Author's note: There is one explicit sex scene in here, (one of the canon relationships in the show.) Also, two of the other characters literally leapt into bed together… I definitely did not plan it. But it wouldn't go away, so there it is. There are no explicit descriptions of them though. Hope you enjoy. I don't own Leverage.
Warning: The following contains:
Discussions of torture though no detailed descriptions
Use of drugs and hypnosis without consent
Occasional bad language
Mention of child pornography at one point
Rating is I suppose NC-17 (Though rated R is probably more appropriate)
This was beta'd by the extremely talented alinaandalion so a huge thank you to her. Also, this was inspired by an artwork by the also extremely talented ceares, so many, many thanks to her as well. Written for the Leverage reverse big bang over on livejournal
Max withdrew the needle. The subject's eyes were already fogging over from the effects of the hypnotic agent.
"He's coming along nicely," John said, flipping through the file in his hands. "Much better than the other male."
Max nodded but didn't respond.
He sat down in the chair across from the subject. "Look into my eyes. Now, where did we leave off?" The subject met his eyes through the drugs, the brightest blue eyes Max had ever seen. "Let's go back, shall we?"
Nathan Ford leaned back in his chair. He was on guard duty tonight; ordinarily one of his deputies would have been doing it, but one of them was out of town visiting relatives and the other had taken to his bed with the pneumonia that was going around. There weren't many prisoners here; this small town didn't see much other than drunk and disorderly or the occasional stabbing in a fight over at the local bar.
"Sheriff Ford!" Matthew Shelby burst into the room, out of breath. "You hafta come quick! We caught a woman trying to steal my mother's jewellery. Father told me if you aren't there in half an hour, he's taking her punishment into his own hands!"
"Alright, son, alright. Just slow down. Now, I can't leave the jail unattended just to settle a theft. You run over across to Doc Eller's place, ask him if he can come mind the jail while I'm away."
The boy took off at a run. Nathan gathered up his coat, checking the hang of the pistol at his hip. It had been his father's gun. The old man had left it for Nathan when he was a child, asking his mother to give it to him when he came of age. Nathan doubted whether his father had meant for him to use it quite the way he was; the last he'd heard the old man was still out there, just on the fringes of civilization, robbing banks and trains with a gang of the fiercest criminals ever heard of.
Doc Eller walked in the door just as he was rechecking all of the cells. He knew some folks would call him paranoid for the way he always double checked the cells before he'd leave, but being cautious had saved his life several times now.
"I'll watch for you, Nathan. From what I can tell you'd better be getting out there to Shelby's place. That old man has a mean temper."
Matthew was standing there and looked for a minute like he might argue, but then closed his mouth.
"Come on, Matthew. Let's get to the bottom of this. You ride in?" Nathan asked, as he opened the barn and started saddling up.
"Yeah, I left Betsy hitched over at the front of the jail."
"Well I'll meet you over there in five minutes. Be ready to ride. And check her saddle. Last time you rode in, you had it too loose; that can cause sores. Always take care of your mount. You don't, then don't complain when she drops out from under you." Matthew started to ask how he'd known the saddle was too loose, but the sheriff cut him off. "Get going, son."
Once they were out past the last of the town buildings, Nate kicked his mount into a gallop. Ten minutes later, they reached the Shelby's farm. Nate noted that the gardens needed weeding. Also, one of the fences was blown down from a recent windstorm. At any other farm, it would have been fixed by now, but old man Shelby didn't do anything today he could put off till tomorrow. The man had money, and it had made him lazy.
"She's over here," Matthew said, dismounting and leading his horse into the barn.
When Nathan got into the barn himself, he felt a brief flash of rage. Clarence Shelby was standing over a woman who was tied like a pig for the slaughter. Her hands had been tied together and then her feet, and then another rope looped through each of them behind her back so that she was stretched almost painfully backward.
"What's going on here, Shelby?" Nathan asked, as he went to one knee beside the woman, pulling out a knife and cutting the rope holding her hands and feet together. She watched him, dark eyes clear and focused and not a shred of fear in them.
"The damned woman was thievin', that's what's goin' on here," the man replied. "She was digging through my wife's things. Caught her with the diamond pendant that her ma gave her at our wedding. And I wouldn't cut no more of them ropes if I was you. She's a fast runner."
