Leverage OT3, Time Loop episode?
Parker doesn’t mean for any of this to happen.
Well, she does mean to steal the necklace. Although sometimes her fingers slip and she half-absentmindedly steals things, she deliberately took this necklace. It’s shiny and eye-catching it it’s just there, practically cast aside, left behind in the safe she’s cracked, searching for the big pile of bearer bonds.
It’s what happens afterwards that Parker doesn’t intend.
There have been twenty-one reiterations of the day now, spanning from the moment she puts the necklace on–two forty three in the afternoon–until midnight, when it resets all over again.
Every single time, one of them gets caught. Parker, bound hand and foot and still in the cell when midnight rolls around. Hardison, grabbed from behind and dragged. Eliot, beaten and bloody.
Parker thinks it’s not a situation so inescapable that they couldn’t eventually rescue each other, but never before midnight and, without fail, the day resets every time midnight rolls around.
Parker’s tried switching up the plan, her brain calculating and recalculating so fast it practically whirs. Nothing works. She tries putting the necklace back in the safe, but the day continues as normal, and she’s wearing it again at two forty three once more.
They can’t alter the escape routes. Too many guards. They can’t hide. Not enough good places, and too many cameras. They can’t just get caught and break out, because it takes too long.
The problem, Parker thinks, is that all classic distractions are only meant for two. Ergo, one of them being left out to get caught.
But–and here Parker stops in her tracks, four steps away from the safe–she’s a mastermind. There may be no new cons, but there are a million variations.
“Third bedroom down the hall,” she says. “Meet me there.”
They don’t respond, and she’s a little warmed by how much they trust her. Of course, she’s failed them for twenty days now–not that they know that–but she’s determined to prove why they should trust her today.
“New variation on an old classic,” she says as they walk in right behind her. “Guards will be on us in thirty seconds. Get us thrown out of this party.”
They do a remarkable job, too. Eliot has his pants unbuttoned and Hardison untucks and ruffles his shirt, leaning over to tease Parker and Eliot’s hair into disarray. Parker slips a dress strap down her shoulder and then sandwiches herself between them.
“Well?” She demands, staring at Hardison in front of her. He looks back, nonplussed for a second, before seeming to get it and lean over her shoulder to kiss Eliot, who wraps big hands around Parker’s waist.
And…for a scene only meant to get them thrown out of a party as debauched guests, it really…clicks.
They get thrown out, but not thrown in a cell. Parker still has bearer bonds in her clutch, and, she realizes belatedly, the necklace around her neck.
When they’re back at the brewpub and the clock rolls around to twelve-oh-one that night, she kisses both boys senseless. When she pulls back, they stare at each other, seem to have a silent conversation with their eyes. Eliot shrugs, and then they’re all kissing again.
Parker smiles happily into the kiss. For a mastermind, it took her far too long to realize that the best cons are variations on the classics.