A/N: This was inspired by She's My Kinda Rain by Tim McGraw. I know it's hardly canon, but I love Eliot/Parker and shall continue to write it until...well until the muse stops putting it out. lol. Would love to hear your thoughts you wonderful people you! -pj
Parker isn't the only one to notice when he gets up in the middle of the briefing and moves to stand. And they all note that he keeps his back to them, staring out the window with his arms crossed. But she is the only one to approach him after Hardison is finished.
"Hey," she says quietly, alerting him to her presence before she reaches out to touch him. But he must have been in deeper thought than she realized because he tenses immediately when she slips her hand into his.
Eliot glances at her out of the corner of his eye, keeping himself facing away. She's about to say something else when she stops herself and looks down, realizing the reason his grip is so tight is to cover the way he is trembling beside her.
A slight frown on her brow, that is both concern and confusion, she tugs at his hand.
After a moment he concedes and allows her to drag him to the door.
"Damn, they're like rabbits," Hardison grumbles, seeing the pair making their silent exit. "Can't they control themselves for even an hour?"
Sophie glances up and catches the look on Parker's face. She frowns slightly, because she's not used to seeing the theif look worried.
"I don't think they're going to have sex, Hardison," she turns toward the Hacker, who's giving her a strange look. "You know them. If they really wanted to they wouldn't even bother to leave the room."
Hardison shudders and agrees. Then as he realizes what she means, his brow furrows in something that is almost concern. "You think he's okay?"
Sophie sighs. She honestly doesn't know. Never has with Eliot.
But Parker...Parker she knows.
"He's with her. He'll be fine."
"What's wrong?" Parker crosses her arms and turns to look at him as soon as they're in the hallway.
"What makes you think something's wrong?" He asks back, evading the question.
Parker doesn't rise to the bait and continues to stare at him. Not judgmentally or angrily, just continually.
But Eliot has resisted interrogations far more intense than this.
Parker sighs, "it's the job, isn't it?" She guesses, because what else could it be?
Eliot shifts on his feet but doesn't respond. Parker closes the distance them, almost in his face.
"What is it, Eliot?" She asks quietly, she's standing so close she'd be kissing him if the world tilted unexpectedly. But one look in her eyes and he knows that is the last thing on her mind. "Talk to me."
He sighs slowly and clenches his teeth, taking a personal space preserving step backward and pulling his hands into his pockets.
"I don't like hoods."
Parker frowns, but immediately makes the connection. "Like the one Nate wants you to wear? So they can't see your face?"
Eliot nods. "Don't like my face covered."
"The way you don't like onions?" she asks hopefully. She'd noticed that Eliot never pulled the covers over his head and almost exclusively wore button up shirts, but never really thought about it.
"No. Like how I don't like restraints. And I don't like guns. And I don't like people to touch me if I don't know they're there," he snaps, surprising Parker with the ferocity of his answer, and her heart clenches at the matter-of-fact quality to his words, "there are certain things that…that I just stay away from. Because no matter how hard I try sometimes it doesn't matter. And sometimes I lose control."
His eyes defocus in a way she recognizes from middle-of-the-night screaming and drug induced hazes and she knows he is back there. Years ago. When he was young and broken and bloody and scared.
She hates that.
"We'll find another way." She says quickly, wanting to fix things. Wishing to fix him.
Immediately Eliot shakes his head, biting his lip and breathing hard, though Parker is sure she isn't supposed to notice either.
"No, Parker, there is no other way."
"There's always another way. Nate can find another way." Parker protests just as vehemently.
Eliot takes his hands from his pockets to rub them over his face and Parker waits, recognizing the signs of him getting back under control that is slipping. There are fist-shaped holes in her walls to remind her not to bother him when he's trying to do that.
"No," he says again, calmer this time and Parker can't quite identify the way his voice sounds right now, but it makes her stomach hurt. "No. I can do this." He drops his hands and looks at the door, "I'm not…the same. Now. I'm different." He nods and looks at her, eyes blue the way she recognizes again. He's back.
"I can do this."
Parker tilts her head and takes another step forward. "Eliot, you don't have to."
"Yes, I do," he insists in a harsh whisper, forcing his voice to stay low, "I'm the only one that can do it and that's the only way to get me inside."
She doesn't even flinch at his outburst, but takes another step closer to be standing in front of him. Eliot tries hard to mask it under strong-willed determination, but she can still see it. The fear floating behind his eyes that he's usually so good at hiding he can even convince himself it's not there.
But seeing it now, a part of Parker suddenly wants to stabhurtkill whoever it was that had put it there. Maybe Hardison can help her with that.
"Eliot," she pauses, trying to think of what Sophie would say to make him see sense. Or at least see things from her side.
"What if it were me?"
He smiles in a way that makes her stomach turn and starts to protest the entire scenario.
"No, Eliot, answer me," she reaches out to grab his arms, keeping him grounded. Here. With her. "What if I had been through everything you've been through. Would you ask me do it?"
Eliot sighs, "Parker-"
She moves her hands up to cup his face, not allowing him to look anywhere but into her eyes. She has to make him see. Make him understand.
Finally, his head gives a slight shake and the tension in her chest unfolds a little.
She lets out a breath, dropping her hands back to her sides.
She stares at him a moment longer, and there's self-loathing and relief in his eyes and she decides one cancels out the other and leaves him at normal. Which is where she likes him.
Because there can't be something wrong with both of them.
Parker grabs his hand and leads him back toward Nate's door, but suddenly stops short and turns around, surprising Eliot by kissing him before he's even fully aware of the change.
"Okay?" she pulls back and looks at him. H knows what she's asking.
"Yeah, Parker, I'm okay." He nods for extra assurance and she smiles a big, brilliant smile like when she gets to the prize at the bottom of the cereal box.
She leanes in to kiss him again.
The door to Nate's apartment opens and Sophie and Hardison look up to watch Eliot and Parker enter. The thief immediately spots Nate in the living room, scrolling through documents for the job on the screens.
"Nate," she says, coming to stand in front of him and unrepentantly blocking his view, "we need a new plan."
Nate hesitates and frowns, resisting the urge to look over his shoulder at the rest of the team for clarification.
"Any particular reason, Parker?"
The blonde crosses her arms and her eyes flick briefly to Eliot, who still stands close to the door hands back in residence in his pockets.
"Eliot doesn't like his face covered."
Nate turned around to glance at Eliot, who other than looking a little disheveled and tense, seemes normal.
Still, he must've seen something in the hitter because he turned back around to face Parker and shrugged.
"Okay, we'll…come up with a new plan."
Nate gives her an odd look at the way she bounces happily up on hearing this, and goes back to the screens, mumbling to himself and sipping whiskey.
Parker skips across the floor, grinning when she throws herself into Eliot's arms . Eliot smiles against Parker's hungry lips and hoists her hips up so she can wrap her legs around him. She is the only one who hears when he sighs 'thank you' into her mouth and she giggles.
A moment later they are so wrapped in each other it's as if no one else is in the room.
Sophie sighs and looks at Hardison who rolls his eyes.
END - probably not my best work, but I'd love to hear what you thought of it anyway.