Author's Note: AHH I just LOVED the family protectiveness of this episode. Between Eliot being a big older brother and Nate being such a dad, and then Hardison being so cuuuute and doing all these crazy things just for Parker... UGH the feels :))))

"Hey, Eliot?"

Eliot glanced up with a sigh. He had had about enough of Parker today. It had not been his call to go back into that building, no matter how necessary (and successful) it had ended up being. "Yes, Parker?"

"What's having a family like?"

Eliot paused. He had been making dinner for the team when Parker had come into the kitchen and leaned against the island and started asking questions like... that.

"What do you mean?" he asked, turning back to his tomatoes. He was boiling pasta (store bought, unfortunately) and making a red sauce to put over it. Spaghetti and pasta sauce was always the way to go after a long day like this one.

"Like..." Parker rested her chin on the palm of her hand. "What is having a real family like? Nate's dad was an alcoholic, so he doesn't know. Hardison was adopted, and I... well, I definitely didn't have a family. And I don't know about Sophie. She doesn't like to talk about it."

"You think I do?" Eliot grunted, slicing through a tomato.

"But you have a family," Parker insisted. "Like, have, as in, their not dead or they didn't disown you. I've seen pictures of them in your wallet!"

Eliot stopped chopping and turned around to give the small blond a look. "You've been goin' through my wallet?"

"Duh," Parker replied, rolling her eyes. "Stop avoiding the question."

"I'm not-" He broke off with a growl of frustration and gave the tomato another, more aggressive, chop. "What makes you think that what Nate and Hardison had weren't families, Parker? Families come in all shapes and sizes."

Parker let out a sigh. "Fineeee," she groaned. "Then what's it like to have a normal family?"

Eliot snorted. "Normal?" he repeated. "You think my family was normal, Parker? Sure, my mama and dad had a steady marriage. But my older sister ran off with a guy when she was 18. My younger brother hurt himself pretty bad fallin' off a horse and ended up with some serious brain damage."

"Really?" Parker asked, her eyes going wide. "I didn't know about that."

"What, you didn't see it in my wallet?" Eliot shot back sarcastically. "Of course you didn't know, Parker! I don't tell people these things. You think I want my enemies findin' out about my family life so they can go and hurt them and use them against me? No way. So I keep them far away from what I do. I kept everyone in my town far away from what I do. That's why Aimee and I didn't work out."

"Oh," Parker murmured. She let out a deep sigh, staring at him like a puppy begging for table scraps. "So you can't tell me what it's like to have a family, either?"

Eliot finally put down the knife and wiped the excess tomato juice on his fingers on the towel draped over his shoulder. He walked over to the island and leaned his forearms against it, standing directly opposite of Parker. "You know what it's like to have a family, Parker," he said softly.

"No, I don't," she argued, shaking her head. "My foster parents sucked before I blew up their house and ran away. And- and Archie never took me into his perfect, 'separate' life. I've never had a family."

"Yes, you do," Eliot insisted. "You have us."

Author's Note: Also, can I just take a second to mention the elevator scene where Sophie pulls out her hair and whips it around... and then two seconds later Eliot tosses his own hair dramatically out of his face XD I love him omg.