Title: Shattered
Author: Devereauxx
Fandom: Leverage
Rating: R
Pairing: Parker/Sophie
Length: 4,829 words
Summary: Parker thinks she's in a relationship. She's not.
A/N: This was written as a companion to my Parker/Sophie video "Shattered" on YouTube. If you've seen the video, then I don't have to warn you there's heavy angst.

Parker never knew much about feelings. She knew when she was happy, when she was sad, or even scared… but those other feelings, the kind everyone talks about, the love and the longing and the lust… she never knew what those felt like. She never related to anyone, never even gave most people another thought outside of the fact that they were just there. She had never had a relationship because she thought they were just a thing that lonely people did because they didn't want to be by themselves anymore. She thought people talked about love like an excuse, and not because it actually existed. Parker's thirty years old, and she figured if love really existed that she would have felt it by now.

So when she finally got these weird feelings in the pit of her stomach that she couldn't recognize… she thought they might be love. She read in a book once that when you fall in love it's like nothing matters outside of that person, that you think about them all the time and always want to be with them. That the tiny little hairs all over your body stand up on ends from the anticipation and nervousness and you get a little shiver when they look at you. That you smile just when you think about them, and that there's so many feelings going on in your body and your brain that it's overwhelming, confusing, but it all feels so good.

That's how Parker felt when she was around Sophie.

Parker didn't think she liked women, but when those feeling started to happen, and her tummy started to feel like she ate a bunch of butterflies for breakfast, she realized that she did. Maybe not all women, but at least Sophie. It didn't bother her like she thought it would, she hears about how a lot of people will start to freak out when they realize they are attracted to the same sex. But it wasn't scary; it just was what it was.

The first time she kissed Sophie was almost the scariest experience she has ever had outside of ninety percent of her childhood. She can jump off forty story buildings, but doing something like that, deciding to try to kiss her, was the thing that scared her more than the fleeting fear that she could possibly die each time when she's flying through the air. She's kissed people before, but she never cared that they maybe might not want her to, because if they didn't she could just find a new person to kiss. But she was scared that Sophie would push her off of her; ask her what the hell she thought she was doing. It terrified her, and she's surprised she actually did it in the first place.

It was after a job, and Parker came downstairs to the bar underneath Nate's condo to find Sophie in a corner, looking like what Parker was sure was crying into her vodka and tonic. Parker walked over to her slowly, not sure if she should interrupt her depression, but it hurt something in her chest to see the tears run down Sophie's face as she tried to hide them from the rest of the bar. Sliding into the seat next to her, she tried to do the whole comforting thing she was never really good at and puts her hand on Sophie's leg.

"What's wrong?" Parker asked her, looking at her with her lips turned down slightly. Sophie just shook her head and wiped away stray tears with the back of her hand before sighing and taking another sip of her drink.

"He broke up with me," she finally says softly. It comes out strangled, almost in between sobs before she sniffs and looks down. Parker realizes she's staring at the hand she has on her leg, and Parker wonders if it should be there. She thought it was something people just did when they're trying to make someone feel better. But she doesn't move it. She likes touching Sophie, only if it's just a little bit like this.

"Your boyfriend?" Parker asks, but already knows that's the answer. She didn't really know what else to say besides, "I'm sorry." And she is. Sorry. Anything that made Sophie cry made her feel sorry, even though she was a little bit glad he was gone now.

"He said he couldn't take all the lies anymore," she admits softly and wipes at her tears again. "But what was I supposed to do? He can't know who I really am, right? I mean… no one can. And it's just… it's just…" she put her hand over her face, and Parker squeezed Sophie's thigh a bit. Finally Sophie sighed and said, "I'm destined to be alone. Hell, all of us are. All these bloody secret lives we live."

"Being alone sucks," Parker tells her honestly. She used to love it, but ever since she met Sophie, Eliot, Hardison, and Nate, she didn't like being alone anymore. She liked being with people. Those people. Her friends. Her family.

Sophie cracks a small smile at Parker's choice of wording and looks over at her. Parker finds herself smiling a little too, just because Sophie was smiling at her. "And he's stupid, anyway," Parker tells her. "You're the prettiest woman in the whole world, and I've seen a lot of the whole world. And you're really nice, you help people. Well, you help me anyway. He's just… dumb for doing that to you." Sophie's starting to look at her with an expression Parker doesn't understand, but it makes her feel uncomfortable and awkward, and that maybe she shouldn't have said that stuff out loud, so she just shrugs and looks down as she purses her lips together.

