Disclaimer: I do not own Leverage, or any of the characters, places, or events contained therein. Which, obviously, is a very good thing.

Note: So honestly, I'm not sure how this one came about. Back when I saw the Long Way Down Job I couldn't stop hoping that somehow Eliot would do...what I've written him doing here in this drabble. Who knows, maybe he did, and we just never found out about it. In fact, as far as I'm concerned, that is exactly what happened. Yes, it's a shamelessly fluffy H/C fic, and no it's not really Eliot/Parker (though squinting is by no means prohibited). So here's the story, in several short, sweet, goofy parts. I hope you enjoy. Yoroshiku ne!

The Chicken and Stars Job (and other stories)

Chapter 1: Five

"He's not back yet?" Parker whined the question that was weighing on most of their minds.

Sophie looked down, mildly uncomfortable, Hardison gave Nate an openly worried look, and Nate gave a small sigh of exasperation.

"I told you Parker:" he said in his trying-to-be-patient voice, "he had some personal business and asked to take a few days."

"But it's been FIVE days." said Parker.

"Girl's got a point. " Hardison joined in, "two or three days- thats a few. Four? Maybe stretching the definition. Five? That's definitely not a 'few' any more. Hell, that's missing-person's-report time."

"Is that what you want to do Hardison? Missing person's?"

"Wha? No! That's just a figure of speech! My point is: Parker's right- it might be time to start worrying."

"I'm not worried." Parker announced matter-of-factly. When she saw the questioning looks the others were giving her she qualified her statement. "I'm impatient."

Hardison blinked.

"What?" she shrugged. "Our next mark has a super classic Glenn-Reeder safe! I reeeeeeeally can't wait to play with it!" Her eyes glinted with excitement and Hardison barely stopped himself from rolling his, instead fixing Nate with a look of frustration.

Nate seemed about ready to jump back into the argument when Sophie intervened.

"Look, how about we table this until after we've finished conferencing with our most recent client who is so patiently waiting on the line?"

Nate picked up after her, "Yeah, and then Hardison, you can begin using your considerable resources to look into Eliot's whereabouts."

Hardison still wore a somewhat strained look, but nodded his agreement.

Nate gave Sophie a grateful glance and then motioned to Hardison, "Go ahead."

Hardison swiped something on his tablet and the face of Karen Scott appeared on the multi-paneled screen.

Tears were clearly visible in her eyes.

"Mrs. Scott, what's the matter?" Nate shifted forward with the question, clearly concerned.

"Oh no, nothing is wrong," she said, voice thick with emotion, "it's just, well, they told me it would be impossible. It was too dangerous in the current conditions and next season would be too late with no way to get a fix on the position and...Mr. Ford...I just can't thank you enough."

The whole Leverage team covertly exchanged confused glances. They had already been through this with her after returning with her husband's final words. None of them were entirely sure what she was talking about now.

"What was supposed to be impossible?" Nate asked carefully.

She frowned and then gave a vaguely guilty look. "I know- it was done anonymously. But you're the only people I know crazy enough to try something like that and skilled enough to stand a chance."

Nate still kept up his neutral mask, trying to pick any useful details out of her explanation.

"Besides," she said conspiratorially, "I recognized your man at base camp."

Nate nodded grimly this time, not liking the mental picture he was starting to form. He noted that the others were either playing along or hadn't made the connection yet.

"In any case, I just wanted to let you all know how much it means to me to be able to take him home and lay him to rest properly."

A lock clattered to the floor and Parker sat bolt upright.

Nate knew he had to close out the conversation fast.

"Well, your husband was a good man. He deserved nothing less. I hope you'll give our best wishes to the rest of the family."

"I will," she said with a tearful nod.

"Goodbye, Mrs. Scott," Nate said, and Hardison cut the connection.


Incredulous looks were exchanged around the table.

"Did anybody know about a plan to go back and retrieve Alan Scott's body?" Nate began.

Sophie shook her head solemnly.

Parker stared straight ahead, unresponsive.

Hardison tore his worried gaze away from Parker, "Not even a cyber-whisper," he said, shaking his head as he turned a questioning eye to Eliot.