A/N: I should really be working on my current WIP fics, but no, the muse struck, the one-shot happened! lol This is a combination of two ideas I had for fics that ended up working together, at least I think it works. What do you think?
(Disclaimer: Characters from Leverage belong to John Rogers, Chris Downey, and other important people that aren't me.)
It took less than an hour for Eliot to come to the decision that Parker should never, ever be given any kind of drugs ever again. He thought she was crazy when she was sober, and at least when she was drunk she got past extra crazy pretty quick and into sleepy. Apparently whatever happy pills they fed her at the Second Chance Rehabilitation Centre had their own wacky effects because since her return from there Parker had been like a little kid on a never-ending sugar-high.
Nate and Sophie had quite decided there was no way the little thief could go home alone in such a state. She might be acting like a kid right about now, and they might all play for the white hats at this point, but she was still a thief, still a wanted woman in a lot of ways. She was so giddy about everything, it had to be safer to keep her at the offices til she slept it off.
Unfortunately, as the night wore on, each member of the team started to drop off to sleep and want to call it a night. There was only Eliot who seemed to be as awake as Parker still was, though he was far from as chirpy. Whilst Nate and Sophie had gone on home, Hardison had sworn he was staying as long as Parker was. Eliot might have taken that opportunity to leave but he had heard the hacker's vows to pull an all nighter before and he very rarely made it through, unless he was attached to a computer game and mainlining orange soda.
The fizzy soda ran out, the computer games were not Parker's thing, and just past midnight Hardison was found to be asleep to the point of snoring in his desk chair. Rolling his eyes, Eliot quietly closed the door and headed back to the living area. He dropped down on the couch with a sigh and genuinely started to wonder if it would be morally wrong to knock Parker out somehow just so she could sleep off the rest of the drugs. It wasn't as if he'd hurt her or anything, he knew how to do it without, and honestly she was really starting to give him a headache now with the skipping around, the singing, the overly chirpy mood...
"Ugh" she groaned as she returned from the bathroom looking pale, though thankfully not so skippy anymore.
"What's the matter with you?" he asked her, a little bemused by her sudden change in mood.
"I threw up" admitted Parker as she shuffled over to the couch and dropped down next to Eliot, rather closer than she usually would.
The drugs didn't just make her happy, they made the girl all touchy-feely too. It was weird and unsettling for a guy to have a woman throw herself into his arms and want to keep on hugging and touching him, when it was clear she wasn't in her right mind.
"Yeah, well, I tried to warn you about eating all of that crap and then running around like a crazy person" the hitter told her, trying to sound like he didn't care at all.
Unfortunately for Eliot, he did care. This was his team now and as nutty as Parker was she was a part of that team. He didn't want to see anything bad happen to her, or see her suffer like this, even if it was partially her own fault. On the upside, the throwing up would have got some of the drugs out of her system, and the sleep that now seemed to be threatening ought to deal with the rest.
"You always tell the truth" she said, her head dropping onto his shoulder.
Eliot frowned as he peered down at her then.
"I'm a thief, Parker, same as you" he reminded her, "Truth isn't exactly a strong point for people like us"
She giggled at that, a sound that was somewhere between childish and maniacal, and she shifted in the cushions and got herself comfy, though her head remained there on the hitter's shoulder.
"Yeah, but you tell me the truth" Parker explained, curling her legs up under body as she leaned herself against Eliot's side, "All of us actually, in the team" she said thoughtfully.
He might've told her to move and get off him, but he also wanted to know what she was talking about. He never had to ask as she started to elaborate on her own.
"You tell me when you think I'm being weird or crazy" she noted, "And if Nate makes a bad plan you tell him so. You never actually told Sophie her acting was bad, you just never said she was good" she went on, as Eliot looked down at her, listening more intently than he expected to, "and Hardison... well, you call him on being a geek and probably a virgin" she chuckled to herself more than anyone else.
Eliot found a smile crept onto his own lips then. Maybe it was because she was complimenting him in a weird way, for being so honest, something she was bound to approve of given her own forthright ways. Perhaps it was because in this moment Parker wasn't being quite so crazy and jumpy, just quiet and still, all curled up beside him like a cat. Eliot wasn't sure it was a good idea to dwell too much on how nice it felt to sit here with a friend, a woman, a person who knew what he was (more or less) and liked him well enough to stick around.
"Y'know you're not exactly uncomfortable with bein' straight yourself" he told her, letting his arm slip off the top of the couch to drop around her shoulders, "And that's not a bad thing"
"Maybe" Parker said thoughtfully before shifting to glance up at Eliot, "I never had a friend like you before"
"Yeah, well I never had a friend like you before either, darlin'" he told her, looking down on the face of an angel.
When Parker wasn't being completely crazy (which was fun in its own way when Eliot was in one of his rare good moods) she could be incredibly sweet, cute even. The fact she would call him a friend was weird in itself, Eliot Spencer hadn't had real friends in years, probably not since High School. Girls were never friends, only conquests, lovers, and such. Sophie and Parker were both so different, though defining them as anything but team-mates seemed dangerous in the extreme.
"I think we should always be friends" said Parker then, turning under his arm and wrapping herself around him, holding on tight.
Eliot hugged her back, feeling even more awkward than the previous time she'd thrown herself on him a few hours before. He wasn't used to this, and wondered if he ever would be, the familiarity and the friendly touching. Usually Parker would run a mile from this kind of contact so he didn't have to worry about it. It was likely that by the morning, when the drugs had worn off, she might not even remember all she'd said and done tonight.
"Parker..." he said then, encouraging her to look at him.
"What?" she prompted when Eliot said nothing for a long moment.
"I can't promise we'll always be friends" he told her, in a voice almost too quiet to be his own, "but I can promise to always tell you the truth" he swore.
A smile curved her lips then, a real genuine grin that meant she believed him, and loved him just a little bit for making her such a special promise.
"Whatever I ask you, you'll always tell me the truth" she stated, not a question but a confirmation of what he said, that made her so happy apparently.
"Yes" he assured her as her head fell back onto his chest and she curled up in his embrace.
There was a long silence in which he thought she might have finally fallen asleep, his fingers stroking through her blonde hair without him really thinking about it.
"Eliot?" she said so softly he almost didn't hear, her eyes already closed, "Do you really think there's something wrong with me?" she asked, yawning into the last few words, though he knew exactly what she meant.
"Maybe" he told her, honest as he had promised always to be, "but I know there's something wrong with me" he whispered, glad to realise she was close enough to slumber now that she never heard at all.
Years later, Eliot would recall this conversation with shocking clarity and realise in the same moment that Parker had too. With tears in her eyes and a shake in her voice she asked him what terrible thing he had once done for Damien Moreau.
"Don't ask me that, Parker" he urged her, feeling as emotional as she looked in that moment, "Because if you ask me, I'm gonna tell you" he reminded her, "So please, don't ask me"
Immediately her mouth closed tight shut, as she nodded her head in agreement. She knew he would always tell her the truth, keeping a promise he had made years ago that he probably wondered if she ever actually heard. They never did speak about it after that day, never made any mention at all until now.
If she asked again, Parker knew Eliot would tell her exactly what he'd done. Though it would never, could never change her opinion of him, no matter how dark his past had proved to be, the little thief never again asked her hitter for his secret. She knew he would tell her the truth if she wanted to know, but the day he had promised to always be honest with her, she too had made a silent promise to forever try her best to be his friend.
Eliot was grateful that Parker kept her silence after that about what he had done for Moreau, and he would always love her in some small way for that reason alone.