Authors Note: The italicized bits of thought are what's going on in Sophie's head, just to be clear. Also, this is the end of my "days" series, I guess you would call it. I'd Rather Go Naked(Friday), That Dress(Sat), Sunday, Monday, & now Tuesday. The first two are named without days because this was never intended to be a series. That being said, I hope you enjoy it.
Sophie managed to avoid Eliot for all of Monday, practically running from the office the moment Nate dismissed the meeting. Her part of the newest job wouldn't begin until the following week, for now it was mostly Hardison's game. That night she shut off her phone, and blasted her music, but she couldn't escape her own thoughts. What have I done? Sophie rolled her eyes at her own melodrama, but it was a fitting sentiment. She had taken advantage of Eliot's obvious affections towards her, even when she knew she would never feel anything more for him than she did now. She sighed, remembering what Eliot had said to her as they drifted asleep as the sun rose on Monday morning.
"If this is all you can give, I'll take it," He'd said it with a hint of humor in his voice, because it had been an amazing night, but Sophie was too good a reader to miss the seriousness and sadness in that voice. She didn't respond, just closed her eyes and pretended to be already asleep. But the thing was, Eliot was a good reader too, and she couldn't help the tears that ran down her face when he pulled his arm off her waist and turned around.
Sophie sighed again. What a mess I've made of things! Tuesday and its promise of a group meeting to discuss Hardison's progress reared its ugly head. It was going to be a long day.
Hardison could get used to this, he really could. Mornings were just so much easier to deal with when he had Parker to wake up to. Sure, she wasn't always in his bed, but then neither was he. Parker, well Parker was creative, and they found themselves in places he'd never imagined, at heights he'd never imagined. The roof of the office on the first night had been a shock, but she had asked, and he couldn't say no. The camping section of Wal-Mart the next day had been fun, especially when they escaped the guards that were opening the store on Monday morning. He could only imagine what else she had in store for them. The bed though, his bed, he realized on Tuesday morning, was his favorite place to wake up with Parker. If they were there, she was really there, with him, not just on another adventure in which he tagged along. It had only been three nights, but they were the best nights that he could remember. Twisting a finger through her hair, he smiled as she nuzzled into his touch, still fast asleep.
Eliot was surprised he didn't feel more… violent. After all, it was what he did. He didn't regret his night with Sophie, even if he did feel guilty. He should've stopped her, should've known it couldn't end well, but he had been weak. Eliot snorted, knowing that nobody he'd met would ever describe him as weak. But Sophie, she made him a different kind of weak. He was pretty sure he didn't actually love her, but he knew for sure that he still wanted her, even if just on a physical level. But he wouldn't give in again, even if she showed up at his door, again. If she wouldn't be with him, and he knew she never truly would, he needed to stop it all before it got too out of control, before the team was torn apart. Grabbing his jacket, Eliot slammed the door on the way out. Tuesday was now officially his least favorite day of the week.
Parker awoke when Hardison was in the shower. Realizing she was not in her bed, she shot up quickly, pulling the sheet tightly around herself, before remembering she was in Hardison's bed, safe. Her breathing slowly returned to normal, and she was glad Hardison hadn't been there to see her momentary panic. She hadn't meant to freak out, but old habits die hard. Her body remembered the past, even if her mind refused to anymore. But she knew Hardison would never hurt her, she trusted him, and the thought made her smile. She was damaged, but not broken. And in moments like these, she didn't feel one bit crazy. Tuesday was her new favorite day of the week.
Nate got to the office first, knowing it was going to be a hard day. He was too far gone and he knew it. The drinking had to stop, and he had to work through his grief in a healthier way. And he absolutely knew that he needed to make thing right with Sophie. And now, he supposed, Eliot. The tension between those two had been enough to let Nate know what had transpired between them, though he was grateful he didn't know the details. He'd known Eliot liked Sophie, probably too much, but he'd been so wrapped up in his own haze, he'd never seen Sophie heading towards the younger man. But she had. And now it would be twice as hard to keep her, but it would be even harder to lose her.
He didn't just love her, he needed her. He needed all of them really, but Sophie especially. She pestered him for drinking, cast him disapproving glances when he continued to drink, and drowned him with incessant signals and meaningful looks, but somehow it was worse when she didn't. Yesterday had been torture, not being able to talk to her, even if it was just a smart ass response to a carefully placed remark. She'd barely spoken to him at all; and it was almost the emptiest feeling he could remember, almost. The pain of losing his son had nearly killed him, and it still hurt, every damn moment. But Sophie, she made it bearable. Shaking as he worked, Nate poured every bit of alcohol he could find down the drain. He drew a circle around the date on the kitchen calendar. Tuesday; the first day of sobriety, and hopefully, the first day at a second chance.
