One of my favorite moments of Leverage to this day is when Nate gets shot and Sophie screams out his name and then whispers ‘talk to me’ over and over as she cradles his head and basically folds herself around his upper body.
We know that Sophie cares for Nate even though we’re only five episodes in. We know that Nate is head over heels for Sophie, you can see it every time he looks at her - but this is the first real sign we’ve got besides Sophie’s speech during The Miracle Job (S1E04) that what’s between them is very much alive and real and growing with every current interaction.
Nate’s been shot before. Hell, we see Sophie shoot him in a flashback during The Nigerian Job (S1E01), but I think this is probably the first time Nate’s been shot in front of her and she hasn’t been the assailant. When she shot Nate she knew he was going to be fine. It was just a flesh wound.
This is the first time Nate’s been possibly seriously, life-threateningly injured in front of her and she loses it for a hot minute and blows their cover because it’s Nate.
It’s a fantastic Victorian AU where Sophie is Prime Minister in a post-vampire-apocalypse world and accidentally makes it the law that she has to get married. Guess who to. Guess. All the other characters show up, too, and it’s brilliant. So much fun.
So, I was thinking about Leverage (because when am I not?) and soulmate au’s and I got kind of into that one idea where the name of your soulmate appears on your body, y’know? And I was thinking about, like, what if the names appeared only when you were at the point where this person was, in fact, your soulmate? Because people change a lot, right?
Okay, take Nate for example. He doesn’t get his until around the time he leaves for college, and it’s Maggie, of course. They meet, they marry, etc. And then the whole thing with their son happens and this ordeal has changed them both, dramatically, especially Nate. And one day he realizes that Maggie’s name isn’t as dark and clear as it used to be. It’s not gone, not completely, but its faded and looks old, because they’re not soulmates anymore. So he goes off, and starts Leverage, and he still doesn’t know who he is, not anymore. He’s unstable and uncertain of his place in the world, and he’s still changing so much and trying to find a balance. And there’s Sophie, of course, and they have their thing going on. She doesn’t have a name, not yet, because she’s a grifter and she admits that she gets so lost in her aliases, she doesn’t even know who she is, and how can she have a soulmate when she’s dozens of different people at once? She doesn’t get a name until she comes back, when Nate gets shot and arrested. Sophie doesn’t tell him its there, or that it’s his, though. He doesn’t get to be her soulmate just because some ink scrawled on her hip says so. No, he has to earn that, as well. (Nate doesn’t get a name until after he returns from his boat trip, and sees her waiting for him on the dock. After they kiss, she takes his hand and laughs, tracing the word ‘Clara’ on his inner wrist.)
But also that doesn’t always happen? Hardison definitely got his when he was very young, he’s just so genuine and himself. He tries to hide it from his nana, at first, because most people don’t get two names at once. She figures it out almost immediately, and tells him not to be a fool. Two names on his chest, just over his heart, isn’t a bad thing. Just means he has two soulmates. After that, Hardison doesn’t give it much thought. He’ll meet them when he meets them. (he meets them on a job, masterminded by the guy who’s chased them all at least once, and neither of them seem to know what teamwork is. he wonders whether they have their names yet, or not, but he doesn’t bring it up. it doesn’t seem like either of them would be very receptive to the idea.)
Parker, on the other hand, doesn’t get her names for a while. Probably not until “The Inside Job”, when she realizes how much the team is her family now. That they accept her and love her just the way she is, that they care about her and protect her, and she’s not as broken as she thought. She can be herself. (it takes a while for her to tell Hardison about the names she finds on her ankles, takes until she’s finally in the mood for ‘pretzels’ and they’re doing their own thing and she thinks she won’t scare him off, and he laughs and shows her his own tattoos. Parker wants to go get Elliot right then and there, but Hardison convinces her to give him some time).
Elliot doesn’t even notice when he first gets his names. After all, they’re on his shoulder blades and he doesn’t really look in mirrors too often. He aways kind of thought he’d never end up with names (some people don’t, and its not always a bad thing, and he tries to tell himself that he doesn’t care either way, that he doesn’t need the closeness). Besides, it’s not until he tells them that he worked with Moreau, when he tells Parker that if she asks, he will tell her everything, and he realizes he means it. He’s willing to tell them everything, no matter how much he doesn’t want to. And it’s a while after that until he sees them after taking a shower one morning, realizes just how important they are to him. Even then, he doesn’t mention it, because surely they would’ve said something, right? He figures they have each other’s names, somewhere, and it doesn’t matter. He doesn’t have to be their soulmate to stay with them and protect them. (the whole thing doesn’t get revealed until one time they’re talking to a client who mentions a missing person having two names as an identifying marker and Parker says “so do we!” they don’t talk about it right there and then, but later, when the job’s done, Elliot asks them about it and they tell him the truth and he asks why they didn’t say anything before and Hardison says “we were waiting for you to be ready” and he realizes they waited for him, he didn’t have to ask or make any promises or give up a part of himself, they just waited, and finally all three of them are exactly how they’re meant to be).
I love season one of Leverage so much because while we’re slowly building on Nate and Sophie’s backstory through bits of conversation we’re also starting out on the journey that is Parker and Hardison (and also Parker and Hardison and Eliot).
The Wedding Job (S1E07) is one of my favorite Leverage episodes is terms of Nate and Sophie because we get more than a little from Sophie in this episode in terms of how she feels and has felt about Nate for possibly ten to eight years (give or take).
Toward the beginning of the episode is perhaps one of my favorite lines of dialogue from Leverage, when Sophie is talking about their potential client and how she’s having to wait for her husband to be freed from jail while not so subtly implying how she’s felt about having to wait in regards to the relationship she wants with Nate. You can tell her speech hits the mark by the look on his face and ends up staying with them throughout the remainder of the episode.
One of the reasons I love Nate and Sophie so much are because they aren’t a will they/won’t they couple, they’re an eventuality. You know it’s going to happen from their first scene in The Nigerian Job (S1E01).
Nate’s speech later on in the episode when he’s playing the vicar calls back somewhat to his conversation with Sophie in The Miracle Job (S1E04) when she tells him that what happens next is up to him.
“And some people should consider that other people, you know, they don’t, uh, maybe they need a little time, you know, before they start dating some people again and-and-and start committing and…”
We already know that Sam has been gone for a little over two years at this point in time, but what we don’t know is how long Nate and Maggie lasted afterward. We meet Nate when he’s still attempting to drown his problems instead of picking up the broken pieces, which is why I think it makes his speeches to Sophie in season one all the more special because he’s still wounded but it’s so clear that he has strong, dominating feelings for her.
And I’m 100% sure that the tears in Sophie’s eyes during his speech cement the fact that she has the same overwhelming feelings for him.
Nate: we make a good team!
Sophie: sure do! friendship rules! let’s be awesome teammates forever!
Nate and Sophie five minutes later: *has wild drunk sex in Nate’s hotel room*
Nate: let’s have a friendly, platonic dinner!
Sophie: okay! as friends and colleagues and nothing more!
Nate and Sophie five minutes later: *has wild drunk sex on Nate’s apartment floor*
Nate: no relationship for me thnx!
Sophie: yuck me neither! supes casual sex all the way!
Nate and Sophie five minutes later: *has long-term monogamous relationship leading to marriage*
I cannot express accurately enough in words how much I love these two. They’re probably one of my top otps and every time I watch Leverage I fall in love with them all over again. I’ve been working on this for a few weeks, picking at it and trying to get it to look decent.
I wish more people actively vidded this amazing show (and this couple) but alas, since I really only know of two or three people then I’ll just have to keep vidding them myself.