gonerunningaway: A green chameleon with a dark brown baby chameleon curled on its horn (Default)
Kelly ([personal profile] gonerunningaway) wrote2013-01-14 04:55 pm

[FIC]: Five Times Eliot, Parker, and Hardison had to Hide Their Relationship + 1 (Leverage)

Title: Five Times Eliot, Parker, and Hardison had to Hide Their Relationship (and one time they didn’t bother)
Author: [personal profile] subluxate
Fandom: Leverage
Characters/Pairings: Parker/Hardison/Eliot; Parker, Hardison, Eliot, Sophie, Nate
Disclaimer: Leverage belongs to many wonderful people, none of whom are me. No disrespect to the canon is intended.
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 3,602
Warnings (highlight to view): Use of a Taser; injury; kidnapping (none worse than canon)
Author's Notes: I hope I did Parker's voice justice; she's the most difficult for me.
Summary: Parker, Eliot, and Hardison didn't want their relationship out from the time they got to Portland. At the end, they didn't much care.


(I)
Parker poked at the purple bruise halfway down Eliot’s forearm, just above the split he’d stitched shut on his wrist. “Does it hurt?”

“Yes, it hurts,” Eliot snapped.

She poked it again, more gently. “How long is it going to hurt?”

“Parker, let the man heal in peace.” Hardison tossed him an icepack, which he caught with his better hand and slapped to his wrist. “You know he’ll just get all grumpy and standoffish, and then we can’t get near him for days, never mind s—”

Sophie chose that moment to walk into the room, heading for the refrigerator.

“—seeing him baby that hand.”

“Damn it, Hardison, I don’t baby anything.”

“Yes, you do,” Parker put in. “I saw you when you dislocated your knee.”

“That wasn’t—” Eliot growled. “That wasn’t babying it, Parker, that was letting it heal.”

“What, you couldn’t walk it off?” she scoffed. “It was just a dislocation, Eliot.”

Hardison broke in, “You remember when you were on crutches because you tore your ACL?”

“So? I foiled a kidnapping while it was torn. Eliot couldn’t get back on it?”

“Parker,” Sophie said, and damn was Hardison glad he’d cut himself off if she’d been listening the whole time, “most people like to heal so they don’t do further damage. Just because you heal fast doesn’t mean everyone does.”

“Besides,” Hardison added, “Eliot’s old.”

“I’m not—I’m not old, I’m just older than you. Nate’s old.”

“You’re thirty-seven, man. You’re old.”

“He doesn’t look old,” Parker said, that little line showing between her eyes. “None of him looks old.”

Sophie turned away from the refrigerator, a bag of grapes in her hand. She gave Parker a speculative look, but didn’t say anything.

“I mean, none of what I’ve seen. Which isn’t that much except when we have to change for cons, like when we stole the heart. None of him looked old then.”

Eliot gritted his teeth, but he didn’t say anything.

“Doesn’t mean he’s not old,” Hardison said.

“If he’s old, what does that make me?” Sophie asked.

“Elegant,” he said without missing a beat.

“Excellent answer.”

When she’d left again, Parker slid closer to Eliot on the couch. Hardison watched from the chair as he brought up a game on the screen.

“I said too much, huh?”

“Little bit,” Eliot said. “Not as bad as Hardison, though.”

“Hey, man, I caught myself. She did not hear the other word that I did not say.”

“I want to see where else you’re hurt.”

“You will,” Eliot grumbled. “He won’t if he thinks I’m so old.”

Hardison squawked indignantly.


(II)
“Parker. Parker. You’re not on any of the cams.”

Silence, broken after thirty very long seconds by Eliot’s, “Where was she last?”

“The hall near the vault. Between cameras twelve and thirteen, she vanished.”

“Parker, come on,” Nate said. “Say something.”

More silence.

“Eliot—”

“On it.” On the camera feed, Hardison saw him giving the receptionist the smile that worked so well on so many women; he asked, “Do you have a key to the restroom? I just need to wash up. Ink stains, you know.” He held up his left hand. Where had he gotten the ink marks? Hardison wondered.

