Spoilers: Through the end of season 3, but nothing major.
Characters: Sophie Devereaux, Nathan Ford, Alec Hardison, Eliot Spencer, Parker, and Tara Cole.
Pairings: Nate/Sophie, mentions of Parker/Hardison, Eliot/Tara, and past Sophie/Tara
Summary: When a con goes south, Sophie is kidnapped by the mark. The team scrambles to save her, and even when rescued, they discover that some scars run too deep to ever be forgotten.
Chapter One: Loss
Sophie drummed her fingers against the mahogany desk as she studied Robert Carlisle. He was flanked by four guards; she could hear Eliot grumbling over her earpiece. He had been left behind a floor below to wait with the armed men who had escorted Carlisle to the meeting. All she needed now was the signal from Nate to wrap up her part and disappear once Hardison had made the switch between accounts.
"Hardison, we don't have all day," Nate said, clearly irritated.
Carlisle bent a little closer to Sophie. "I'm looking forward to being business partners, Ms. Florine."
Sophie smiled, ignoring the fact that his hand was creeping its way off the desk and onto her thigh. "I am, as well, Mr. Carlisle."
"Please, call me Rob."
"Arrogant son of a bitch."
She tuned out Nate's remarks and tilted her head in Carlisle's direction. "I knew a man as well-connected and powerful as you would be the right choice."
Hardison's fingers flew over his keyboard as he surveyed the numbers running across his screen. "Okay, give me a couple of seconds, and…. Oh, no. No, no, no."
Nate was at his side in a flash. "What is it?"
"Someone inside the company knows what's going on. They're trying to track my signal."
"Hardison, what does that mean?" Eliot interjected.
"I thought you were the best," Parker hissed as she paused in the middle of rifling through the manila folders she had pulled from Carlisle's safe.
"I am the best," Hardison replied. "This is a case of someone being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and, Nate, there's no way I'm going to be able to pull this off. They'll be able to figure it out and simply switch the accounts back around."
"Okay." Nate sighed and started to pace in front of the couch. "Parker, grab what you have and get out. Eliot, Sophie, you need to make your exit now."
"I'm afraid I can't promise that right now," Sophie said in answer to one of Carlisle's queries. Her phone beeped and she pulled it out, grateful that Hardison had just set up an appointment on the calendar. "I have an appointment that I seem to have forgotten about, so perhaps we can meet another time and discuss this further?"
Carlisle looked up from his own phone, his lips set in a grim line. "What kind of a fool do you take me for?"
"I'm sorry?" Sophie tried to laugh off his statement, but he grabbed her wrist to keep her from edging towards the door.
"I just found out that someone tried to hack into my accounts and move some money around." He motioned for two of the guards to move towards the door. "And, I think it's very coincidental that the account I was going to use to invest in your company was the target."
"Eliot, get in there now," Nate barked.
Eliot eyed the armed guards who were starting to pull out their guns. "I'm a little busy right now. I've got six guys here, all armed."
"Sophie, hold on." Nate grabbed his car keys and jacket. "I'm on my way. Hardison, wait here for Parker. Do not go anywhere unless I tell you otherwise."
"Maybe that's not the best idea. You know, waving guns around for no reason?" Sophie said in a calm voice that distracted from the fact that her legs were trembling.
Nate paused, catching onto the fact that she was trying to talk to him. "I can't just leave you there."
"How many men do you have on the outside?" Carlisle asked.
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"Well, let's start with your bodyguard downstairs. Then, you obviously had a hacker to get into the system." He turned to face her. "Am I leaving anyone out?"
She shifted and said, "I hired them for this job. It fell through, they'll clear out."
"But you've been communicating with them. Otherwise, your hacker wouldn't have known when would be the optimum time to hack into the system." Carlisle paused, his eyes lighting up as his eyes skated down her body.
He patted down her torso before forcing her to tilt her head to one side. His fingers shoved inside her ear and pulled out the comm. He grinned and slapped her; she let out a small cry.
Nate froze at the sound of her yelp before saying, "Eliot, I'm on my way. Get to her as fast as you can."
Parker appeared in the doorway as he started to leave, and she scuttled past him to keep a vigil on the counter. Hardison was flipping through the security camera feeds, trying to keep track of any guards who might be headed in Eliot or Sophie's direction.
"Eliot, you have five more two floors down, and they're headed up," Hardison said. "And, there's four in the room with Sophie."
Eliot grunted in acknowledgement of the news and smashed his fist against one man's face while kicking out at another who was rushing him with a knife. Three were slumped on the floor. All of them were without guns.
Carlisle raised the earpiece to his lips. "Do you want to know what we do to people who try to fuck with us?"
He threw the earpiece to the ground and stomped on it. Parker winced when the high-pitched sound went off in her ear, Nate paled even as he stomped on the gas pedal and pushed his car to its maximum speed, Hardison focused all of his attention on the feeds from the camera in that office, and Eliot threw the next to last guard to the ground.
It took him three well-placed punches and one kick to drop the last one. He charged out of the room, taking the stairs three at a time. His lungs burned as he ran down the hallway towards the corner office, using his shoulder to burst through the door even as Hardison delivered the sickening news."They took her. And, I can't find them on any of the cameras. We lost her."