The Hand of Uncertainty
Disclaimer: Sadly not mine. Everything recognised as "Leverage" does not belong to me; I've just borrowed some of the characters.
Genres: Angst, Romance, Episode Tag
Warnings: SPOILERS for 4X18 The Last Dam Job – be warned
Summary: She found him, of course, in a bar. [Post-ep for The Last Dam Job]
A/N Wasn't that just an amazing season finale? I have lots of thoughts about Nate's choice at the end of the episode so I'm using Sophie as my spokesperson. I've not written Nate and Sophie before so, as always, have at it; I can only get better.
She found him, of course, in a bar.
When Nate disappeared after they dismantled the Bat Cave ("Aw, man, do we have to?" Hardison had protested loudly), she'd asked a pouting Hardison to track his cell phone. That had led her to some dive in a back corner of the city.
Screwing up her nose in disgust, Sophie pushed open the door and stepped inside the dimly lit bar. She scanned the room, finally settling on a familiar mop of dark brown hair.
Nate was hunched over the bar, a nearly empty tumbler in his grasp. Sighing, Sophie made her way over to him and sat down on an empty bar stool. With a look, she asked the bartender how many drinks Nate had consumed already. The bartender held up two fingers.
"Sophie," Nate said, tracing the edge of his glass.
"Nate," Sophie echoed.
"What are you doing here?" Nate asked, downing the last of whatever he was drinking.
"I thought there were plans, Nate," Sophie replied calmly, shaking her head as the bartender asked her if she wanted something to drink.
Sophie shrugged. "You tell me."
Nate sighed, fiddling with his glass. "I don't know what you expect of me, Sophie."
Sophie narrowed her eyes. "I'm glad you didn't do it, Nate, I am, but geez . . . you talked a man – men! – into suicide!" she pointed out. "I'm not stupid. I could see what you were doing."
"I gave them the choice to walk away," Nate replied evenly. "I can't be responsible for the choices of others."
Sophie snorted softly. "You and I both know that's crap. You manipulated Latimer and Dubenich so they had no choice but to turn on each other. You had to know they just wouldn't walk away, not when they had so much to lose with the other alive."
Nate shrugged and picked up his empty tumbler. "I need a drink."
"No, you don't," Sophie said roughly, yanking the glass from Nate's grip.
"Hey!" Nate protested.
"There was no need for you to place the gun so close to the edge of the cliff. It practically guaranteed Dubenich and Latimer losing their balance," Sophie finished, frowning. "Premeditated murder, Nate. Ever heard of it?"
"That was not murder, Sophie," Nate growled, grabbing Sophie's wrist, the one holding his tumbler.
"Let. Go. Of. Me," Sophie demanded coldly as she stood up, and Nate let go as quickly as he had grabbed her.
"I didn't mean . . ." he started, sighing. He pinched the bridge of his nose. "I'm sorry, Soph." His shoulders sagged and he ran his hands through his messy hair.
"For what?" Sophie asked gingerly as she flexed her wrist and sat back down on the bar stool.
Nate shrugged and didn't reply.
Sophie sighed, shaking her head. "You're an impossible man, Nathan Ford." She drummed her fingers on the edge of the bar. "Nate," she ordered, "look at me."
Nate looked up, turning his head to look at Sophie as she apologised, "I didn't mean to compare what happened at the dam to premeditated murder." She played with her fingers, looking slightly unsure of herself. "For what it's worth, it's what I would have do."
She laughed humourlessly. "I don't steal, Nate, not lives, not anything. I manipulate people into giving me what I want, all wrapped up with a pretty bow on top."
"Did you manipulate me?" Nate murmured, lightly running his fingers along Sophie's bare arm.
Sophie smirked. "Not lately." She leaned forward and kissed Nate on the cheek. And then Sophie stood, flipping her dark hair over her shoulder. She cocked her finger in Nate's direction. "Want to find out exactly what I can manipulate you into doing?" she asked suggestively.
"You don't have to manipulate me into doing anything, Soph," Nate replied, in a low, gravelly tone.
Sophie threw him a teasing smile over her shoulder and sauntered over the door. Nate placed some money down on the bar for the drinks he'd bought and followed Sophie to the exit.
"I saw you objectifying me, Mr Ford," Sophie smirked as Nate held the door open for her.
"Oh, I can do a lot more than objectify." He pushed her against the wall and started pressing kisses along her neck, grazing his teeth over her pulse.
"Mmmmm." Sophie made a noise in the back of her throat, but pushed Nate away. She dangled a hotel room key in his face.
Nate immediately went to the edge of the street and hailed a cab. Sophie laughed, coming up behind Nate and whispering in his ear, "I like it when you objectify me." Her breath ghosted over the back on Nate's neck as Sophie slid into the backseat of the hailed cab.
Nate scrambled in after her, knocking his head against the doorframe in his haste. Sophie laughed and slipped her hand into his as the cab pulled away from the curb.
"I'm glad this is all over," she murmured, leaning her head on Nate's shoulder.
Nate looked out the window and squeezed Sophie's hand, a promise of new beginnings.