She handed it over with a smile of her own and pointed him toward the restroom, and Hardison watched the cameras follow Eliot down the hall, caught him vanishing into the restroom and then reappearing with his hair tied back and one of those security comms hooked to nothing in his ear, and to the elevator.

“Hardison, the keypad.”

“Just connect the reader, man, it’ll get you in.”

“You didn’t give me—have another way?”

“I am not magic, Eliot, I cannot summon another reader for you. Do what you do. Lift a card off someone.”

“Parker, do you hear us?” Sophie asked.

The four of them said nothing, and in the silence, Hardison felt his pulse pick up.

He watched Eliot head back down the hall and barely caught the slip of his hand as he took a badge off a guy who looked nothing like him. Good, double-checking that the feed was spoofed, something he could do. On the third screen, he brought up the program.

“Eliot, where are you?” Nate asked.

“Third floor,” Eliot said to someone and to Nate; Hardison glanced at the feed, clicked a couple of times, and brought up a packed elevator. What was that about? Wasn’t like it was after lunch. Unless all of middle management came in late on Thursdays, something was up.

“Nate, the elevator’s full, and some of these people don’t look like regular employees. Something’s going on,” Hardison said. “I don’t like it.”

“Eliot, try not to be seen.”

Hardison thought that was pretty unnecessary. Eliot lurked and avoided being seen. It meant he had to beat fewer people. Nate should know. Hell, Nate did know that, which meant he was probably worried.

“Here’s what we’re going to do,” Nate continued. “Sophie, you’re in, find out what’s going on that’s so special. Hardison, tap into the security channel. Eliot, find Parker.”

“What are you going to do?” Sophie asked. Personally, Hardison would have sniped it at him.

“Hardison, which badges do you have?”

Hardison blinked, pulled open a drawer, and said, “I got FBI, state police, local police, deputy sheriff, Interpol, matching IDs for all of them.”

“State police,” Nate decided.

“Got it.” He set the wallet on his workspace and clicked back to the cameras. Scrolling, scrolling… there was Eliot, camera nine, going toward the vault.

“I saw many people coming up,” Sophie said to the VP. “Is there something happening?”

“A security audit.” That came through more muffled. Hardison made a mental note to work on the external mic capabilities when he had a chance. Like the next time Nate wound up in jail or something, maybe if Sophie took off again. “It’s routine, nothing to worry about. Now, about that purchase…”

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” he groaned. “What was that? Did you do paper memos? Is that what happened? Because paper, that’s unhackable if it’s handwritten and photocopied. Or if it was on a different computer…”

“So we missed it.” Nate let himself into the van and grabbed the badge. “We’ll have to work with it. Eliot, got it?”

“Yeah, I got it,” Eliot snapped. “What I don’t got is Parker. You said twelve and thirteen, Hardison?”

“That’s where I last caught her,” Hardison confirmed.

“Where are we on the security channel?”

“I’m working on it, Nate, I’m doing like five things at once. Do you want my job? Because right now, I will gladly hand it over. Except you couldn’t do it, and we wouldn’t ever get that channel.” He kept muttering to himself as he typed, adjusting the band for the computer’s analog receiver, and grinned when he caught it. “We’re in business.”

“Let us know if you hear anything that sounds like they might have her.”

“Got it.”

“Security audit, at least that’s one thing in our favor,” Eliot muttered.

A red light flashed on Hardison’s screen, and he clicked, then grabbed a headset. “State police.”

“We need an officer at Madison Holdings. We had an attempted break-in to our vault.”

“One moment, please.” Pressing ‘hold’ on the screen, he said, “Nate, wait for five, ten minutes, then go in. They called the state police.”

“Okay.”

Hardison took the person off hold and said, “There’s a detective nearby. He’ll be there shortly. Should he check in at reception?”

“A security officer will be in the lobby.”

“Will any other emergency services be needed?”

“No,” the person said, too fast for Hardison’s liking. “She’s fine.”

“Okay. You have a good day.”

“Thank you.”

Ending the call, he took off the headset and said, “Something’s wrong, but they don’t want paramedics involved.”

“Probably tased her,” Eliot said in a low voice. Time to find him on the feed again. Outside the security office. “She’ll be okay if that’s it, she’s Parker.”

