Lions and Tigers
Leverage ; Parker, Hardison ; 600 words ; PG
Parker stares at the giraffe. The giraffe stares back.
"Uh," says Hardison. "Parker? Do you maybe want to do the job first, intimidate the locals later?"
"I'm not letting her win," Parker says, her face screwed up with determination as she considers her opponent.
"Okay," says Hardison, and waits.
Slowly, the giraffe chews some long grass. Parker doesn't blink.
"Uh," Hardison says again.
Parker sighs. Working with a team is way more trouble than it's worth sometimes. "Factoring in walking to and from the head office then breaking, entering, grabbing the cash and getting out again, it's not going to take me more than three minutes."
She narrows her eyes at the giraffe. After two more minutes, complete with Hardison babbling in the background, the giraffe backs off, bending down to get some new grass and then wandering away to her friends.
"Yeah, that's right," says Parker. "You know who's boss."
"Great," says Hardison. "Can we go now?"
"Okay." Hardison peers over to the office and gets out his equipment.
Rolling her eyes - Hardison will never open a door if he can't do it by remote control first - Parker runs up to one of the sheltered sides of the building and slides through the open window. She lands on her feet and does a quick survey of the room: no people, minimal security save a security camera that Hardison's already tapped into.
"This guy's pretty dumb," she says as Hardison rolls in behind her.
"Yeah?" he asks, getting to his feet as unobtrusively as he can, like Parker won't notice.
She always notices, but she doesn't mind that Hardison's not as good at cat burglary as she is, or that he can't take out bad guys like Eliot can. He's smart and he has good ideas and she likes him. She blinks and shakes her head clear; she's not used to thinking things like that, trusting and unguarded.
"The cash is over there," she says, pointing.
"How do you - oh, yeah." Hardison nods. There's a big portrait of a lion, high on the wall, and a stool beneath it perfect for stepping on.
Parker climbs up and passes the painting down to Hardison. "Oh, come on," she groans. "This is kind of embarrassing." It's a combination lock and as she spins the dial the clicks echo so loud that the penguins in the enclosure next door can probably hear them.
"Short term storage," Hardison says. "Not much point getting something new when you're passing your ill-gotten goods onto the big boys in a few days."
"This is beneath me. Can't we wait until he sends it overseas? I've never robbed a Japanese security vault before."
"No. Sooner we wrap this up, sooner we can get the cash back to our client."
"Yeah," says Parker, opening up the safe. Bingo: brown briefcase, and lots of money inside. She sighs happily, petting it a little.
"Okay, let's get out of here before the guy finds us and sets his pet tigers on us or something."
"Knew we should have brought Eliot," Parker says, but she hops down.
They leave through the front door, nodding nonchalantly at several of the wardens, and then big cat veterinarians Dr. Tennant and Dr. Ecclestone hand a brown briefcase of medical supplies over to travelling surgeon Dr. Shaw, who stows the briefcase on the back of her motorcycle with a nod and a wink and disappears away from the zoo grounds.
"Cool," says Parker, stowing her 'Dr. Tennant' badge away and waving Sophie off. "What do we do now?"
Hardison shrugs. "We could hang out here for a bit, check out the marmosets or something. I mean, if you like."
Parker considers this for a moment. "Can we get ice cream?"
"Only way to see a zoo," says Hardison, and he grins.
"Okay," says Parker, and she smiles back.