Title: In For A Penny
Author: ( niennaseregon )
Pairing: None yet
Completed Length: 2595 words
Summary: A stranger wants to join the Leverage team.
Feedback: You know I love it ;)
A/N: I feel that, since the Second Season has started, I should let people know that, this isn't really set in line with the show. So, if you see Nate at a bar, or the 'headquarters' is different, try not to freak. I just find it a bit easier to write without following the show, so to speak. Refrences to cons will still happen, but other than that, just remeber it's fanfiction. It doesn't have to be exact :)
A/N#2: Still couldn't get the 'LiveJournal Cut' thing to work. *evil eyes it* Stupid thing. Anyways, so, you're stuck with reading it the way it is. Hopefully I'll get that sorted out next time I post. *sigh*
“I don’t get it.” Parker said. “He says ‘let’s have a meeting’ and then he doesn’t even show up?” She, Hardison, Eliot and Sophie were all sitting around the large room of their new headquarters, which was more like a comfortable living room than an office or board room. They were all visibly irritated at Nate’s lack of attendance to his own meeting.
“Are you sure he said this morning?” Sophie asked.
“Of course I’m sure!” Hardison responded, annoyed that he kept getting asked that question every five minutes.
“Maybe he thinks we’re gonna stage another intervention on him.” Eliot grinned.
“Oh God, please, don’t even joke.” Nate said, walking into the room at that very moment.
Various forms of “Finally!” came from each of the others.
“Where have you been, Nate?” Sophie asked. “You know, I was actually starting to get worried.” Hardison rolled his eyes. It seemed that Sophie was always fussing over Nate. Then again, he was sure that Nate would be the first one to call it ‘nagging’.
“There was traffic!” Nate said, sitting down beside Parker.
“You’re an hour and a half late, Nathan! No traffic is that bad!” Sophie replied, her voice rising.
“Look, I’m here now, so let’s just get on with things, shall we?”
Sophie leaned back in her chair, silently fuming, her arms crossed. Nate stood up and started a casual pace around the room.
“I was approached last night by someone named Crystal Ebson, who claimed to know everything we do. I got Hardison to look her up last night and she came back clean. No records of any kind, she works as a graphic designer, and there is no indication whatsoever that she’s anywhere near law enforcement. Right?” Nate glanced at Hardison, who nodded.
“Yeah,” Hardison said. “I mean, she’s a teacher’s pet if nothing else. I don’t really think she’s that much of a threat or anything if that’s what you’re trying to get at.”
“I think the fact that she a, claimed to know everything about us, and b, walked right up to Nate and confronted him, adds up to quite a big threat if you ask me.” Sophie said.
“She’s got a point there,” Eliot said, pointing at Sophie, who immediately perked up at the compliment. “Look at what happened with Dubenich. He said he knew what you did and walked straight up to you. That came this close to not ending well, I mean, he tried to kill us.”
“And he didn’t even pay us.”
“Parker…” Eliot started, annoyed.
“I’m not so sure this is like that.” Nate interrupted.
“Why not? Just because she’s a pretty face doesn’t mean she can’t be out to get you?” Sophie
asked. “How do we know she’s not got friends who are police officers and she’s helping them?”
“We don’t.” Nate said. “But I think for now, at least until we know more about her, we have to give her the benefit of the doubt.”
“Why though?” Sophie pressed. Nate leaned forward slightly on the table.
“Crystal Ebson wants in.”
“What?” Everyone said, almost in sync.
“I guess she wants to do what we do.”
“But I thought you said she was a teacher’s pet? I mean, what can you steal with that?” Parker asked.
“Nothing at all! Can she even do anything?” Sophie asked. Nate glanced at Hardison.
“No,” Nate said. “At least, nothing that Hardison could find. Then again, I do think she has some potential with slight-of-hand.”
“So? That’s nothing any of us can’t do,” Eliot said, gesturing to the people sitting around him. “I mean, if that’s all she can do, what good will she be to us?”
“I don’t know, I’m just saying we should give her a chance!” Nate said, throwing his hands up. “I mean you never know, could a fresh face really be all that bad?”
Everyone took a moment to consider Nathans point.
“It would be good to keep her in sight if she is planning something against us.” Parker said, breaking the silence.
“Yeah, you’re right.” Sophie agreed. “Friends closer, enemies closer and all that.”
“ Well, we don’t really know if she even is an enemy yet, right?” Hardison asked.
“No,” Nate jumped in. “But it would be a good idea to be cautious around her, just in case. Don’t go giving her absolutely vital information or goods until we know one way or another.”
“If she’s legitimate she’ll know she has to prove herself.” Sophie said.
“How would we make her do that?” Parker asked.
“Basic Jack In seems the easiest.” Eliot said.