“Hardison, how long did you say it would take me to get there?” Nate asked.

“A few minutes.” Hardison grimaced. “Nate, if you go in now, you could blow us.”

“I know what I’m doing.”

“Do you?” Sophie asked, her voice soft. “Or are you too worried about Parker to see you could risk her?”

“Sophie—”

“I’m with the audit,” Eliot said. A glance at the screen showed he was talking to a square-jawed woman about his height. “I need to look at your records.”

Hardison scrambled to zoom in on one of the auditors’ badges and turn up the security channel. “Eliot, they’re Lamont Security Services.”

“You are,” the woman said. From what Hardison could hear, she sounded skeptical. “You don’t have ID.”

“Must have dropped it.” Hardison imagined Eliot trying his charming smile; he couldn’t see with Eliot facing away from the camera. “Lamont Security Services, I’m Jim Larkin.” He offered his hand.

She shook it; it looked automatic. “Mr. Larkin, I’m Sally Tripp. I need to call you in.” She raised her wrist to her mouth.

Back to the headset and some very fast keywork, and he was in the security channel just as she said, “I need a check on a Jim Larkin from Lamont Security.”

“I’m checking that for you,” Hardison said, affecting a slightly Indian accent. She couldn’t see him; she wouldn’t know. “Jim Larkin, security clearance for confidential files. Is that what you needed?”

“Thanks.” On the screen, Tripp lowered her wrist and smiled perfunctorily. “Come on in, Mr. Larkin. We had an attempted break-in, so we’re holding someone in here.”

“How was she caught?” Eliot asked as they entered the room.

And like that, Hardison had no feed on him. Didn’t seem right that security didn’t have cameras inside, and he said as much.

“No, it’s not,” Nate agreed. Hardison heard an engine start, probably Nate’s car. “I’m heading in.”

Sophie said, “Will this security audit pose a problem to our sale?”

Hardison couldn’t hear the VP’s reply over Eliot’s, “No cameras in here?”

That left a jumble of Sophie, Nate, and Eliot talking; for his own sanity, Hardison turned down Sophie and Eliot to listen in on Nate, as much as he ached to know if Eliot could see Parker. If he could, he’d keep her safe, Hardison knew, but that didn’t change facts.

“She was heading for the vault,” the security guard—no officer about it in Hardison’s mind—was saying. “Her ID didn’t match her prints.”

“You have fingerprint scanners, very nice.”

He’d warned them.

“Where are you holding her?”

“In the security offices on the third floor. This way.”

“How did you apprehend her?” Nate asked mildly.

“Taser, sir. It’s protocol.”

“Protocol. Hmm, yeah… That’s assault, you know.”

“You’ll have to take that up with the CEO.”

“Or I could just take it up with the officer who used a Taser. Was she actively breaking in?”

The guard hesitated. “We’ll discuss it in the office.”

“Yes, we will,” Nate said, his tone a shade darker.

In the office, Hardison only had to listen to one comm, since Eliot was ‘auditing’ the meeting between the supervisor and Nate.

“Sloppy, having to use a Taser,” Eliot said. “That’s going to have to go in my report.”

“It’s policy Lamont approved—”

“Which is outdated since the use of Tasers can result in death. You might as well shoot them and hope it doesn’t hit anything vital.”

“Where is she?” Nate asked.

“In the back, sir. She’s out of it.”

“How out of it?”

The supervisor took a moment to answer. “She’s breathing, and her pulse is fine. She’s just nonresponsive.”

“She’s what?” Eliot demanded. “You didn’t call emergency services? You could get this company sued!”

“I’ll take her to the hospital,” Nate said. “Mr. Larkin, will you help me take her out, since the guards—”

“Officers,” the supervisor said.

Guards might feel the need to tase her again? We’ll get a full report once we’re sure the suspect isn’t going to die. In the meantime, she’ll be taken out as my prisoner.”

“Sure, Detective,” Eliot said. “I’ll be back in to finish looking at those files once she’s out,” he added.

The supervisor’s reply was too muted for Hardison to make out.

