Eliot/Sophie, during a job gone wrong Sophie has to play hostage to Eliot's captor.
Later, she’ll be able to think about it rationally, and she’ll laugh at herself a little, because she trusts him, trusts him implicitly, and it’s ridiculous to have been afraid. Really.
But that will be later. Right now, all she can think about is the duct tape around her wrists, the gun barrel resting against her temple, and the aura of violent menace emanating from the man whose iron grip is bruising her arm as he yanks her about like a rag doll.
Later, she will scold herself for overlooking what should have always been obvious – that the affable, unthreatening act Eliot could put on so easily for a con must naturally have a darker equivalent, just as far in the other direction from his true nature. Farther, even, because she knows at heart he’s a gentle man. Still, a man does not get the reputation Eliot Spencer has by just being grumpy and making empty threats. She should have known he could intimidate a room full of people if he chose. She should have realized he could be utterly terrifying, even to someone who should know better.
But that will be later. Right now, she has to fight not to whimper from the pain when she twists her ankle as he drags her behind him and shoves her toward the door. She must be silent, be good, because she doesn’t want to force him to follow through on his threats to hurt her. She has to trust him. She has to remember that she was dead if she stayed in that room one more minute, that his cold glare and hard words are not the real danger, but her rescue.
Later, he will hold her against him, and kiss her softly, and murmur apologies. When he thinks she is asleep, his fingers will lightly trace the bruises he left on her skin. She will know that gentle exploration is made out of guilt and regret, because that is the man she knows, the man he is. She won’t fear him then.
But that will be later. Right now, she can’t stop silent tears from running down her cheeks, from the pain and the panic as he hustles her ungently down the fire stairs and out of the building. He’s a silent, menacing presence at her back. She’s known dangerous men. She’s known killers. She knows one when she sees one. The gun barrel is hard and solid against the back of her skull, and she knows if he pulls the trigger the exit wound will mean a closed casket service.
Later, she will shake her head at herself for her terror. She will know that he would never shoot her. She will realize that the gun was never even loaded, just a prop. That it was all just an act. Just a very convincing act that saved her life from a con gone bad. She will understand that he had to keep it up until they were out of the building, clear of the cameras.
Later, he will cut the tape away from her wrists with exquisite care, will brush the tears from her cheeks with gentle hands. Later, he’ll undress her carefully and hold her loosely until she stops shaking. He’ll be more pliant than usual, he’ll let her take control, let her hold the reins, the power, fully in her own hands. He’ll let her do what she needs to reestablish equilibrium between them.
But that will be later. Right now, he all but hurls her through the fire door, and she staggers the few feet to the team’s van, and bites her own tongue against the urge to scream when he grabs her roughly from behind. He lifts her and tosses her into the back, and she tries to remember to roll with the impact, but then she doesn’t have to because Nate and Parker have caught her. Parker strokes her hair while she trembles, and the van peels out as soon as Eliot’s slammed the passenger door.
Later, she will lie, and tell him that of course she was never truly frightened. It was all an act. How could she be afraid of him? Later, he will smile, and pretend he believes her.
But that will be later. Right now, he climbs into the back of the van, shoulders Nate and Parker aside and cups her face in his hands, eyes wide and worried. “Sophie,” he whispers, “sweetheart, I’m so sorry.”
Right now, she blinks away her tears and manages a tremulous smile, covering one of his hands with her own. “It’s alright, Eliot,” she tells him. “You saved me.”
Right now, she knows that’s all that really matters.