A/N: This is a one-shot I wrote ages and ages ago, literally more than a year, I think? It was for a prompt about 'memory' if I remember rightly, but I didn't like how it turned out and I ended up writing something else instead. However, I found this kicking around on the hard drive and figured I may as well share it... as silly as it is! lol
Disclaimer: All recognisable characters belong to John Rogers, Chris Downey, Dean Devlin, TNT, and other folks that aren't me.
It had been a hell of a fight. They were all lucky to have come out alive, Eliot most especially. He had refused to pick up a gun again, after the last time, sure it would destroy him this time around. The team understood, there was nothing else for them to do, though shooting down the enemy might've saved on the painful fall-out.
Even Nate had agreed to go to the hospital afterwards, given his limp and possible concussion. They all had their injuries to be patched up, cuts and bruises on Hardison, rope burns and puncture wounds on the girls. The worst was Eliot. He'd lost a lot of blood, taken so many blows to the head. Sure, he'd been in out-numbered fights before and come through, but somehow this seemed different.
The fact he collapsed face-down on a bed the moment he realised he was somewhere relatively safe was enough to prove to the others the hitter was in bad shape. They took turns to sit by his bed once he'd been checked by a doctor, at least that was the plan. When it came to Parker's chance to be by the hitter's side she was reluctant to leave.
Sat on a chair with her knees pulled up to her chest, it was a feat in itself that she maintained balance, especially with the injuries she had suffered too. The cuts and bruises didn't bother Parker, not on her own body or on Eliot's flesh. They were used to that kind of thing, it was all just normal. It was the stillness of her protector that caused her fear and panic, the utter lack of response. He had passed out before, once or twice, but always came around fast. A little concussion, he could handle, but this was something else entirely.
After much ado about her staying put, Parker had expected the whole team to sneak into Eliot's room, despite the two at a time rule. Hardison stood watch whilst Sophie and Nate tried their hardest to coax the thief out. They spoke of the importance of rest and healing, but Parker barely heard. She had to be here, looking out for Eliot, watching over him. It was what he always did for her after all. She owed a debt now, and she'd stay until it was repaid.
Maybe it was all their voices that did it. Maybe it was Parker's startled cry as Nate started to lose his patience and tried to bodily remove the thief from her chair. It didn't matter. The important thing was that Eliot's eyes were finally open. The frown on his face wasn't all that worrying. He had to be in pain, perhaps confused as to how he got here.
"What do you want from me?" he asked hoarsely, throat dry as a bone, eyes darting left and right as he looked to Hardison and then Sophie.
Nate was behind the grifter, still encouraging Parker to come with. Eliot couldn't see either of them clearly at such a range and obscured as they were.
"It's alright, Eliot. You're okay," Sophie assured him, and his eyes followed her as she approached the bed.
A hand towards his head made Eliot flinch away.
"You might wanna back off, ma'am," the hitter told her sharply, with such a look as she had never seen aimed at her before.
"Eliot?" Nate questioned, unravelling the situation in a second. "Do you know who we are?"
Drawing the hitter's attention was his first mistake, Nate realised that as soon as Eliot's eyes flit to his fingers grasping Parker's wrist. An anger settled in the younger man's eyes, even as Nate let go and raised his hands in surrender.
"Bro, you gotta know us," said Hardison as he carefully approached, but it was clear as soon as he met the hitter's eyes that he did not.
"Parker?" said Eliot, though his eyes remained on the others, particularly Nate. "Why don't you come on over here, darlin'," he urged her.
She didn't understand but the thief certainly wasn't going to argue. All she'd wanted to do since she realised Eliot was awake was hug the heck out of him. He was here and alive, it was all that could matter right now. Sitting down on the edge of the bed, she let Eliot's arm creep around her shoulders and pull her down close to him.
"I'm so glad you're back," she whispered as she curled into his side.
"Ain't ever leaving you, Parker," he promised, kissing the top of her head. "The rest o' you," he said then as he looked at the three he didn't recognise at all apparently, "Get out."
"Eliot. C'mon, man..." Hardison began to protest, but Nate shook his head, getting in the hacker's way when he tried to approach the bed again.
"Let's go, Hardison," he encouraged him, leading both him and a tearful Sophie to the doors and out of the room.
Alone with Eliot now, Parker frowned a little. It was strange that he didn't know the team. It was going to make jobs really awkward. Still, he remembered her, and his promise to always protect her. That was something.
"I don't know who they were, but if the room wasn't spinning so much, I'd've knocked 'em all into next Thursday for trying anything with you," he swore.
Parker didn't know how to answer that, so she didn't try. She just curled further into Eliot's embrace and closed her eyes. He was alive and he was keeping her safe again, that was all that really mattered. The rest could be dealt with later.