I have appeared back out of the great beyond with more Leverage fanfiction. 😀
Progress on my own book is slow and it’ll still probably be a while until that’s gonna be going up on here, since I need to get a consistent pace going.
But in the meantime…. have a story I wrote of Nate and Sophie before the show started. When Nate was still an insurance investigator chasing the art thief Sophie Deveraux. Inspired by that line in the first episode of Nate being the “only fan” of Sophie’s acting, and how genuinely he supports her in it, despite the fact that she’s absolutely hideous at it.
Hopefully even enjoyable for those of you who don’t watch the show. ❤
aaand here it is!
I had my every move in London planned out, until I saw that Romeo and Juliet flyer on the street. I didn’t even consciously read it. My gaze passed it briefly and I kept walking for a few paces; but then my mind registered that I’d just read the name Sophie Devereaux.
I stopped dead in my tracks and blinked a couple of times.
This trip was for something completely different. I was supposed to find a missing bust that had been stolen from an art museum, and I’d already definitively taken Sophie off the suspect list.
I backed up to the poster and leaned over, giving it a closer look. Sure enough, there was Sophie’s name. She was playing Juliet, of course. I couldn’t picture her settling for anything less.
The show was tonight at eight. It wasn’t at the biggest theater in London, by any means, but still a very good venue. I’d probably be able to get a seat if I got there early enough, right?
Hold on though, I had plans. The job came first, and I was supposed to get that bust back, not be going to Shakespeare plays.
But this was Sophie: the best grifter I’d ever seen. The way she was able to disappear into the roles she played when she was conning people was almost unsettling, really. Was I going to pass up my opportunity to see that being put to good use for once?
I ran my tongue over my teeth, eying the poster.
Well. The day was still young. I had a good idea of who’d taken the bust already, and things could move fast. Maybe…
Yeah, that sounded like a good revised plan. If I found the bust today, I could celebrate with going to see Sophie play Juliet, and congratulate her on her newfound career.
Wouldn’t she be surprised to see me?
I smiled to myself and kept walking.
It was exactly seven forty-five when I stepped out of a cab in front of the theater.
Cutting it a little close, and I might have gotten a better seat if I was here earlier. But I hadn’t counted on my thief leading a chase like that and it took a little more time to get things under control than I thought. Plus having to return the bust and everything after that.
I paid the driver and stood there, straightening my tie and cuffs before I headed inside.
A rickety street vendor cart was set up on the sidewalk outside, selling bouquets. Not a bad place to get business, if the flowers lasted alright out in the cold weather.
I pushed through the door and got in line to buy my ticket. It wasn’t any small turnout for the play, but they weren’t sold out yet, so I got a seat in one of the rows further in the back.
“Are you a big Shakespeare fan?” the seller asked as he slid my tickets across the counter.
I gave a small shrug. “Shakespeare’s not bad. I sort of know one of the cast, though, so that’s mainly why I’m here.”
“Oh?” he raised his eyebrows. “Friends with one of the extras, or…?”
“More like… amiable nemeses with Juliet.” I smiled at the look on his face and walked off to find my seat.
I didn’t make a habit of going to a lot of plays, but Maggie liked them, so I’d been to more with her than I would have attended otherwise. I was familiar with the excited buzz beforehand as everyone found their seats and chatted with each other; the awed hush that fell as the lights began to dim; and finally the curtain rising to show the set scene on the stage.
Colorfully dressed actors came from both sides of the stage, and the chorus of the first few lines was spoken.
“Two households, both alike in dignity, in fair Verona where we set our scene…”
I leaned back in my seat and watched as the first Romeo-centered scenes progressed. The other actors weren’t bad. Not nearly as good as Sophie would be when she showed up, but they definitely knew what they were doing onstage.
Then the scene changed again. I sat forward almost reflexively as Lady Capulet called for her daughter.
And… enter Juliet.
“How now? Who calls?”
The too-loud line felt like a slightly off-key note in the rest of the perfectly composed play. I frowned. What…?
Sophie, dressed in bright colors and wearing her hair down, pranced onto the stage. She looked around her, her mouth falling open slightly as she took on an exaggerated, misplaced look of confusion as she searched desperately for who had called her.
Our faces were probably about the same at that moment.