"Well, Shelby, I'm not you. And if I'm taking her to jail, I ain't going to throw her over my horse like a sack of potatoes." He cut the ropes on her feet but left the ones on her wrists for now, even though they appeared too tight. He'd check on them as soon as he got Shelby sorted out.
"Did you recover what she tried to steal? Did she cause any damage?" Nathan looked over at the man.
"Ha. She couldn't pull that one on me. 'Course we got it back. And no, she didn't do any damage. But that ain't the point. She was caught thieving and I want her punished. Now, if you don't wanna do it, I'm more than willin' to take her over and tie her to that fence and give her the whipping of her life." The man looked pleased at the prospect. Nathan was glad to burst his bubble.
"No sir. Typical punishment for a crime like this, no one hurt and nothing lost or broken, is one week in a cell. That's what she'll get." The woman's dark eyes bored into his, as if wondering why he'd save her from this man. Nathan took a second to realise that she hadn't yet spoken a word to him, then turned to Shelby. "I'll take it from here. You tell your wife I said hello." Nathan leaned down and helped the woman to her feet, trying to ignore the scent of her perfume and failing miserably.
"Why did you stop him?" The words came as a shock. Her voice was low, and it was like silk in his ears. Her accent clearly said that she wasn't from around here.
"I wondered if you'd ever speak. Thought maybe you were a mute."
She was riding in front of him. He'd cut the ropes holding together her hands and then retied them in front of her. Shelby had tied them so tightly that her hands had turned bone white by the time Nathan freed them. He knew it must have hurt, having the circulation come back, but she hadn't made a sound.
"I'm smart enough not to dig myself into a deeper hole. When someone has you tied up like that and clearly wants to cause you harm, it's best to just keep your peace." She shifted slightly, and he couldn't help but think about how good she felt against him. It was too bad that she was a criminal really; he thought he might have really liked her otherwise.
"Wise decision. Clarence Shelby has a hell of a temper, if you'll pardon me for saying so."
"You still didn't answer my question. Why did you stop him?"
"Because this isn't Shelby's town. It's mine. And I've got no intentions on letting him dictate what happens to its citizens or its visitors. Thieves though they may be." He spent a moment wondering whether she'd deny being a thief, but she didn't say anything about the accusation. "Why Shelby?"
She lifted her shoulders a bit and dropped them. "He has money. Figured they wouldn't miss it. Besides, he has all that wealth and what does he do? Drinks and gambles it away. Men like that need a sharp lesson once in a while."
"Well, unfortunately the rules that apply to Shelby apply to you, too. I don't need any vigilantes in my town. So I'm going to put you in the jail for the week like I promised him I would, and then I'm going to cut you loose. And I never want to see you here again." A small part of his mind yelled at him that yes, he most certainly did want to see her again, but he pushed it down. They rode into the town. And...
Max leaned back and smiled. The integration was coming along seamlessly; the man in front of him recited the events like they were his own life. Half the problem with this damn project was figuring out how to implant the memories without the subject's past life coming through. They'd already lost several very promising test subjects to insanity; unable to reconcile their two distinct sets of memories, the subject would inevitably end up dying of a brain aneurysm.
So far the subject in front of him had held up surprisingly well. Of course the experiment was still just that: an experiment. Eventually, the ability to implant large amounts of memory could have a variety of uses. This subject and the three others that had come in with him were only the latest in a long string of eventual casualties.
"You want to see Spencer next?" John's question broke Max out of his musings.
Max considered the question and then said "No, the brunette. She keeps cropping up in his timeline, even though by all measurements he doesn't remember any of his past life. I want to see if the same effect proves true for her. Perhaps the sexual relationship between the two has further reaching implications than we first thought."
John nodded and opened the door. On his way out he gave instructions to the two med officers about the treatment that the prisoner was to receive.
"Has she given you any trouble?" Max asked of the med tech that was sitting in a glass alcove, observing their next subject.
The tech shook his head. "Haven't had any problems at all since we switched her to the higher dosage. She must have a great liver and kidneys to have been able to filter out that starting dose."
They all remembered that incident. They'd been a bit sceptical of the woman's supposed ability to con anyone into anything. So when she appeared to be compliant after the initial brainwashing and injections, they'd made the mistake of taking their eyes off of her. She'd killed three of their med techs before anyone could blink, and then ran.
