AN: I had a lot of fun doing the tag for The Big Bang Job and has as such decided to keep going. Currently I'm working my way from s4e01 and forward. My goal will be to post once a week, but we'll see how that works out. It'll be a mix of missing scenes (like this one) and random stream of consciousness character studies. Wordcount is planned be somewhere between 200 and 1500 words. Here we go:
Missing scene from The Long Way Down Job (s04e01), in the crevasse. The beginning and end of this (italics) is taken from the show, but there was quite a gap in between the two that I felt was left out. Here's my take on that.
"No! This is what we're supposed to do. We're supposed to get him back to his wife. Nate would do it. Sophie would do it. Hardison would do it." Parker takes a shaky breath. "They would do the right thing. I want to do the right thing." Her raised voice echoes of the rock and ice around her, it sounds brittle.
Eliot's headlamp is in Parker's eyes, efficiently hiding his features. As her own has been knocked askew by the recent fall she knows she haven't got the same protection. Instead she turns away and starts coiling the snapped rope to hide the fact that tears are pooling in her eyes.
During her years with the team, they've never seen her cry. Not really. It had been close that time with the psychic, but she'd gotten out before the first tear had escaped her control and hadn't come back until she'd been sure she could keep them in her eyes again. For other people that might not be a huge difference, if the tears are in the eyes or on the cheeks, but it is to Parker.
"Parker, stop." Eliot says, but she ignores him. She can hear him moving behind her but is still surprised as the rope gets wrenched from her hands. "Stop!" Eliot repeats, and he sounds angry with her. The stupid light is in her eyes again as she tries to take the rope back. "Dammit Parker, you will kill us."
She gives up the fight about the rope only because she needs to get distance between them. The space is too confined to offer any privacy, but she finds a spot of wall as far from Eliot and Alan as possible and stands to face it. "We can't leave him here." It starts out angry but ends in a sob. Parker hates the fact that it gives away her crying.
The helmet feels like it's crushing her head and she rips it off, fully intending to throw it across the open air into one of the other walls. Her intelligence wins out and stops the motion. Not only might it cause the ice to cave in, she is probably going to need it before she's out of here and back at camp.
It's stupid, getting her face wet with tears and snot in this cold. It exponentially increases the risk of frostbite. Eliot comes up next to her and sits down with his back against the wall. Another thing that will speed up the loss of body heat. He dismounts his headlamp and directs the ray at a block of ice to get an ambient light that allows them to see each other.
"Parker," Eliot says, and it's softer than his usual voice. "Talk to me? I need to understand what's going on here." In the corner of her eye Parker can see him looking up at her, but she refuses to meet his eyes. Instead she puts her arm on the wall and presses her eyes and forehead against it.
She wants to trust him. She does trust him, but everything's a mess and she has no idea how to put it in words. Communicating is hard, and she never had much need for it before the team. Feelings are something Parker has learnt to bury and never look at again, but she's finding that harder and harder to do so. Or possibly, she's less inclined to.
There's a lot Parker doesn't know about relationships. She recognizes this. From what she's gathered it's about trusting each other, sharing things with each other – something she's desperately inexperienced with – and wanting each other around. No one has ever wanted her around before. Not until her team.
Nate has been drinking too much for Parker to really, fully, trust him. Sophie tried to con them, and she once left them behind. But it's Eliot who's sitting next to her now, and neither him nor Hardison has ever left her behind, let her down, used her, hurt her, or any of the other things she's expecting people to do.
The waterproofed fabrics of her jacket and gloves are doing nothing to soak up Parker's tears, but the balaclava she wears around her neck comes up far enough to use. "I have to be good enough." Parker tries to explain, hashing her feelings out as she starts to put words on them. By now it's pointless to try to hide her crying from Eliot so she sits down next to him by the wall, less than a foot of chilly air between them.
"If Hardison is ever going to…" Parker can't say either of the l-words, not even the small one.
"He's a good guy, you know?" She says instead. Eliot makes a sound that's probably agreement, it's hard to know when she refuses to look at him. "And good people wants other good people, who do the right thing…" Parker feels choked from the sobs, and she had no idea it is this hard to speak and cry at the same time. Her voice sounds small and high pitched in her ears. "If I'm not the kind of person who does the right thing, then how can Hardison want me?"
It hurts to admit it. A lot. But they might die down here, and Eliot asked, and she hadn't even known what she was saying before it was already in the air. "I think…" Eliot says and it's uncharacteristically cautious. "…that Hardison already knows you?"
Since it's posed like a question Parker nods. "And I know," Eliot continues, "that he already wants you, okay?"
"How do you know that?" Parker can't help but ask.
"It's all over him." She can hear from his voice that Eliot's smiling. "It's in the way he looks at you, how he smiles at you, the way he brightens whenever you step into the room… Trust me Parker, he likes you, just the way you are."
A warm feeling is finding its way into Parker's chest, and it helps chase the crying away. As it spreads she leans across the gap between them to rest her head against Eliot's shoulder for a few seconds. She can feel it moving with his breath. "Thank you." She whispers, low enough to pretend she said nothing but high enough she knows Eliot hears.
"Let's get ready to get out of here." Parker says as she stands, offering a hand to pull Eliot up. He takes it.
Together they untie the makeshift rope-harness around Alan and sets him up in a way that feels more dignified. "Hey," Eliot says as they're almost done. He waves his light in Parker's eyes then turn it on himself so she can see his face. "It's a good thing it was us."
"Because we'd leave him?" Parker asks him.
Eliot flips the torch around and uses it's back to scratch his chin. "Because they would have kept trying," he says, "and they would have frozen to death right next to him, especially Hardison. So it was a good thing it was us."
It's a point Parker can admit to, even if it still hurts just a little bit to be that person. The important thing, though, is that Hardison isn't here, and she and Eliot will do whatever it takes to get back to him.