AN: Inspired by the park scene in the episode The Big Bang Job and is set before The San Lorenzo Job. And also Kane's song "In the Darkness" is used for a basis.

As soon as the Leverage team returned to Nate's apartment, Eliot tossed his jacket and blue flannel onto the recliner. Stripping off his gloves and knife holder, he threw those aside too before storming into his office. Parker watched him go as her head tilted a bit.

Hardison scowled - still mad from earlier - and headed toward his computers muttering, "I'll look for more information."

Sophie watched Nate head towards his room upstairs before she notice Parker had disappeared. "Uh -" she knew where the girl had gone.

"Just leave 'em." Nate instructed knowing that Eliot needed to cool down and Parker wouldn't be in danger with him. He'd had his suspicions about those two and the conversation on the benches only solidified that. But they didn't need to focus on relationships right now; he had a plan for catching Moreau to form.

When your heart is filled with misery
It's hard to find the energy
To remember just how much she means to me.
Well I keep everything inside so long till it burns
Everybody stokes the fire and the walls get a little higher.

The team's resident Hitter was unrelenting on the punching bag and he relished the bruises on his knuckles for the moment. He knew his instincts were screaming for him to turn tail and run but the bomb and Moreau were still out there so he had to stay and protect his team; his family.

What happened in the park rattled him more than coming face to face with the enemy did. Sure he wanted to kill Moreau but as Sophie said, he couldn't. And Nate had assured the were other ways. But yet Parker's words of 'What did you do?' echoed in his head. His punches became harder, the bag clinking on it's chain so hard it almost broke, and damn Eliot didn't know what scared him more. Eliot never was scared. Worried, frightened, but never as deathly scared as now. What scared him the most? Moreau hurting his team, the memories he tried to bury for so long, or the fact that if Parker asked again he would tell her.

He knew his thief had her share of dark secrets in her past but he didn't want to burden her with this. Yet at the same time if he told anyone it'd be the young girl who looked straight into his eyes. He tried so hard to keep her from finding out so she didn't look at him different than now. So she wasn't afraid of him...

Eliot Spencer barely flinched as Parker slid quietly from the vent - knowing she was somewhere around. In the van she for once respected his need for space but as they walked she followed just that bit closer and he found himself doing the same. 'Just to protect her' he reasoned in his mind, the same he would the rest of the team. But it was more than that.

Unable to to stop his reflexes, though he knew who it was, the Hitter spun around as his fist went flying. For a tiny woman Parker was incredibly strong; she caught his fist in her own and held on tight. He almost smirked - hanging off of buildings paid off. But all that was heard was the harsh breathing of his, and the calm small breaths that were her's. They stared at each other for so long, dark wild blue eyes meeting calm blue ones. He was mildly surprised when he saw shock flitter through Parker's usually blank expression but no fear. How was she still not afraid of him?

After a few more moments, Parker felt Eliot's fist slowly unclench before she would release it. The thief nodded before standing behind the tattered punching bag. "Parker...," he protested.

"You need to relax and clear your head, and you like to hit things. So, go on, hit it."

And he listened but not without pulling punches.

"Eliot, quit it. You know I can take it."

"You have no idea what I'm capable of," he growled dangerously.

She recognized the threat but also remembered what he'd said in the park. "Sophie said talking can help with what's bothering you. But you and I aren't like that and you said not to ask. So this is all you have."

His lips quirked at that, usually she'd push the subject - or poke him - but over the years Parker had grown as a person. So Eliot gave the punching bag all he had, his thief silently coaxing him into relaxation. Soon though his body grew tired with the emotional weight and he collapsed into the recliner chair next to it. Breathing heavily his face went to his knees and Parker's soft hand to his neck. Circles loosening the muscles and easing the sudden urge to scream or it would choke him. When the worst was over he lifted his head.

What Eliot saw in Parker's eyes were the same tears that misted over his own. He carefully pulled her into his lap. Her head rested on his shoulder as he reveled in the closeness and her scent. His thief surrounded the Hitter and strangely calmed him, grounded him, made him feel safe from the darkness...

"You're ok," she whispered.

"Thank you, sweetheart," he rasped before kissing her forehead.

They both knew if she would ever ask again that he would tell her. But now, neither of them were alone with the skeletons that overwhelmed them. He would protect her and she would be the anchor that held him to this earth, to this world. And maybe, someday, this thief and hitter would be ok.

For in this moment no enemy mattered.

When she looks into my eyes
She sees a man she used to recognize
And not the stranger trying to go it all alone.
Maybe someday I'll see exactly what she sees in me.
Maybe someday I'll be exactly who she wants me to be.