As soon as Eliot and Nate carried Parker, her arms over their shoulders and the two of them supporting her, Hardison tracked them on the cameras down the elevator, through the lobby, and out the front door. Moments later, someone banged on Lucille’s back door, just before Eliot and Parker climbed in.

“You okay, mama?” Hardison asked.

Parker grinned. “What, you thought a few thousand volts could take me down?”

“Inhuman,” Eliot grumbled. “You are inhuman.” But he pulled her into a hug and kissed her cheek, popping out his earbud so he could mutter, “Don’t do that to us.”

“We’ll go back tonight,” Parker said, “after the audit.” She nudged Hardison’s knee with her elbow.

“You’re blown, Parker,” Nate said.

“I know the cameras now, and we can track their routine,” she said reasonably.

Eliot put his earbud back in and said, “No way. We’ll do this another way.”

Hardison reached over to turn Sophie back up.

“I must do some verification before we can complete this, of course,” she said. “But you will draw up the contract?”

He switched the camera feed to the one outside the VP’s glassed-in office. Sophie, draped in a maroon hijab and wearing a long-sleeved dress whose skirt nearly touched the floor, sat across from the VP.

“I’ll have it done tomorrow. Is that soon enough?”

“Yes, it will be fine.” Sophie stood, offering her hand. “If there are problems, I will call you.”

“It’s been a pleasure doing business with you.”

She left the office alone; as soon as she cleared the door, she said in a low voice, “Eliot, get back to the security office.”

“Sophie—”

“You have them on the hook. You can find out all their patterns and habits, and we can find out about their other ethical violations.”

Eliot grimaced, but pushed open the door again; as soon as he jumped out, Nate climbed in.

“Parker, you okay?”

“I’m fine, don’t worry about it. Except my pride. They got close enough to tase me! Never should have happened.”

“Everyone slips sometimes.”

Hardison reached over and touched her cheek. “Be safe tonight.”

“Eliot can come with me,” she said brightly. “Maybe he can be the one tased.”


(III)
In retrospect, maybe Hardison should stop overselling his parts.

It wasn’t his fault, entirely. He couldn’t have known that the Norwegians Sophie had swindled out of nearly forty-five carats of emeralds would decide the best way to get them back fast was to take Sophie’s dear, devoted, beloved husband. Who happened to be played by Hardison, since Nate had to be the middleman because he was a control freak. Not that Hardison would say as much to him.

So he was in a basement, cuffed to a table, two Norwegians—Norwegians, who would have thought they would be hardasses like this?—standing guard, armed with nasty-looking pistols. At least he had his earbud still.

“She’ll pay,” Hardison said confidently.

“You don’t deserve it. Damn it, Hardison, we told you not to oversell it, and what did you do?”

“I know.”

“You don’t know because you keep doing this. At least they’re not Russians.”

Hardison tuned out the rest of Eliot’s muttering and waited for someone else to come on.

“Do they have guns?” Parker asked.

“Yes, I know she’ll come through.”

“Oh. Great.”

“Do you know anything about where you are?” Nate asked.

“Why a basement?” he asked the guards. “Isn’t this overdone? It seems to be out of a bad film. And I imagine we’re in a shoddy part of town, aren’t we?”

“That really narrows it down,” Eliot grumbled.

“Hardison, keep talking. You want to keep them off their guard if you can,” Sophie said. “They’re less likely to hear Eliot taking out everyone upstairs after I offer the emeralds.”

“She should be here any minute,” Hardison continued. “I know she’ll trade the emeralds for me. She loves me, you know. Do you have anyone like that? Someone who loves you more than anything? I do. I’m lucky to, I know that. I treasure that every day.” Accent slipped, he had to be careful not to let it again. “She means more than I can say. Even when we argue, or when she’s going to trade a bag of gems to get me back, I know we love each other.”


(IV)
The last thing Hardison knew, he’d switched on WALL-E. Then a blinding light flashed, jerking him awake, to realize he had his head on Eliot’s shoulder and Parker snuggled into his side. Sophie stood in front of them, wielding a camera with a huge flash attached, and he glared ineffectually at her.

“You’re adorable,” she said in a whisper.