Interestingly enough, there had been a door leading outside that she could very well have gotten through. If she had, it was a good bet she'd have been shot, but it was possible that she would have gotten away. But she hadn't taken the opportunity. Instead, she'd run further into their maze. It was clear that she was trying to make it to the others who'd been brought in with her. Unfortunately for her, they had designed each of the subject's quarters to be totally independent of each other, only reached with the right level of clearance at each checkpoint. Still, she'd made it through three of them before they'd caught her.
When they did catch her, it took three very large men to hold her down while they sedated her; she'd been right outside the cell where the male Nathan Ford was being kept, and she'd seen him before they caught her. In the time it took the sedatives to kick in, she'd looked each person there in the eyes and told them how she intended to kill them. In detail.
Needless to say, they were a bit more careful now. They'd increased the dosages on the hypnotics and started back from square one; a dangerous option since it carried the inherent risk of her running into a feedback loop with her memories. If that happened, they'd have no choice but to terminate her. No subject had ever survived a feedback loop and come back out. The increase in hypnotics was also dangerous to her kidneys. She may already have permanent damage, but even with all of their testing, it was hard to gauge when a subject would go into renal failure due to too high of a dosage.
Max flipped open her file and studied it briefly, even though he could have recited the important bits by heart. Though there were many other subjects undergoing this same procedure, he had been specifically assigned to these four, and only them. After glancing at where they'd left off the last time, Max walked over and sat down across from her at the table. They might have been friends meeting over coffee, if not for the restraints holding her arms and legs firmly to the chair.
"So, Miss Devereaux. We left off with you in Paris, yes? What do you say we continue that conversation?"
Sophie dropped the pistol and swore. "Bon. Just wonderful. How are we supposed to fight the Nazis with this? We might as well throw rocks at them. It would work about as well." She sat down with a look of disgust.
"Sophia, my friend, you shouldn't even be out there. You know they are looking for anyone with your colouring. They won't need to ask whether you are Jewish or not. Cherie, you must be more careful when you go out. Why did you feel the need to break into the commandant's office?" Philippe sat down across from her.
"I was hoping to find some information on where they took Marisa. I needed to try."
"I love her as much as you, but you will do no good if you are captured and taken away as well. We must be cautious." He reached out and took her hand, squeezing softly.
"I know." She sighed. "Do you think we will ever be free of the Nazis?"
"The Americans and British are coming. Word says they are already massing for a landing somewhere in the South."
"Americans," she snorted. "I will believe that when I see it."
They both looked up at a knock on the door. Philippe motioned for her to hide and tossed a cloth over the two stolen pistols on the table. "Entree-vous."
"It's me." Tara entered and relocked the door after her. "Where is she?"
Sophie moved back into the room.
"What the hell was that?" Tara said, exasperated. "You could have gotten yourself caught! And blown my cover!"
"I couldn't just sit here, Tara. You have it easy. At least you know that you're out there doing something. All I do is sit here and listen to the radios and translate messages. I cannot even go outside." She plunked back down on the sofa again.
"Yes, it is a glamorous life, pouring the Commandant's tea and making his bed." Tara's voice was dry.
"It's better than just sitting here." Sophie sighed and then stood up. "We will need to move again after dark. The SS have stepped up their patrols in this neighbourhood." She turned around and…
Max stood up and walked away. Her memories appeared seamless as well. It didn't matter if he was here; there were three different cameras on each subject that would catch every word, every expression. John followed him.
"You think this Tara person from her account is that blonde from the vid?"
It had been grainy, but they'd caught a picture of the two of them together from several months back. They'd been crashing a party full of Venezuelan diplomats.
"Possibly." Max replied. "It would be one hell of a coincidence, wouldn't it? I hear the higher ups were hoping to find her with them, but she wasn't there. I almost wonder if she didn't know it was coming and just run."
"Possible. You looking in on the younger female?"
"Not today. Keep them on the same regimens. How are we doing with Spencer?"
John shook his head. "The man's had some serious training in resisting interrogation. He'll spout nursery rhymes and songs all day, but so far, we haven't gotten a shred of useful Intel from him. We're still keeping him restrained 24/7. Feeding him through IVs. He's suffering some muscle wasting but I was told it's an acceptable loss."
Max nodded. "I'm going home for the day. Madeleine has a piano recital tonight."
"Tell her I said good luck then. Say hi to the wife.
Max waved over his shoulder.