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02 January 2013 @ 11:59 pm
Revenge Fic: What Money Can't Buy  
Written for yuletide 2012
Crossposted to revenge_tv

Title: What Money Can't Buy
Pairing/Characters: Nolan, Emily, Jack, David
Rating: PG13
Spoilers: 1x01-2x02
Summary: Nolan Ross understands that despite how he wishes the world might be, there are some things he wants that money can't buy
Notes/Warnings: Read the disclaimer on my LJ

Other comments are housed at Yuletide/AO3.

Money can't buy respect.

“Can you do it or not, Nolan?" Emily swung her bag over her shoulder and gathered her keys up in a tense fist, glaring at Nolan as he sat before her on her couch. "It's just a simple hack. I'd do it myself if I had the time, but I have to go put out another Amanda fire.”

Nolan splayed out his hands splayed out in a mix of disbelief and pleading.

“All I said was if I knew what you were going for on the server I could do a better job...”

“You're on a need to know basis,” Emily snapped. “And you don't need to know.”

Nolan slumped back against Emily's sofa, defeated. “You used to trust me.”

“I don't trust anyone,” Emily countered. “Trust is a luxury I don't have.”

“Your father trusted me,” Nolan pointed out, still wearing an expression of hurt on his long face.

“My father trusted the Graysons," Emily's expression was grim, "and look where that got him.”

“Ouch, Ems,” he growled, wounded. “Comparing me to the Graysons? Way to make your only real friend in this world feel the love. I'd call Jack your friend too, but that would mean your friendship would have to be based on something other than a lie – which it is not,” he added with a smirk. “I mean, if he knew you were actually Amanda and our Fauxmanda was just a...”

“Enough!” Emily took a second to compose herself before continuing. “Look, Nolan. You're either useful in the Revenge game or you're out. You decide.”

Nolan let out a long sigh.

“I'm in. Go, put out your Amanda blaze du jour. I'll hack the server you want and leave you a back door in case you need to get back in later for more.”

“Thank you.”

“You're...” But she was already out the door, leaving him in that cold lifeless house he remembered so differently from his youth. Once she'd driven off he rose, feeling heavy, and gazed out over the empty beach that looked as lonely and forgotten as he felt inside.

- -

Money can't buy friendship.

“Hey, Jack!”

Nolan sidled up to the bar, grinning as Jack flipped through some papers in his hands behind the bar.

“Hey, Nolan,” Jack answered, half-heartedly, not lifting his gaze.

“I was having a thought about taking the rest of the day off for a scenic drive or maybe a little sail?” Nolan looked at Jack hopefully, only to have him give the documents even more notice. “Jack?”


“Let's blow this joint,” Nolan told him in a mock conspiratorial whisper. “Take your boat out for a spin, head up the coast... Whatever sounds good.”

Jack just shook his head. “Dude, some of us actually have to work for a living and not part time at that.” He raised the papers in his hand for Nolan to see. “This week? It's the IRS. Apparently there's something wrong with my dad's tax returns for the bar for the four years before we took it over. If we can't find all of his records to prove his side, we may have to pay a ton of back taxes.”

“Don't you have an accountant for your business?” Nolan asked.

“An accountant,” Jack huffed. “Yeah, that was on the list to get right after a general manager and cleaning staff.”

“Well, I've got plenty of accountants at Nolcorp. I could send you one if you want.”

Jack shook his head at him. “I swear, you people with money just don't get what it's like to...”

“To what?” Nolan asked, genuinely curious.

“To be normal!” Jack said, throwing his hands up. “You live in this rarefied world where money solves everything. Well, down here? In the real world? It doesn't work like that. And the few times it does? And money falls from the sky when you need it? There's always a catch, always a reason why you regret it later.”

“So you'd rather stay stressed out and insolvent,” Nolan ventured, “instead of me just oh, say, buying the bar and having you run it with a nice fat paycheck.”

“Now that,” Jack said curtly, gathering up his papers, “just proves how well you don't know me.”

As Jack headed upstairs, Nolan stared down at his hands, noticing the Patek Phillipe watch on his wrist. The amount of money he'd spent on that watch could keep the bar afloat for a year or more. Offering it to Jack though would be the surest way to ensure Jack would never talk to him again.

Pulling his jacket cuff over his watch on his way out he passed by two dockworkers on their way into the bar. The two men were sharing a good laugh and one clapped the other on the back just before Nolan slid between them, secretly envious of their open camaraderie.

The only time he could remember someone clapping him on the back like that was when they thought they might get some of his money.

The wind off the water whipped up, sending a chill down the back of his coat. He turned his collar up against the wind and headed to his car for another solo drive through the Hamptons.

- -

Money can't change the past.

Sitting on the porch swing at the beach house, Nolan closed his eyes and allowed a moment of the past to play back before his eyes.

He'd been barely out of his teens, trying to figure out how to get Nolcorp off the ground and David Clarke hadn't yet been...

Letting his head fall back, he remembered the man as he wanted to remember him: as a mentor, a kind word when no one else listened, a friend.

“My hands are tied without capital.”

“Your parents?”

Nolan looked up over his lemonade and watched little Amanda at play on the beach for a few seconds before answering David.

“Let's just say they're not in the picture.”

David nodded knowingly. “I hear that. It's getting easier to say that about Amanda's mother.” For a moment both men watched as the blond girl was joined by a little boy with brown curls. “Those two are really something.” He gestured to the two laughing children who had set themselves to building a sand castle together. “Jack adores her.”

“He does, but then Amanda is a great kid,” Nolan agreed.

Another comfortable passage of silence passed broken only by distant childish giggles.

“You know, I wasn't kidding when I said I'd fund you myself,” David told him.

