Five Times: Protective
By: AyLee Cambell
Summary: Look at the title, or just read below… :P
Warnings: None that I can think of… Not beta'd.
An~ I'm going to Las Vegas at the end of the week! I'm so excited about it! I leave on Friday and come back later the next week. I'm so excited for it! I SO need a vacation people! Work is just….work. (I need time AWAY! I've been working WAY too much!) :P
Please let me know what you think! I love reviews! (who doesn't?)
"What? No!" Eliot protested, looking at Nate like he thought he was crazy.
"Parker can't go in there alone. There are armed men in there Nate. Men who don't hesitate to kill. You can't just send Parker in there, what the hell are you thinking?"
"Parker can do it. They wont even know she's there." Nate told him, waving away Eliot's concerns.
"And if something goes wrong? Then what? We all get to listen to Parker get shot and not be able to do something about it? You're not sending her in there without some backup." He said, crossing his arms and staring at the older man.
Sophie looked between the two. "Nate, Eliot has a point. While I don't doubt Parker's abilities, we should plan in case something goes wrong. This do tend to happen. You wouldn't send any of the rest of us in there by ourselves would you?" She asked.
Nate paused for a moment and thought about it. Sophie tried not to hit him as she waited for his response.
"No. You're right. Eliot you'll go in through the back and try to blend in and stay out of the way. Only make yourself known if you have to and get out of there as soon as Parker does, got it?" He said and Eliot nodded, relieved.
Eliot turned and walked out of the room but he still heard Sophie starting to lecture him on looking out for your team. He shook his head and walked down the hallway towards his apartment.
"Do you think that Nate believes in my skills that much or that he just doesn't care about the risk?" Parker asks in a low voice as soon as he settles down on his couch.
Eliot almost flinches but instead he just tenses. He hadn't heard or seen her come in.
He took a moment to relax and turned to look at her, but her words hit him. She had heard the argument they'd been having. Shit.
"When you do things like this everyday? Just appear out of nowhere? I think Nate thinks you wont be in any danger at all. I'm just more cautious, and I don't like the risks. Small as they may be."
"If you go in there you'll be at risk, higher risk then I would be." Parker said and turned to look at him. "Maybe that's why Nate didn't want anyone else in there. You don't have to go. I'll be fine."
"I'm going in Parker. The risk to me isn't all that great. They aren't going to ask questions about seeing another guy like me in there. You, they'll kill on sight, or worse. I ain't gonna let that happen." He said and pulled her to his side, wrapping an arm around her shoulder then with his other hand he grabbed the remote and to turned on his TV.
"Everything will be fine darlin'. I'm just not willing to risk anything happening to you." Eliot told her and flicked the channels until he came to a game with teams he liked.
"Why?" Parker asked, voice low.
Eliot looked at her, but she wasn't looking at him.
"Because I care." He told her, a small smile tugging at his lips before he turned back to the TV.
"Now how familiar are you with football? Should I start explaining the game to you or do you know all the rules?" He asked.
Parker smiled a little bit. "You're going to have to explain. I don't watch football usually." She said. She liked that he cared, that he wasn't afraid to say so. It was still a new concept to her. To care about people, and be cared about.
It wasn't as bad as she thought it would be.
With that thought she squirmed for a moment and cuddled a little closer to his side.
Eliot's hand squeezed her shoulder, before pointing to the screen with his free hand.
"Alright so you have two teams…"
"Parker, you've got to ditch him and make your way into the vault room." Nate's voice said, coming over the comms.
"I'm trying to, but he wont leave me alone." Parker growled out, trying to make sure no one heard her.
She was pretending to be a guest at the party so that she could find a moment to sneak away and get the item they were sent in here to find. It was a small item, not worth too much, but priceless to the original owner, which it had been stolen from.
But before she could slip away she had caught the attention of one of the other guests and no matter what she did or tried she couldn't get away from him.
She was currently looking for something sharp, but knew that she would have to lure him towards the bathrooms in order to use it.
"Well try harder. You need to get in there soon." Nate told her.
"I am." Parker hissed, getting angry. "Hey buddy! Don't touch me there!" She said to the guy who had just tried to cop a feel.
"Parker no forks!" Nate said, a little panicked. They couldn't afford all the attention that would cause.
