Disclaimer: I don't own Leverage and its characters. Don't sue.

This takes place after The Rundown Job.

Hardison poked his head through the door as he listened for Nate or Sophie. They had just returned from DC and even though they had been successful in thwarting a terrorist attack, they put themselves in direct danger while doing so, and that was a big no-no in their household. After standing in the doorway for almost a minute, the boy finally accepted that the apartment was empty as he turned and gave Parker and Eliot a silent nod. The other two trudged in after him; Parker with a skip and Eliot almost tripping over his own feet as the room couldn't stop moving around. The long haired young man was so doped up on pain medications he could hardly stand on his own. It was a testament to how much they knew Nate and Sophie would be angry if anything happened to them that even Eliot was willing to take pain medications to keep up the appearance of being in perfect health. He collapsed on the couch before anyone could stop him, though he didn't quite make it all the way as Hardison and Parker had to move him into a comfortable position.

"Okay Eliot, you try and rest while Parker and I unpack. We'll help you to your room when we're done" Hardison said in soft tones as he and Parker made to leave

"Why would Eliot need help to his room?"

Three heads whipped around towards the voice that had spoken, with Eliot falling out of the couch from the momentum.

"Oh... uh... He… Hey Nate. Uh… Its jus… Uhm… Eliot took quite a hit in the last fight, uhm, you know… gave him a concussion… And uh, he's just feeling a little bit dizzy at the moment…" Hardison struggled to come up with an explanation

"Slight concussion…"

"I don't really need help…"

"He's fine… mostly…"

Nate waited patiently as they each tried to explain, talking over each other in a rush. He didn't have to wait long, as they trailed off after half a minute of rambling. He walked calmly towards them, hiding a smile when he noticed how uncomfortable it made them feel. Hell, even Eliot was fidgety. Just a little more.

"Parker, what happened in DC?"

"Huh! Why are you asking me?"

"Well you were in DC too weren't you?"

"Yes. But…"

"No buts. Just tell me what happened"

"Well, Eliot took out the guys with guns. We got the diamonds. And then… then…"

"How many guards were there?"

"What? Oh. Two"

"Huh" Nate mused, before rounding on the young hacker. "Hardison, when did you realize Eliot had a concussion? I know he likes to play down injuries when he gets hurt"

"Oh. Uh s-soon. Not quite long after the fight. He felt a little dizzy so we uh…"

"Eliot" Nate cut in. "Sit down"

"I'm good Nate"

"Oh it wasn't a request. I need you to be sitting when Sophie returns with the doctor, and trust me, you will want to be sitting when she gets here"

"Doctor? But I'm fine. Just a …" Eliot started

"So the limp and the hunched shoulder is a new gait you're working on? It wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that you were shot twice while working a second job in DC?" Nate asked glibly, watching in slight - bordering on minute, cos come on, the boy was still hurt - satisfaction as Eliot tried to come up with an explanation. It ended up with him opening and closing his mouth several times before finally conceding and slumping in the chair.

"How much trouble are we in?" Eliot asked morosely, hiding his face behind his long mop of hair.

Nate could see Hardison and Parker echo the sentiment from the corner of his eyes. "Phenomenal" he answered simply, seconds before the sound of the door opening and hurried footsteps reached their ears.

"Technically, he should be in hospital but I know it won't happen. He'll be in pain for a few days and there'll be some stiffness but on the whole, it wasn't too bad. He'll heal alright. But he does need to rest. Plenty of rest. No knife throwing for at least two weeks, if not more. Oh, and you need crutches. Make sure he uses them. Okay then…" the doctor said, packing his bag. "That should do it. See you around Mr. Ford, Miss Devereaux". And then he was gone.

The silence in the room stretched on for what felt like forever as Nate and Sophie stared down their three delinquents, who seemed strangely fascinated with either their shoes or the carpet as their heads would not come up. After a few long minutes of this, Nate suddenly spoke. "Well, I'm going out for coffee" he stated plainly, making a move toward his jacket.

