Title: And fire us hence like foxes
Rating: General Audiences
Relationships: Sophie Devereaux & Parker,Team - Relationship
Characters: Sophie Devereaux (Leverage), Parker (Leverage), Alec Hardison, Eliot Spencer
Or Five and a Half Times Sophie Leaves Parker. One Time Parker Leaves Sophie.AO3
A/N: First time writing for this show. This is remarkably trope-y for a first time. I should apologise for it, but I fear I will have another thing to apologise for by the end of the text.
Spoilers for the five seasons.
For Alyssa; she’s probably the only one interested. And masochist enough.
Title from King Lear, act V, sc. 2.
There must have been a first time.
People with one name only always leaves for a first time. Parker knows the first time Sophie left marked the time she became one name only.
It makes Parker afraid. Sophie dies from one name into the other and her family doesn’t follow her.
Parker doesn't think about the second time Sophie leaves. Not for a while. Not before she steals the Hope diamond and puts it back. Not before she wants to see the team again, badly, inexplicably. Not before she goes and finds Sophie by herself, wherever she is, and they talk about musicals and gold and boyfriends.
Sophie talks, mostly. Parker is just happy nothing seems to change Sophie.
They all leave each other the second time Sophie leaves.
The third time Sophie leaves, Parker feels as if she is travelling underground. Sophie is the functioning human being in their group. Sophie makes them a bit of a “normal” family. Sophie doesn't repress smiling at people.
But Sophie lies a lot.
And it’s not only the words she uses; it’s the things that don’t change, that keep her good at grifting, that make them a family also.
For the past weeks Sophie has been interacting with Eliot and Nate preferentially. She keeps by herself and Eliot or Nate comes to her. She doesn't do coolness, or teaching, or pride, or even pissing off Nate. She does lost and small.
Something tells Parker Sophie is afraid of Hardison and her. Something also tells her that’s why Sophie leaves them.
The fourth time Sophie leaves, they are on the verge of joy at her return and it’s upsetting. Nate has been stupid and “selfishly selfless”, as Sophie put it, and got himself arrested by Sterling.
Sophie is returned and alive and she doesn't wear those watery smiles she used to have when she thought Nate was not looking, before she left for the third time. Sophie wears a wig Parker doesn’t like and when she removes it, the helicopter cockpit fills with Sophie’s scent and fussiness, her haircut that looks like Eliot’s tousled and familiar. Sophie is home.
They wind up at Nate’s apartment and occupy a corner each in silence.
Sophie and Eliot fight because of Nate. Eliot doesn't raise his voice, Sophie seems composed. Her hands flutter, press Eliot’s elbow –her reassuring smile is timed- and Eliot gets angry. He reaches out and stills her hands, strong and soft. Sophie looks at him with eyes like an animal and Eliot speaks very slowly to her. He forces her to listen and doesn't have much to say.
Sophie shakes her head and leaves.
Sophie comes back an hour and seventeen minutes after the fourth time she leaves.
Sophie who comes back doesn't have butterfly hands for any of them.
On the couch taken by Hardison and his laptop, the screen flickers and stirs Hardison’s face. Cross-legged on a table and back to Old Nate, Parker wants to hunt and rob Sterling and use the money to hire a hit man who would then kill Nate. She can’t ask Eliot to do that. Eliot is unpacking groceries he magically made appear. The ruffling of the bag is like music and Sophie doesn’t move a muscle in rhythm, head in her hands.
Gradually, over the course of the evening, maybe because Sophie is here, at home, with them, maybe because Eliot’s cooking something called Flammkuchen that gets even Hardison interested, they huddle. Or are beginning to. Hardison’s laptop keeps gravitating too close to the counter Eliot is working on. Sophie tastes the cream too thoroughly. Parker seeks the others’ touch too often; Hardison’s back; Eliot’s arm; Sophie’s shoulder.
They are here. Not going anywhere.
Hardison, Parker, Sophie and Eliot end up on Nate’s sofa, too close for comfort. But tonight, they can’t talk, or think, or even touch properly.
The fifth time Sophie leaves, she has Nate’s hand in her hand.
Parker says she’s okay with that. Sophie isn't and Parker knows as surely as how to beat Medeco deadbolts, eyes closed, that from this moment on Sophie will always come back.
There is a last time Sophie leaves.
It’s very, very, very late in their life and none of them are running anymore. Sophie has been not so good for days now and emphatically joking about voices in her head distracts her no more from her pain. Hardison and Parker have her admitted in the nearest top-shelf private clinic and visit her every day. It’s a good thing; it doesn't remind them of Eliot or Nate.
No patient has ever reigned more graciously on a geriatric floor. She breaks hearts. But Sophie does that.
There is an evening when Sophie is less gracious than usual. She doesn't speak the same vowels and consonants as usual. She speaks in vowels and consonants Parker remembers her using precisely on ten occasions in the time they've known each other.
Alec says it’s her voice from before she had one name only.
Sophie holds tighter than usual when they kiss her goodnight. Her thick white hair still retains her distinctive scent; her wide dark eyes still mock Hardison’s “Nate” hats. Parker doesn't repress smiling or touching or talking. Sophie –and Eliot, and Nate, and Alec- taught her enough, about Sophie, about their family, about people, for Parker to read the signs.
Sophie curses like a sailor being presented to the King of England and Hardison has a fit of laughter that throws the nurses into a panic.
Parker almost stays the night. Almost.
Hardison has her hand secured in his and Sophie’s eyes are ruthless in goodbye.
That’s the first and last time Parker left Sophie.
In the morning, they receive the phone call from the clinic, apologising for having no idea how a frail woman of Mrs. Ford’s age and physical condition performed a disappearing act on the over-skilled staff and high-tech security system.
(Post-game for Who finale coming after I catch up on Elementary -my notes are filled with black, BLACK humour and snarkiness. The reaction was very
positive though. I didn't cry and it didn't exactly leave me mind-blown, but excellent, meta-inducing -and interestingly un-Who-like - finale all around. Still not TPO/TBB contender, but it swept out of sight both The Wedding of River Song
and The Name of the Doctor