"Relax Nate, I've got this." Eliot said, as he moved in closer to Parker's position.
"Hey." Eliot said, his hand coming down on the guy's shoulder.
"What do you think you're doing? Leave my date alone. And if I see you or you're hands anywhere near her tonight I'll make sure you don't have hands anymore, so you wont be able to bother anyone else." He told the man, glaring all the way.
"I um," The guy stuttered, looking between Parker and Eliot. "I- bye." He said and walked away fast, sweating a little.
Parker looked at Eliot with relief. "Thank you."
Eliot nodded at her, a smile on his lips. "Anytime darlin'. But next time if a guy touches you and you didn't want him to, just break his finger, he'll get the message." He said and watched as Parker grinned.
She wouldn't have to search for anything sharp, she could just do that. She liked the idea.
"I will." She said, still grinning and looking for the way she needed to go to get out of the room.
Eliot watched her go and didn't stop smiling, even when Nate started lecturing him on what he should and shouldn't tell Parker.
Normally, Eliot liked women. Normally, he enjoyed flirting with them, and he really enjoyed what usually happened later on. Everyone knew that. They also knew there wasn't a woman he couldn't charm if he wanted to.
Occasionally though he went out and didn't want to flirt with anyone, or pick anyone up, or charm them. Most of the time he wasn't in a good mood or he was just trying to relax and enjoy a night out with his friends or his "new family".
Tonight they were down in the bar under Nate's apartment and in Hardison's new building. He had been playing pool with Hardison, who had challenged him to a game and was now demanding best out of 15.
Nate was going through files upstairs to find their next client, because since he was no longer a alcoholic he was now a workaholic.
Sophie and Parker were sitting at the bar and talking about who knew what. Probably shoes. But he didn't think Parker would be quite as interested if they were, so probably diamonds.
But he was in the middle of making a shot when a woman grabbed his ass.
In some situations he might have been okay with that, but at that particular moment he wasn't. He didn't like people touching him without him knowing about it beforehand. They didn't have to tell him that they were going to touch him, if they were in close enough to do so it was because he allowed them to. If they touched him and he didn't want them to, it usually ended in violence.
Spinning around with a low growl he glared. He didn't care if the redhead was hot, she had just committed a violation. "Look Lady," He started but she leaned forward and kissed him while throwing her arms around him.
Eliot kept his lips closed the entire time she was kissing him, which wasn't long. As soon as he got his arms out from her grip, which he tried to do without hurting her, he pried her off.
"Lady, you need to sober up." He said, glaring as he took a few steps back.
If something pissed him off like nothing else it was someone violating his personal space and taking something from him he wasn't willing to give. He may flirt and charm women, but he never took anything they weren't willing to give him.
The redhead just smirked at him and took as step closer. Eliot crossed his arms. He didn't hit women, not unless they hit him first, but he was slightly tempted to shove her away. If he wasn't convinced she'd fall and maybe hurt herself he would have. His momma, god rest her, had taught him some manners before she died. So no matter how annoying she was, he would have to find another way to deal with the redhead.
"It's more fun if you relax." The redhead said, trying to lean against the pool table in a sexy way. It might have been sexy if she hadn't just forcefully kissed him.
"I ain't interested, so pick someone else." He told her, and kept an eye on her while he scanned the room. He wanted to be prepared for if she started moving.
So far, they hadn't caught too much attention. Hardison was smirking and slightly laughing at him from across the pool table, and he'd remember that later, but they had caught Sophie and Parker's attention and a few of the regular's attention as well.
Sophie and Parker were looking at him, so he sent them a panicked, 'help' look. Sophie leaned in and said something to Parker and then Parker was walking over to him and he relaxed just a little.
Parker could hit a girl. She'd probably do it with very little persuading necessary.
"Can't. I want a cowboy. My friends and I come in here sometimes just to see if you're around." She told him, and took a step towards him.
Eliot took a small step back. Great, that just made his skin crawl. In another situation he might have been flattered, but not now.
"I ain't interested." He repeated.
"I can make you interested." She said, and walked into his space again. This time he didn't move he just glared and she smiled and tried running her fingers down his arm. "I know how to make men interested."
