Author's Note: So, I got an account on AO3 (archive of our own) and I wasn't planning on posting any of these on there but now I'm tryna figure out if I should. Is the Leverage fandom scene better on AO3 than FFN? Are the people on FFN reading this even going to know the answer to that?
"Parker!" Eliot barked as he reached the roof. Hardison came up beside him and his breath shuddered a little when he caught sight of the blond thief.
Parker was standing so close to the side of the roof that her toes were hanging over the edge. She had her arms thrown out and her hair was whipping across her back and glowing in the moonlight. She turned when Eliot spoke, heels right up against the edge, and Eliot had to clench his fists against the urge to tear over and grab her away from danger.
Hardison took a step forward, but Eliot grabbed at his arm. "Slow down," he muttered. Hardison cared about Parker more than probably anyone else in the world and he was incredibly good for her, but he couldn't understand the way she thought. Eliot did, because he thought the same way. Parker was so close to the edge of the building. If she spooked...
Eliot didn't want to think about it.
"You guys never come up here," Parker said, her voice flat. She didn't have to add the next bit. The 'That's why I'm up here,' bit.
"We were worried about you," Hardison replied carefully. He had stopped moving at Eliot's words but his weight was pitched forward onto his toes, so much that Eliot thought he might topple over. He was clearly as anxious as Eliot to bring Parker closer to the center of the roof.
Parker glanced behind her at the sickening drop at her back, and then back at them. "I'm not going to jump," she said, rolling her eyes. Eliot raised an eyebrow and she glared angrily at him. "I'm not."
Hardison shot a glance at Eliot. "We were worried about you," he repeated. "I mean, usually when someone's upset and then they go standing at the edge of a big ol' drop, it doesn't mean anything good."
Parker crossed her arms. "I'm not upset," she muttered, punctuating the sentence unconvincingly with a downward tilt of her chin. "If I had known it'd bother you guys I wouldn't have let you see me cry earlier."
Eliot threw up his hands in frustration. "Parker, of course you curled up on the floor crying was goin' to upset us," he said. "But that doesn't mean that we didn't want to see it."
Parker frowned, confusion making her eyebrows scrunch. "If it made you upset than why did you want to see it?"
"I think what Eliot means is that we didn't want you to be upset," Hardison explained. "But we didn't want you to hide being upset either. Of course we don't like to see you unhappy but we'd rather that than you shutting us out." His hand shot out suddenly as Parker shifted her weight on the edge of the roof. "Could you just-? Come closer? Please?"
Parker glanced over her shoulder again and Eliot actually had to shut his eyes to get himself not to move towards her. He could imagine Parker suddenly losing her balance and plunging to her death with sickening clarity. It was his job to keep his family safe, and at the moment she wasn't, and it was driving him crazy to not be able to do anything.
"Parker," he said again, trying to get the edge in his voice less sharp. Parker had had enough people in her life yell at her for revealing her emotions; it was why she was so bad at showing them now. He wasn't going to be one of those people. "Why don't you come over here and we can talk."
She scrunched up her mouth but then slowly took a step away from the edge of the roof. Eliot could actually hear the breath Hardison released and he felt his own chest loosen as Parker walked carefully over to them and stood to complete their usual triangle position. She always stood a little closer to Hardison, though Eliot wasn't sure if it was because she had a crush on him or that she just respected Eliot's appreciation of space.
"I'm fine," Parker said finally, arms still crossed.
Hardison gave her a look that was both gentle and disbelieving. "Parker, 'fine' does not include the haunted look on your face when we found you in the office."
Parker entire face scrunched inward, like she had just sucked on a lemon. "Stop reminding me!" she cried, glaring at Hardison. "If I'd known you'd be like this I never would have let you see me in the first place!"
"Hey, hey." Eliot took a step forward even as Hardison took one back, surprised. The hitter placed his hand on Parker's bicep, lowering his chin so he could look directly into her eyes. "He's not sayin' that to get an advantage on you, Parker. Hardison doesn't think there's anything wrong with weakness, okay? Neither of us do. Look, I know it's hard to show people how you're feelin'. I'm not good at it, either. But you can let us in. Alright?"
Parker's head dropped again and her bottom lip wobbled. "I just- I just can't stop thinking that if he didn't really reach my brother... then maybe he doesn't really... not blame me."
Eliot tilted his head slightly and she wrapped her arms around herself. "I taught him how to ride that bike and now he's dead because of it and- and-"
She let out a shuddering sob and Hardison stepped back to her side again. "Hey," he whispered, turning her a little with one hand and cupping her cheek with the other. "You know what that logic is called? A correlation fallacy. Happens alllll the time in the media and politics."
"What?" Parker whispered blankly. Eliot was frowning, also wondering exactly where Hardison was going with this.
"Correlation does not imply causation," Hardison continued gently. "Not everything is cause-and-effect, you know? Just because you taught him to ride a bike and he died in a bike accident doesn't mean that you were the cause of his death. Okay?" He repeated his first sentence again, but a little softer. "Correlation does not imply causation."
"Okay...?" Parker replied, eyes brimming with tears and uncertainty. "But-"
"No buts," Eliot cut in. "As much as I always hate to admit it, Hardison is right this time."
"This time?" Hardison scoffed, looked offended even as he dropped his hand from Parker's face to stand in a more natural pose. Eliot was surprised to see Parker take a small step towards Hardison so their shoulders pressed together. "Man, I'm right all the time. Every time. But yeah, especially this time."
He reached around Parker's shoulders and tugged her into a casual, one-armed hug. "What do you need right now, Parker?" he asked gently. "Do you wanna talk, or be alone, or pull an all-nighter with some movies and popcorn? Whatever you need to do, we gotchu, okay?"
Parker sniffled softly and nodded a little. "Okay," she whispered. "Do you guys like Indiana Jones?"
Movies and popcorn ended with the three of them slouched on the couch at Eliot's place with a giant bowl holding a few stray un-popped popcorn kernels in front of them, and Parker telling them everything she could remember about her brother as she cried into Hardison's shoulder, her hand tight in Eliot's. And Hardison was right. Whatever she needed, the two of them had her.
Author's Note: UGH, the release of writing something that is burning in your brain is literally a feeling of relief like no other. No joke- sometimes I think episode-tags and cannon compliants are why are I write fanfiction. It can be the most fulfilling thing in the world.