Nolan blinked at him. “Are you serious?”

“We'd have to keep it quiet,” David said, leaning forward. “I signed a contract when I went to work for Grayson Global. Long story short, if I make too much money they'll consider it their investment through me...”

“So are you saying don't make too much money?” Nolan asked, amused and confused.

“No, no,” David told him, patting his knee with a calming patriarchal air that set Nolan at ease. “I'm saying go for it! Just don't tell anyone who gave you the boots for your bootstrap operation. As long as no one finds out? You're golden.” David ducked down to get Nolan to look at him. "I believe in you, Nolan. I know you can do this."

Nolan's eyes opened at the loud call of a seagull nearby, letting his gaze skim across the horizon as the sun began its nightly descent.

Standing, he walked to the porch railing, and let his finger drag over the double infinity symbol carved into the wood there.

"You were a lucky girl, Amanda Clarke," he whispered. "You had a great father. I'm just sad you didn't get to keep him."

- -

Nolan walked out of Montauk's hoity toity coffee shop juggling a five dollar latte and his car keys, almost dropping both when he found himself suddenly face to face with Jack.

"Nolan!" Jack looked surprised, but not unpleasantly so, which got Nolan to relax a little. "I was hoping to find you."

"Oh?" Hopeful, but not wanting to show it in case he'd just get his hopes dashed again, Nolan answered as non-committal as he could.

"Yeah..." Jack shoved his hands in his pockets, looking apologetic. "I was kind of a jerk earlier and I felt bad about it. That IRS stuff just threw me. Declan and I have just been through so much with the bar after my dad died... I just feel like the bad news never stops, you know?"

"I get it," Nolan offered, encouraging him to continue.

"So you just caught me being a bear. I shouldn't have bit your head off for trying to help. Fact is, if you know of a good tax accountant, I could use a referral."

Nolan nodded. "I know of one you should hire. In fact, she does the taxes for this coffee shop and a few other places in town. Here." He handed off his coffee for Jack to hold and pulled out his cell phone, flipping through the contacts. "Lin... Lin... Here we go. Linsey. Helena Linsey. I'm emailing you her v-card info now."

"Thanks, man." Nolan put his phone away and accepted his coffee back from Jack. "So, we're good?"

Nolan gave him a smile to reassure Jack and himself. "Always. I'm harder to get rid of than that," he joshed.

"Good, because Declan just heard from our cousins Beth and Becka in Maryland. They're going to be in the city this weekend and wanted to pop by to visit on Monday before they head back. We were thinking of doing a clambake on the beach. You want to come? It'll be fun! The twins are about to graduate college and they're a hoot."

"Sounds like a family event," Nolan said, a little hesitant.

"Family and friends," Jack told him, giving him a masculine pat on the upper arm in encouragement. "Good friends. So you'll come?"

Nolan warmed under Jack's attentive and appreciative gaze.

"Wouldn't miss it."

- -

Emily didn't announce herself, she just appeared in the doorway and waited for Nolan to spot her.

“Firefighting over?” he drawled, tossing her the USB drive with the server data and the backdoor access information on it.

“For now.” There was something different about her demeanor and she came and sat on the edge of the sofa he was seated on. “I know I was kind of a bitch earlier today and I figured I should come tell my 'only real friend in this world...'” He could hear the playful emphasis on his own words and they both smiled. “...that I was sorry.” She looked at him, regret clear on her face. “I forget sometimes that while I have to be a hard-ass to see this thing through to the end that you didn't really sign on for this. You're only stuck with me because my dad invested in Nolcorp.”

“That's not the only reason I've stuck around,” Nolan admitted. “But the promise I made to your dad? It's a good one.”

“What's the other?” Emily asked.

Nolan faced her, his tone serious. “Because I respected you, how strong you were after all you'd been through, after all you'd lost.”

Emily slid down to sit beside him on the couch.

“I may not ever get around to saying it," she began, clearly choosing her words thoughtfully, "but you making Nolcorp out of nothing? That's so much more impressive than what I do. I destroy. You? Create. A lot. So I respect you for that..." She gave him a friendly nudge, "and for having the guts to be friends with a crazy girl who can't see past ruining the lives of almost everybody around her.” She ended with a chuckle, but it was clear even to Nolan how deeply she felt what she'd just confessed.

Emily shifted so her left shoulder rested against Nolan's right and in return, Nolan leaned in so their heads were touching side to side. They sat like that for a while, just letting the comfort of each other's presence soothe them.

“Just live long enough to come out the other side, okay?” he finally said quietly. “I want to be around to see how that little girl who played in the waves with her puppy was supposed to grow up.”

"Deal," Emily replied. "Someday..."

Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on January 7th, 2013 09:29 pm (UTC)
This fic was written as my main Yuletide assignment for recipient auroradream/nacht_dreams as part of the 2012 Yuletide challenge. The request included "Love Emily Thorne and her quest to get vengeance against the Graysons. Love Nolan Ross playing sidekick and all around goof. Love Jack Porter and his love for the little girl he played with on the beach" and I wanted, in some way, to nod to all of them. Mostly I went for Nolan wanting and needing to be close to his friends – wanting the one thing money can't buy (ergo the title). He is a great sidekick, but more than that, he's a loyal friend who often gets taken for granted.

My Yuletide gift! I got Burn Notice this year!

Union by Missy.
It's a lovely romp in an AU where Michael and Fi are married spies. Such fun!

More on Yuletide tomorrow when I post my other fic!

Very special thanks to beta melissima for her assistance with this fic.


Emma DeMarais
daria234daria234 on January 7th, 2013 11:21 pm (UTC)
Love this!