Characters: Sophie Devereaux, Parker, cameos from Hardison and Eliot
Summary: Business and pleasure are the same thing in Parker and Sophie's worlds.
Author's Notes This story was written for slob_child for the 2009 femme_fic ficathon, for the following prompt: Downtime at Sophie's vacation houses (Dubai, Ireland, Tokyo were the ones she mentioned, I believe?), with accents to match. Sorry, but there was no way I was going to be able to get accents to match in, not without it sounding bad. But I got the rest of it in. This is set some time in late first season, probably after The Juror Number Six Job.
Thank you to my betareaders, beanpot and tinylegacies.
"Why are we here?" asked Parker. She dropped her suitcase on the floor as Sophie stood in the center of the foyer and pivoted on one heel to take in the room. "I could be doing other things. Not things like vacations to Ireland."
"Now, now, Parker," said Sophie. She hadn't travelled with any more luggage than a carry-on, because 'one should always travel light,' which was at least one thing that Parker could agree with. "You need time to relax just as much as the rest of us do."
"I do relax." The only thing better than the rush of stealing things was putting money from stealing things into a numbered Swiss bank account. She took bubble baths after a job. Bubble baths where she could go over everything she'd done, and plan how to do it better next time.
"That's not relaxing," said Sophie, who, Parker realized, hadn't known about the bubble baths. She set her carry-on down on the slate tiles of the foyer and walked closer to Parker. She tucked her arm through Parker's and started walking. Parker thought about pulling away, but she liked Sophie. Even if Sophie's predilection for shoes was annoying. "That's working."
"But I like working! Working is relaxing if you're me!" protested Parker. They walked into a room full of books and locked display cases full of antiques. Parker catalogued all available exits in less than three seconds, then started estimating how long it would take her to empty the cases.
"We can do a little bit of that while we're here." Sophie stopped, so Parker did too, of course. She frowned at Sophie, who was giving her one of those speculative looks. "If you're interested."
"You sneak! You have a job for us!" exclaimed Parker. She grinned at the almost embarrassed smile Sophie gave her. It wasn't often she got to see Sophie get shaken up.
"The Ulster Museum is closed for renovations," said Sophie. She let go of Parker's arm and went to pull a book out of the nearest shelf. "Security's going to be more lax, and they have a number of very small, very transportable items."
"I don't like sushi," said Parker, making a little moue of distaste at the thought. "I'm not eating raw fish."
Sophie smiled as she and Parker walked down the crowded streets of Tokyo. "There are plenty of things to eat in Japan other than sushi," she said. They slipped into a restaurant Sophie had eaten at many, many times. Sometimes even under her own name, which was not Sophie Devereaux.
"I've seen that show with the bald guy who eats gross things!" exclaimed Parker. "He went to Japan!"
"Relax," said Sophie. "You'll find that's an extreme example of what's available here." She nudged Parker, who was studying the food models at the entrance, and nodded down to where she was slipping off her shoes.
"Oh," said Parker. She bent down and unlaced her shoes, then put them next to Sophie's. Sophie could hardly miss the fact that Parker was mimicking her actions. "Right. What now?"
"I thought we could plan a shopping trip," said Sophie. She patted her handbag, which had pamphlets from a number of high end stores, including the Omotesando Hills shopping mall, which was home to the incredibly secure, yet incredibly enticing Harry Winston jewelry store.
As the server led them to their table, Sophie reflected on how she simply adored her visits to Japan.
"So now we've hit the last stop on our whirlwind world tour, right?" asked Parker. She tugged the ponytail holder out of her hair and tried combing it with her fingers. Her feet hurt, and she'd been cramped up on the plane for-- Well, she hadn't really been cramped up, since she and Sophie had flown first class. But her feet did hurt.
"Unless you have other ideas," said Sophie, who didn't have a hair out of place. "I thought we could take in a bit of the area, see what opportunities are available."
"Plus you've got a rocking house here," added Parker. She stared down at the marble flooring, then around at the walls, which were painted cream, and all the window and door frames with bright geometric art surrounding them. Plus there was artwork that she was pretty sure certain people back in the States wouldn't like knowing Sophie had in her possession.
"I do indeed," said Sophie. She smiled at Parker like she was enjoying herself, then walked over to a table where someone had poured two glasses of deep, ruby red wine and left them out on a silver tray. "Let's have something to drink, shall we?"
Parker wondered - again - why Sophie would take her on a whirlwind tour of international, glamorous vacation homes. On the other hand, the combination of grifting and burglary was lots more profitable than she'd expected.
It wasn't as if Parker cared much about wine, but the stuff that Sophie handed her was pretty good. Except that the one sip she took wasn't enough to get her drunk. Which was why she had no reason to shove her foot in her mouth worse than she usually did.
"Are you really that bad an actress?" she asked Sophie, who set her glass blindly down on the cherry wood table and nearly spilled it. "Like, I mean, when you're pulling jobs, you're awesome, and I'd believe it if you told me there were flying pigs outside and diamonds were falling from the sky, but then Nate makes us go see you in a show, and you're horrible."
Parker had to learn how to shut up one of these days. Maybe when they got back, she could ask Hardison for lessons. Wait, no, he never shut up either. Eliot! He never said anything if he didn't have to. Maybe he could-- No, he'd just give her that look. He was too good at shutting up.
Sophie's free hand fluttered up to cover her chest, and-- Oh, shit, she was crying. "Parker, why would you say something like that?" She looked really sad. Like, sadder than most of the people who Parker said things like that to.
"Sophie, I'm really sor--" Parker started falling all over herself to apologize, except Sophie had started laughing. "Hey, wait a minute!"
"Oh, Parker." Sophie wiped tears away, picked her wine glass up again, and saluted Parker with it. "You're the first person in our little group to ask me that. Congratulations."
"So you're not upset?" asked Parker, frowning.
"On the contrary, I wondered how long it would take any of you to catch on to my little game," said Sophie. She smiled as she moved to sit down on a camel-colored suede sofa. "Let's not tell the others."
"I don't know if they'll catch on," said Parker. She plopped down next to Sophie and took a drink of her wine. It was pretty tasty. "They're pretty unobservant."
"They really are, aren't they?" Sophie leaned back on the sofa and gave Parker what she was pretty sure was a manipulative smile. But that was okay. That was just Sophie being Sophie. "I'm glad we spent this time together."
"Me too," said Parker.
Sophie swept into the board room, in as dignified a manner as she ever did around their business. She was weighted down by packages and bags. It was grand fun to come back with souvenirs after a world tour, especially when everyone would try to determine if they'd been illegally gained spoils. That wasn't really the point, not to Sophie, but she didn't expect most of them to understand it.
"You girls have fun?" asked Eliot.
Parker glared at him. "We're not girls," she said, crossing her arms. "Unless you think two perfectly capable women that you work with every day are immature thirteen year olds who swoon every time a boy band comes into town?"
Sophie would do something like that, mind you, but only if there was profit in it.
"Right, right, I'm sorry," said Eliot, holding up his hands and backing up. "You women have fun?"
Hardison shut off the ESPN Classic game of baseball that was playing. "You two going to tell us about the trip, or do I gotta comb the news feeds to see what you've been up to?"
"Wouldn't you just like to know." Parker gave him a smug look and sat down across the table from him.
"I'm afraid some things are better experienced than heard about," said Sophie. She settled her bags on the table. "We brought presents."
"Then that's all I need to know," said Hardison, though by the way he was tapping on his handheld device, Sophie was certain he was lying.