the man heard them coming before calling out a greeting, knowing Nate would pick up on his reasons. "Car looks great."
Campbell straightened. "Yeah, well, I can't take all the credit. It was in impound in Ohio. All I did on that front was a new windshield and a couple of touch-ups. Didn't even need to change the VIN."
Nate frowned. "Are you telling me this really is James Dean's car?"
The other man snorted a laugh. "You'd be paying a lot more for it if it was. No, it's just a really good fake. Belonged to a collector who died a few years back."
"And the additions?"
"All there. You guys play it right, you should be able to convince just about anyone that the spirit of James Dean is haunting this car." Eliot thought he caught some hint of emotion from the mechanic, but it was gone before he could define it. "I've got the paperwork and a couple of other things in the office if you want to see them."
Nate nodded. "You took care of the provenance?"
Campbell shrugged. "I finessed a couple of details, but not much needed to be changed. Last guy who owned it was killed in the car, and the friend who was there swore that he saw the ghost of James Dean. I pulled up the police record in case you wanted to use it."
Eliot watched as Nate made up his mind about Dean Campbell. He was pretty sure Nate's opinion coincided with his own: useful contact, not a threat unless made that way, and dangerous. "Thank you, Mr. Campbell. I look forward to doing business with you again some time." They shook hands, Campbell obviously appreciative of the fact that Nate didn't mind the grease and dirt that was transferred, and exchanged the check for a set of keys. This was one number they'd be keeping on file.