“Yeah, but how?” Parker questioned. “If all she can do is slight-of-hand, how to we know what to ask her to do, or test her on?”
“You know, we don’t have to decide anything right away,” Nathan said. “We’re meeting her at seven tonight at The Lake House Bar. Why don’t we all just take our time, think about things, and each come up with something we can use to gauge where she’s at, that way she can pick what she wants to do.”
Eliot shrugged a shoulder. “Seems fair enough to me.”
Sophie, Parker, and Hardison all nodded in agreement.
Nate smiled. “Alrighty then.”
The other four stayed silent, thinking about what they were going to ask Crystal Ebson to do.
“Then again, how is this going to work?” Eliot asked. “I mean, okay, we know Ebson would make a good pick-pocket, but what else? We can’t exactly ask her to hit something or hack into something, can we?”
“Yeah, not without putting each of us at risk of getting caught or hurt.” Sophie said. The group shifted their gaze to Nathan, looking for more direction. He was supposed to be the mastermind, after all. It was a moment before he noticed.
“What? I’m thinking.” Nate paused for a moment before speaking again. Just as he was about to, however, he was interrupted by the loud buzzing of the doorbell.
Hardison tapped some keys on his laptop and brought up a surveillance video of the front door. Standing there was a slim, dark haired woman in a business suit and heels. “Hey,” he said. “It’s Crystal.”
“What?” Sophie started. “What is she doing here?”
“Your guess is as good as mine.” Nate said. “Let her in.”
Hardison got up and walked to the door, letting her in.
“Hi!” Crystal said cheerfully, shaking Hardisons hand as she forced herself through the doorway. “You must be Alec, it’s so good to finally meet you!”
“Uh, yeah…hi.” He said, taken aback by her overly bright attitude. They both went up the stairs and made their way into the room where the others were sitting.
“Miss Ebson. A bit early, isn’t it?” Nate asked. A large part of Crystals bubbly glow seemed to fall away as she became flustered, her cheeks turning cherry red.
“Um, yes, I’m really sorry about that,” she said as she began to fidget, twisting the strap of her purse in her hands nervously. “It’s just, I was so excited and, well, nervous really, I couldn’t wait.” She said, breathlessly.
“How did you find us?” Eliot asked, his voice serious.
“Oh, you know.” Crystal waved a hand absently in the air. “I’ve done my research. Anyways,” She said, her bright persona quickly returning as she sat next to Sophie on the couch. “I’m sure you’ve got lots of questions for me.”
“Uh, yea, I gotta ask one thing first here though.” Hardison raised his hand. “All this ‘research’ you’ve been doing, all this stuff you supposedly know about us…how did you get it?”
“Are you trying to ask me if I can compete with the best hacker I’ve ever seen?” Crystal asked in return. A giant smile spread across Hardisons face.
“Best! She said best!” he said quietly. Eliot, who was sitting across from him, grinned. He was sure it would be days before Hardison would let them forget about getting such a massive complement from such an attractive woman.
“Unfortunately though,” Crystal said, “I can’t. It took me ages to just learn the design programs I use for work, let alone anything else…less legitimate.” She said slowly, choosing her words with care. “No, I’m afraid I’ve found out what I know by simple, good old fashioned leg work.”
“Meaning?” Parker asked.
“I’ve been following you. Each of you,” Crystal looked at each of the group in turn.
“Like, following, following? On foot?” Parker questioned. Crystal nodded, smiling. “We’ve never seen you. Ever.” Parker said.
“Well, yeah.” Crystal replied, as if should have been the most obvious thing in the world. She leaned back on the sofa, smiling. “Why do you think all my friends call me ‘Ghost’?”
Title: In For A Penny
Author: ( niennaseregon )
Pairing: None yet
Completed Length: 1138 words
Summary: A stranger wants to join the Leverage team.
Feedback: You know I love it ;)
A/N: Yes, I'm aware that I probably suck at actually putting this onto LJ in a semi-decent and/or attractive and/or organized way. Any tips would be loved. For now, on with the story.
In For A Penny
“I want in.”
“You heard me. I. Want. In.”
“Sorry, lady, but I think you’re confusing me with someone else.” He took the last sip of his drink before turning to get up from the bar.
“I doubt that Mr. Ford. I know who you are, and I know what you and your people do.”
Just as he was standing up, Nathan Ford sat back down and turned towards the woman who had walked up to him just moments before.
“If you knew as much as you think you do, you’d know that they’re not my people.”
“But they work for you.” She said, matter-of-factly.
“With. They work with me.”
Nathan paused for a moment, getting more than a little confused. “Who are you?”
The young woman smiled. “Crystal Ebson, at your service.” She offered her hand to shake Nathans but he just stared at it for a moment, before looking back to the front of the bar.
“Yeah, we’re not exactly hiring at the moment.”
