Desperately British

Summary:
February 4, 2015: Bobbi and Hunter attend a Christie's auction in London, as a cover to sneak out intel on their private sales.

Christie's Auction House - London

[http://www.christies.com/]


Characters

NPCs

  • N/A

Mood Music:
None


February 4th.

Bobbi had told Director Fury that she would tap her resources about where Hydra might be getting this mystical stuff from. Detective Pezzini indicated it might be from some sort of artifact. The next logical step is to get a look at the ledgers of some of the most exclusive auction houses, the ones who deal with rare antiquities.

Being Hunter's defacto boss now, of course she's tapped her ex-husband current-boyfriend to be her partner on this one. And what a one it is. Christie's auction house in London. They do private sales, and by private, they mean very, very well guarded privacy. Getting to the private auctions ledger will be quite the task. They will need to get in, get photos of the ledger, and get out without being caught. Fortunately, there happens to be a series of major auctions to get them in.

Bobbi's cover is as Ms. Brandi Lynn Ewing, of the Texas Ewings, wealthy oil people. She's dressed in a pricey designer jumpsuit with her hair up in a braided crown, dripping in jewelry that secretly conceals lockpicking tools. There is also a micro camera concealed in that bun where security people are not likely to check.

The auction is an evening one, Impressionist and Modern Art, and the headlining item is Paul Cézanne’s majestic landscape, Vue sur L’Estaque et le Château d’If, which has not been seen on the market since 1936. The wealthiest of the wealthy are attending, and so is SHIELD. Not for the painting, or the potential buyers, but to get inside and break into the office of private sales.

*

Hunter, with his usual warped sense of humour, is pretending to be Brandi Ewing's latest boy thing. His lavish attention to her speaks to those outside of a need to stay attached to the money, and the expensive suit and boots speak to where he spent some of it. Who would think he brushed up so nicely, despite the five o'clock shadow he keeps. He comes prepared, carrying a briefcase, as if he carries her items for her, a briefcase that, on opening, looks normal but provides a number of weapons and useful little items.

He wears sunglasses, all the better to conceal the amusement at this charade behind, and now he lowers them, peering over the top at Bobbi, "My darling, there is a wonderful show here, I adore Paul's work!" Foppish, foolish, all the things a rich woman might want in a man.

*

"You are killing me here," Bobbi murmurs under her rich blonde smile. She raises her voice then as she is greeted by one of the ushers. "Daddy says not to spend too much, but Mama really wants something for the new parlor in the vacation house." Oh God. How she can keep a straight face through this is a mystery and possible miraculous. She takes the proffered auction paddle and shoos the usher away, claiming she can find her own seat.

She links her arm through Hunter's as her eyes sweep around the room. "Lots of security cameras. Lots of muscle. Fortunately it's for the art, and not the doors so much," she whispers in his ear, like a lover talking to her boytoy. She even giggles for effect. "We have options, but the best bet, I think, is the ceiling. Ladies room outside the auction room, in the hall. Acoustic tile ceiling. Should be able to climb through that and drop down on the other side of the key card entry, staff-only office section with the two goons guarding it.

*

"I do my best, my love." The murmur in reply comes with an intimate smile, implying he is whispering something else. One hand snakes down to curl around her waist, drawing her closer for a moment. "Oh your mother will love his work, it is simply wonderful!" He is playing up his accent, putting on the ritz a bit with it.

He accepts that linked arm, smiling down at her, as his gaze behind sunglasses - who wears those inside! - take in the cameras and the muscle. "Three over there, an extra in that plant, two heavies lurking by that door but I doubt they can run." Amusement is in that whisper, and he kisses her ear. "I love it when you talk strategy to me, luv." That is him, himself. Pure Hunter.

"You're incorrigible. I think that's what I love about you," Bobbi quips in a quiet whisper. "Now, be a dear and walk us into that lady with the red wine held perilously loosely in her gnarled old hand, so I can get it on my dress. Then you can come into the ladies room after me with napkins and seltzer to allegedly get the stain out."