Hardison began to deny it, then realized he had his head tucked almost under Eliot’s chin, hand on his thigh, and Parker under his other arm. He cleared his throat and shifted, taking his hand away from Eliot’s leg. “We just fell asleep like this.”

“Damn it, Hardison, stop moving,” Eliot grumbled.

“We have a client,” Sophie said, louder this time.

That got Eliot to sit up straight and pull away from Hardison, and Hardison nudged Parker. “Hey girl, wake up.”

“Mph,” she replied.

“Client.”

She huffed and pulled away, brushed her hair back from her face, and looked at Sophie. “We’re not supposed to have a client.”

“Nate found her,” Sophie said, like that explained everything.

Hardison desperately needed sugar. Orange soda in the fridge, but that meant getting up. Parker, of course, looked wide awake already, and Eliot always woke up alert. Hardison, though, he needed caffeine or a heavy dose of sugar to get moving when he woke up. He managed to push himself to his feet and stagger to the refrigerator, pulling out a bottle.

Later, when Sophie had gone to find Nate and Eliot and Parker were watching Hardison’s fingers fly across the keyboard, he said casually, “She took a picture.”

“She what?” Eliot demanded.

“She said we were adorable.”

“I’m not adorable,” Parker said, so matter-of-fact that Hardison didn’t feel like arguing.

“She say anything else?” Eliot asked.

“Didn’t mention my hand on your thigh, if that’s what you’re asking.” He glanced back at them. “I don’t think she thinks anything besides that we’re comfortable with each other.”


(V)
“Cook for us,” Parker said, not asked.

“There’s a brewpub right out that door, Parker, I’m not cooking for you.”

“Your food is better,” Hardison said, doing his best to sound mostly disinterested. If he could oversell to Russians and Norwegians, he could convince Eliot.

Maybe.

At any rate, he continued searching for the new client’s background on one screen and the CEO’s on another. He needed to get it done whether or not Eliot feeds him.

“Come on, Eliot,” Parker tried. “You’re the one who made me taste what food can really be like. Your food is magic.”

Hardison could almost hear him weakening.

“Only if you let me fuck you slow later,” he agreed. He didn’t even sound reluctant.

Parker grinned. “Deal.”

Just as Eliot finished plating their food, something with lamb, pine nuts, apples, and a salad with noodles and micro greens, Sophie and Nate walked into the room. Hardison made a grab for his plate before it can be stolen; Parker hoarded hers; and Eliot glared as he finished cleaning up. All the same, Sophie stole a small piece of lamb off his plate.

“Sophie, that’s not for you!”

“You should have cooked enough for the team,” she retorted. “Or are they your favorites?”

“Maybe they are,” Eliot shot back. He grabbed his plate and curled an arm around it protectively as he walked to take a seat beside Hardison.

On his other side, Parker stabbed a forkful of salad, humming very quietly as she ate.

“Hardison, can you run it while you eat?” Nate asked dryly.

“I got these backgrounds put together in an hour and a half, Nate, I can eat and run it at once,” Hardison said indignantly. So he did, and when Sophie tried to steal a piece of his lamb, he slapped her hand away and kept going.


(+I)
“Eliot, for the last time, Star Wars.”

Eliot grinned at Hardison, completed undeterred. “So that’s the one with Picard, right?”

Hardison threw up his hands. “Parker, I can’t—I can’t talk to the man. I’m done. You deal with him.”

“Mph.” Parker swallowed her mouthful of dry cereal. “That means you don’t get to have sex with him, remember?”

Hardison made a pained noise. “The rule is if Eliot says he can’t deal with me!”

“It’s fair the other way,” she said, much too sensibly for Hardison’s liking.

“Whether it’s fair or not,” Nate broke in, “our sendoff is in a few hours, and I don’t want to spend it thinking about you having sex. Any combination of you, or solo.”

“The man has a point,” Eliot said, getting up from the couch. “Lunch is in an hour.”

“Do I have to wear a floofy dress for your wedding?” Parker asked. “It’s completely impractical.”

“Ah, talk to Sophie about that. You’re her maid of honor, not mine.”

Hardison leaned back into the couch and stretched his arms over his head. “Who’s your best man?”

He had to laugh at the trapped expression on Nate’s face.