There's Something About Parker
Summary: The Leverage team is worried when Parker suddenly starts behaving oddly.
Timeline: Season 1 for Leverage; Season 2 'Halloween' episode for BtVS implied.
Disclaimer: BtVS characters belong to Joss Whedon / Mutant Enemy. Leverage characters belong to John Rogers, Chris Downey, and TNT. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.
A/N: A twist on the usual Halloween fic. Buffy decided to go as somebody 'normal'.
Glendale Art Museum
Parker was trapped inside the museum with the partygoers. The rest of the team managed to get out, but at the last second, the event sponsor decided he wanted a photo op with the pretty blonde who was passing by. And Parker was the one with the flashdrive they needed!
To make matters worse, she had been acting even more unstable than usual the past few weeks. Since Halloween to be precise. Little changes in her personality that should have made them happier, but with her, it just freaked them out. The last straw was tonight, right before the job. She actually said the money wasn't important; helping people was what mattered most. Nate almost called it off right then.
But the night went smoothly. Parker did her thing just as fabulous as she always managed. They just weren't sure if this would be the thing that made her snap. Sophie desperately rushed out instructions through the earpiece, only to be terrified to hear Parker ignore them. The last time that happened, a guy got stabbed – also at a party.
Imagine their surprise when they heard Parker coo flirtatiously, "Why, Mr. Carter! You charmer, you! How many women have you made swoon with those lines?"
"They are all true, I assure you," he replied earnestly.
Parker snorted femininely, "I doubt that. You know, if it weren't for your wife over there, shooting daggers at me, I would be very tempted. But sadly, I don't get involved with married men – whether they are happy about it or not."
Carter sighed theatrically, "More's the pity for me, then. In that case, would you mind meeting Martha so she knows she had nothing to worry about?"
"Just for a minute. My brother is calling me tonight from overseas and I don't want to miss his call. He's supposed to tell me the details of his upcoming leave," she weaved her story seamlessly – much to the astonishment of her team. They looked at Sophie to be sure she wasn't feeding her lines, but she looked just as shocked as they were.
"That's wonderful for both of you! When you talk to him, tell him how much we appreciate his sacrifice. And yours too, my dear. Can I confide in you? I'd much rather be sponsoring an event for them. This group makes my skin crawl," Carter shuddered as they made their way across the room.
Parker stopped to look at him. "Then why do it?"
"My company is forcing me to." They finally reached his wife and he called out to her, "Ah! Martha! I want you to meet…" he trailed off when he realized he didn't get her name yet.
"Beth Summers. Your husband was kind enough to protect me from the sharks here by keeping me company until I could make my getaway. You have him trained well," Parker told the older woman with a teasing look at the man.
Martha didn't look like she quite believe the beautiful blonde, even though she desperately wanted to. "Really? He wasn't trying to pick you up?"
Parker smiled at the worried man. "Not in the slightest. He is a true gentleman."
"Miss Summers' brother is serving overseas," Carter interjected to change the subject. He hadn't really meant anything with his flirtations, but he didn't want to risk upsetting his wife.
Martha's mood shifted abruptly. Her father had served for 20 years in the Navy. "Oh well, wish him all the best from us. What's his name?" she inquired – which made the team wince. They could just imagine what Parker would do now.
But she just kept the story flowing, "We just call him Xander. He's quite popular with his unit. His unique sense of humor keeps them from getting too grim." Parker glanced at her watch and gave a small gasp. "But I have to rush now if I'm going to get home in time for his web-call. But it was nice to meet you both."
"Please call us if there's anything we can do…a welcome home party, just anything. Dear, give her a card," Martha ordered her husband.
Parker gave them a blinding smile and replied, "I appreciate that."
"What the hell?"
"When did you think up that story?"
"Who are you, and what did you do with Parker?"
"Great work there, Parker!"
Parker put her hands over her ears at the shouts of the others. "Shush! You're giving me a headache!"
"Care to tell us how you're able to charm people all of a sudden?" Nate asked.
Eliot glared suspiciously at her. "Are you taking the anti-depressants again?" he demanded. Happy Parker was scarier than Crazy Parker.
Parker set her head down on her folded arms in front of her. "No. I don't know. I've been having these strange dreams the last month. I can't remember them, but when I wake up, I just have these…thoughts!"
She sighed, then explained, "Like Xander is funny; Willow would love Hardison; Mom could charm people like I did tonight; Eliot's weapons are wicked cool; and I could take him in hand-to-hand; it's my duty to help people. I don't even know who Xander and Willow are, and my mom couldn't charm anyone!"
"Do you think it's possible anyone is drugging you somehow?" Sophie wondered aloud.
"I don't know," Parker answered with a shrug.
Hardison spoke up with his opinion, "I think it's cool. She still can handle herself like the old Parker with the breaking in and stuff. Just now she can take care of herself in social situations. I don't see the bad in this."
A/N: I thought it would be fun to do a Halloween fic that wasn't in Sunnydale and didn't mention the spell.