"Thanks, Parker…" Sophie says softly, and puts her hand on Parker's that was resting on her thigh still. Parker looks up at her and Sophie smiles a bit. "You can be really sweet sometimes, you know." Parker just rolls her eyes a bit and shrugs again, still feel a little awkward. The feelings were a hundred times larger now, even maybe a thousand. It was overwhelming for her, and she didn't know how to handle it. She's never had practice with these sorts of things before. She feels like Sophie might like her a little bit, but she's still convinced she doesn't, that she can't, and since all the feelings were starting to get bigger and more noticeable she decides to leave.

"Wait," Sophie says as Parker gets up. She takes a hold of Parker's hand and pulls her slowly to sit back down. "Can you stay for a bit?" Sophie asks her. "I'd just rather not be alone right now." Parker nods, not wanted to say no to Sophie. Not wanting to say no and have to explain why she said it. So that's how they ended up in Sophie's apartment after, Sophie just needing someone to stay with her "just a little bit longer."

They were on Sophie's couch, and Sophie was ripping up the pictures she had of her old boyfriend, trying not to cry more but she wasn't winning the battle against it. Parker didn't really know what to do, she just wanted to make Sophie stop crying, but was never good at things like that. So after Sophie tore the pictures up, Parker took out her lighter and started burning them, just trying to help her get out whatever she needed to get out.

When all of the pictures were gone, Sophie started crying harder, and fell into Parker. She laid her head on her chest and just bawled, and Parker slowly wrapped her arms around her and patted her on the back softly. Her patting didn't seem to help though, because Sophie still cried.

When Sophie had mostly calmed down again, she took a shuddered breath and wiped away the last of her tears and asked Parker softly, while still laying half on top of her, "Did you mean what you said?"

"About what?" Parker asks, not knowing what she's talking about.

"That I'm the prettiest woman in the whole world," Sophie explains softly. Then there was a pause, and Parker blinked as Sophie took her hand and laced their fingers together before adding in almost a whisper, "To you."

"Yeah," Parker tells her, because she was to her. She feels Sophie smile against her before picking up her head to look at the blonde, and Parker finds herself thinking that, "Even though your all crying and a mess, and your eyes have dark splotches under them from your makeup, you're still the prettiest. Ever." That was actually supposed to just stay in her head, but sometimes things just don't stay inside there.

Sophie smiled again, and almost looked like she might cry from that. But Parker doesn't want her to cry anymore, and with all the feelings and the holding hands and the moment she doesn't think, she just leans in slowly and presses her lips up against the grifter's. She's terrified once she does it, and wants to pull back and slap herself for being stupid, but Sophie cups Parker's neck and kisses her deeper, pulling her closer to her.

That was the best kiss Parker ever had in her life.

But the next day, after Sophie had sobered up, Parker was afraid she was going to tell her it was a mistake. So she didn't go to work that day, or the next day. She told Nate she was throwing up yellow chunks, which made Nate quickly say that she could stay home. She tried not to think about Sophie, and how much of a pervert she must think she is. How horrible she is for taking advantage of a drunk, crying, and upset woman. Parker tried not to think about that, because it almost made her want to cry, and Parker never cries. Not really, not anymore.

She went to open her door for what she thought was going to be her rude neighbor who always has something to complain about, but instead came face to face with Sophie. Parker blinked, surprised, and even took a step back. But Sophie didn't say anything, she just walked into Parker's apartment without even being invited inside, closing the door behind her. Then her hands come up to her chest, to unbutton her long coat, and Parker's about to say something, make up some excuse about how she got miraculously cured from her sickness, when Sophie lets the coat fall to the floor.

"Tell me I'm pretty again," Sophie requests softly as she stood there in Parker's living room, completely nude. Parker thinks she might have had a mini heart attack by how fast her heart started to speed up. She just stares at her, every inch of Sophie's body that was there in front of her and when she spoke it was barely above a whisper.

"You're beautiful…"

If she could think at the moment, she might wonder why Sophie just walked into her apartment out of nowhere and dropped all her clothes… but she couldn't think. She couldn't process a single thought outside of the fact that Sophie was naked in front of her.

