Written for Leverage Bingo. I don't own Leverage.
What was I supposed to do? You know Parker. You know she wouldn't have fit in. God, she doesn't fit in anywhere…
When Archie finally got home after that disaster at Wakefield, all he wanted to do was sleep. He dropped his suit jacket over the back of a chair in the kitchen. He was just getting out of the shower when he heard the door open downstairs.
"Hello darling," he said, dropping a kiss on his daughter's cheek. "How's Rachel?"
His youngest granddaughter had been sick with the flu for eight days. He'd promised her before he left that if she was good he'd take her out for ice cream once she felt better.
His daughter returned his hug and then said "She's getting there. But I'm fairly sure she's going to drive me up the wall before she's well. She wants to go out and play and it's hard to keep telling her no."
Archie smiled. "You were the same way. Never liked being cooped up, even if it was for your own good."
She grabbed his coat and went to hang it up, but as she did an envelope fell out. "Hey, what's this?"
Archie thought quickly then said "Oh, I forgot about that. It's just a letter from a friend of mine." His heart gave a twinge at the lie.
She handed him the envelope without further comment, and after staying for a cup of tea she left. Only then did Archie have a seat at the table and pull out the envelope. After a second he pulled out a pair of gloves, wary as always of packages with no label containing who knew what.
He needn't have worried. It was a photograph.
He could see all of Parker's team arrayed in what appeared to be a living room. Nathan Ford was sitting on a couch with the woman he'd heard them call Sophie, (but that he'd known once a very long time ago by a different name.) The hitter Eliot was sprawled to Sophie's right, a bottle of beer in his hand and a mostly healed bruise on his left cheek. He was clearly laughing at something that Sophie had said to him.
The young hacker Hardison was sitting on the floor in front of the couch, some gadget in his hands forgotten as he grinned over his shoulder at something Nathan was saying. And as for Parker…
She was sitting on the floor too, right up against the hacker's shoulder and leaning against Sophie's legs. She was grinning ear to ear and holding a bowl of cereal in one hand and a cell phone (clearly stolen) away from Sophie with the other. Archie had never seen her look so alive.
He sat for a few seconds, just looking at the picture and thinking about might-have-beens. What if he had brought her home? What if he'd given her a real life? Would he now have another grandchild? Or would she have run away?
He swallowed and went to set the photo down, but then something made him flip it over.
Leach – You were wrong. She fits in right here. And an arrow pointing to the other side of the paper.
After a long second Archie smiled, took a deep breath, then went to put the picture in the safest spot he could find.