Eliot tensed then grabbed her hand and held it tight. Not tight enough to hurt, just enough for it to be uncomfortable. He pushed her back again, though only enough for her to back away a few steps and not enough for her to fall like he was tempted to do.
"I ain't interested and I'm with someone else." He said, seeing Parker in his peripherals. She was almost right behind him. Eliot held out his hand, behind him and to his side and when Parker put her hand in his he gently yanked her to his side, where he put his arm around her and cuddled her close.
"See? So you need to stop."
The redhead frowned as she looked at them. "You're lying. I've seen you two together, but you're not a couple."
"We are, but it doesn't matter. You're making him uncomfortable, so you should leave. Eliot wont hit a girl, but I will. So unless you want a broken nose you wont bother us anymore." Parker said and glared at the other woman.
Eliot leaned his mouth against Parker's ear, so he could whisper without anyone hearing. They would probably just think he was kissing the side of her face. "Thanks darlin' I wasn't sure you'd get it fast enough." He told her, remembering a few times that she had protested things because she wasn't aware of what was going on.
Parker turned her head toward his chest so no one would be able to see her lips. "Sophie said to play along, that this was like a mini-con. I'll really kick her ass though, if she pushes it." She said and felt him laugh.
"Thanks darlin' I know you will." He said and he really did kiss her on the forehead before looking back to where the redhead was a moment ago. Only she wasn't there now.
He scanned the room and when he came to Hardison the other man just pointed to the door. He wasn't laughing anymore, but he was still grinning slightly.
"She left while you two were talking. Apparently you two are a convincing couple. It is rather sweet to see you two so close." Sophie said, coming up beside them.
She had half expected them to spring apart at her words but neither did. Instead they let go of each other, but still stayed standing close together.
"Aw man, she left. I wanted to fight her." Parker said, looking around, as if hoping she hadn't left but simply took a bathroom break.
Hardison smirked, coming over to them as they all decided, without talking about it, to head back upstairs. "I'm sure you'll get another chance to defend Eliot's honor. What with him being such an irresistible beef-cake." Hardison teased.
"You'd think he'd never been hit on before. Oh man, Eliot was afraid of a girl." Hardison continued and Eliot turned to glare at him.
"Hardison shut up. I don't hit girls, not unless they hit me first. You however, aren't a girl, so shut it."
"So why did Parker go and not you, Sophie? Aren't you the actress?" Hardison asked after a moment. They were all currently going up the stairs.
Sophie turned slightly and shot him a look. "Because I can con people into believing what I want them too. I don't fight unless it's life or death. Parker could do both, and was willing to fight. Besides, I think those two make a more believable couple." She said, smiling slightly.
"You two do realize that everyone in this building believes you're a couple now right? You wont be able to convince them otherwise." She said and watched Parker and Eliot look at each other and shrug.
Neither one really cared what people thought anyway.
"So?" Eliot asked and Hardison choked.
"What?" Hardison whispered but Sophie pulled him into Nate's apartment to give the two a private moment.
"Thanks Parker." Eliot said in a low voice. It wasn't often that he needed someone to help bail him out, but it was nice to know she was there if he needed her to be.
Parker shrugged. "She was making you uncomfortable. I didn't like that. You protect all of us, sometimes it's okay to let someone else protect you." She said and gave him a small smile.
Eliot smiled back.
"Eliot come on." Parker pleaded.
"No, Parker. No." Eliot said, arms crossed.
"Please?" Parker pleaded, opening her eyes slightly and tilting her head to the side. She has seen it work for Sophie before, of course that was never on Eliot…
"Damnit Parker, no." He told her, closing his eyes briefly.
"You made me ride a horse! This is only fair."
"Riding a horse is different! That was safe, this is just crazy!"
"But I do this all the time! I know when it's safe!" Parker protested, holding her hands out. "Come on! Give me my harness back!"
"It's a storm out there Parker! That's rain, wind, and lightning. If you think I'm letting you repel the outside of that building your crazy. I don't care what you're trying to get. You can wait until tomorrow." He said.
"But tomorrow will be too late! I have to get it now!" She said.
"No Parker!" He said.
"Fine!" Parker said and crossed her arms. She send a glare his way then turned and started walking away.