Sophie took a step closer to her, and Parker can do nothing but stare. Sophie looked nervous though, vulnerable. For someone who just boldly took off all of her clothes in front of someone she was sure liked her because she had kissed her, she looked almost afraid that Parker was going to step away from her. But Parker didn't move, she thinks she's been rendered unable to.

"And…" Sophie starts again, softly, her voice shaking a little as she takes another step closer to her. "And you… like this, right?" She stops then, unsure of herself until Parker breathes out, still staring:

"This is the best day of my life."

Parker feels a bit stupid for saying that, but it seems to be a repetitive thing with her lately anyway. She gets around Sophie and her already barely-there mouth filter seems to become non-existent. Sophie smiles then, confident in herself again and now she's in front of Parker, her hands toying with the hem of Parker's shirt.

"So if I told you that I needed someone right now… that I needed you right now… would you let me have you?" Sophie asks, but by this time is already sure of the answer. She lifts Parker's shirt off of her head, throwing it to the ground, and Parker doesn't answer her, she just wraps her arms around Sophie's neck and kisses her, praying to God that this isn't some kind of cruel dream. And as they fell to the floor, and Parker felt every part of Sophie that she never thought she could, she told her breathlessly, "You can always have me…"

This was Parker's first relationship, and she was so happy she felt like she could walk on air. It was a lot of sex, but she read once that relationships are always like that in the beginning. But she thought they should at least have dates, but everytime she tried to ask her on one it seemed like they just ended up having sex again. She could never get the words out. Sophie just always wanted Parker to touch her; it was like she was trying to convince herself of something. But Parker didn't know what, and wasn't going to ask just in case all the touching would stop, so she just took Sophie whenever she wanted it.

Three weeks passed, and Parker came over Sophie's apartment one day with flowers. Eliot said they might help. He was the only one on the team that knew about her and Sophie, only because he can apparently sniff out lesbian sex like some kind of dog. He calls it his secret talent. Parker just thinks he has extra sensitive smelling.

She didn't want to tell Hardison, because she kept getting the feeling that he might like her a little bit more than just friends, and hurting him would be bad. Nate was already upset about Sophie having a boyfriend when he tried to ask her out on a dinner date, so Parker didn't want him to think she was cock blocking or anything. But it was hardly her fault that she got there first.

Sophie opened the door and blinked, looking as if the flowers were a foreign object to her. Parker thinks that maybe Eliot was stupid and wrong, and that girls don't like flowers at all, but then Sophie gave her a small smile, though it looked a bit confused.

"You got those for me?" she asks her, and Parker holds them out to her as she comes into the apartment. Sophie takes them, looks at her, back at them, and then back to her again.

"Yeah," Parker says, feeling kind of dumb now since Sophie didn't squee about them like Eliot thought she would. "I just… wanted to get you something."

Sophie smiles a bit again, but it's not one of her really big smiles. But she says, "Thank you, Parker… that's really sweet," and goes to put them in water.

Parker is almost sure that wasn't how that was supposed to go.

But when Sophie comes out, all is normal again because she's pushed back down on her couch as Sophie's tongue claims hers. Sex again, like always. She wants to ask what was wrong with the flowers, and maybe if she'd like something else instead, but when Sophie's hand finds it's way underneath Parker's panties and she gasps, all thoughts fly out the window.

It was exactly one week later she tried to keep her train of thought while Sophie was attacking her neck like she didn't just have sex with her the day before. "Uh… Sophie…" Parker tries, but closes her eyes when Sophie's hand falls down her chest to cup one of her breasts.

"Yeah?" Sophie asks breathlessly while she goes to work on pleasuring Parker.

"Uh, wait… hold on…" Parker says, and takes both of Sophie's hands in hers and holds them away from her body. Sophie looks positively distraught all of a sudden that Parker stopped her so Parker quickly told her, "Just for a minute, okay? Can I ask you something?"

"Yeah, sure…" Sophie says, and gets off of her and sits next to her on the bed, looking at her like this better be important for interrupting sex.

"Well…" Parker starts, and starts picking at the bed sheets. She had never asked anyone out on a real date before, so she was kind of nervous about it. She doesn't know why she is; she shouldn't be because after all, she's been sleeping with Sophie for the past month. "I um, I just wanted to know if you maybe wanted to go to… dinner, or something later." She looks up at Sophie, waiting for her to just say yes so she could get this thing over with. But Sophie doesn't say yes.

