A/N: Okay, so I haven't even finished watching Season 1 of Leverage yet, but I already love it, and I really wish Eliot & Parker would get together. From what I hear, its not going to happen, which is why I've been reading Eliot/Parker fanfic like crazy the past couple of weeks. After seeing The Juror No. 6 Job, I just had to write a little tag scene of my own - apologies if the characters are OOC or whatever...
Disclaimer: Characters from Leverage belong to John Rogers, Chris Downey, and other important people that aren't me.
Extract from 'The Juror No. 6 Job' (written by Rebecca Kirsch)
Extract from 'The Juror No. 6 Job' (written by Rebecca Kirsch)
Parker: Hey, it's Peggy from the trial. She wants to have coffee next week. Mm, Alice made a friend.
Eliot: I'm gonna tell you one more time, you made a friend. Not Alice.
Parker: Oh, cool. Well, think she'll wanna steal a painting with me?
Sophie: Start small, Parker. Try coffee.
Something was wrong with Parker.
It was far from the first time Eliot had that particular thought, in fact he'd told the girl to her face time and time again that very thing, but this was different. The rest of the team had parted ways as soon as the football was over and the beer had run dry. Eliot was left behind to clean up and lock up, which he didn't mind at all. Parker was still at the table, staring off into to space that way she did sometimes, her hands absently ripping strips off the paper her hamburger had been wrapped in. Honestly, Eliot would've been more worried about her if she was doing anything else. Abnormal was her normal, and yet he felt the need to ask:
"You okay, Parker?"
Her eyes didn't move, no part of her moved, except the fingers that just kept tearing the paper into smaller and smaller pieces.
"Hey" Eliot tried again as he walked over to the table, clicking his fingers in front of Parker's face, ever aware that she might just snap somehow, maybe slug him in the shoulder or scream or something.
"Eliot" she said suddenly, her eyes snapping to meet his and startling him just a little, "Do you like coffee?" she asked, too seriously for such an simple question.
"Sure, yeah" he nodded his agreement, "I mean, you've seen me drinking coffee so..."
"I don't mean like the drink" she rolled her eyes as he took the seat beside her and put his hands to his head, running his fingers back through his hair - it was too late in the day for riddles.
"Okay, I'm really tryin' here, darlin', but you gotta help me out" he told Parker when he looked up at her again.
She sighed heavily, picking up her cell phone and showing him the message she had received earlier.
"Peggy asked Alice... asked me" she corrected herself off Eliot's look, "She asked me to go for coffee" she reminded him, even as he read the message she had already told him and the rest of the gang about before, "I don't know how to 'go for coffee'" she explained rather badly, hoping that he understood.
It was a long shot, since Eliot only ever seemed to tell her he didn't get her or at the very least looked at her like she was an alien or something. Still, he seemed almost as detached from the world as she was sometimes, and that was what made Parker think maybe he was just the person she needed right now. If it was possible for him to be as much of an outsider as he was and yet still be considered relatively normal, maybe there was hope for her too.
"Parker, you're over-thinking this" he advised, putting her cell back in her hand and patting it in what she supposed was meant to be a kind caring way, "Okay, it's simple, it's just going out to a coffee shop, sitting across a table from a friend, and... talking"
"About what?" she asked immediately, "I mean, I mentioned stealing paintings and Sophie looked at me like a freak" she noted, "In a nice way, but still, like a freak"
"Nobody thinks you're a freak, Parker" Eliot assured her, even as she got up from the table, apparently clearing away her trash, "It's just, you gotta learn how to talk to people" he told her, turning in his chair to continue speaking to her and getting up to follow when it was clear she wasn't going to stop walking, "You must've done okay at the trial else why would this Peggy person even want to be your friend?" he asked, leaning in the doorway.
Parker stopped when she heard that. Eliot was right, but only partially. No matter how many times he told her she had made a friend, her brain defaulted to telling her that it was Alice White who had done the work. She was a part to be played and as her Parker found a way to communicate somehow, though not so well all the time. She'd screwed up more than once, and that was with the guys in her ear the whole time. Going to coffee with Peggy, as if they really were friends, it would mean flying solo and being what passed for normal. Parker honestly wasn't sure if she could handle that.
"Eliot?" she said as she turned around, pleased to find he was still stood there staring after her, "You wanna go get coffee with me? Now?" she asked awkwardly, somewhat relieved when he smiled before anwesring her.
"Sure, we could do that" he agreed, "but I gotta ask, why you askin' me?" he checked, a little bemused by that fact.
Eliot didn't mind that Parker wanted his help with her problems, they were a team and he had her back as much as he expected her to have his, not just on a job or in a fight, but in all things. It was just that they didn't spend much time together when they weren't working. Sophie was the one trying to teach Parker how to be more 'normal', Nate had known her longest, and Hardison made a much bigger deal about fussing over the girl, to the point where Eliot almost wondered if the geek had a crush...
"I don't know" she shrugged, "Because you're here? Because I wanted to?" she considered a couple of options, a smile quirking her lips when she added, "Because out of everybody, you seemed the most proud of me for making a friend for myself?"
Parker turned to walk away to her office then, muttering something about fetching her jacket so they could go.
Eliot stayed where he was and watched her disappear around the corner, a smile sliding across his own lips as he replayed her words in his head. She wasn't wrong, he had to admit. He had been pleased for her when she made a friend, and was eager to make her see that, even though she was using the name Alice, it was still Parker that had managed to snag herself a friend.
Of course, it had only now occurred to Eliot that this Peggy person was not the first one Parker had managed to charm enough to be able to call her a friend.
What were the two of them if not for friends?
What else might they be after this, if coffee went well?