A chorus of I'll make you one and Don't go and I'll go get it stopped him in his tracks. He could see the palpable relief on their faces as he came back, feeling a strange twinge of guilt as he kissed Sophie on her upturned cheek, and with a simple don't kill them Soph, walked out the door.

They all turned to Sophie as soon as the door shut behind Nate. She looked them down for a few seconds, and when it became obvious, they were not going to say anything, she nodded and held out her hand. They sighed and dropped their phones into her waiting palm. She really didn't need to take Parker's phone – it was not much of a punishment really, she didn't call anyone who was currently not in the room – but she had learnt the hard way that leaving Parker's phone out was in favor of Hardison and Eliot.

"Right. So Hardison, laptop…" the boy practically whined, before an eyebrow raise rom Sophie had him hastily handing his bag over. "… Eliot, knives" he looked up at her in feigned confusion. "They are not in your room. I checked" she said simply. Eliot groaned, before pulling out the throwing knives from where he had strapped them to various parts of his body. They were seven in all, and he handed them over with a keening sound not unlike Hardison's whine – which he blamed on the loopy meds – to Sophie. "Parker, I already have bunny" Parker groaned. "You'll have her back in two weeks"

"Two weeks?" Hardison practically screeched

Sophie raised an eyebrow and said calmly. "You wanna try for more?"

"N-no. Two weeks is fine" he hastened to assure her. "Its just… you know… what if we get a job or … or something…"

"We won't be getting any jobs, Hardison. Not until Eliot has been cleared by the doctor. Think of it as … vacation" Sophie said. "Parker, Hardison, why don't you go upstairs and freshen up. Maybe rest for a while. I'll come fetch you for dinner". It was worded as a suggestion, but they all knew it was anything but. "I'll stay down here with Eliot while he takes a nap" a glare firmly cut off Eliot's protests as he simply sat looking forlorn

"Sophie, we are sorry, you know" Hardison said

"There was a terrorist threat" Eliot mumbled

"We couldn't just do nothing" Parker added

Sophie gave a shuddery sigh. "I know Hardison. And I also know you had to help, Parker. Its just, you should have called. We wouldn't have stopped you. We just needed to know where you were, to know that you were safe. Hardison stepping on a pressure mine, and the looming threat of a biological attack – influenza of all things – it was a lot to take in. I was so scared"


"You don't ever do something like that again, you hear me?" she warned as three heads bobbed up and down rapidly. "Good. Now go"

"Does that mean I get bunny back?" Parker asked with all seriousness

Sophie chuckled. "It means if you are not upstairs in the next ten seconds you lose bunny for another week"

Hardison grabbed Parker's arm and hastily drew her away while she mumbled but we said we were sorry and she forgave us. Why can't I get bunny back?

Nate came back to a very quiet apartment. The drapes were all pulled across the windows, making the room dim, and Sophie sat sipping tea at the table.

"The light hurt Eliot's head" she spoke suddenly

"I figured" he replied.

"That was a rather long coffee" she said as she slid off the chair, giving him a peck on the lips before dumping her cup in the kitchen.

"I thought you could use the time" Nate said back. "Will they live?"

"Two weeks"

Nate winced. "You sure they'll survive?"

"They'll manage. No one scares Sophie Devereaux"

"Uh huh"

"Well, I got the bad cop out of the way" Sophie said while grabbing her purse. "Your turn to play good cop. I made sandwiches, but I doubt they're going to eat them. They're beat, and should be asleep for a while. I'm going shopping, and… what? Why are you smiling?"

"Some parents we'd make. We take away their toys and return them later with new ones. I fail to see the punishment part" Nate said, amused

"Well, maybe I should stay back then. I'm sure Eliot has enough small weapons. Hardison obviously doesn't need a new tech whatsit, and Parker definitely could do without another soft toy bunny"

"Maybe you should get her a giraffe this time" Nate snickered

Sophie laughed softly. "I have to go. How does Chinese sound for dinner?"


"Chinese it is. Alright, see you in a couple of hours"