Setting: Leoverse (Con Artists!Verse)
Wordcount: 100 x 15
Written for: COW-T #9, M3 (prompt: libero)
"Is this illegal?" Adam shows up uninvited behind Leo's back, munching a sandwich.
As he types on his laptop, Leo doesn't even look up. “Pretty much everything we do is. We're con artists, remember?”
“Yes, but aren't you just typing words on a keyboard?”
“And remotely opening a vault in the process.”
Adam keeps looking at the screen, unconvinced. “Sometimes I just think you write gibberish on that thing and then you tell us you actually did something.”
Leo doesn't stop typing. “Sometimes I just think you only play dumb to perpetuate the blonde's stereotype and then, sadly, you talk."
Annie shows them her $6,000 solitaire. Her smile looks so genuine that Blaine is not surprised she's such a great con-woman. She'd make you believe anything, even that she loves you.
“An engagement ring?” Adam, obviously.
“Martin proposed to me. He's so into me! A few more weeks and he's gonna give me all his money himself.”
“You can't marry him, he's your target!”
“Let's hope it doesn't come to that.”
No matter how bad a job can go, she would never be forced to marry, but the look of pure horror in Adam's eyes is worth the little lie.
“Where is Blaine?” Adam asks over the obnoxious sounds coming from Leo's video game and the stream of Korean pop coming from Cody's room. Since these two arrived, silence in the house is a memory.
Matt is watching TV. “Out with Annie. Scouting.”
“Blaine asked me to keep an eye on the babies."
"They're fourteen and fifteen."
"Still two bundles of joy," Matt chuckles. "Wanna keep me company?"
"If I ever say yes to that, just assume I've been drugged."
Adam was looking for a good reason to go live on his own.
Apparently now he's got two.
When Leo is nervous, he can never stand still.
At first it was a nuisance, now Adam treats Leo's mental illness like an exercise in patience. He lets him work off some restlessness, then reins him in. “Leo, what's a slave server?”
He always pretends to came across a word on the internet, but he has a list of computer terms for that purpose on his phone. Leo sits down, focus on the explanation, and calm down.
It's a nuisance for you, Blaine said once, but it's a nightmare for him.
Don't scream at him, just help him wake up.
THREE TIMES A SOPHOMORE
The worst part of being fourteen and member of a band of thieves is that you're the one who ends up in a classroom whenever there's a school to infiltrate. So far, Leo's been a sophomore thrice, a junior twice and even a freshman for two nightmarish months. There's nothing he hates more than school and yet here he is again.
“Who's that?” The girl he's supposed to befriend asks. Her father is rich and so will be they.
“My legal guardian, Blaine.”
“Uh, he's hot.”
It's really hard to frown in disgust when Leo so thoroughly agrees with her.
They generally use state-of-the-art equipment, because Blaine is a sucker for the right tools, but sometimes they have to improvise. Like now, for example.
Annie was supposed to perform a wardrobe change halfway through the heist – entering the building like a blonde dashing lady, leaving it like an anonymous black-haired maid – but her costume ripped and they have to fix it; none of them being a seamstress, staples will have to do. Matt has almost done when she lets out a little scream of pain. “Enough staples!”
Now the maid is bleeding, but at least she's not naked.
Blaine wakes up at the sound of something rummaging in the kitchen. They have had raccoon problems before, so it wouldn't surprise him to find one of those sneaky little creatures diving head first in their garbage bin. He's ready to scare the masked animal thief, but there's only Leo there.
In the imaginary raccoon's defense, Leo too is diving head first, but in the Chinese leftovers instead of a bin.
“What are you doing? It's three in the morning!”
Leo shrugs. “I was hungry. Want some?”
Blaine sighs, resignedly. He has never shared food with a raccoon after all.
CHARGER NOT FOUND
Leo spins on his office chair – a fancy armchair on wheels – and turns back to his computer that is currently flashing red, blue and white. “It looks like the fourth of July in here,” Cody comments.
“I'm having some minor issues. Can you give me my charger? It's somewhere over there.”
Cody faces the disaster that is Leo's room. It's like a desert of things that have never been put away once. There are even dunes and little oasis of socks.
“Quick, sweetness, my computer is dying.”
Cody ventures in that unknown land, probably to never come back.
CABLES AND NUMBERS
“No, blue cable, red port. White cable, green port!” Leo screams in their earpieces.
“Why don't they make it so that cables connect with ports of the same color!” Adam protests while Matt patiently disconnects all the cables again. “It'd be easier!”
“It wasn't my decision, Adam. Let's move on.”
“It's not working,”
“You're getting the cables wrong! I can see it from here!” Leo screams again.
“Why are you so bad at explaining things?”
“Why are you color blind?”
Suddenly, the automatic door they were trying to open unlocks. Matt shrugs. “They cables are numbered.”
Adam and Leo groan.
TIME IS RUNNING OUT
Cody's hands are sweaty. The lock is an hard one. He can hear the gears inside but he can't find the right way to turn them.
He hears a clack, he needs two more.
“I don't understand. It should be working!”
Cody turns the lock-pick and it breaks. “No!”
Leo makes police siren noises as he rolls down the couch dramatically. “They gotcha, sweetness!”
“I'll never pass these training tests!”
Leo gives him a kiss on his lips. “A consolation prize.”
It won't help him in prison, but at least it's nice.
THE NEW GUY
Matt always infiltrates as a waiter. He doesn't remember when they discovered that, besides freeing himself from any restraints, he's also good at serving tables, but he is and he won't deny the group his second most useful skill set. Problem is, Blaine is a great enthusiast of what he calls realistic lying, which means lying about being a waiter but actually making a real catering service hire you as a waiter.
“You must be the new guy,” says the new temporary boss of his also new temporary job.
“That'd be me,” Matt confirms for the umpteenth time and counting.
After cleaning up the vault, Cody and Adam have twenty seconds to leave the building before the doors of the bank – those Leo opened with his tech-savvy hands – lock again for good. It's not much time, but it's not a bad situation either. He fills them in again from his van outside the bank, stressing the importance of them running towards the door. They go in, they steal, they run back. The corridor is six feet longer than expected and the door traps them inside. The risk they took was calculated, but man, are they bad at math.
Six months before any heist, Blaine gathers them in a room and asks them to sit down. He waits to be sure they're all listening to him, then he explains them what he wants to steal next, when, where, to whom and, most importantly, how. All that with the visual aid of an old-fashioned chalkboard on which he writes every detail of the plan.
“Any questions?” He asks when he's done.
Leo raises his hand. “Can we, please, just for once, celebrate this wonderful twenty-first-century and use a computer or something?”
The chalkboard eraser hits him right in the face.
A LONG TIME AWAY
The first time Matt takes one for the team, he does time for theft. He should have been Blaine, but the man can't be charged for that again, their lawyer was clear, and so it must be one of them.
They're only talking a couple of years and yet he's scared to death. The night before the sentence, Blaine hugs him tight, thanking him without words as he knows Matt isn't good with those. “I'll have you out earlier for good behavior,” he promises.
The only thing that helps Matt through jail is that he knows for sure Blaine will.
YOU DON'T ALWAYS HAVE TO BE IN CONTROL
Control is something Leo has never had. He's been at odds with his own body and mind since he can remember. His first memory he has of himself is his father chaining him to the leg of his bed because he can't stand still. One of the worst, it's himself screaming his head off in the middle of the night just because he had no other way to express his uneasiness. And when he tries to control himself and can't, he gets frustrated and it gets worse.
So, sometimes Blaine just holds him in his arms and let him unravel.