[identity profile] empressearwig.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] earwigficmirror
Per [livejournal.com profile] spyglass_'s request:

Okay, so since I was sticking around later than usual this year, I knew I wanted to write treats for Yuletide. And since I knew I wanted to do that, I bookmarked all the letters that I thought there was something I could write from my flist, since hey, I like you all and want you to have the fic that you want. Well, after I figured out what I was getting for Yuletide, I was sort of insanely disappointed because of course it was the big fandom and not one of my little book ones, and so after I finished the Pink Carnation fic that someone else had the good sense to want, I decided I was going to try this. Now, I was sort of scared about writing this since the little fic I wrote for the holiday stuff didn't turn out nearly as well as I'd wanted, but I think in the end this turned out okay? Much better than that first one, anyway.

In hindsight, Kat should have seen it coming.

When you think a job is going to be easy, it's the first sign that it won't be and in her family business, listening to signs was practically an article of faith. But no, Kat had wanted to do this and she'd wanted to it alone, and so she pushed ahead, ignoring the tingling down her spine that said that something was very wrong and that she should get out while she still could.

Anyway, one of the things you mentioned wanting in your letter was a fic about the night that Kat came to steal the Monet and I LOVED that idea, but I did not trust myself to write caper fic. So that's why there's this really short theft scene and the rest of it is about the aftermath. Aftermath I can write. Stealing? Not so much.

She ignored it all the way up until, as she tried to creep out undetected with a Monet in her hands, the room flooded with light. She blinked against the light, her eyes having grown used to the dark, and she saw a person sized shape in the archway that was the nearest exit. She blinked again and the shape became a teenage boy.

(A very, very hot teenage boy, Kat's brain noted against her will.)

As if sensing the direction her traitorous thoughts had gone, his mouth curved up in a smug smile. Kat refused to notice that it made him even better looking.

"Boo," said the boy.

Kat should have seen it coming.

HALE!!!! Oh my god, I love him. My basic thinking here was that the first thing any teenage girl with a pulse is going to notice about Hale is that he's hot, right? And despite herself, Kat IS a teenage girl, so of course once the initial "holy crap I got caught" wore off the hotness was going to be the first thing she noticed. Also, [livejournal.com profile] tosca1390 beta-ed this for me and told me I was using hot too many times. She was right, but can you really ever say that Hale is hot too many times? I think not.

Also, also, I love the "Boo" thing more than is rational. HALE!!!!!!!


Two weeks after the Monet job that wasn't, Kat was walking down Broadway in New York when she felt someone fall into step with her. She cut her eyes to the side and saw the last person she'd ever hoped to see again. It was him.

Ugh, so you have no idea the amount of research I did for this one little street name reference. Ally Carter doesn't pinpoint where Uncle Eddie lives AT ALL, so I sort of decided it would be near Columbia? Don't tell me if I got it wrong, I don't want to know. I looked at street level google maps, people. I never do that. And all for a goddamn street name that I already knew.

Kat stopped dead in her tracks, ignoring that she was in the middle of the crowded sidewalk.

"You," she said, the word sounding stupid even to her own ears.

"Me," he said, all affable agreement. Without asking, he took her by the elbow, steering her towards a coffee shop just a few yards away.

Kat let him. She didn't know why she let him, but she suspected it had something to do with shock. That was really the only explanation for why she also let him pull out a chair for her and why she let him push her down by the shoulders into the chair and why she let him order coffee for her without even a word of protest.
It was shock or she was distracted by him, and Kat preferred to think that she was above such things. Those things were better left to her cousin, Gabrielle.

Hee! Hale's very physical with Kat in the books, you've noticed that right? Even when it's not sexual (although I imagine there's always an undercurrent of that, hello "I didn't choose it, I chose you"), he's always touching her. I imagine that started early, even when he had no actual business touching her. And again with the being distracted by the hotness. It's probably good Hale is fictional, really. We'd all be in trouble if he weren't.
Kat waited until after their waitress had deposited two still-steaming cups of coffee in front of them (along with her phone number, Kat noted with a sneer) to speak.

