A.N. - SPOILER ALERT! If you have not seen the season finale for this most recent season, the episode called "The Long Goodbye", then DO NOT READ THIS FAN-FICTION STORY! Or, if you don't really care about HUGE SPOILERS, then go right ahead! This story idea was sparked from some lines in the season finale and I hope that you enjoy it!


The Long Goodbye Becomes the New Beginning


"Promise me," Sophie said, her eyes filled with tears, her hand on Eliot's shoulder. "You'll keep them safe."

"Til my dyin' day," Eliot said in a soft voice, giving her a wink.

Nate spoke up at that point.

"You know, Eliot I'd say, call if you need anything, but…you never, never need anything."

"Yeah, I did," Eliot interjected, and then looked at Parker and Hardison, his eyes lingering on Parker, their gazes catching for a few precious seconds, and then he turned back to Nate. "And, thanks to you, I don't have to search anymore."

"Yeah."

They gathered in a circle, and Nate looked at Hardison, not noticing how Parker and Eliot's shoulders brushed against each other.

"You're the smartest man I know…don't get cocky."

Hardison tried to grin through the few tears that had escaped his eyes. "It's a little late for that."

Parker then said, "So, you're really going."

Sophie gave her a watery smile. "How's that make you feel?"

Parker thought of Eliot and she managed to say to Sophie, "I think I'm okay with it." She looked over toward Nate. "Yeah…I'm okay with it."

"That's why we can go."

She looked back over to Sophie and then chanced a glance at Eliot. Yeah…she was okay with it. She had all she needed right there. She would never say a word to Hardison, and neither would Eliot…but it would come out eventually. She had seen it coming for a long time.

Ever since that day on the mountain, when the two of them had been stuck in the cave, she had seen it coming.

She'd had a faint feeling over their last few jobs that Nate had been more closely with her and Eliot, preparing them for something. Something big.

And now she knew what it was.

For a brief moment, when Sophie had asked her how it made her feel, she'd been tempted to throw a tantrum and say that she was most certainly not okay with it…but she knew that she was, so she let the truth win out.

They had their brief pow-wow after Nate and Sophie left, and then Parker snuck her way over to Eliot's place later that night, after Hardison had fallen asleep.

"Eliot?" she whispered, unsure if he was awake, and was surprised to see a light turn on in the living room.

"Parker…"

They stared at each other for a long moment, and then she went and joined him on his couch, snuggling into his side, wrapping her arms around his waist and feeling reassured when his familiar arm wrapped around her shoulders.

She let out a long sigh, and then said, "Everything's going to change, now, isn't it?"

Eliot silently nodded.

"Yeah, it is…but not really."

She simply nodded, knowing exactly what he was referring to. Yes, things would be different without Nate and Sophie around, but they would also have to remain the same…they would have to continue to keep their secret, and not tell anyone about what was happening between them.

They hadn't slept together, but they did have something that was very different than what she and Hardison had.

They had trust. Understanding.

Love.

Parker lifted her head, staring at Eliot's profile in the low light from the lamp next to the couch. She didn't know what she'd do without him.

She loved Hardison, yes, but in a very different way. There was a physical outlet with him, there was the sex, and there was mutual affection afterwards, but with Eliot…it was entirely different. With Hardison she had to spell things out sometimes in order for him to get what she was trying to say, what she was feeling, but with Eliot…all it took was a look.

One look, and he knew.

He was everything that she knew she wanted…but she hadn't realized it until she'd been with Hardison. And now…

Now it was all so very confusing, but she didn't care.

She needed to keep Hardison and Eliot as friends, but she didn't want to break Hardison's heart.

She had originally been planning to tell Hardison about everything, and then let him down gently, but now Nate and Sophie were gone and it was just the three of them. It was too precarious a balance to tip. They had to keep the secret or they'd lose everyone.

Though Eliot would never admit it out loud, he thought of Hardison as a brother; albeit, an annoying younger brother, but family, nonetheless, and he couldn't hurt him.

But he felt things for Parker that he'd never thought he'd feel again.

Trust. Understanding. No expectations.

The only things that she expected him to be were very simple: to be honest with her and to be honest with himself. And he could do that for her. He would only do that for her. So now there they sat, waiting for what, they didn't know.

After twenty minutes of simply holding each other, she lifted her head slightly and he dropped his.

Their lips met in a soft kiss, undemanding, reassuring.

Both of them savored the moment, realizing that it would not come again for a long time.

"Eliot…"

He lifted an eyebrow. "Yeah?"

She pressed a soft kiss to his shoulder and laid her head back down on his chest.

"I love you."

He felt all of his breath leave him at that moment, but at the same time felt as though he could take on the world. He said the only thing that he could think of.

"I love you, too."

And those words, as simple as they were, to him felt like a new beginning. A great beginning. A chance to take on the world and come off conqueror, no matter what was thrown at them. It didn't feel like a betrayal, nor did it feel like an illicit moment…

It just felt…

…right.


THE END