A/N: Written for KittyNebula, based on the prompt: One of them is sick, and the other has to look after them much to each others disappointment - but they end up enjoying the time together - bonus points and cookies if they fall asleep snuggled together just cause. I took some liberties with that, I think, but hopefully she likes it anyway ;)
(Disclaimer: All recognisable characters belong to John Rogers, Chris Downey, Dean Devlin, TNT, and other folks that aren't me.)
Head and Heart
Parker did not want to be here. Actually, it wasn't so much the being here she disliked as the not being there, on the job, with the rest of her team. In the middle of things was Parker's favourite place to be, where the excitement and the action lived. Instead, she got baby-sitting duty, or rather Eliot-sitting duty. Honestly, he didn't look like he was enjoying it any more than she was, but that was understandable to Parker given the lump forming on his head.
"Stop staring!" he growled from his end of the couch.
"'Stop staring!'" Parker mimicked badly, before throwing herself to her feet and marching over to stand in front of him. "Give," she told him in her usual voice, holding out her hand for the ice pack that was mostly melted.
Eliot handed it over with an accompanying eye roll.
"I can take care of myself, Parker, I've been doin' it for years now," he grumbled.
"Apparently not," she countered, tapping his temple as she walked away to the kitchen.
It felt like an electrified cross-bow bolt passed through Eliot's entire head, but he wouldn't give the little thief the satisfaction of saying so. He winced so hard internally that he felt physically sick but he could cope... just. Eliot hated head injuries. Anything else was a pretty easy fix. His shoulders kind of popped in and out of joint like they were just made to, and fractures to arms, legs, even ribs weren't too hard to deal with so long as you bound them just right and took a little care.
Heads were the worst. A punch was easy enough to take, but there were other considerations if a blow was hard enough and with a blunt object. Concussion was a major issue, and Eliot knew it. It was why he couldn't really argue when Nate said he should sit out the final phase of the con. They didn't really need his muscle anyway, it was a simple grift and hack job, which was why the Mastermind took Sophie and Hardison with him, leaving Parker to watch over Eliot. She hadn't wanted to stay, and honestly, the hitter could've done without it. Far as he could tell after a short acquaintance, the chick was all out crazy. Good at what she did, no doubt about that, but still twenty pounds of crazy in a five pound bag! She seemed just about as thrilled to be stuck here at the office as he did.
"Here," she said grumpily, dumping a fresh ice pack in his hand and taking up residence on her end of the couch again.
There was just nothing to do, and even if there was, Parker knew she wouldn't want to do it. Being bored was the worst, especially when you were trying to remain grouchy, because if you did find something to do and alleviate the boredom, you might stop being grouchy too, and that wouldn't work. Oh no, Parker wanted Eliot to know how much she hated that she was here and all because he was dumb enough to get himself hurt.
"What's your name?" she suddenly asked out of the blue.
Understandably, Eliot looked at her like the pile of crazy that she was.
"I have to ask you questions to make sure you don't have brain damage," she reminded him what Nate had said before he left. "So what's your name?"
"Kris Kringle," said Eliot with a sigh, letting his throbbing head drop back against the cushions.
"Who?" she checked, making Eliot's eyes fly open again immediately.
"Santa Claus, Parker. It's another name for Santa Claus," he told her, as if she were a backward child.
"No it's not," she grumbled in response, pushing herself down further in the seat and crossing her arms all the tighter. "And it's not your name either."
She was desperately unhappy to be here, so very pissed off that she was missing the con. Eliot could relate. He wasn't exactly thrilled to be benched either, but he understood why. There was a definite reason why he couldn't be out in the field right now, whereas Parker had just drawn the short straw and got landed with watching over him. It had to be frustrating for her. She was just the worst people person he ever met, and that included some contract killers from some pretty violent countries. Plus Parker was usually moving. He only thought about it when he looked over at her all forced to sit still. It wasn't normal, not that anything about Parker ever was normal, but this was particularly strange.
"Hey, you don't have to watch over me every second," he assured her. "Go, watch TV, or work out, or... whatever it is that you do when you're not on a con," he waved his hand in some vague gesture, making a point of keeping his head very, very still. "Just come back every half hour or so, make sure I'm still conscious, okay?"
Parker looked sideways at him, almost suspiciously, as if she thought he was kidding or trying to make her do something wrong. After a long moment of searching his face for deception she clearly decided he was on the up and up.
"You promise to try not to die while I'm gone?" she checked. "'Cause I'm pretty sure I'll get in trouble with Nate if you die."
Eliot smirked at that, he just couldn't help it.
"I promise to try hard," he swore, crossing his heart for good measure.
