Chapter 2 of 4
Author Shona (aka Mara)
Disclaimer Neither of these are my sandboxes, I'm just playing in them for a while.
Fandoms Buffyverse, Leverage
Master Post here
Previously A familiar knife appears in an auction house catalogue and Faith is drawn to it. She's not the only one.
What is it with him and the crazy ones?
He sees her scanning the room and then suddenly she's like a coiled spring on the verge of release and he's moving to stop her before she does something… well… crazy.
At least now he knows exactly why his attention had kept going back to her, and he takes a moment to think that maybe he's grown as a person. She's clearly been planning this all along and the last thing he needs is any kind of official attention on the auction house until he's done here. And dammit if it doesn't look like she's trying to lift the very item he was here for.
Eliot hasn't spotted any signs of another team, and the careless way she's acting makes him pretty sure she was acting alone. And, he realises as the previously bored security guards look over in her - now their - direction, she's also acting without any semblance of a plan for getting out.
He puts his hand on her elbow to hold her back and guide her away - or at least that's the plan. She pulls her arm away so violently he comes ridiculously close to losing his balance and he doesn't rock back from the expression on her face, honest, because that would be ridiculous. He will admit that maybe it throws him for a split-second, that sheer venom is something he's only ever seen in a person's eyes once before, and that was a crazed Pol Pot wannabe in the jungles in Cambodia after Eliot had tracked him to his base camp and burned it to the ground.
It's not an expression he'd ever expected to see in a respectable Boston auction house.
He holds his hands up to placate her, and is a little surprised to register just how relieved he is when the animalistic look on her face fades and is replaced with honest confusion. It's almost like she's been in some kind of a trance and he realises that she's been so focused on her goal that she'd tuned everything else out.
Not a professional then.
One of the security guards seems slightly more on the ball than Eliot would like and looks like he's about to head over towards them, so Eliot makes an on-the-spot decision and steps closer to this strange woman. She doesn't pull away and he can tell she's noticed the situation escalating. He's never been particularly at ease with the whole play-acting part of the grift, but he thinks Sophie might just be a little proud of him when he slips his arm around the woman's waist just like a partner would, and turns them both towards the exit.
Faith blinks. What the hell happened there? She doesn't lose control like that. Not anymore. She can't afford to.
But… she had. She can't pretend she hadn't. And she can't let herself think about what would have happened if this guy hadn't distracted her and snapped her back to the here-and-now.
It’s like there's a cloud of cotton candy where her brain should be; she can’t think straight, can't focus. And when the guy steps right into her personal space she lets him and allows him to walk her out of the place. She needs to get out of here, needs to get away.
The moment they pass through the auction room door it's like her brain snaps back into focus and she pulls away from his light grip on her waist and turns to confront him.
"Easy," he says in a low voice. "Cameras." He tilts his head a little to one side and she doesn't have to look to know he's right.
Knowing how it must look to anyone watching she figures what the hell and slaps him across the face, remembering to pull the weight behind it. No point sending him through the wall before she even knows his name.
"How could you?!" She snaps before turning and honest-to-god flouncing down the stairs and onto the street and out of view of the security, playing the role of pissed off girlfriend to the best of her ability. If he follows her so be it, she'd love to know why he decided to pull her out of a potentially nasty situation, but right now getting her head straight has to be her number one priority.
She's barely made it three steps when she sees the police cars turning into the street, and even though she knows it makes her look ten shades of guilty she falters. Starts to turn to walk away before she realises there are sirens sounding from behind her. They're coming that way too.
There's some seriously messed up shit going on here, so far as she knows nothing happened that would bring out the Boston PD in force like this, a minor domestic in the lobby of an auction house wouldn't do it. A tip off that an escaped fugitive with various outstanding warrants would be there, on the other hand…
"It's a set up." She doesn't realize she'd said it aloud until there's an answer from her shoulder.
"Looks like." She knows it's him from the voice but she's still a little startled. Her mind starts to race: could he be the one who tipped off the cops? Getting her out of the rooms before anything kicked off didn't make sense if he was; catching her red-handed stealing something would more than justify an arrest. Besides, she's not picking up any animosity from him. Curiosity, sure, but then that's going both ways right now. No. She decides he's not the one behind the set up and right now he's standing right with her as the cops pile out of their cars and head towards them.
"Any ideas?" She asks out of the corner of her mouth.
"Just one." He says putting his hand on her shoulder and turning her to face him.
He steps back into the shade of the ridiculous awning over the auction house's entrance, taking her with him. His hands come up to hold her face gently and before she registers what's happening, he pulls her into a kiss.