By luck or some twisted sense of destiny, Eliot and Sophie arrive at the office at precisely the same time. Gritting his teeth, Eliot stopped in front of the door and waited for her to get out of the car. This needed to be resolved, now.
Sophie almost turned around and drove away. No running this time! He deserves better. Instead, she got out and walked resolutely to where Eliot stood. He looked at her with a neutral expression, waiting for her to make the first move. What do I say? How? She opted for the simplest sentence.
"I'm sorry," she stared at the floor, unable to look up into his beautiful eyes. She didn't want to see what lay there. She was surprised when she felt his hand lift her chin up, and he looked at her with a kind expression.
"Don't be," Eliot murmured, "Shoulda know better, both should've." He wiped at the tears that were beginning to run down her cheek, "I won't regret it, so don't ask me to." Sophie shook her head.
"Never" She smiled tentatively back at him, amazed that it was going so well. Who knew Eliot could be so sweet. Right. You did. And you used him.
"We gonna be alright, Sophie?" Eliot asked her seriously. "We can't let this hurt the team. We just got it back together." Oh Eliot. This team means more to you than I ever realized. The thought made her sad.
"Of course," she nodded in response. "We're both adults here after all. We'll be just fine." I'll make sure of it. She leaned forward and wrapped Eliot in a light hug, needing the closure.
Eliot very consciously avoided breathing in Sophie's scent as she hugged him. He wrapped his arms around her quickly before releasing her again. It was actually easier than he'd imagined on the ride over. He wanted to be angry at her, to blame her, but he couldn't. She had looked so sad when she apologized to him, and he knew it wasn't an act. She truly felt bad about hurting him, and that meant she cared. They walked into the office silently, neither voicing the unspoken request and hope of "friends." But Eliot knew that, eventually, they would be. Maybe Tuesday wasn't so bad after all.
The two of them found Nate in his chair, white as chalk, and it only took a flash of memory to the rehab job to realize what was going on. They heard giggling coming from behind the front door, Parker and Hardison had arrived. Sophie looked at Eliot pleadingly, and he nodded. Spinning on his heels, he turned to the exit, to take Parker and Hardison to breakfast. The relief of Nate finally realizing he needed help outweighed the twinge he felt leaving Sophie with him. His family would be alright.
Sophie sat down and pulled her chair to rest in front of Nate's, their knees almost touching. Not sure what to say, she just smiled kindly at him, waiting. He barely got her name out before collapsing in sobs, his head falling to her knees. Startled, she absently smoothed his hair as he cried; afraid anything she might say would break this, whatever this was. When his sobs fell silent, and the shaking stopped, Nate sat back up and looked at Sophie, ashamed.
"I ruined your skirt," he said in a sad voice, knowing Sophie understood he was sorry for more than a tear stained outfit.
"Oh, Nate. Honestly." Sophie laughed softly, "The skirt will dry." She grinned at him and it lifted his heart.
Taking her hands, Nate pulled Sophie gently, so that she sat across his lap, legs dangling over the side of the chair. She wrapped her arms around him and rested her cheek to his. When Nate finally brought his hands to clasp around her waist, she almost cried.
They sat for a long time in silence, just taking comfort in each other. When Sophie stood to stretch, Nate stood with her. She looked in his eyes, and saw they were clearer than they'd been in a long time. She knew they had a long road ahead, all of them, but especially Nate. Then he kissed her, just for a moment, and she knew it would be ok. They would be ok. Sophie grinned up at Nate and kissed him back, sweetly, but no longer than before. They had time, and for once she was sure they would use it well.
Author's Note: First, of all, hehe, referring to myself as an author is still funny to me. Secondly, this story was hard to finish. I really hope you are satisfied with it, because it took a lot out of me. It was my first attempt at writing Nate and Sophie, or really even Nate. Please don't feel too bad for Eliot. I feel like he deserves better than pining for a woman he can't have, and he needs the team more than he needs a relationship. At least, that's how I feel, and since it's my story, that works out :D.
So this was the end of my unintentional series. It all started with the idea of writing a silly little fic about Parker claiming Hardison (That Dress), but then the others just sort of happened, for better or worse, lol. It turned out angstier than I'd anticipated, and the ending isn't as sugar sweet as I usually like, but this felt like a better fit. Hopeful, not perfect.