I squinted, wondering if I was seeing right or if they’d gotten some really bad understudy. But it… really did look like Sophie. What was she doing?
“Your mother,” responded the nurse to the earlier question, her tone a little more hesitant and awkward than before.
“Madame!” Sophie twirled over to Lady Capulet and bowed low into a curtsy that nearly made her fall over. “I am here. What is your will?” Her voice stayed consistently just a little too loud to be taken seriously, and her words all came out with too much air behind them.
Was there something actually wrong with her? Was she sick, or injured or…?
I know she’s better than this. She cons people all the time with her acting skills, how can she be this bad on stage?
Physically, she appeared to be perfectly fine. No one who wasn’t feeling well could execute the amount of twirls and dramatic gestures she did.
But her acting… it was…
Really, truly awful.
She wasn’t just bad at this. She was very bad at this.
So, Sophie Devereaux. The greatest grifter there was, who could change her identity, mannerisms and appearance at the drop of a hat for a con. And she couldn’t act onstage to save her life.
My confusion slowly turned into utter delight.
I came here to see her perform well, yeah. But I didn’t realize just how wonderful it would to see her perform badly. Because this… this was actually a treat I rarely got to see. Never before had I seen her be so horrible at something, yet be so completely enjoying herself.
I was on the edge of my seat for the whole rest of the play. The rest of the audience seemed to recoil when Sophie would come on stage, but I would always sit up straighter and watch closer.
The whole play was incredible. But really, her death scene at the end was my favorite to watch. Her “Where forart thou Romeo?” speech was amazing too. But she clearly enjoyed all the sobbing, the stabbing herself and dramatically collapsing to the ground more than anything else.
The ending monologues were given. The curtain fell. And I was the first on my feet to start clapping.
Before, I wasn’t sure if I was going to go up and actually say hi to her. But going by the reactions of the audience, she wasn’t going to have a lot of other congratulations coming her way.
And this was clearly something she loved doing. A wholesome hobby that was on the right side of the law. She needed encouragement, and I really loved the show. The choice was obvious.
Now… wasn’t there that flower booth outside?
Sure enough, while the other actors came out to cheers and congratulations later, Sophie was little more than just politely ignored. She stood there, her smile starting to fade as she anxiously fiddled with her jewelry.
I put my small bouquet behind my back and started edging through the crowd towards her as she slipped back out of sight.
The crowd thinned as I got closer to where I’d last seen her, and I caught a glimpse of her skirt as she disappeared behind the backstage doors. Probably going off alone to sulk. Perfect time to give her flowers.
I strode over to the door and caught it just before it fell shut, pulled it slowly back open, and stepped inside. My footsteps clacked on the slick floor.
Sophie was already a few yards away, but she stopped at the sound of someone following her. She just stood still for a few seconds before slowly turning, her eyebrows raised.
I gave her a smile as our eyes met, and nodded respectfully, still keeping the flowers behind my back as I walked closer. “Miss Devereaux. It’s been a while, hasn’t it?”
Sophie’s back stiffened and she pressed her lips together, narrowing her eyes at me. “I have no idea why you’re here. I’m making my way as an honest citizen now. And you’ve got bloody awful timing showing up to ruin my first stage performance.” She propped one hand on her hip and tilted her head at me. “You’ll have to look elsewhere for that stolen Van Gogh, because it’s not with me.”
Oh, so she’d stolen a Van Gogh recently. That was nice.
I shook my head. “That’s not why I’m here. I actually… I have something for you.”
Sophie’s brow furrowed in confusion. “Oh?”
Slowly, I brought the flowers out from behind my back, and stepped closer to hand them over to her. “You were incredible. Good job out there.”
Her face went blank with shock for a few seconds as she stared at the flowers, then up at me. She gasped, a wide smile breaking across her face. “Nate, you didn’t!” Sophie gently took the flowers and smelled them deeply.
“Well, it’s a shame all our interactions have to be just whenever you steal something.” I shrugged, grinning back. “And I absolutely loved the show. So I thought it was only the obvious thing to…” I gestured to the flowers.
“You’re insufferable.” She ducked her head to look at the bouquet again, but I could still see her glowing smile.
Hope you all enjoyed!
And I will hopefully be back with some more stories, recipes or photos soon. ❤
Have a good rest of your week, everyone!