Parker was gone in a flash. She might've said thanks on her way out, Eliot wasn't sure. He really wanted to sleep, but he knew that probably wasn't a good idea right now. He figured just closing his eyes for a few minutes wouldn't hurt much. Parker would be back in a half hour to check on him and the headache was so bad still, he really didn't think he would manage to fall into any kind of real sleep anyway. Eliot was wrong.
Forty Five Minutes Later...
Parker never saw a dead person before, not someone she knew anyway, but it sure seemed like Eliot was dead right now. She hadn't watched the time as closely as she should. She was testing her new rig on the roof and had promised herself to be back in thirty minutes, just like Eliot asked, to check he was okay. It was forty before she ever noticed the time, and had taken another five to get back down to the office. Now she was pretty much sat on top of him, shaking his arms and screaming his name in his ear. He came to pretty fast then, because actually, he wasn't dead at all.
"What in the hell, Parker?" he asked, waking to find her face right in his and her legs practically straddling his lap.
"You're not dead," she sighed a heavy sigh of relief, a smile coming to her lips at the same time.
"Not last time I checked, darlin'," he said sleepily, reaching to rub a hand over his forehead, mindful of the still protruding bump on the left side.
It took a second for his brain to catch up, to realise she really was on top of him, though she hardly weighed enough to notice. Eliot really hadn't pictured this scenario with Parker. Plenty of other women, oh yeah, but not her. It occurred to him one of them should move and since she pretty much had him pinned it ought to be her. She didn't budge.
"This how you normally nurse patients, Parker?" he said, gesturing vaguely to their position.
"I don't know, I never nursed before," she shrugged, climbing off him semi-gracefully.
A picture of Parker in an old fashioned nurses uniform ran through Eliot's head unbidden. He blinked... hard.
"Does it still hurt, in your head?" she asked then.
"Not as bad," he admitted. "I think the painkillers kicked in... and the ice helped, thanks," he told her politely.
She really had seemed pretty panicked when she couldn't wake him. That was kind of nice, that she might care just a little. Eliot wasn't sure why it was nice, but it was. Maybe it was just because nobody had for a long time. Maybe it was something else. Right now, his head was still too delicate to figure it out.
"Er, I need to..." he started to get up, but immediately Parker shoved him back in his seat.
"I'll help, what do you need?" she asked quickly.
"I need the bathroom, Parker" he told her with a smile that had melted many a girl's heart in the past. "Sweet of you as it is to offer, I don't think I need any help there."
"Oh, of course not," she rolled her eyes at how dumb that was and backed out of his way so he could go.
Parker felt strange. She said before she didn't want Eliot to die because Nate would blame her, but when she actually started to think he might be dead, she panicked, like genuinely freaked. She didn't want Eliot to die. Parker wasn't sure what it meant exactly, but she liked having him around. He was oddly reliable and sometimes funny. He called her crazy but she never really thought he meant it in a mean way like some of the kids she got fostered with. If she needed protecting, she trusted he had her back. It was weird to trust, especially when she'd only known him six months. There were people she'd run with on and off for years that she would never show her true colours to. Yeah, Parker felt strange about Eliot, but it was almost a nice feeling somehow.
She sat back down on the couch and waited for his return, picking up the remote and flipping the TV on. She could go into the meeting room and watch on the big six-part screen, but she doubted Eliot would want to sit on the less comfortable seats and have the glare in his face right now. There was no way in hell she was leaving him alone again after the seemingly-dead incident, no way!
"I was just channel-hopping," she said when he returned and glanced between her and the TV. "I can turn it off."
"It's fine" he assured her, sitting back down, a little closer to the middle of the couch this time. "Anything decent on?"
"No sports so far," she shrugged. "That's what you like, right?"
"I don't know, I don't watch much TV," he admitted, feeling just a little dizzy as Parker flipped channels at a mile a minute, the screen flashing wildly.
"Sorry," she apologised immediately she noticed him wincing, then made a point of slowly checking out each station until she hit something she liked. "Ooh, this is good!
"I saw this once, with Hardison," Eliot admitted. "The guy has a computer in his head."
"A government computer," confirmed Parker with a grin. "And when he sees something that's in the files that are in his head, he gets all the other information in flashes, and then his handlers kick butt."
"Maybe one day he'll man up and learn to kick butt on his own," said Eliot thoughtfully. "I think I saw this one... The guy who emailed the computer to him shows up."
"Cool!" Parker bounced a little in her seat, getting more comfortable.
She ended up a little closer to Eliot than before, but neither seemed to notice.
It would be four episodes later in the marathon that the rest of the team arrived back at the office to find Eliot and Parker asleep on the couch, her head on his shoulder and his arm thrown casually across her body. They might've worried about the hitter sleeping given his concussion, except for the fact he, and Parker too, were softly snoring, and both smiling like idiots.