A/N: Oh man I love you guys. Seriously!!!! You're TREMENDOUS! whimseyrhodes, Kristin4, spnchick, BlueEyes444, SeaStarr, georgie's-jail3, redqueen74, luna-pendragon, simplygloomy, Angel JJK, eligin, Kater85, cresdin, vampout, suddencarolina, lilz54, darkloves, SiriusDoctorWhoHoney329, Mayhem21, leveragefan, vickyloka and BookLover223 all rock so hard I can't even tell you. As far as the fic goes, Eliot did probably get off easy with the whump in this one...that's not like me...gonna have to do something about that in my next one...lol. I wasn't sure this was quite right, thought maybe I needed more action and stuff, but I was tired of the woods and I love writing dialogue and my beta seemed to think it came out well, if the extremely enthusiastic email she sent me is anything to go by. lol. Luvya vickyloka!! So this is the last chap, Enjoy! -pj
Parker wrinkled her nose, her eyes still closed in an attempt to hold onto sleep a little while longer. At least this time she wasn't in some dusty air vent or laying face first on some dirty hotel floor.
She really hated that.
With her eyes closed she knew she was at a hospital and she relaxed. She didn't like hospitals, but she didn't hate them either. They fed her and healed her and she was usually able to get some rest. Since she didn't get caught, she didn't typically worry about waking up in handcuffs, but even if she did, it was never a problem for long.
"Ah, I see you're coming back to us."
A kind, but unfamiliar voice, spoke somewhere above her and she forced her eyes to crack open, squinting against the dim light.
"Hello there, Ms. Row. We were wondering when you'd wake up," a round-faced woman smiled and gestured to the other side of the bed, "your husband hasn't left your side for nearly three days."
Parker frowned and glanced over to where she pointed and saw Eliot slumped over in a large stuffed chair that was pulled up next to the bed. She wasn't sure what to be confused about first.
Eliot sleeping with other people in the room, the thought that she'd been unconscious for at least three days or that the woman had just referred to the hitter as her 'husband'. Oh, and there was the whole 'bad men with guns and morning hike from hell' thing that hadn't quite been accounted for.
"W'happn'd?" She mumbled, wincing deeply at the pain of her throat. An ice chip was slipped helpfully between her chapped lips and she closed her eyes momentarily in relief.
"Apparently your weekend hike didn't go quite as planned," the nurse explained gently. Parker bit back a sarcastic 'obviously' and tried not to roll her eyes. "There were some men hunting bear illegally in the woods, they mistook you for prey." She clucked her tongue sympathetically, "your husband was shot and in your haste to get away you stumbled over a cliff. Then you were bit by a snake, we only just got you the antivenin in time. It's a miracle you survived, poor dears."
Parker frowned, but didn't ask what 'deer' had to do with anything.
"Is he okay?" She looked over again at Eliot, wondering why he wasn't in his own hospital bed.
"The doctor didn't want him to check out, but he insisted after only 24hours," her eyes widened slightly when she mistook Parker's expression, "he didn't leave you here alone, dear, don't worry. Your sister and father and brother-in-law are all here, you were out for nearly a week you know," the nurse chastised lightly, as if Parker had some control in the matter.
"They'll be in as soon as visiting hours begin, I'm sure," she patted her hand and Parker tried not to pull away.
"How much longer do I have to stay here?"
"Until you're better," a gruff voice answered, and both women looked over to see Eliot staring at them, stretching and cracking his neck.
"I'll give you two a moment alone," the nurse patted Parker's hand once more and the thief gave her an odd look all the way out of the room.
She was cut off by Eliot's lips on hers and he ignored his stiff muscles and various aches as he propped himself up on either side of her for a moment, relishing in being close.
"I'm glad you're awake."
He smiled slightly and sat back down, moving slow and deliberate.
Parker nodded, eyeing him closely, "you should check yourself back in."
Eliot just shook his head once, taking one of her hands in his to rub a thumb over her knuckles.
"Y'scared me." He admitted quietly, not looking at her.
Parker's eyes widened, unsure of how to respond to that. As far as she knew, Eliot didn't get scared.