“I thought you weren’t the boss?”
“Are you always this upfront with complete strangers Miss. Ebson?”
Crystal thought about it for only half a second. “Yes.”
Nathan got up to leave again. “Like I said, we don’t need anyone else.”
“I’m not a police officer, Mr. Ford, if that’s what you’re worried about.”
“Who says I’m worried?”
“Well then, what seems to be the problem?” Crystal asked.
“Nothing is the problem except for the fact that you seem unable to take a hint.”
Nathan attempted to wave the woman away as he turned again to leave. Crystal followed, her high heel shoes clicking away on the hard floor.
“Come on, Mr. Ford!” She took several quick steps to catch up to him, falling into step alongside Nathan as they exited the bar. “Surely you need a fresh face every now and then? You can’t tell me that you all haven’t gotten around enough to have your faces recognized at some point. I mean, disguises and fake accents can only work for so long, right?”
“What is it you want exactly?” Nate turned around to face her.
“I already told you. I want in.”
Nathan thought for a long moment.
“If I say I’ll think about it will you leave me alone?”
“Only if you mean it.” Crystal said cheerfully, still smiling brightly.
“Alright, fine. I’ll talk to the others. Be back here at seven o’clock tomorrow night. Goodbye, Miss Ebson.”
“See you tomorrow, Mr. Ford.” The woman said, finally letting him walk away as she turned and went the opposite direction.
Nathan shoved his hands into the pockets of his jacket, trying to ignore the biting October cold. As he did, he realized there was something already in the right pocket. Taking it out, Nathan saw that it was exactly like a business card. The card however, was blank save for a flowing, handwritten name and number on one side. Nate knew for a fact the young woman hadn’t handed him a card, nor was it in his pocket before she spoke to him. Maybe there was something to the girl after all.
After a few moments looking at the card, Nate reached for his cell phone and hit one of the speed dial numbers. Listening to the other end, it was three rings before someone picked up.
“Hardison, I need you to research someone for me.”
“Yes, now. Why?”
Hardison grumbled on the other end of the line. “No reason. It’s not like I was about to level up or anything…”
“Research, Hardison. This is important.”
“Yea, yea. What do you need?”
“Anything you can find on a woman named Crystal Ebson, phone number 712-8975.” Nate told him, reading the number off the card.
“Found a new job?” Hardison asked. Nate could faintly hear him typing on a computer in the background.
“Umm…No. I’m just curious about someone. Find out what you can, I’ll be over in a bit and you can fill me in.”
Nate hung up, wondering what Hardison would find. The girl had seemed genuine, but then so did a lot of people. It really meant nothing in the long run. Some people were just really good liars.
Forty-five minutes later, Nate was sitting on Hardisons couch.
“What have you found so far?”
Hardison hit a key on his laptop and pulled up a photo of Crystal Ebson on the big screen in front of them.
“Crystal Ebson, 24 years old, grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Now she lives in California and works as a graphic designer for a couple different companies.”
“Any records?” Nate asked.
“Of the criminal kind? Nope. She got a parking ticket in March for an overdue meter, but that’s it.”
“What about these companies she works for? What do they do?”
“She does book covers, billboards and the occasional website. It’s all strictly legit man, I checked.”
“What about talents? Is she good at anything?”
“Talents?” Hardison asked.
“Yea, like you guys. Does she hit stuff, hack stuff, blow things up, what?”
“From the looks of it, nah, she’s completely in the clear.”
“And you couldn’t find anything else?”
“Man, there was nothing else to find. I doubt she even ever got sent to the principal’s office in high school.”
Nate didn’t say anything, his brow furrowed in thought.
“Alright, well, thanks anyways.” He said finally. The two men stood up, and Hardison walked Nate to the door.
“Was there a reason you wanted the stats on this lady?” Hardison asked, leaning against the wall.
“Ah, like I said, I was curious. I do want all of us to have a meeting tomorrow morning. There’s something we need to discuss about this, but it can wait until then.”
“Alright, if you say so. See you then.”
Nate left, quickly hailing a taxi cab to take him back to his own house. His mind was wandering, unable to figure Miss. Ebson out. What would a perfectly innocent young woman want to do with a bunch of thieves? The team couldn’t include such a complete novice unless they wanted to get slowed down, or worse, caught. She did have a valid point though; a fresh face could come in handy. But with no experience, there wasn’t really anything for her to do.
Nate’s mind flashed back to the card that had been slipped into his coat pocket. He wanted to think that she had something special, but putting bits of paper into someone’s pocket wasn’t really going to do much help to anyone. Not to mention that usually things were taken out of pockets.
As Nathan paid the cab and went inside, he forced himself to not think about it. Hardison had dug up all he could; there was nothing else to be done until the next morning.