A/N - Okay, so I wasn't going to post this, because this is not actually a fic that I sat down and thought trough and then wrote. This is more 'I was bored in math class and had already counted all the ceiling tiles (268, by the way) and it just sort of appeared on the page thanks to The Evil Hand.' But, hey, you can never have too much Leverage fic, that's my motto. And now I'm kind of thinking of writing more of this. Like, sequels, or something. Maybe. So… Yeah, erm, please read and review. Thanks much! =)
Disclaimer: If I owned Leverage you would know, because there would be a LOT more shirtless Eliot. Therefore, sadly, I don't. Darn.
What Parker Knows
There are some things that only Parker knows.
Parker is the only one who knows that Eliot is afraid of the dark.
It was an accident, really, the way she'd found out. She'd gotten up in the middle of the night to get a snack, and on her way to the kitchen heard noises coming from Eliot's room.
So she'd changed her course, and silently pushed his door open, stepping into his room. It was pitch-black, so she'd braced her hand against the wall, and half-shuffled over to his bed. Carefully, she'd lowered herself until she was perched upon the edge of it. Her eyes had adjusted to the darkness, enough that she could just make out his features, his brows scrunched together, eyes flickering quickly back-and-forth beneath closed lids. He thrashed about, though only a little bit, controlled even in his sleep, and though it was hard to tell in the darkness, she thought he looked a bit paler than normal.
She unconsciously clutched the edge of his mattress as he mumbled words that made her stomach hurt, "Please… Sorry… No… Please… Please…", each word more painful than the last. Carefully, she reached out, and laid a hand upon his arm, trying to wake him. Instinctively, it seemed, he flinched away, half-curling beneath the tangled sheets, his breaths coming closer together.
"Eliot," she called, but still he slept. "Eliot." Louder this time, yet still no response. She reached for his arm again. "Eliot!"
The moment their skin made contact he jerked upright, a fist shooting out in reflex that she only barely dodged.
"Eliot!" His eyes were wide and unseeing, and his breaths came in gasps, like a drowning man brought up for air, his head turning every which way as he sought out an unknown enemy. "Eliot, wake up," she told him. "It's Parker. I'm Parker. You had a nightmare."
Watery blue eyes finally settled on her. "Parker?"
"I'm Parker," she assured him, in her best imitation of the patented Sophie Soothing Voice. She was vaguely aware that he was still making his way back into the waking world, and didn't want to startle him.
"My - my light," he said, reaching for the lamp on the bedside table, switching it on and off a few times with no results. Figuring the bulb had burned out, and seeing Eliot's rising anxiety, Parker swiftly walked over and flipped the switch by the door, illuminating the room. Eliot pulled his knees halfway to his chest, resting his forehead against them for a moment, as he breathed deeply, and when he raised his head, she could tell he was Eliot again.
But he was still scared.
He quickly untangled his legs, and rose from his bed, and she was briefly distracted by the very nice sight of him clad in nothing but a pair of boxer-briefs, before he was pulling on a pair of worn jeans.
"I've got to get out of here. I've got to get out," and her stomach hurt a little more for the terror still lingering in his voice.
So she'd taken him to the roof.
He'd followed complacently, his hand rough and warm in her own as she dragged him along, and he didn't even call her weird when she pulled out the supplies she'd had already stashed away up there.
Instead, he'd thanked her when she handed him a flashlight, and laid down with her, wrapped up in an old, careworn quilt, staring up at the stars that they hadn't been able to see in LA.
After a few minutes of comfortable silence, her curiosity got the best of her.
"I didn't think you were afraid of anything. …Except maybe Sophie's acting," she added as an afterthought, and was glad she did, when he smiled like that.
"Everybody's afraid of something, Parker. It's a part of being human."
She nodded. "So that's part of what makes you human, Eliot? Being afraid of the dark?"
His eyes closed, for only an instant, before his gaze was directed once more to the sky. "I'm not afraid of the dark," he confessed quietly. "I'm afraid of what's in the dark. …Who's in the dark."
His last words were barely more than a whisper, but Parker heard them clearly enough.
She wondered if this is what Hardison had felt like, after he'd eaten that 2 year-old jar of mushrooms, if his stomach had hurt this badly, and felt just a little bit sick, too.
She pressed in closer to Eliot, telling herself it was because it was cold on the roof, and he was so warm, and so near, and smelt so good, and not because she wanted to hold him. Not because she wanted to protect him from whoever had made his afraid of the dark, protect him like he protected their team, their family. Briefly, she wondered if anybody had ever tried to protect him before, from the monster in the dark. But then she remembered the scars that she'd only glanced at as he'd stepped out of bed, scars from being a Retrieval Specialist, and ones far too old for that, and she knew that no one ever had.
It made her chest burn, and her fingers itch, and she thought that maybe holding onto him was the only thing that could keep her from running off into the night to find every damn person who'd ever hurt him, and make them hurt too.
She felt a little better once she was close enough to hear his heartbeat, and she smiled as he spoke again, the words rumbling through his chest, almost like a purr.
"What were you doin' up at this hour anyway?" he asked.
"I wanted pancakes."
He gave her a funny look. "You wanted pancakes at 1:30 in the morning?"
"Yes." She wasn't sure why this seemed so odd, but he gave her another look. "Can you think of a better time for pancakes?"
He laughed then, a real laugh, and this time when he told her that there was something wrong with her, it sounded more like a term of endearment, than anything else.
He fell asleep beside her, and although she hadn't thought she was tired, he was the comfiest pillow she'd ever had, and she drifted off to sleep too, just as the horizon was beginning to take on an orange glow.
There are some things that only Parker knows.
She's the only one who knows what really happened in Paris, 2003.
She's the only one who knows that Eliot is afraid of the dark.
And she's the only one who knows why there were 12 different kinds of pancakes on the breakfast table the next morning.