first fiction, i own nothing. this is taking place sometime after sophie's return. i just started watching the show a few months ago, so i'm catching up, but i still haven't seen all episodes. plus, i'm kind of seeing it out of order. so, if there are chronological errors or anything, my apologies, but just roll with it. (the same goes for grammatical errors.) Enjoy!

"Hurry up, Parker," Eliot growls as Sophie passes by with the mark. The shipping company's owner was taking her to his office on the pier to show her which ship would be carrying her 'property.' Meanwhile, Parker is planting some stolen antiquities in the patsy's safe and photographing his shipping routes and manifests.

"This safe is all rusted! What kind of man would neglect a gem like this?" She grumbles, trying to decipher between the creaks of the old dial and the tumblers within it.

"She needs more time, Sophie," says Eliot, tugging the dirty stocking hat further down on his head. Being a hitter is hard work, but the life of a dock worker is no picnic either. He blows into his cupped hands to warm them as their grifter pretends to get her stiletto heel stuck between the weather worn beams of the dock.

"Almost there," Parker mutters.

"So are we," Sophie says under her breath.

"Parker, get out of there!" Nate's voice sounds sternly in their ears.

This was supposed to be a simple job. When Benny Trevino contacted them a week ago, they all thought it would be a piece of cake. The owner of a shipping company, David Thompson, has been doing some shady business, mainly trading antiquities through Macedonia. When the client started poking around after noticing a few discrepancies in the ship's manifests, an extra crate or container here and there, the mark fired him and got him thrown out of the local union.
Now Benny is left with no job and no pension and a daughter just starting her second semester of Columbia.

"So, we're just framing him then?" asks Parker sounding a little disappointed.

"Well, yes," explains Nate trying to hold on to his patience. "But, it s not quite that simple."

"All we're doing is framing him for crimes that he actually did commit."

"What s wrong with that?" Hardison wonders incredulously. The blonde just shrugs sullenly and slouches into the couch, clearly bored by this case.

"He's been importing stolen artifacts, but we are going to frame him for exporting. His security is less on outgoing shipments," the mastermind explains.

"We also have to scare him into making a run for it," Sophie supplies hoping to interest Parker.

"Into international waters," adds Eliot. "This guy has a lot of friends in high places. If Boston P.D. or the FBI get a hold of him, he'll call in a few favors and be in the wind in twenty minutes." Nate ignores the thief s grumblings (ex: no motion detectors, no retinal scanners, there isn t even a cool name for this con.) and lays out the plan.

Eliot will disguise himself as a dock worker to gather information, while Sophie goes in as a mysterious French woman who needed some items shipped back to France with no questions asked. Nate will be putting the legal pressure on Thompson, just enough to make him gather his money and plan an extended vacation.

Parker is responsible for acquiring some stolen artifacts and planting them in his safe, plus getting all the shipping routes so they knew where to direct the authorities when they tip them off. And, Hardison will do what he always does, best not get into the specifics.

That was the plan and it was going surprisingly well. By the time Sophie and Thompson reached his office, which was little more than a few rooms in a rickety building at the end of the pier, there was no sign of Parker. Nate was poised to barge in sounding official to make the mark nervous and after he left, Sophie would finish job, filling his head with the worst case scenario. It was just after Nate walked in that it happened.

The group had stopped questioning Parker's impressive disappearing acts. They are still a little jumpy with her impressive reappearing acts, but they were getting used to those too. Nobody suspected that she might be in trouble, not even her, when she slipped out the window, just as Sophie and the mark were opening the door.

Eliot thought he would see her strolling down the pier any second, getting the same looks that Sophie got a few minutes ago and being completely unaware of it. Hardison was looking forward to her hopping into the van to wait out the rest of the mission with him.

As Nate flashed fake Interpol credentials, the team, via their ear pieces, heard a crack.

"What was that?" Hardison and Eliot asked in unison. Nate and Sophie merely thought it as they ran with the grift. If Parker could have answered them, she would have explained that it was the sound of wood that has been assaulted by the elements for sixty years giving way under the weight of a small blonde thief. She couldn't tell them that because she was too busy falling.

This is formatting really weird, so again, my apologies!