She had more then one harness. So what if he had her favorite one, she could use another one. But now he thought he won, and that meant she could sneak out a whole lot easier.
She was just barely out the door when she heard him behind her and she tried to make a break for it, knowing that if she didn't get out of there now he wouldn't let her out until the storm was over.
"Oh no you don't." Eliot said, grabbing her around the waist and lifting her up. "You think I'm falling for that one?" He asked as he brought her back inside.
"That almost worked, you almost believed it."
A smile tugged at his lips, but she couldn't see it.
"Almost." Eliot told her as he carried her back into his living room.
He tossed her gently onto his couch and pointed at her.
"Stay. Do not make me come after you." He said and left the room.
Parker debated leaving or staying there and decided that she was just curious enough to see what he had planned.
Eliot came back into the room and looked at her.
"Give me your hand." He said, holding out his.
"Why?" Parker asked, turning on the couch so she was looking at him.
"Parker." He said sighing.
"Fine." Parker said and held out an arm. "What now?"
Eliot worked quickly. It only took him a second to handcuff her wrist and a second more to handcuff his own.
Parker looked at her wrist then at him, her mouth slightly open in shock. It took a moment but she finally snapped out of it and narrowed her eyes, studying the handcuffs before looking up at him again, this time the look on her face said she was insulted.
"Handcuffs are really easy. You know that right?"
Eliot looked at her. "Yes, I know that. That's why you're handcuffed to me."
"Cause you're really easy too?" Parker asked innocently.
Eliot looked at her.
"No more spending time with Hardison." He told her then moved over to sit by her on the couch.
"You touch the handcuffs and I'll tackle you." He told her when her free hand drifted to the cuffs.
"I've gotta go pee." Parker protested.
Lightning flashed outside, followed right after by thunder. Eliot looked out the window, where they could see the rain pouring down. Then he turned back to her.
"Tough." He'd seen her hold it for hours before, if she really had to go she could hold it now.
There was absolutely no way he was going to let her go out there now. No way at all.
5. A Ghost of the Past
Hardly anything scared Parker. So far the thing that seemed to scare her the most was horses. She did things that would terrify normal people daily. She jumped off buildings, she disarmed and made small explosives, and she stole anything that caught her eye.
She found all of that fun, and was always up for a job where she could use her skills, or that would get her money.
So when she froze in the middle of checking out the gallery they were going to steal from, the gallery had used blackmail to get some of their items and they were just going to give them back to their rightful owners, Eliot knew something was wrong.
Parker didn't freeze, not on a job.
"Parker? What's going on?" Nate asked when Parker's voice cut out right in the middle of telling them what security measures the gallery had.
"I-" Parker said then froze again. "I can't." she said and hurried towards the women's bathroom.
"Parker?" Sophie asked, concerned as she tilted her head away from the people she was talking to and whispered to her friend.
"I got it." Eliot said, since he was the closest to Parker and the only one who had seen the look on her face as she dashed into the bathroom.
Walking into the girls bathroom was something he had hardly ever done, but something he had had to do before, and he never enjoyed it. Looking at the woman who was shooting a nervous look at Parker, who was leaning against the wall while sitting on the floor, he pointed to the door.
The woman nodded and fled and he locked the door after her and came to sit next to Parker.
"We're taking the comms out." Eliot said then took his from his ear and put it in his pocket. When Parker didn't move he took hers out as well.
"Parker what's wrong?" He asked, sitting down next to her.
Parker didn't say anything, didn't look up at him, just shook her head.
"Look darlin' you have to tell me so I can help okay?" He told her, laying a hand on her arm.
Parker looked up at him and he was startled to see that her eyes were shining slightly from the beginnings of tears.
"You can't help me with this Eliot. No one can." She said quietly.
"That's not true darlin'. Just tell me what it is." He said, moving his hand so he could cup her chin in his hands. "I want to help Parker. Please let me help you." He told her.
Parker's face crumpled and she threw herself into his arms. Her shoulders started shaking slightly and he realized she was crying silently.
Eliot silently cursed because he had no idea what had set her off, so he had no idea how to help her, how to make things better. So all he could do was gather her into his arms and run his hands up and down her back in what he hoped was a soothing manner.