There is a lean in and a nip on his earlobe, more for herself but certainly playing into their act. It is an excuse for the two of them to be too distracted to notice they're headed for a silver haired old rich biddy.

*

"Saves you the effort of corrigibling me?" He mangles the English language with a grin, and he turns towards the woman, having apparently previously noted the location. The ease of practice lets him maneuver her precisely enough to nudge that glass. The red wine topples over, smashing the probably very expensive glass on the floor, and spreading wine over Bobbi's dress. "Oh my dear, I am so sorry, do excuse us, I am appalled… " He does a great impression of Aghast Englishman type 1, and reaches for the napkins, patting Bobbi's dress in a way that makes the old lady blush.

*

"Oh my GOD! You idiot, Neville! This is my one-of-a-kind Versace Daddy got for me for my," Bobbi pauses to look like a woman unwilling to admit her actual age, "25th birthday last year! This can't be replaced!" She flails in a panicky manner. "Go get seltzer water and napkins and meet me in the lady's room in the hall! This just dills my pickle!"

Fuming and furious, she stomps off in her high heels out of the auction room and into the hallway, looking all the part of an angry debutante with more money than sense. She heads right into the ladies room and screams for anyone in there to get the hell out while she saves her priceless dress. The occupants flee.

*

"Neville" flaps around like a man desperate to appease a woman, a sight Bobbi likely never saw. "Oh my dear, Oh dear…" he rushes to get the water and the napkins, earning himself sympathetic looks as he rushes to the lady's room. He passes the escaping women, and shuts the door. The look he gives Bobbi is amused, "Neville? Really, luv?" He takes a chair and props it under the door handle, blocking them in for the time being. "Want the napkins?" The glance is definitely amused.

*

"It sounded desperately British," Bobbi quips back at him. She does take the napkins and the water to dab at the dress a little bit. Then she slips off her heels and expertly twists the heels off them, where they'd been screwed on. They're cracked open down a hinged middle, creating perfect wedges to jam under the door and prevent it from being opened from the outside. From her purse she pulls a recorder which she sets near the sink, which plays with their voices of them arguing about cleaning up her dress and intermitten sounds of water running, and such.

"I figure we have fifteen minutes, tops. Pop a ceiling tile, will you?" she requests with a grin, sliding the now flats back on her feet.

*

"I thought I was…" He is teasing her , his eyebrows lifted. Then he grabs that chair, standing on it to pop the tile. He glances down at her with a grin, relishing the risks.

*

Bobbi snorts at Hunter and uses Lance's thigh and shoulders to climb up into the ceiling and lends him a hand climbing up behind her. She unlatches her bracelet when up in the crawlspace, and unfolds it into an extendable small mirror. Clenching that in her teeth, she crawls in the direction off the office of the private sales staff.

She'd something, but she has metal in her mouth. It's cramped, dusty, and she's glad she has a duplicate dress in that briefcase he brought. She's going to need it.

*

He obliges, reaching a hand up to grab her arse on the way past, before he clambers up, pushing up from the chair. He follows her, slightly more cramped than she is in this space, clearly disgruntled about that. He, sadly, has no duplicate posh suit, and this is his only one. He rests on his elbows, tugging a listening aid from his pocket, using it to hear from the room below. Despite the serious job, his hand slides up her thigh.

*

"Lancelot, even I am not kinky enough to want to get down and dirty in cobwebs and layers of dust and rat poop," Bobbi notes. Point. She waits until he gives her the all clear sign for it being quiet in the office below, before she loosens and lifts out the ceiling tile in front of her just a bit, pushing the mirrored stick out and double checking for people or things like motion sensors.

"Like I thought, their security budget is concentrated where they store the auction items and keep the money. Not here." She slides the tile up into the space and drops down, pulling the mini camera from her braided bun.

