Chapter One: A New Neighbor
Nathan Ford was rarely surprised, not much got past him; he was after all the mastermind of the team. He prided himself on knowing everything, every possible obstacle and a plan to overcome said obstacle. So, being that this was true, how was it that such a dangerous person was living next to them, and he hadn't known about it until now?
"Guys, we've got a problem." The jokes and laughter ceased. They all looked at the Irishman. If Nate said they had a problem, then it had to be bad.
"What do you mean, darling?" Sophie gave a slight nervous laugh, unsure. "We saved the Chancellor's son and delivered the drug cartel to the police and covered all our tracks."
"Yeah, Nate, I myself got rid of any paper trail we may have left behind." Hardison assured.
"I mean," Nate answered, stopping any future comments. "We have a new neighbor." Seeing everyone's confused looks, he continued. "We have a very dangerous neighbor." Eliot tensed at this.
"Who is it?" the hitter inquired in his gruff voice. The ex-insurance agent let out a frustrated sound, running his hand through his brown curly locks.
"I don't know." He finished off the shot of scotch in front of him, slamming the glass back down on the bar, ignoring the disapproving looks on his team's faces. "But I say we welcome them to the neighborhood."
"Wait, wait, Nate." Hardison cautioned, scrambling from his seat to catch the Irishman who was about to step out the door. "We can't just go in blind. I need something. A name, an occupation; give me something."
"He's right, Nate." Sophie reasoned in her calm English accent. "We can't just confront him, especially with him being dangerous." Nate gave a deep sigh, his shoulders moving with the movement. He made his way back to the bar and started to fix another drink for himself; thought better of it and settled for coffee.
"I don't have a name. I have an address. Will that work?" The team gave a collective sigh of relief before Hardison spoke.
"Yeah. Yeah, man; that'll work just fine."
"1235 Cherry Street, apartment B36."
"That's close, about a block away, not even that." Hardison made his way over to his computer, quickly pulling all the information on the tenant. "Okay, so it looks like a Miss Kitana Tashio lives there. Now let me look up everything about her…" Typing was heard before numerous documents of the tenant were pulled up. "She's been living there for a year now. Moved from Tokyo, doesn't say where. She's in college; Tokyo U, has a long break by the looks of it…
"Doesn't say who her parents are…I don't even think Kitana's her real name, an alias maybe. Weird, she's not here on visa, but it doesn't say that she's a citizen. Wow…."
"What?" They all asked simultaneously.
"Our girl has famous friends, dangerous friends. She's in good with the Yakuza."
The ex-insurance agent nodded as though something was just confirmed; the team exchanged looks but said nothing. "Okay, Hardison see if you can find us a picture." Nate sounded far away, yet his eyes were glued to the large screen bearing all the information on Tashio.
A click could be heard and the screen was filled with a large photo of a woman with pin straight raven hair falling past her shoulders and electric blue eyes staring straight at them, a brilliant smile brightening the woman's face.
"She's pretty." Eliot said, dismissing the woman already.
"Now, Hardison use that picture to find out more about Miss Tashio."
"Yes, sir. Told you her real name wasn't Kitana Tashio; it was Catherine Sam Herman. She was reported as abducted by the grandma, Anne Herman. She was never found, last seen by family was nearly twenty years ago. Catherine was taken when she was six years old."
"What do you have on the parents?"
"Catherine Sam Herman was born to Catherine Jones and Sam Herman. The two were married a year after her birth. The mom was a homemaker. Her parents were rich, but cut her off after she married Sam. The father was a down-on-his-luck chef. He was terminated after one of the customers' got food poisoning. Took up the drink, then.
"Little Catherine was two when the mother filed for divorce. About two weeks later, Sam registered in a rehab center. Then they all lived happily ever after until little Catherine was abducted."
"Nothing more, Hardison?" Nate questioned, dubious.
"No and that's strange. It's like it all cuts off right there; no jobs, no daycare or anything. It just stops."
"I guess no one wants us looking in on little Catherine," Sophie concluded.
"Okay, now let's go meet the neighbors." The team made their way to the door before realizing that one was missing.
"Hey, Nate," Hardison called out. "How did you know she was dangerous if you didn't know anything about her?" This gave the team pause and they all turned to the mastermind who adopted a sheepish look.
"I noticed that a few unfamiliar faces all bearing the tattoo that is insignia of the Yakuza coming and going from the address I gave you, which made me check it out." The Irishman was subjected to many glares which he shrugged off; it wasn't the first time he kept something from them, and besides he had to be sure. "Let's go," he said as he made his way again to the door, ending the conversation.
"Where's Parker?" Eliot inquired, wondering why he just noticed. The team all looked around as they too noticed that there had been no sign of the thief. It was quiet for a moment and snoring was heard. The hitter shook his head; she was asleep.
"Parker, baby come on. We have a new job." Hardison glanced up when he heard giggling. Sophie was standing above them with a soft smile on her face. They were behind the couch which is where the blonde thief decided to fall asleep, an open box of cereal near her head. The hacker shook the thief again before he was accosted and flipped on his back, Parker straddling him. Her nimble fingers were tightened around his neck, all before she was fully awoken.
"Parker!" Sophie's yelling woke the blonde up. She looked down to see her hands wrapped around Hardison's neck. She was off him as though burned and felt immensely guilty when he took in a huge gulp of air as though dying, reminding her of the Grave Job, when they locked him in a coffin.
Parker didn't know what had come over her, but when he brushed her hair and shook her awake, she felt the need to just…defend herself. It was odd and she couldn't make sense of it. They were all staring at her, even Eliot who was teaching her such things. She felt like she was under a microscope and they were all scrutinizing her like some insect or germ. Parker hadn't meant to hurt Alec; he was her boyfriend, and it was an accident.
"I'm so sorry, Hardison! I didn't mean to—you had scared me and I-I-I'm sorry." The black man was on his feet, fixing his wrinkled jeans and unbuttoning the top buttons of his blue shirt. Parker tried to ignore the sight since it served to just distract her.
"It's aight, mama. It's my fault for startling you. I was trying to tell you we have another job." He relaxed his neck and brushed off imaginary lint from his clothes before taking his place next to Parker and snaked his arm around her waist, pulling her close. The blonde was relieved and relaxed against him.
"So what's the job?" she asked against his neck where she was laying apologetic kisses. She smiled against his skin when she saw he had hard time forming a sentence and the dazed expression on his face was adorable.
"Huh?" The team laughed before they pushed past the happy couple and made their way to the car. Parker giggled before leading a still dazed Hardison out with them.
"You can tell me on the way." She kissed him then, a quick kiss and then was gone before the hacker knew what was happening.
"Hey!" He chased her out the door, loving the sound of her laughter, a goofy smile on his face the whole time. Hardison caught her around the waist before she could make it out and proceeded to show her a proper kiss, ignoring the voices in his ear telling them to hurry.
A/N: It's not Parker/Hardison centric, but I just love these two. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Please Review! Next chapter we meet Kitana.