Parker's fallen before. Not often, but it has happened. It's normal in her line of work. Her teammates reactions are not normal though.
Not my best work, but I've decided to throw this out there and see what everyone thinks. It'll probably end up being three chapters or so. Let me know what everyone thinks.
She's fallen before. Not often, but it has happened. Ropes and supports fail. The wind shifts. calculations are a little off. Whatever. It's not usually a big deal.
That first moment of surprise at the realization that something has gone wrong. Stomach-churning horror. A surge of adrenalin. A split second of perfectly clear thought that sometimes allows for a last-minute save. Pain if she can't manage to catch herself, sometimes the same even when she does.
It's not fun. Not fun at all. But the risk is out-weighed by the pleasure that comes when she gets to fly. And the money that comes from the heists isn't a bad incentive either.
The Leverage team has only seen her fall without catching herself two times. Well, technically two and a half, because one of those falls was only from like twenty feet up and who counts that?
Apparently, the rest of her team.
She was just about to slide out a second-story window into Hardison's arms when the com in her ear let out a horrific screech. Below her, Hardison cursed and stumbled back. She jolted forward, reflexively clutching at her ear.
Her chin clipped the window ledge. The pain was startling enough to stun her for a second. That second cost her. Her foot slipped and the hand holding her up lost its' grip.
It happened so fast, she didn't even have time to prepare. One minute she was fine. The next, she wasn't.
She hit the ground with a crash. The air whooshed from her lungs. Her head bounced off something hard. A thousand sharp pains started up all over her body.
"Parker? Oh my God. Parker!"
Hardison's panicked voice was too loud. She opened her eyes (when had she closed them?) and glared up at him. He was crouched over her, shock and horror written across his face.
"Okay," he said. He started to reach for her. "You're okay. I'm right here. Just stay sti…"
She pushed his hands away and sat up. She immediately regretted the decision when everything went blurry and tilted sideways and the Fruit Loops she'd had for breakfast threatened to make a reappearance. A couple of deep breaths through her nose forced the nausea down but did nothing for the hammer smashing her in the back of the head. Alright, so maybe not the best idea she'd ever had.
"Ouch," she said mostly to herself. "That was… ouch."
Before she could stop him, Hardison caught her shoulders and pushed her gently back to the ground.
"Hey! What are you doing?" she asked, annoyed.
"You need to stay still. Just relax. You might be seriously hurt." He said something else that she didn't catch, maybe talking to the others.
He leaned over her, his dark eyes full of guilt and something else she couldn't recognize. He touched the side of her head lightly with the tips of his fingers. His lips pressed together.
"I'm fine," she said. "It was only like twenty feet."
He was a little too close for her comfort. Not that she felt threatened by him. If it came down to it, she could take him in a fight, even if she had just fallen out a window (or from a window). And man, wasn't that embarrassing. She'd actually fallen from freakin' twenty feet up. Her reputation would never recover.
"Twenty's enough to do some damage," Eliot said, appearing beside Hardison and crouching down. Weird. He seemed sort of out of breath. There hadn't been a fight, had there?
"I'm fine," she repeated. She tried to sit again and Eliot stopped her with a hand on her sternum. She rolled her eyes at him. "I'm just a little banged up." She started to add that she'd had worse but decided that they didn't need to know that.
"Just let me make sure you didn't break your spine or somethin'," Eliot said. He had that look on his face. The one that said he was going to get what he wanted one way or another.
"Little late for that," Hardison cut in. "Girl's already sat up."
Eliot scowled at her. "What the hell. You know better." She opened her mouth to defend herself, but Eliot had already turned on Hardison. "And you. What kind of stupid are you to let her move around like that?"
She expected the hacker to argue and defend himself. He didn't. He leaned a little away from her and clenched his fists without saying anything. Strange.
Eliot reached towards her neck. She cringed. She couldn't help it. He stopped. She couldn't read his face. Or rather, she could, but what she saw didn't make any sense. Surprise; pain; sympathy?
"I'm not gonna hurt you," he said in the tone he usually reserved for animals and little kids. Soft, smooth.