"That's sweet, Parker… but we're in the middle of a job right now. Maybe… maybe later, okay?" Sophie tells her, and Parkers kind of upset but still gets it. They can't be seen with each other outside when they're in the middle of a con; they aren't supposed to know each other, after all.

But one job passes, then another, then another… and her and Sophie still hadn't been on a real date. So she asks her again, and she's starting to not like that little smile Sophie keeps giving her.

"Let's not complicate things, okay?" she tells her. But Parker doesn't understand how it'll complicate things. Sophie was her girlfriend. Isn't that what people do with their girlfriends?

She walks into Nate's condo one day, thinking all is safe since the rest of the team just left from a meeting. But she forgot her coat, so she walks back in and what she saw made her have the worst feeling in the whole world.

They didn't notice her, the two of them. She was always quiet, after all. But she wanted to scream, she wanted to do something but she seemed shocked mute. He was holding her hand, Nate, and she was smiling in that really big way that Parker only gets to see when they're about to have sex. Sophie looks down, looking like she was giggling a bit, and when she looked back up the two of them caught each other's gaze for a long time… and then she kissed him.

Parker slipped back out quietly, forgetting her coat, and ran to the bathroom to throw up. It felt like her insides were ripping apart, and it hurt so much. She didn't like this feeling, like she was drowning and got stabbed in the gut by a broadsword at the same time. She wanted to cry, but her tears seemed to still be in shock too because they didn't fall.

When Sophie came over later, Parker slammed the door in her face and told her to go to hell. But Sophie continued to bang on the door, telling her to open it up before she kicks the damn thing down, so Parker storms over to the door and yanks it open, making it crash against the wall behind it.

"What is wrong with you?!" Sophie exclaimed looking at Parker like she was insane.

"Fuck you," is all Parker tells her, her bottom lip starting to tremble finally. She bites it hard, refusing to cry in front of Sophie right now, and her eyes flash dangerously at her.

"What the bloody hell did I do?!" Sophie cried, coming inside and closing the door behind her. Parker doesn't answer her, just sets her jaw and walks away from her, into her bedroom. Sophie follows.

"Go away!" Parker yelled at her as she falls on her bed and holds one of her pillows as she finally feels the first tears begin to fall from her eyes.

"Parker, I deserve to know what I did!" Sophie yelled at her, and Parker sits up quickly, looking at her with so much hurt and betrayal in her eyes as the tears fell more rapidly.

"You kissed him," she says, and finds her voice breaking as she says it.

"So?" Sophie asks, and Parker just blinks at her. Was she kidding?

"So you're my girlfriend!" Parker screams, and throws the pillow she was holding at her. Sophie ducks out of the way, and then looks at Parker like she must be joking.

"Parker, we're not together, we just have sex!" Sophie tells her, like she should know that. Parker just looks at her in disbelief. She thought she had a relationship with Sophie.

"What?" Parker asks, barely above a whisper. More shredding inside, more crying outside. She loved Sophie; she was in love with her. She thought…

"We're just… having a bit of fun, Parker," Sophie tells her, more softly this time, and comes over to her. Parker's too upset to look dangerously angry anymore so Sophie sits next to her and takes her hand. "I thought you knew that. Come on… hey, stop crying sweetie."

She runs her fingers through Parker's hair, and then tries to kiss her, but Parker pushes her away. "Don't," she tells her in a strangled sob and takes her hand away from her. She folds her arms into herself and feels so stupid, so hurt, and so sad that she doesn't think she can handle it.

"Parker… come on," Sophie says and looks at her like she was acting childish. "Don't throw what we have away just because you thought it was something more."

Parker doesn't say anything, just wipes her tears away and stares at the far wall. Sophie's touching her again, but she doesn't move. She can't move, she feels like her whole body is broken because her heart broke. But Sophie is kissing her neck lightly now, brushing her hair away as she coaxes her to lie back on the bed.

"Come on, Parker…" she says softly, and gets on top of her. But Parker's numb, and she can't move. "You like touching me, don't you? Why throw that away?" She kisses her lips, and Parker can't stop the natural feelings she has when Sophie is with her so she kisses her back softly, pulling her closer to her, just hoping that maybe one day Sophie will love her back.

But instead she watches from a distance how close Nate and Sophie are becoming over the next couple weeks. She tries not to look, tries not let it matter to her, but it does. It hurts so much she can't put it into words. Eliot found her in the bathroom one day crying, and he comes in and shuts the door behind him softly.

