. . . . . .

Weight beside him causes his body to shift and Eliot opens one eye cautiously at first to find Sophie sitting there with an outstretched hand at his lips housing two giant horse pills.

"Open up." She coaxes with the same gentle maternal tone, "These are going to help with the pain. He did quite the number on you."

Swallowing his pride the normally over cocky man opens his mouth and allows the pills to be deposited on to his tongue with minimal griping "I feel like I've been hit by a damn semi truck." He quips holding them between his teeth and waiting for her to place a straw for water to his lips.

"Nope just a tank." Hardison calls out snickering at his own joke from where he sits at the table plucking and clicking away at his computer, his snide remark earning him a palm to the back of his head from Nate the motion almost causing the hacker to spill the orange soda he had just placed to his lips all over his keyboard.

"Yer Funny..." The injured hitter barks popping his neck. " So how did we get out of this one anyway, from where I was laying the situation looked less than hopful... How the hell did I get out of there alive? I mean what the f- What happened man?" Eliot's brows come together in the middle as he looks toward Nate obviously confused expecting the mastermind to fill in the massive amounts of missing pieces currently absent from his aching brain.

Nate Runs a hand through his hair before letting it rest on the back of his neck and exhaling, his eyes soften a little and he shakes his head. Subconsciously his gaze shifts toward the motionless pretzled figure still watching them from her spot at the kitchen table, In exactly the same position she'd been in the last time Eliot had woken up. "Mistakes... We're made." He admits regrettably before looking back to the man with the broken arms and clearing his throat.

"Oh..." Eliot follows the older mans eyes and frowns.

"I didn't know Nate had already switched the water bottles out ok?" Parker pulls her legs out from under herself glancing toward Eliot and the mess he had become, the mess she had caused him to become. "I did this." her admission is quiet and sounds as tired as Eliot feels as she rises to her feet ringing her hands together repeatedly like a child waiting to be scolded.

She goes to take a step forward and instead takes two back her paled face sorrowful and intimidated as she looks away from him suddenly finding the tiles beneath her feet needing her visual attention.

A loner even more than a thief if that were possible, Parker was not use to apologizing because well, she'd never done it before. Never felt the need to. Every instinct inside her was fighting to do what she did best and disappear, but first things first she needed to say it, she owed him at least that much, if not more. He was Eliot, he was her friend, one of the only few she had ever had, and she'd managed single handedly to mangle him up like a steak in a tiger cage, how could she have been so stupid?

"I uh, I'm really sorry Eliot." The words are foreign and leave an odd taste on her tongue, like bad tuna laced with rotted mayonnaise as she swallows down a grapefruit sized knot that seems to be constricting her airways and draws her bottom lip between her teeth chomping down on it hard.

She could feel the moisture building behind her eyes. This angers her more than anything and she knows she needs to get away, she can not let them see her cry, tears she believes are a sure sign of weakness.

Before the others even have time to register that she's apologized, a huge step in parker's social development she is gone from the room swift and quiet like a cat. Leaving behind four stunned expressions.

"D-did she just..."

"Yeah Nate, she did..." Eliot blinks a few times thankful his voice sounds stronger than his broken body feels as he attempts to maneuver himself off of the sofa ignoring his aching limbs.

The rest of this story would have to wait for now. Parker and her delicate imbalance needing his attention. He knew Parker better than she knew herself and this was one of those times being alone would be much easier on her if they were alone together.

He'd wondered why she'd been so quiet like a ghostly presence as he'd drifted in and out of consciousness these past few days, a figure that was always close by not allowing herself to be far away but remaining just out of his line of sight even though he remained in hers. Never saying more than a few words… She was watching him, monitoring him, afraid he was going to keel over or disappear or something.

Suddenly now it all made sense, and Eliot against his own pain and anger in regards to the situation found it inside himself to push it all aside as he made his way toward the back bedroom where he knew she would be hiding. She needs him. The new weight encasing his upper body takes some time to adjust to as he feels the burn of his ribs and knows at least three of those must have been busted as well by his new friend Tank, a friend he definitely intends to pay a visit to as soon as he feels up to it, only now really assessing his injuries as his body sags more with each step he takes, protesting against movement.

"Parker." He calls out leaning awkwardly against the wall across from the door that leads to the bedroom and snarling at the realization he can't so much as jiggle the damn door knob. "Parker open the door damn it. Don't make me kick it in..." He drops his voice down realizing how haggard and tired his limbs are after the short trek from the sofa. "Please please don't make me kick it in."Not so much as a foot shuffle is heard in reply and he growls low in his throat, "DAMN IT PARKER."

"Eliot." Sophie's tone is soft and almost… cautioned as she comes up beside him, he does after all break bones for a living a detail that none of them try to over look when he is angry like this.

"Not now Soph, just open the frickin' door." He retorts before she can begin on one of her long explanations that he really isn't in the mood for at the moment, he was short on patience and on breath his cheeks reddening due to temper and embarrassment.

"It's locked" The grifter mumbles giving the knob a little twist,

"We're thieves, pick the damn thing" He rolls his eyes and exhales trying as best he can to hold on to his patience his current state of helplessness grating on his nerves.

"Are you sure you don't want me to try to talk to her?"

"God no. I-I'll handle it, just get the door open."

Untwisting her hair from the bun it was in Sophie pulls out a bobby pin and has just begun to pick the lock when there is a soft click from the other side of the door, the Grifter and Hitter sharing a knowing look, as she offers him a confident grin, like a silent pep talk. "Be gentle with her.." She tucks the small pin away into her pocket before turning to head back down the hall.

