Title: Tattered Hearts

Author: S J Smith-Evil_Little_Dog

Rating: K+

Disclaimer: I don't own any of this. Alas.

Summary: Parker's curious about the heart she found.

Parker, of course, finds the envelope, and opens it before Eliot even knows what's going on. "What's this?" She pulls out something bright pink, with red hearts, and lace on it. "What is this?" Her curiosity turns, full-focus, on him.

Eliot doesn't snatch it back, but his hands clench and his jaw tightens, and Parker knows she might've pushed too far. She gives him her best innocent look – which she can do, she's practiced it in the mirror many times over the years – and holds the pink and red and white thing up next to her face.

He growls, and holds out his hand. Parker lays the heart in his palm, still curious. She can see crayon markings on it, and she's pretty sure Eliot doesn't have any little kids in his family. Does he? She's not one to ask about family. Their group is the closest she's had to one of those, well, besides Archie. "So?"

Sighing through his nose, Eliot fits the heart back in the envelope. "When I was serving, you know," he glances at her and Parker nods, "my unit got a big envelope full of these Valentine cards. They came from school kids. Kids who didn't know anything about what was going on over there. It was," he swallows, his adam's apple bobbing. "For a few seconds, it was like there was someone who cared, back home."

"Oh." Parker's quiet for a few seconds, looking at the envelope still in his hand. She tries to imagine being in a foreign country, where everyone wanted her dead. Running an operation that turned Eliot into the man he is now, no, the man he was then, who cared for no one, except getting the job done. Grabbing his sleeve, Parker tugs, hard, but Eliot's heavy, and he doesn't move, so she reels herself into him instead, wrapping her arms around him and hugging him hard. "I care," she whispers against his neck. "I want you to come home."

Eliot unstiffens enough to put one of his arms around her, cupping the back of her head and kissing the top of it. "Just for you," he says, and Parker smiles.

~ end ~