She knew that he wouldn't hurt her. Well, she was pretty sure. As sure as she was about any of her teammates. But she didn't like people touching her, especially her throat. And she really didn't like it when she was flat on her back with a guy looming over her. She could not take Eliot in a fight.
"I don't have a spinal injury," she told him quickly. "I know the signs. I can move everything, reaction time's the same on both sides, and I only wish something was numb."
Eliot's lips twitched. "Yeah. I bet so."
"Now will you move so we can get out of here?"
She pushed at his chest. He didn't budge. She'd scaled walls that weren't half as sturdy.
He sighed. "What's your name?"
What? Had he lost it? Or wait. Was she supposed to be someone else? They weren't on a con, were they?
"Parker," she answered slowly.
"Good. And I am…?"
Oh. He was checking for concussion. She didn't have one of those either. Her head hurt, a lot. But she'd had enough head injuries to know when she was concussed and when she wasn't. And this time she wasn't. Or if she was, it was a really, really small one.
"Being annoying," she said. Hardison chuckled. She used the moment's distraction to role away from Eliot and sit back up.
"Damn it, Parker!" he cursed, grabbing for her shoulder.
This time, her vision stayed clear, more or less. The throbbing on the back of her skull intensified but she'd been prepared for it. She was sore and achy all over, but everything still worked.
"I fell. It's not the first time, and it probably won't be the last," she told her teammates. Nothing to see here. Move along now.
"That's not exactly reassuring," Hardison said.
"It's not your problem," she snapped.
"Kind of is," Eliot said. He moved over to her again. "Don't even think about it," he added when she began to stand. This time his voice was closer to the growl he had when Hardison pissed him off.
"Eliot," she started.
"Parker," Nate's voice said through the comm she'd forgotten was in her ear. "Just let him check you over. Then you can leave."
She hesitated, but didn't pull away when Eliot reached for her head. The sooner they got this finished, the sooner she could go back to her place. She ducked her chin down and he leaned in.
All of her muscles were tensed. He was too close. Too close. She wouldn't be able to get away. He could…
His fingers softly brushed aside her hair. He probed at the forming lump. Weird. The same hands that had taken lives and won countless fights examined her skull so delicately that it barely hurt. Although she couldn't stop from flinching when his fingers brushed the spot where her head had smacked the ground.
"Shhhh," he soothed. And they were back to his gentle, scared-little-creature voice. So weird. "You've got a nice lump here, but I'm not seeing any blood." He moved around in front of her and held up a hand. "How many fingers?"
She sighed but answered. "Three."
"Nice," he said and folded down two fingers. "Follow this with your eyes."
She did without any problem.
"Now can I go?"
"How's your back?" he asked.
He made a sound kind of like a growl. She vaguely wondered how he did it. Maybe he was actually part bear. That would explain a lot.
"She's fine," Eliot said to the others, apparently deciding to ignore her. "Gonna be pretty sore. But I think we can rule out severe head injury. Other than whatever damage she already had."
"Thank you," she said. Then she frowned. Had he just insulted her? Mean.
She rested her hands on the ground. As much as she wanted to spring to her feet, her role from earlier had told her that her muscles weren't going to be doing anything fast for a while. A couple of days at least. She started to push herself up.
Hands slid under her shoulders and lifted. Her eyes widened in surprise. Eliot and Hardison had her from either side.
Everything tilted sideways for a second, and her ears rang. She shook her head and stumbled. Her teammate's grips tightened.
"Woe, Mama. You alright?" Hardison asked.
"Yeah." She blinked a couple of times until things went back to their normal position. "Just give me a second."
"We've gotya," Eliot said.
And they did.
The boys stayed close to her all the way back to the van. Nate helped her inside and looked her over with a weird expression before passing her off to Sophie who pulled her into a gentle hug. When they got back to the office, Eliot, with more than a little cajoling from Sophie, convinced her to pull up the back of her shirt so he could examine her back. Hardison brought her painkillers which she only pretended to swallow because trust only went so far and she did not do drugs. Nate brought her ice packs.
It was all really unnecessary but also kind of nice in a weird way. Her teammates worried way too much, but she found that she really didn't mind.
Well, maybe a little when they were still hovering a day later.