If she hadn't recognized the hand that grabbed her arm outside the cryobay, she would've sent him flying. As it was, Elliot was already in trouble -on a few fronts- and she knew it. So, she let herself get pulled into an office without a fight. For a long moment, he just looked at her, probably unsure of where to start.
"Before you say anything…" she said but he cut her off.
"You let SAM kill you," Harry growled, his eyes hard. "What the hell were you thinking?"
"That the Archon had us trapped and the only way to reset the stasis field was to let SAM stop, then restart, my heart. I'm fine."
"No, you're not fine. Dammit, El, do you have any idea…?" he asked before running a hand through his hair. "When I saw your vitals tank..."
"You saw?" Elliot knew, somewhere in the back of her mind, that she never revoked Harry's access to the team's biometrics or to SAM. At first, it was just her refusal to accept his transfer. Then, she thought it was a good idea to have another doctor in the know, just in case. Maybe she should've thought that through. "Shit. I'm sorry, Harry. There was no way to avoid it."
"SAM and Lexi tried to explain."
"Really? Because Lexi flipped out on me. She flipped out on SAM too."
"Good. Maybe you'll both actually listen to her. Lord knows you don't listen to anyone else."
"Hey, that's not fair," she said. "Everyone keeps looking to me like I'm supposed to have the answers, then you all freak out when you don't like my decisions. I didn't ask to be pathfinder, I got stuck with it and I'm doing the best that I can. I made a choice, a choice that was mine to make. I don't need your permission or approval."
"I never said you did. I just think you keep forgetting that there are people, more than a few, who give a damn about you," Harry said.
"Is that what you honestly think? That I forget that you care about me?"
"Then you obviously don't know me as well as you think you do," Elliot said quietly. Doesn't he know how she feels? She thought he did.
"No, I know you better than you think I do."
Initially assigned to peacekeeping duties in the Alliance, Elliot was tapped to serve as support for a team of Prothean researchers. She spent years on different sites, learning about those who came before and the things they'd left behind. She could still remember what it felt like, the thrill of being on the brink of the next great discovery. That feeling was all but gone now, replaced by politics and handholding. Elliot went from being a recon specialist to… she didn't even know.
After their father's AI research took Elliot and Elias' Alliance careers down with his own, they all joined the Initiative. Harry was one of the first people that Alec picked for the pathfinder team and -it seemed- the only person who remembered that Elliot was as much a 'badass bookworm' as her father, Harry's words. They formed a completely innocent friendship born from long nights talking about scientific discoveries and advancements. Then her mother died.
Elliot doesn't remember how she got to Harry's that night, just that he let her without a word. They sat next to each other on his couch and stared at the walls for hours. It went on for days. She'd show up, he'd let her in and they'd sit in silence. Then, one day, she kissed him, a ton of conflicting feelings she didn't know what to do with spilling over. Ever the gentlemen, Harry broke the kiss and stepped away from her. He uttered three small words, 'Not like this,' then left her alone in his apartment. That's when she finally broke and cried herself to sleep.
She avoided him for a week until Eli broke her nose while sparring and she ended up in the medbay. It was beyond awkward, being that close to Harry while he fixed the damage to her face. Part of her wanted to hit him, part of her wanted to kiss him and part of her wanted to run. The part of her ready to bolt was winning the argument, then he touched her chin and forced her to look up at him.
'I never said never. You're grieving and I won't take advantage of that. When everything is a little less raw, we can talk about it," he'd said. They never did have that conversation. She honestly didn't think there was a need, then or now. Though she's as tight-lipped as any other member of the Ryder family, Harry always had the ability to see right through her.
"Okay, so maybe you do," she admitted. "It's just… You weren't there."
"We've had this conversation," he said.
"I know but that's not what I meant. I can't un-see what the Archon was doing to the Salarians. To Drack's scouts. He turned some of them into… I don't even know what. Can you imagine what would've happened if he got to experiment on me like he was planning to? What if he exulted me then unleashed me on our people? On you or Eli or Captain Dunn? Because I can. Harry, could you imagine having to put me down?"
He didn't say anything, the stricken look on his face told her more than enough.
"Look, full disclosure, there was a moment, a very brief moment, where I wished that SAM didn't bring me back. I just… wanted to be done with all this bullshit."
She didn't make this mess, she just inherited it. Her father was holding on to more secrets than a busy priest and Elliot was only just sorting through what Alec and Garson, the Initiative's founder, were up to. It was depressing, trying to fight battles on all sides, especially when they weren't even your battles. And, other than Harry and her team, she was sure that nobody ever considered how she might feel about any of this.
"Now, tell me something I don't know," Harry said plainly.
"I hate this."
"I know that too."
"Come on, El. You're slipping."
"I love you."
"You're not even trying, are you?" he asked with a small smile.
"Says the man who ran," Elliot countered. "I am okay, really. Lexi checked and double checked. Even if I wasn't, Tann really wouldn't care. He's got me jumping through hoops again."
"And yet, here you are."
"Well, I was going to check on Eli until you grabbed me. I got a message that he's awake. Unless that was just your way of getting me down here."
"I wouldn't do that to you. He's awake. Weak but in good spirits. Stubborn like every other Ryder I've ever met."
"What can I say, we're a determined bunch," she said with a smirk.
"Knew that too," Harry said, running his fingers over the scar running along her jaw.
"What am I gonna do with you, Doc?"
"As long as you don't die again, you can do whatever you want, Pathfinder."