Author's Note: I NEED PARKER AND HARDISON IN MY LIFE NOW. JUST FELT THE NEED TO SAY THAT XD

"There's one thing I don't understand," Parker admitted as she and Hardison walked into the roller rink. It was late, and the rink was technically closed, but visiting hours weren't exactly a problem when you were an expert thief like Parker.

Hardison raised his eyebrows questioningly as he lifted his roller skates from his shoulder by the laces.

"Why wouldn't Dorothy's father let her be with Charlie?" Parker asked, nose wrinkling. "Did he just… not like him?"

"No, Parker…" Hardison peered at her. "It's because he's black. Dorothy's dad did want his white daughter with a black man. That's just how things were then." He smiled ruthfully. "Well… not just then."

"But…" Parker screwed up her face even more, gripping onto her own pair of skates. She and Hardison neared the benches set up around the rink and stopped walking. "But we can be together. You're black and I'm white and that's- that's fine."

"Not everyone will think that," Hardison warned her, taking a seat on a bench and getting ready to put on his skates. "We might come across some folks who don't approve of interracial relationships. But our world has come a long way from where it was in World War II. Not far enough by any stretch, but enough that you and I could go walk in public and hold hands or kiss and I wouldn't get shot."

Parker's eyes got big and she quickly turned to her own skates. "That's stupid," she mumbled, aggressively shoving her feet into the shoes. "I don't get why it matters that our skin colors happen not to match. Sophie and my eye colors aren't the same and no one cares about that! Eliot and my hair colors are the same and nobody cares about that!"

Hardison watched her fondly. Parker's social development was at a very interesting place; she sometimes came to revelations about the world that most people reached in their teen years. Things like racial injustice just hadn't been on her radar for a long time because she personally had never had any experience with them.

"People don't always make sense," he said with a sigh, unsure of how else to respond. "We should know that more than most."

"I guess so," Parker muttered, pouting unhappily.

"All right, enough of that," Hardison told her, getting wobblingly to his feet and grabbing her hands to pull her up. "You promised to teach me how to skate, and I'm not gonna learn sittin' on a bench. So up, girl, up."

"Okay, okay," Parker mumbled, clambering to her feet with the grace of both a gazelle and an elephant, somehow simultaneously. She grasped onto Hardison's hand led him over to the entrance of the rink. "Have you ever gone skating before?"

"Once…?" Hardison said uncertainly.

"All right, we'll take it slow," Parker assured him, grabbing his other hand and pulling him gently into the rink.

'Slow' turned out to be Parker hauling Hardison across the rink floor as he staggered over his own feet and just barely kept upright. 'Slow' left him heaving for breath and breaking away from Parker to grab unto the wall as soon as possible.

"Whoa- whoa-" Hardison panted. "Whoa."

Parker grinned devilishly at him. "Come on," she groaned, trying to drag him away from the wall again. "You can't learn anything unless you dive in headfirst!"

"Yeah- in case you hadn't figured it out from previous experiences, headfirst isn't exactly my favorite direction," Hardison huffed. "One step at a time? I like that. I like that a lot."

Parker considered him, eyes squinting. Then she grinned again. "Nah," she said, and yanked him back into the rink.