"What happened Parker?" He asked quietly, hoping she would tell him this time. He moved so he could lean his back against the wall.
Parker froze for a moment then relaxed and started talking into his chest. Her voice was low but just loud enough for him to understand her.
"It was someone from my past. A foster home of mine, when I was younger. He was here. He's here. I just- it wasn't a good place, Eliot and I was there for a year. I tried to be good but-" She said and broke off. "I tried to tell, but they wouldn't listen, no one would listen to me. They told me I was lying. That it was all for attention. They didn't believe me, not until-" She stuttered out then stopped and hugged him closer. "I just can't go back out there. Don't make me go out there. Please."
Eliot grimaced and hugged Parker tighter. "No one is going to make you do anything you don't want to do. You don't have to go out there if you don't want to. I promise." He told her and Parker nodded.
Eliot looked at Parker, looked at how she was curled up in his arms, head buried in his chest and body curled up so she was sitting mostly in his lap. His anger rose just seeing her like this, knowing that someone was responsible for it and he was out there somewhere. Somewhere close by, close enough for Eliot to get a hold of and teach a lesson. But that would mean that Parker would have to point him out and he wasn't going to ask her to do that. But it didn't stop the rage from knowing someone hurt her and was close by and there was nothing he could do about it.
He leaned down and kissed the top of her head. "You'll be fine now Parker. I've got you." He told her then got his comm out of his pocket.
"Nate, we're going to have to come back later, Parker isn't going back out there right now. You said we still have a couple days, we'll just have to come up with a new plan.'
"What's going on. Everything's in place now, why are we waiting?" Nate asked.
"Nate, not today." Eliot said.
"But-" Nate started, not sure what was going on, but wanting an explanation.
"Nate. Listen to Eliot. How is Parker doing?" Sophie asked in a low voice, still out in the middle of people and trying not to have anyone notice she's talking to herself.
"She'll be fine, she just needs some time. Hardison, get me a copy of the guest list if you can." Eliot said. Parker may not be able to point the guy out but maybe she could tell him the name of the bastard.
"Sure man, no problem." Hardison said, unnaturally subdued.
They all seemed to understand now, something was wrong with Parker. And not in the usual ways with Parker, something off, something wrong-wrong. Something bad. And now they were all concerned.
"Take care of her Eliot. Get back when you can. We're pulling out." Nate said.
"Got it." Eliot said and took the comm out again. He looked down at Parker, who was still hiding her face but she wasn't crying anymore.
"Do you want to stay here until it's safe or get out of here?" He asked and Parker finally looked at him.
Her eyes were a little red but she didn't look bad. "I want to leave. Just promise you wont leave me alone?" She asked, looking at the door and probably picturing the person who was out there.
Eliot squeezed Parker. "I promise." He told her and watched as she attempted a small smile at him.
Taking a breath they both stood up, and he took her hand, knowing she would probably want the physical reminder that he was there. She threw a smile at him and walked to the door with him right behind her.
Taking a deep breath to calm herself down Parker unlocked the door and opened it up, taking a few steps out only to freeze in horror.
Standing across from them, leaning against the wall was a man a few years older then both of them.
Eliot looked from the man to the way Parker was standing stiff in front of him and put two and two together. This was the man from her past.
Seeing them the man straightened up. "So I was right, it was you. You look different now, all grown up. Still, I could recognize you anywhere T-" He said but was interrupted before he could finish talking when Eliot dropped Parker's hand and lunged out and grabbed him by the shirt.
Eliot lifted him up and threw him into the bathroom. He sent Parker a look. "I'll be right back darlin'. Just wait for me here, I'll only be a minute."
Then Eliot walked into the bathroom, closed the door and locked it. He came out a little over five minutes later and looked at Parker and held out a hand.
"Ready to go?" He asked her.
Parker nodded and took his hand and they started walking towards the back exit.
"Did you kill him?" Parker asked a few minutes after they got into his truck.
Eliot looked at her briefly before turning back to the road.
"No. But he'll be wishing that I did for the rest of his life." He told her.
Parker nodded, then put her hand over his on the stick-shift. Eliot paused a moment before linking their fingers together. A small smile tugged at his lips.
Parker would be okay. She just needed time. And he'd be there for her, no matter how long it took. He promised her he would be.