"Like I haven't dealt with her before…" He mumbles his tone almost amused before exhaling dramatically "Uh Sophie?"


"Open it?" He looks to her expectantly from the knob where his eyes had been fixed.

"Oh right sorry..." She offers him a sympathetic chuckle before twisting the knob and pushing the door open enough for him to step inside.

He cant't see her. Hell he cant't see anything in the darkness of the guest room as he leans down and uses his nose to flip on the light switch illuminating the room. Not the least bit surprised when after his eyes adjust and scan his surroundings, she is still nowhere to be seen.

Stepping further in he looks up at the small loft above his head, "Parker." He manages not to sound to annoyed as he calls to her, "Come on down here." His tone requests more than demands like it generally does. Normally he would swing himself up there and sit on the rafters while she hung like a bat beside him sulking over her latest social fumble or whatever else might be bothering her. Little things seemed to bother her more than life altering events, it was just part of what made Parker… Parker, and she would always slink away to hide after such a realization earned her funny looks from the others.

Eliot would always follow and always find her, like he knew she wanted him to, because after all this was Parker and if she didn't want to be found, if she really wanted to get away she knew more than a dozen ways to do just that.

The two of them would sit. sometimes for only minutes, sometimes for hours. Until her 'icky emotion that blackened her happy place' would dissipate and she was yet again her oddly quirky self ready to go rob the world with a smile on her lips.

"I broke you." He finally hears her reply as he patiently stands stark still finding himself really wishing he could cross his arms over his chest as he waits. Feeling it would make him appear far less idiotic than he felt right now.

"You did not."

"I screwed it all up. You can break my arms if you want, you know when you can use yours again."

"I'm not breaking your arms Parker." The hitter exhales taking the few steps to sit on the foot of the guest bed and rolling his neck from side to side clearing his throat.

"Why not?" her blonde ponytail was the first thing he saw as she dropped her upper half down right beside him hanging by her feet from above his head her arms reasting behind her head elbows sticking out and almost colliding with his bruised cheek as she turned to look at him with suspicious orbs, "I would break my arms if I were you."

"C'mon Parker. I know you didn't do it on purpose."

"You don't even know what happened!"

"I know it was a mistake" His normally chiseled and hard expression seems softer, more gentle at times like these. It was a side of him few had ever seen and Parker thought he should show more. It made him look 'prettier' she had told him once, an adjective that had only served to agitate him regardless of the fact that in the thief's unhinged special way it was considered a compliment. "If my wallet were missing I would blame you... And I would know you'd done it with a song in your heart, but this..."

"Do they hurt?" She questioned eyeing the casts that were devouring her friends arms with distain. "They kind of look like frozen snakes eating you." In typical Parkeresque fashion, faster than the blink of an eye she had moved out into left field and Eliot knew he had no choice but to follow.

He couldn't help the smile that presses at the corner of his lips as he shakes his head at her off choice of analogies. "I've had worse."

"He squashed you like a bug against a windshield on the freeway going at least 120 while being chased by the cops. I've never seen arms twisted that way before and I've seen a lot of arm twisting, the pop was so loud that I thought some child had busted a balloon. You we're-"

Hardison was not the only babbler in the building as Eliot forced the bile from his throat and closed his eyes imagining his body being twisted and crumpled while his friends watched on. Parker had a tendency to say the unsaid, share that which should remain unshared, with those who it should not be shared. "Parker that's enough."

"You kinda looked dead, I thought you were and-"

"PARKER." He snaps without thinking grinding his teeth together and having to push away the irritation swimming inside himself. "I-I said that's enough..." His words tremble and he inhales before exhaling slowly.

"Sorry." The left side of her lips curl up into a smirk as she effortlessly drops down beside him. "It scared me. I don't like thinking that you're dead. It made my happy place sad."

"I'm not goin' anywhere, I've taken on the Butcher of Kiev and won, do you really think some Hulk Hogan knock off is going to get the best of me?"

"Whose Hulk Hogan?"

"What? Are you even from this planet?"

"She saved you, you know?" Nate seems to have peculiarly found his way into the door jam at exactly the right moment.

"She saved me?"

"I tazed him." Eliot is relieved to hear the pep back in her tone as the light of amusement yet again finds its way into the eyes of the teams thief. "Crawled up on to the ropes and rode him like a cow."

"A bull Parker." Sophie and Hardison have come to stand beside Nate as the hacker corrects her.


"People ride Bulls not cows."

"Details." she shakes her head quickly causing her ponytail to bob back and forth nearly slapping Eliot on the cheek with each motion.

"You're kind of dangerous with that Taser thing you know?" The corners of Eliot's eyes crinkle as he smiles in pure amusement.

"You're the one who got it for me for Christmas." She cocks her brow and climbs behind him when she notices his hair yet again had fallen into his eyes obstructing his view. "Lemme fix that." She doesn't even wait for him to accept before she slips the ponytail from her own hair and uses it to bind her friends.


She wrinkles her nose peering over his shoulder and looking at him, "You smell funny. You should shower."

The amount of embarrassment as the true realization that his independence had been stricken from him in even the most private of ways caused Eliot's cheeks to surpass red and go straight to purple as the others in the room all heard him grunt.

"Don't worry... I'll help, consider me your own personal slave until you are well again. Showers teeth brushing even you know peeing, not that I can do any of it for you but I can you know help if you-"

"PARKER!" The three figures in the door jam spoke in unison looking at her with wide eyes.

"What?" her innocence was picture perfect like a child as she appeared genuinely confused.

Eliot's smirk was unmistakable.

Maybe sometimes injury did have its perks.