*

"Yeah, you are." The comment is mocking, reminding her of other times, but he slides up behind her, coming through that space legs first, swinging from the ceiling for a moment and then dropping quietly. "Spot on, Bobbi." The quiet comment comes as he prepares to search the place, opening the briefcase he pushed through that space. "So…"

*

A pristine office, much like the rest of Christie's, but a bit more sparse due to the exclusive nature of their private sales service. There is a grand wooden desk with arm chairs in front of it and a deluxe desk chair behind it that is probably worth more than their paychecks for a year. Of more interest though, is the keypad locked metal door at the back of the room.

"Records are probably in there," Bobbi says, as she brushes cobwebs out of her hair with a grimace. "So do your thing hot stuff. I'm sure you brought some tech gadget to crack that keypad?"

*

Hunter shoots her a look, widening his eyes in mock innocence, "Me? I thought you had that.." His grin appears as he reaches for the briefcase, opening it with a click, and takes out a little piece of electronics. He crouches down, putting it against the safe keypad, the grin vanished as he does his work. A soft click and it swings open beautifully. "As you wish, my lady." He steps back, an arm sweeping as if he is letting her past.

*

"Well done. I love it when you're all competent at your job," Bobbi quips. She heads inside and readies the camera. "Let's get all the records from the last year." Fortunately, that's just one ledger. Private sales are not done often, but there have been a rash of them in the last five months, according to the books. "Can you pull the files on all the privately sold items in the last five months and photograph the top page, love?" That will help identify what might have been dangerous or magical, while what Bobbi is shooting will help with tracking down the buyers and the funding.

*

He slants her an amused look, his grin returning, before he reaches for the files, a camera appearing from his briefcase. This one syncs so that the headquarters should have the files moments after the photos were taken. "Man, they have a lot of money." The mumble is cynical, at the prices on the sales. "All done, honeypie." The teasing endearment is spoken with the accent of her toyboy, his eyebrows lifted at her, intending to make her laugh.

*

He does get a laugh out of her at that. "You need to call me that again when we get home." Bobbi finishes snapping her photos and returns the camera to it's place secured in her hair. She glances at her bejeweled watch. "7 minutes and counting. Let's move. Someone is probably knocking on that bathroom door by now."

It's a hustle back through the ceiling crawl space, replacing the office tile, dropping through into the bathroom and replacing that tile. The digital recorder is still full of crying and shouting while Bobbi strips off the filthy cocktail dress and puts on the replacement, using a sponge and some makeup to replicate the stain, and washing the dirt off the rest of her. The heel wedges get removed from the door and snapped back together before being screwed onto her shoes again. All her gear goes back into the hidden compartment of the briefcase.

At minute 12 she's got herself looking like a woman who has been trying to salvage her stained dress and crying and screaming instead of one who crawled through a ceiling space and done spy stuff. She looks to Lance to see if he's also ready.

*

Hunter looks down at the ruined suit, considering it before he cups his hands, throwing water at it, removing dust, but leaving it looking like a man who had water hurled at him by a furious woman. He dabs it dry… drier with one of the towels, shooting her a grin. "Vicious, you women. She-devils." A teasing reference to what came before and he snaps the briefcase shut, opening the door with a florish. "I do apologise once more, my dearest buttercup, you know I would do anything to keep you happy…" The words are for the outside world, for the curious viewers, but the laughter in his eyes is hers.

*

The digital recorder gets snapped onto a bedazzled hair stick and shoved into the bun to decorate it. Bobbi stomps past Lance, all tears and anger, and barks into a cell phone. "Jean Pierre! You're my only hope! We're on our way. You have to be able to get red wine out of silk charmeuse, right?" she sobs as she shoves her auction paddle at the befuddled pair of ushers outside the bathroom door who had been checking to be sure she was all right.

The flight back to the US is long, about 8 and a half hours, but as SHIELD sprung for a first class suite on British Airways, it means time to sleep. For real, look that up. It's crazy.

The resulting info will show there's been a sharp uptick in the sales of antiquities and occult curiosities in the last five months, and many of them are from suspected or confirmed HYDRA related accounts and individuals.


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