Disclaimer: I own nothing except the idea, otherwise there would be a certain Hitter stuffed into my closet. Please don't sue; I have nothing.

Author's Note 1: Yes, I've been neglecting What Happens in Juarez. I'm sorry. The Muse doesn't really want to work with that one right now. I'm going to try bribing her, here, soon. I guarantee nothing though. My Muse is a picky little….

Author's Note 2: I have to admit that I kinda miss the couch. As ugly and uncomfortable as it looked, it still was "The Briefing Couch" and made the team seem more like a family. Now it's just an office again.

So I'm going back to Season 2, and writing various scenes revolving around the couch... They're not great stories; I don't have a beta. I'm going to leave this one rather open ended. Hell, I might even do requests if you ask nicely.


COLD

It was a late night. The microwave's digital clock blazed "11:47" in neon green. The only lights on in the apartment were a couple of table lamps in the living room and the six LCD television screens depicting four different football games, a hockey game, and an MMA fight. The smells of a delectable dinner still faintly lingered in the air. At long last, the apartment was quiet and void of the bickering and complaining that had reverberated off the walls only a few hours before. It was night, and the differences were laid aside for the time being in favor of unwinding from a particularly difficult job.

Nate had left the rest of them arguing to go to bed. The past few days of only a couple hours of sleep were finally catching up with him. And, for some reason, the rest of his crew's heated debate over something that had gone massively wrong in the mission was particularly jarring. He was grateful to have them back, but he had forgotten how they could bring out the worst in each other. He bid them adieu shortly after dinner and shut them out for the night. He didn't care whether they stayed or not, just so long as they left him alone.

Hardison picked one of the armchairs as his chilling spot. One leg was tossed over the arm and he shoveled popcorn from the bowl on his stomach into his mouth. Occasionally, he would mumble something at one of the screens, though no one understood what he was yelling about.

But it was the couch that was seeing the most action tonight. On one end, Sophie was curled up with the hideous green blanket on top of her. At the other, Parker rubbed her arms, her legs pulled up to her chest. In the middle, Eliot slouched; his head rested on the back, beer in one hand, legs propped up on the coffee table. His eyes danced over each of the screens, taking in the bashing and action on them.

"It's freezing in here," Sophie complained, shivering under the blanket.

"I know, right?" Parker answered, looking over at the Grifter.

"Eliot," Sophie whined, "Please be a dear and turn up the thermostat."

"What?" he glowered over at her, "No. I'm tired an' I'm watchin' the game. You do it." Sophie made another little whine, but made no inclination of moving.

"Hardison," Parker started, "Go turn up the heater."

"Mhpho ripftthh," the Hacker mumbled through popcorn, eyes never leaving the televisions.

No one made any attempt at getting up to go to the thermostat across the room. Everyone was far too comfortable to move. Even those on the couch, thin cushions and all, didn't want to leave their places. The only movement that occurred was Hardison's random pumping the air over a call, Eliot lifting his beer to his lips, and the two women randomly snatching their drinks from the coffee table and taking a sip.

However, there actually was movement from the Grifter and Thief. With each reach to their drinks, they would slowly inch their way to the middle of the couch. It was subtle movements, and therefore Eliot was completely unaware that he was about to come under attack. It was Parker who got to him first. "What the hell?" his attention was startled away from the games, as Parker lifted his arm and snuggled into his side. She tucked her legs up, her knees resting on his thigh and draped his arm back over her legs.

"You're warm and won't go turn up the heat," Parker rested her cheek on his shoulder, "Deal with it, Sparky." Eliot just shook his head at her and returned to the game.

By the next commercial break, Sophie had finally reached Eliot and had picked up his other arm and snuggled herself into his side, also draping his arm across her legs before resting her cheek on his shoulder. "Do I look like a freakin' blanket to you two?" he growled.

"What she said, Sparky," Sophie answered. Eliot just shook his head again and took a sip of his beer before replacing his arm over Sophie's legs. It wasn't so bad, he mused. Actually kind of comfy.

There was a snicker from the armchair and Eliot looked over to the Hacker. "What, Hardison?" Eliot snarled.

"Can I cuddle with yah too, man?" Hardison smiled.

"Hardison, I mean this in the kindest possible way," Eliot gave his own smirk as he raised his hand and extended his middle finger. Hardison gave a muffled bark of a laugh and turned his attention to the televisions again. "Yer just jealous," Eliot continued, lowering his arm back over Parker's legs, "that I got two gorgeous women curled up with me on tha couch and all you got is a bowl of popcorn."

"Yeah, man," Hardison turned back to him, "So jealous that I'm not curled up with two gorgeous, sleepin' women…"

Eliot's smile dropped. He looked over at Parker, and though he couldn't see her face, he could recognize the relaxed breathing of deep slumber. He looked over at Sophie. Her head was tilted back and her eyes were closed. He caught the dance of her eyelids that indicated she, also, was asleep.

He sighed and took another sip of beer. "So glad I'm appreciated aroun' here," he growled.


Yeah, I went for the cute factor again. Maybe next time I'll go with some whumpage.

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