Title: Lifetime Warranty
Category:
Leverage
Rating:
PG13
Characters/Pairings:
Parker/Hardison
Genre:
Hurt/Comfort/Romance/Friendship
Summary:
By now the medication had begun to wear off, and there was no way to ignore the ache in her leg, or the burn in her side. But that didn't even compare to the sudden constricting pain that seized her chest at her revelation. Sequel to Gray Matters.

Prologue

It was early when she stumbled through the hospital doors and into the not-quite-busy streets of downtown Boston. The sun had just risen, she could tell from the blue-blue-skies and the winking sun on the horizon. And it was cold, a chill setting in as she stepped out into the crisp September morning.

So she shivered as she fled from the hospital entrance, and maybe her teeth chattered a little, but her pace didn't slow any, because now that the fall air had cut through her morphine-induced haze, she was starting to panic just a little. The first thing she did was try to figure out where the hell she was, because the last thing she remembered was walking out of McRory's in a huff.

Why? She wondered, came up empty.

And then suddenly she needed to find a newspaper, needed to know if it was still Saturday, what the date was. Her pace picked up, though her legs felt good and heavy as the cold set in. She walked three blocks without finding a stand, but the next man she passed had a paper tucked under his arm, and she took it from him without bothering to be sly about it. She ignored him when she cried out in surprise and anger, too focused on the print at the top right corner of the page.

Friday—she couldn't believe it, six days had passed since she'd stormed out of the bar. Six days, and-and…she stuffed the paper back in the business man's face so that he would stop complaining (loudly) to whoever was on the other end of his phone call about some strange woman who was stealing from him. While any other day she would have threatened him with bodily harm for insulting her, right now she just wanted him to stop harassing her. (Couldn't he see that she was busy being upset here? And, really, his paper was going to be the last thing he missed when he went to buy that morning coffee, anyway.)

Six days.

It ran through her head, over and over again.

Six days. Six days. Six days. Six days. Six days?

Parker recalled the feeling of dread that had washed over her when she'd opened her eyes to find herself in the hospital; to find herself alone in the hospital. She hadn't exactly been altogether lucid when she'd scanned the room but, looking back, it hadn't looked as if anyone had even been there. According to the local paper, she had just spent the better part of a week unconscious in a really uncomfortable bed, and no one on the team had even bothered to drop by to make sure she was still alive.

Before she knew it, she was sinking down onto a stone bench as she tried to process. By now the medication had begun to wear off, and there was no way to ignore the ache in her leg, or the burn (a feeling that she had long ago come to associate with stitches) in her side. But that didn't even compare to the sudden constricting pain that seized her chest at her revelation.

During the few times that Parker had injured herself badly enough to end up in a hospital, she had always prayed that no one would come after and find her. It wasn't until now that she wished that someone had come looking. She would never admit to anyone but herself just how much it broke her heart that they hadn't.

But she understood—after all, who wanted to work with a crazy (broken, worthless, lost) thief? Who would ever want to love someone like her? So yes, Parker understood. Just like she understood why daddy hit mommy; like she understood why she'd lost Frank; like she understood that the bruises on her arms and the sting in her cheek was for her own good; like she understood how much she'd earned those two nights in the closet; just like she understood why she couldn't meet Archie's family.

Except she didn't understand—she didn't understand at all.

Notes: I must be on a role or something, because I don't remember ever posting this much back when I first started off. So this was going to be a Oneshot, but I decided to make it a multi-chapter story.