A/N: This fic is a huge change of pace for me! HUGE! It is also the first fic I've ever co-written. Thanks MasterStoryTeller for co-writing and for putting up with my massive rewrites of everything under the sun. Whereintheworld, thanks for getting my panties out of their bunch.
Chapter 1: McRory's
Eliot had seen her in McRory's before. This time she was banging her head on the counter and waving her arms while venting about something to Cora who was nodding sympathetically while pulling a pint of Guinness. He stared at her intently for a couple of seconds, the mousy brown hair, dumpy skirt, sensible shoes, half of her blouse was untucked. Sophie would go nuts if she could make her over. He looked down at her legs; they really didn't go with the frumpy librarian look. They were longish, and quite shapely. Wait, last week she'd been serving drinks in a mini-skirt and an official bar t-shirt. He looked over at Hardison who was waving a thick red textbook around and discussing something with Nate and then back at the mystery woman who was now drinking a beer and listening to Cora. Yeah, that was her: A couple days ago she'd been in yoga clothes grading papers in the back booth they usually inhabited. When Hardison had walked over she'd given him a teacher glare over her glasses and he'd backed off, it had been really funny.
He started when he felt a gentle hand on his shoulder. "Parker" he growled.
"How'd you know it was me?"
"Jasmine, and you have a distinctive walk."
Parker smelled her hair. "Huh." She smelled her hair and shrugged. "You should talk to Faith."
The hitter swung around to look at Parker "Who?"
"Her." The lithe thief pointed at the woman he'd been looking at earlier. "She's really nice. Going to Geneva soon."
"How do you know so much about her?" Eliot looked quizzically at Parker.
"I talked to her silly." Giving him a look that just said: Well duh! "Go talk to her!"
Eliot shrugged and looked down at his half full glass of now warm beer. Heck talking to someone that looked like a rumpled white female version of Hardison had to better than this. This nothing at all…
Parker turned and went back to listen to Hardison rant about something on web-crawlers. Something about multi-agent systems, adaptive algorithms, his usual mumbo-jumbo.
The team hitter started walking towards Faith, or as he thought of her "The Librarian" when she started waving her arms wildly. It looked like Parker on one of her rants about how security at such and such a museum was awful. Cora's eyes were getting wide and she was trying calm her down.
"Do not stand on the bar, Faith!" Eliot heard as he approached.
"Cora, do you need anything?"
The red headed bar keep glared at her friend. "No, this crazy woman just needs to shut up!"
"I'm not crazy, I just want sex!" Faith retaliated. "Crazy is defined much differently."
Cora threw her arms in the air. "You were threatening to start a protest about the lack of sex in modern women's lives. It sounded like you were going to start The Great Green Bean Protest of nineteen ninety-three all over again."
Eliot crinkled his brow, The Great Green Bean Protest of nineteen ninety-three? Cora must have seen his response because crinkled her brow and responded "She." Jerking her thumb at Faith "started the largest food fight that the south Boston public school system has ever seen and got us both expelled for a week."
"I did not start a food fight." Faith responded indignantly her skirt riding up her thigh as her shoe fell off because she was waving her foot around. "I was trying to protest the lack of fresh vegetables available." She waved her arms and Eliot grabbed her glass of wine to prevent it from spilling. "And was protesting the grey green beans. It was totally not my fault that people star…"
"You were standing on a lunchroom table holding a sign which read 'SAVE THE GREEN BEANS.' How could you not expect something to happen?"
"It wasn't my fault!" Faith reiterated her pert chin rising in defiance.
Eliot was amazed by the quick turn of the conversation. "What do green beans have to do with ..."
"She was going to stand on MY bar and hold up a sign announcing that she wanted sex!"
"I was not!"
"You were totally going to!"
"Well, it would pay you back for that blind date with Tommy DiCar…"
"Not my fault."
Eliot's head was spinning. Sex, green beans, blind dates, …
Cora got her thoughts about her and finally asked "Eliot, can I get you anything?"