How do you spell jealous? K-A-T.
"How did you find me?" she asked, leaning forward and speaking in a hushed voice. "Why did you find me?"
He ignored her question and picked up his coffee, blowing across the top of the white ceramic mug. He took a testing sip, all the while eyeing her speculatively over the brim.
Kat didn't like that look at all.
He set the mug back down on the table and extended his hand. "I'm W.W. Hale the Fifth," he said. "I don't believe we've been introduced."
Kat looked down at his hand and then back up at his face. There was something in his eyes that said that the charming rogue act was just that -- an act, and that whatever this was, he was deadly serious. She shook his hand, trying not to notice the frisson of electricity that passed between them when their palms touched. It was harder to do than it should have been.
"And you are?" he prompted, not letting go of her hand.

More with the overly familiar touching.
She thought about using an alias, of slipping into one of the thousands of roles that were as familiar to her as her own skin, but somehow she knew that he'd know if she was lying. You can't con a conman, said the voice in her head that sounded suspiciously like her father, and Kat sighed.

It's weird, I love that they compare Hale to Kat's dad and yet it's also sort of creepy in a "girls are always looking for their fathers" kind of way. And yet it makes a great deal of sense to me that Kat would love a boy that reminds her of the things she loves in her dad.
"Kat Bishop," she said finally, attempting tugging her hand back. "Satisfied?"
He let her go, picking up his coffee cup once more. "For now," he said enigmatically. "You can call me Hale. That's what my friends call me."
Kat's eyebrows shot straight up at that. "And is that what we are? Friends?"
Hale shrugged. "You tell me." He leaned forward and dropped his voice so that it was just audible over the noise of the coffee shop. "Making a new friend seems like a small price to pay for me not calling the police about the attempted theft of my mother's favorite Monet. But it's up to you, Kat." He straightened in his chair, all traces of charm and good humor gone from his eyes. "You decide."

"That's blackmail," she managed to say despite the fact that her jaw was practically on the floor.

Hale nodded, the smug smile from the night they met firmly back in place. "I know."

Kat stared at him, utterly baffled. Hale stared at her, obviously expectant. Silence echoed loudly between them.

I rewrote these three lines a bunch of times. I couldn't get the cadence right. I'm still not sure it's completely there, but it's better than some of my attempts.

Kat didn't understand. What did a boy billionaire (because that's exactly what W.W. Hale the Fifth was or she wouldn't have been stealing from his mother) have to gain from a 'friendship' with a thief? A really good thief, Kat reminded herself, her performance where the Monet was concerned notwithstanding, she was an excellent thief. Unable to handle the strained silence any longer, Kat finally spoke.

"Why?" she asked.

Hale's mask slipped, just a little, just enough for Kat to see the uncertainty that he'd tried to keep so carefully hidden. He could act the part of entitled dilettante well enough, but underneath all of it, Hale was just a teenage boy who wanted something he wasn't sure he could have.

I quite like this description of Hale. Well done, me.

"I want to learn," Hale said, after what must have been a lengthy mental deliberation. "I want you to teach me."

Kat shook her head, frustrated. She'd already come to that conclusion on her own. Knowing that he wanted her to teach him how to be a thief wasn't what she needed to know. Wanting to know wasn't enough of a reason to teach someone, even with potential jail time on the line.

"Why?" she asked again. "Why?"

This time Hale seemed to get what she meant, and a fire lit in his eyes. "Because I could be good at it," he said simply. "I will be good at it. Because it would be fun." He shrugged his shoulders again, and a looks of faint embarrassment crossed his face. "Because I meant it about wanting to be your friend."

KAT AND HALE, SITTING IN A TREE, K-I-S-S-I-N-G. There had better be so many makeouts in Heist 3: The Big Book of Shirtless Hale. We all deserve them.

Kat couldn't stop the smile from spreading across her own face.

This was a terrible idea. Her father would kill her. Uncle Eddie would kill her. It was a horrible, stupid risk to bring someone like Hale into her world. She was insane.

Kat stretched her hand across the table. "Friends?"

Hale took her hand in his and grinned.

I rewrote the ending a bunch of times too, but I think I like the last line now? But anyway, this was a lot of fun to write and now I want to write more. I love them.

The end.

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