"Sophie?" he asks, and Parker just cries harder. She used to never cry, not since she was a child. She told herself she wouldn't anymore, and she has only cried five times since then, since the fifteen years it's been… until now. Now she's crying all the time, and she hates every second of it.

Love isn't supposed to hurt like this.

"I don't understand," Parker tells him through her tears and Eliot wraps his arms around her and Parker cries against his shirt.

"You want honesty or a lie?" he asks her, wanting to give Parker a choice in what he says next. But Parker wants the truth.

"Honesty," she tells him, and finds herself holding onto his shirt for dear life, afraid of what his answer is going to be.

"You were the rebound girl," he tells her, and that makes Parker cry harder. But she knows it's the truth. She kissed Sophie right after she broke up with her boyfriend, and Sophie came over and got naked for her two days later. She used Parker to make her feel… pretty. She used her to know that she was still attractive.

Still attractive so maybe she could get Nate.

"But I love her," Parker tells him softly and brushes away a stray tear off of her face. He holds her tightly, brushing the hair away from her face and tells her he knows… and that Sophie is just a selfish bitch and will never understand what she does to people.

Parker's silent for a little while, just lying in his arms on the bathroom floor. She wants to know what's wrong with her. Why Sophie can't love her. If maybe she's unloveable. So she asks in a small voice, "Is there something wrong with me, Eliot?"

Eliot smiles a bit and sits her up to look at her. He wipes a tear off her cheek and tells her, "Yeah, there is. I always tell you that, don't I? But there's something wrong with everyone."

Parker smiles a little at him, liking the way he put that. She looks down and chews on her bottom lip, and realizes she wants to feel something good instead of all this bad inside of her. So when she looks back up she kisses him, pressing her lips against his… but Eliot pushes her back softly.

"I ain't gonna be your rebound, darlin'," he tells her, but gives her a small smile to let her know it's not that he wouldn't like to otherwise. "Being with me wouldn't make this thing with Sophie hurt any less in the morning."

Parker knows he's right, but is still a little upset that he wouldn't have sex with her to make her feel better. Eliot seems to have sex with everyone, after all. But maybe it was cause he cared about her too much to do that, so Parker doesn't mind too much.

The next day Parker gets up the nerve to tell Sophie that this wasn't working. That it was hurting her everyday. That she didn't just want to have sex with her if she couldn't have all of her. That she was so in love with her that she couldn't think straight, but the only thing she can get out is, "I can't do this anymore."

"Do what, sweetie?" Sophie asks, and runs her hand on Parker's thigh, but Parker moves it off of her.

"I don't want to have sex with you anymore," Parker says, but can't look her in the eye. It's tearing her apart, and part of her wants to take it back just so can have that little bit of Sophie that she allows her to have, no matter how much it hurts. But she thinks she dies a little bit inside when she sees her and Nate together, because she wishes Sophie liked her like that.

"Oh," Sophie says, and moves back a bit from her on the couch. "Oh," she repeats, a bit sadly, and Parker looks over at her. "I thought you liked me," Sophie says, her face falling, and Parker doesn't want to be the one to make Sophie cry, even though Sophie makes her cry all the time.

"You like Nate," is all Parker says, and Sophie looks like she's biting the inside of her cheek and she nods as she looks down.

"I like you too," Sophie tells her softly, staring at the couch like if she does it than she won't cry, but it's not working. Parker sees a tear fall from her eye, and doesn't get why she's crying. She was the one that didn't want to be with her.

"Not how I like you, and not how you like Nate," Parker says, and shifts a bit on the couch to get away from her just another inch, hoping that will make her not take it all back just because Sophie is crying now. "I love you, Sophie," Parker tells her, not being able to hold it in, and her voice breaks as she says it.

Sophie looks up at her, but sniffs and says finally, after awhile silence, "But I love Nate." She sounds like she's hating a part of herself for it, and Parker just nods slowly, trying not cry herself.

"Yeah."

Sophie takes a deep breath and looks away from her. She sits on the couch for a moment longer before she uses her arms to help herself off it as she gets up. Neither of them says anything because nothing else really needed to be said. And as Sophie walks out the door and it closes behind her, Parker breaks again and starts crying, deciding she never wanted to love anyone again.

And that's why when Hardison asked her out on a date a month later, she turned him down. She never wanted to feel like that again. All the ripping and the shredding and the crying and the pain.

Love existed… but it was the worst thing that had ever happened to her.

THE END