"You scared me first, remember?" She said after a moment, and even to her it sounded childish. But Eliot just nodded, keeping his eyes on the floor.
Parker shrugged as much as she could, glancing down at the cast on her arm. Black. She nodded approvingly, practical for sliding in and out of shadows.
"How much longer until I can leave?" She asked again, shifting in the bed.
"Few more days," he assured her, frowning down at his boots.
Parker stared at him for a long moment. He wasn't being grumpy and growly, not exactly. But there was something.
"Are you mad?"
Eliot sighed, "you're in a hospital after a six day coma, Parker."
She wrinkled her nose, "that's not what I asked."
He shifted and pushed his hair out of his face, "Not mad."
"Well something's wrong," his lack of response confirmed it. She bit her lip.
"It's not that I threw us over that cliff, because you're not surprised I did that."
He grunted. She was right, he wasn't. In fact, he couldn't say for sure he wouldn't have done the same thing, had he been alone and had a few seconds to think.
"Is it that you didn't get to kill the men that were after us?"
He shifted in the chair and she slid her eyes over to him but didn't move her head.
"Or did you?"
Eliot gave her a serious look, unashamed of the lengths he was willing to go to keep any one of the team safe, including and especially, her.
"You were out for almost a week," he drawled. The rest of the explanation wasn't needed. Six days was more than enough time for Eliot to track down the men who'd ruined their hike and make them pay in whatever way he felt appropriate.
To say she was upset he did it would have been a superfluous lie. "Well, what then?
He looked away and she titled her head toward him as much as she could, propped up in the bed as she was. She squinted at him when he finally looked up at her, his eyes much bluer and brighter than she could remember noticing before.
"Don't ever tell me to leave you again." He said, his voice quiet and rough. Parker set her head back against the pillow, surprised that that was what had him most upset.
"It's hard enough, doing what we do and being who we are, to go against instinct and stick around," he continued, quietly. Parker kept her eyes on him, not mistaking his soft-spoken words for unimportant.
"With the team. With you. Everything in me is tellin' me that I should go, for your own good. To keep you safe," he took a deep breath and she could see how much it was costing him to say all of this out loud, "and I'm terrified I'm gonna screw this up and drive you away…but I'm doing my damnedest not to and so don't tell me to go. To leave you."
She watched him fight tears and it was the first battle she'd ever seen him lose. Then she realized she was losing too and swiped the hand with no IVs across her eyes.
"I'm sorry." She whispered, "I won't do it again."
Eliot nodded and stood, coming in to lean close to her, pressing his lips soft and warm against hers. She responded in kind and moved her hand up to cup his neck, keeping him close until he shifted in discomfort and stood up, pressing a hand to his ribs.
She got a mischievous grin on her face and he gave her a wary look.
To his credit, Eliot didn't flinch, but had the grace to look a bit embarrassed.
"They wouldn't let me stay with you otherwise."
Parker nodded, settling further into the mattress and letting her eyes shut. She heard his clothes rustle slightly as he shifted on his feet in an uncharacteristic display of anxiety.
She opened her eyes, "what?"
Eliot shrugged, his eyes flicking away from her and then back again, "no reaction? I start telling people we're married and you have nothing to say?"
She shrugged, "nope." Eliot kept staring at her and she sighed, "it's not an altogether unpleasant thought. Being married to you, Sparky."
Slowly, a grin spread across Eliot's face. He reached out to gently brush his knuckles across her cheek and tucked a loose lock of hair behind her ear.
"There's something wrong with you," he whispered fondly.
Parker smiled, nodding, "yeah, but there's something wrong with you too."
"Oh, yeah? Why's that?"
She caught his hand and brushed her lips across his knuckles, still scraped up and bruised and probably in the early stages of arthritis.
"Because you like me this way," she smiled wide and Eliot smirked, leaning over to kiss her again.
"Got that right."
END- Well that was the end. Thanks again to all the readers, reviewers, lurkers and alerters out there. I love you all. I really loved writing this and reading how much you all loved reading it, and now I can focus on the other umpteen fics I have in the works...lol. Till next time everyone! :-)