"Oh…. You're Parker's friend! The sex-machine!" Faith announced as Cora smacked herself on the forehead with her serving tray and shook her head.
The team hitter looked at Cora and shrugged. "I am Parker's friend. And you are?"
"Oh, I'm Faith. Cora and I went to school together. I work here sometimes."
"Yeah, I saw you last week." Eliot's Kentucky accent deepened a little "What do you do the rest of the time?"
"Oh, I'm a math teacher." Faith grabbed her glass of wine and took a slug almost choking on it. Eliot turned his head as Cora choked back a cough and shook her head. Turning towards her traitorous friend Faith glared "What, I am? I teach math to students. That means I'm a math teacher."
Cora just shook her head and gave Eliot a pint of his usual beer before walking away to pull a pint of Bass for another regular.
With a jerk of his head he asked "Appears she doesn't agree."
"Hmph. I got her through algebra and pre-calc. She should."
Apparently this was a long standing argument between the women. Maybe he'd have Hardison look into it a little more.
"So you two going to have sex?" Both Eliot and Faith started as Parker leaned over them.
"I wouldn't mind. He's very attractive and based on what I've seen when I've helped Cora it appears that he could be quite adept with his hands."
"Well, Eliot?" Parker asked. "Are you going to have sex with her?"
The hitter just coughed. This was a proposal unlike any other he'd ever had.
"I'm technically proficient."
Eliot stared at frumpy math teacher and tried to imagine her naked. Surprisingly it wasn't hard. "Umm…"
"Oh, good!" Parker plopped his hand into Faith's. "You two go have fun!" And she skipped off back to the table she'd been sitting at with Hardison.
"No forks involved."
"Oh, Parker told me how she stabbed a guy with a fork." Faith said quite earnestly, "I won't stab you with a fork, I promise."
Eliot was stunned. Parker rarely opened up to people this much.
"Personally I much prefer to use knives for stabbing people. They're much more efficient." The math teacher grinned and it completely lit up her face. "So, would you like to go have sex? I would quite enjoy it; and I leave for Geneva tomorrow afternoon."
When Faith smiled, she was really pretty. It was more than pretty, there was something about her that just lit up and made you want to look at her. She was beautiful, just not in a fashion model way. But, even with that the retrieval expert was not used to women being so direct and blunt; although it did appear that Faith had learned her seduction skills from Parker. Although, if they were friends he supposed that Parker could have learned from Faith. "Well, darlin'…"
"Oh, good." Faith smiled taking his comment as assent. "My place?" She grabbed her coat. "It's around the corner. And down a couple blocks. We can walk."
Eliot blinked, he really wasn't used to women moving this fast. "I don't even know your whole name." And more to the point, a woman inviting him to her place?
"Faith O' Malley. Shall we? I've got an excellent bottle of wine at home; and a growler of amber ale from the new brewpub a few blocks over."
He was a little surprised that she had beer. Most academic types he'd run into were strictly chardonnay drinkers. And they usually did it with their pinky in the air.
"Am I moving too fast?" Faith asked. "Cora tells me that I'm supposed to go slow and provide subtle suggestions. I'm not too good at that."
"Well, your approach is a definite change from the normal."
"Oh, is that bad? I…" The light went off in her being "I'm sorry if I did it wrong."
The switch from self-confident to a wall-flower was immediate. And Eliot really didn't like it. It was like Parker that one time on that job. The job with the psychic. She'd just turned into herself. This wasn't quite that bad.
"No, I like you just fine the way you are." He shrugged his coat on, helped Faith into hers and with a hand in the small of her back guided her out of the small bar to the sound of Parker yelling goodbye.
E/N: The stuff Hardison is talking about is from a paper titled: "Topical Web Crawlers: Evaluating Adaptive Algorithms" by Filippo Menczer, Gautam Pant, and Padmini Srinivasan. You can also find quite a bit of stuff on web-crawlers on the web (Go figure!).