Joy

"Whooohoooo!" Parker shouts as she jumps. The wind in her face is briefly deafening, but it's a kind of deafening that she enjoys, that she seeks out. She'll open the window in the car while driving on the highway, just to feel that rush. But it's never as good as when she jumps from a building.

"Aaaaaaaahhh!" Hardison screams beside her, holding onto her hand tightly. They've jumped together many times, but he hasn't lost the initial terror at finding himself in free fall. He's not doing it just to please her, though, Parker checked. And then she checked again, and again, because she knows allistics sometimes say things they don't mean.

"It makes me scared, but it's a good kind of scared," Hardison said. "Kinda like watching a horror movie. I want to be scared like this. I trust you to keep us safe."

Parker smiled and kissed him, even though she doesn't do that often.

"Always," she said.

She meant it. It might be Eliot's task to keep them safe on jobs, but in the air she's the one who does that.

While Nate does whatever it is he needs to do to grieve his father, which somehow involves a boat and doesn't involve Sophie, Parker and Hardison go together on a world tour. They spend a few days in each city, they go to the museums where Hardison gushes over the paintings and Parker over the security systems, they go underground to strange nerd reunions involving dices and orcs, which Parker watches with wide eyes, and they go jumping off buildings.

And it's the best vacation Parker has ever had−not just because it's the first.

She once thought that being alone in the night and jumping off a very tall building was the highest peak of joy she could feel. But it wasn't.

Jumping hand in hand with Hardison, in broad daylight, falling together, is better.

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